New Balance High Visibility Beacon Jacket Review
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With the change in seasons comes decreased daylight and more people hitting the pavement or local trails in the dark. Thankfully, New Balance offers up some amazing new technology, featured within the High Visibility Beacon Jacket, that helps you stay visible in three different ways. The jacket is available for both men and women, however I will be commenting with respect to the women’s model which I tested out for the past 2 and a half months.
High Visibility Beacon Jacket Technology
The High Visibility Beacon Jacket’s first step for visibility is its’ bright color that helps keep you visible during the daytime and during the sunrise/sunset when low light conditions set it. For women, the jacket color is a bright coral that really catches your eye. The next step for increased visibility is the incorporation of 360-degree reflective trim at the chest, stripes on the arms, along the hem, down the center back, and along the triceps.
Last but not least, the High Visibility Beacon Jacket glows in the dark! The jacket has incorporated gradient dot pattern, that also glows in the dark, at the shoulders, upper arms, the upper back, and a logo on the front chest that glows. The outer layer of the garment also glows after being exposed to strong indoor or bright natural light for at least 10 minutes prior to each use. The first time I ran in the dark I couldn’t believe how bright I was; the stock photo shoes a blue-ish hue for the glow from the dots, I found that it was more of an yellow glow. I’ve had numerous other runners comment on how visible I am and that they were wondering what I had one because they could see me from a quarter mile away. I have worn the jacket at night for runs of up to 90 minutes and haven’t noticed a decrease or fade in the glow. Despite regular washing of the jacket, no drying, the glow has continued for the past 2.5 months.
Fabric and Weather Protection
The weight of the High Visibility Beacon Jacket is actually pretty light and thin jacket. This can be viewed as both a pro and a con. With a price tag of $175, some would expect a more substantial level of protection from the elements. The Beacon Jacket is wind or water resistant, but not wind or waterproof.
The High Visibility Beacon Jacket is a versatile layer that can keep you visible in a variety of temperatures when layered appropriately with other layers. For instance, on our recent cold snap down below 0F, I put the High Visibility Beacon Jacket on top of a medium weight insulated 1/2 zip, long sleeve, and short sleeve and was able to brave the temperatures for close to 2 hours without too many complaints. When the temperatures are warmer, this jacket can be worn over a t-shirt with temps as high as the low 60s and stay relatively dry thanks to the extreme breathability of the polyester and spandex combo.
Some may say that I sweat a lot, even when I am cold (mainly my husband). As a result, I found that this jacket got pretty stinky after only a few runs. No problem, simply throw it in the wash, right? Only problem, the stink is still present when cleaned with regular detergent, as well as when using tech wash. I found this feature to be a big con for me.
Fit and Sizing of the High Visibility Beacon Jacket
The jacket is semi-fitted and runs true to size. The sleeve length is plenty long to keep my long arms covered, while each cuff features some elastic and reflective trip. The center back length is also ideal, hits a few inches below the hip to help seal out the elements. The cut through the shoulders and upper back was plenty roomy for layering and for those with broad shoulders (myself included). The High Visibility Beacon Jacket is available in XS to XL.
Additional features include: two welded zippered pockets with generous storage capacity, zipper garage, and soft fabric at the chin area on the collar. In the stock photo, the zippers appear black, the zipper track on the jacket I tested is the same as the jacket color and really blend in with the jacket. If you use the pockets to store your phone, be prepared for some bouncing, as the jacket fabric is stretchy and light weight.
Overall, the New Balance High Visibility Jacket is a running jacket that offers more visibility and safety than I have seen before in a light, comfortable package. The $175 price tag reflects the added technology, and I feel that despite all of the benefits of the jacket, this may be a bit too steep and will likely deter many from purchasing it. With a lower price point, I would recommend this jacket to the regular pre-dawn or post-work runner! For more info on the High Visibility Jacket and other New Balance products, visit www.newbalance.com.