New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Golf Shoe Review

One Sharp Shoe For Marching Around the Course

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Ryan Heiman
Founder and head author at Independent Golf Reviews

New Balance has made a name for themselves as comfortable and supportive walking shoes.  The New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Golf Shoe offers comfort and support in a lightweight, sharp looking golf shoe.  I walking in these shoes for 4 rounds and wore them off the course for multiple days to the office.

 This is the definitive NEw Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Golf Shoe Review for 2022.

New Balance hasn’t always been known for their style.  They’ve made a name for themselves as a shoe brand based on comfort and support.  People often buy New Balance because they are  good to their feet, no matter what they look like.  The New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL however changes that narrative.  These are one of the sharpest shoes I’ve seen made by any brand.  I put them easily in my top for for looks.  The class bright white paired with some tones of grey with some snow camo to boot looks amazing.  The smooth lines and sharp shape make for one very nice looking shoe that paris well with shorts or pants.  The Black and Grey models look very nice too, but the white ones just “pop”.

The New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Shoes have excellent cushioning in all the right places.  The “Fresh Foam” underfoot is extremely soft without feeling too mushy or loose when walking.  The heel padding is thick and really wraps around the achillees nicely so that there is no rubbing while walking.  The FantomFit uppers are soft and flexible too.  All of this means you have a soft comfortable march around the golf course.

The New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Shoes have a TPU outsole that combines and exoskeleton design with numerous square “lugs”.  It flexes really nicely on every step.  The TPU however has a little more “plastic” feel to it which means this is an audible click when you walk on tile or cart paths.  They grip the turf amazingly well, but have just a slight slickness to them on tile floors.  They seem to soften up a bit as I wear them more too.  I think it really depends on your usage plan.  If you mostly wear them on the course, they will be amazing.   I didn’t feel the need to take them off after golfing, but if the flooring was slick I needed to be cautious.

The New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Shoes have FantomFit upper which are very lightweight and offer excellent waterproof protection.  It also stays really clean from dust and dirt.  The texture and little details makes it look really sharp after multiple rounds and days wearing these shoes.  The uppers flex nicely in the right spots and hold their shape really well which means they are comfortable and stylish, even after significant usage.

The New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Shoes run just a touch smaller than their other models in the same size.  I am a 9.5 in most brands and have found New Balance to fit nicely.  These however are a little tighter in the toe box area.  They run just a tiny bit narrow and short.  When you put them on they don’t pinch or feel small, but after about 9 holes you can feel it just a little bit in your toes.  Everything feel great except you notice your toe feel a small pinch.  After multiple rounds and off course wearing these shoes, they start to “stretch” out enough that they don’t bother your toes.  I think you could go up a size and probably avoid that or use some shoe stretchers or work it out by wearing them.  If you have wide feet, beware.  However if you are looking for something a little on the narrow side, these are perfect.


The New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Shoes are one of the sharpest looking shoes on the market that are lightweight and have amazing cushion.  The FantomFit uppers are flexible, waterproof, dirt resistant and look great even after multiple rounds.  They are spikeless so you can wear them on or off the course.  The TPU is a little plasticy and the size runs just a touch narrow.  If you want one sharp shoe to march around the course with, these are a great option if you get the right fit. The lightweight cushion and style offer the support and comfort for walking you expect from New Balance.

For more information:

New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender stylish Golf Shoes – KEY POINTS
  • ℹ️  About: New Balance has built their brand on comfort and support. The Fresh Foam X Defender SL adds style. These are one of the sharpest looking shoes you can march around the golf course in.

  • ✅  Pros: Sharp looks, Soft underfoot, Great heel cushion, Waterproof, Dirtproof, Excellent traction.

  • ⛔  Cons: Narrow, Plastic feeling outsole.

  • ⛳  Verdict: New Balance brought some sharp style to these shoes. They are lightweight, weatherproof and comfortable. While they may run a little narrow and have a slight plastic feel to the outsole; you get style, support and comfort.

Try On

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About The Author

Ryan Heiman – Founder and Head Author of Independent Golf Reviews
Ryan has over 10 years of experience testing and writing golf reviews of nearly every brand out there.
HCP: 3
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