Dan Box

Golf shoes that look like trainers have become more and more popular of the last few years, with lots of brands looking to merge trainer styling and comfort with the performance of a golf shoe.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

One of those brands who are better known for their lifestyle and running shoes, but have made the move into the golfing world, are New Balance.

Who Are They Aimed At?

Walk around any town or city these days and you will see New Balance shoes everywhere. The idea that they used to be 'Dad trainers' has long gone, and huge numbers of younger people are wearing them now.

I can imagine that these shoes will be popular with younger people who are perhaps new to golf, or just looking to play as a hobby, as they blend golf and lifestyle perfectly.

They're also great for golfers who play in dry conditions, or those who like to just wear one pair of shoes when they play or go to the range, as the spikeless sole means they'd be perfect to walk straight from the 18th green into the bar.

The Tech

The New Balance 997 SL Shoes are inspired by the 997 trainer which was first introduced more than 30 years ago and has become one of the brand's most recognisable shapes. They were even used by former US President Bill Clinton for his morning runs during his time at the White House - as a big golf fan, perhaps Mr. Clinton will find a pair of these on his feet some time soon...

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

The shoes feature a waterproof microfibre leather on the upper, designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable during the course of your round even in wet conditions.

The Abzorb midsole is said to provide responsive, lightweight cushioning while walking, keeping your feet comfortable and supported throughout the duration of your round.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

Underneath the shoe, an Ndurance rubber outsole offers traction and stability on a variety of surfaces, giving golfers confidence when walking and swinging on the golf course.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review


The shoes still feature the distinctive profile of the 997 trainer, with low shaping and a seemingly-extended heel area which really look casual, so much so that you'd probably think they were just a pair of trainers from a distance.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

I tested these shoes in a Grey and Orange colourway which had enough eye-catching detail without being too over-the-top, but there are also White/Navy and Grey/Navy colourways available too.

The orange logo and heel section stands out pretty well, and I do think this colourway would look great when playing summer golf or on a golf trip, especially when paired up with a pair of shorts. Perhaps they can be a good excuse to book your next trip!

One slight downside I did find was that the quality of the finish could've been slightly better, particularly around the toe area, where it looked like the glue had marked up on the upper.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

At an RRP of £139 these aren't cheap for a spikeless shoe, and I think for that you'd expect to see better quality particularly from such a well-renowned shoe brand.


Back to a more positive note - these shoes were extremely comfortable. As soon as I slipped them on it felt like the shoe was hugging my foot in just the right way. They seemed to fit perfectly and felt as if I'd been wearing them for weeks already.

The best way to describe them is that they felt like putting a normal pair of trainers on, but coupled with just a little bit more weight and stability which actually felt pretty good. When I tested the shoes it was a dry afternoon but the course was still a little wet and the grass was slightly 'greasy', but i felt really confident in my footing due to that all-important 'locked-in' feel.

The breathability was good too, whilst there was no rubbing or chafing and both the tongue and the laces felt like great quality.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

They're a perfect shoe to wear in the warmer months where you don't have to worry too much about rain and mud, and they're also versatile enough that you could wear them all day on a golf trip or if you're having a post-round meal or drinks.


When it comes to trainer-like golf shoes such as these ones I often think that they're great for casual rounds but I'd be more inclined to wear something a bit more 'serious' when it comes to competitions.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

With an RRP of nearly £140 though, these aren't the kind of shoes that you'd just want to wear now and then if you're looking to get your money's worth, so the performance has to match up too.

Luckily the 997 SL shoes did not disappoint in this respect. Not only were they comfortable but they felt sturdy and supportive whilst I was playing golf.

One of the biggest improvements made in recent years has been to outsole technology, particularly in spikeless shoes, and this is yet another example. I was well supported throughout the swing, with plenty of grip when playing from different lies.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

The shoes are waterproof, although I think the upper design is best left for dry days because I can imagine that they will stain and get dirt relatively easily, particularly if you opt for the white or grey colourway.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Verdict

Essentially, what New Balance are doing is taking your favourite pair of trainers and adapting them so that they're suitable for use on the golf course, which results in a perfect combination of looks and comfort with solid performance too.

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

They're a perfect shoe to wear on and off the golf course during the warmer months. I could see golfers wearing these shoes to the driving range as well as on the course, and the beauty is that you can have your lunch in the clubhouse afterwards without needing to take them off.

You get a comfortable, locked-in feel whilst wearing the shoes. They're slightly narrower than some brands, which worked for me as I have relatively narrow feet anyway, but it is worth considering the other width options if you have wider feet.

I was surprised by how expensive the shoes were, especially when you consider something similar like the Adidas S2G is less than £100, and I would've hoped for a slightly better quality of finish for the price, but the performance was still great.

Would I Wear Them?

Absolutely, when the weather finally starts to heat up in Manchester this summer I will definitely be wearing these shoes for casual rounds or a quick nine holes after work. They'd also be perfect for playing golf abroad if I get that opportunity any time soon!

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Pros and Cons

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe Review

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New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe

New Balance 997 SL Golf Shoe - Product Details

UK Launch RRP£139
Shoe StyleShoe
Sizes7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 12.5, 13
WidthsMedium, Wide
Colour OptionsGrey/Orange/Navy, Grey/Navy/Red, White/Navy
Manufacturer's WebsiteNew Balance Website

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