In Path of Exile, the most important factor is the option available to players in the gameplay. From classes, skills, and Path of Exile Items to all the little details, you can choose what's suitable for your character. One of those things you get to know is how your character survives damage, which is the defense.
There are varieties of defensive stats in this game, in order to know which to choose, you had better know what each does, what they're dependent on, and how you can best maximize them for your character. You have armor and evasion for your damage mitigation, as well as health and energy shield for your damage absorption. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as their own synergies with other character stats, so knowing how each work is crucial.
Both class and build are dependently and making the most of an attribute or PoE Currency. It's also dependent on where your character is on the passive skill tree, you take whichever has more nodes on your part of the tree. Although you may deviate however you wish, it is designed to conform to those specific character classes. If you want something optimal, then you'll have to go with whatever that class has for you.
Your survivability is endurance-based if you go for armor, so you'll have to go for a more tank-like approach with leech and block. That's what you'll likely go for if you start from the southwest side of the tree. If you stick to the top side of the tree, then you go for evasion, as well as perhaps energy shield would suit it more. Both can be bolstered with auras and other things that work best for them.
Picking which type of defense is all about knowing beforehand what kind of PoE Item and build to invest in, or vice versa. If you really think about it, despite how the game boasts being a sea of open possibilities, there's actually not that much wiggle room when it comes to determine what type of defense your character can use optimally. Your choice is pretty much in the hands of what type of character you choose to play with. It also depends on your particular play style, but that's not a big factor in this case.
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