Yonex Aerus Z2 review: fun, fast, and fatiguing

In preparation for this Yonex Aerus Z2 review, I bought the shoe with my own money

I’ve been curious about this ultra-light badminton shoe for more than a year, so when I came across a store with a pair left in my size I jumped on the opportunity and bought them right then and there.

In this Yonex Aerus Z2 review you’ll learn whether this shoe is worth considering as a beginner or intermediate recreational player.

This version (the Z2) was released in late 2022 and the easiest way to tell it apart from the previous model is by comparing the outsole grip underneath the shoe. I’ve noticed some stores still selling the previous model, so this will come in handy if you’re looking to get the newest one.

Before we dive into my experience with the Yonex Aerus Z2, let’s look at where this shoe falls in the badminton shoe matrix.

yonex aerus z2 badminton shoe matrix

The Yonex Aerus Z2 is the lightest shoe I’ve tested at just 274.1g per shoe for my size 28.5 CM (size 44.5 in Europe).

yonex aerus z2 - on the scale

In order to get the weight so low, a lot of things have been stripped away. As such, the padding in the toe box and midsole is minimal compared to other flagship badminton shoes. To my surprise, the heel was fairly cushioned and comfortable, and it didn’t feel as if anything had been stripped away there.

Let’s look at my experience unboxing and testing this shoe on court. As usual, I tested it for ten hours before preparing this Yonex Aerus Z2 review.

Yonex Aerus Z2 review and my experience

Let’s begin with the unboxing of this shoe.

Unboxing and first impressions

As I unboxed this shoe and wore it around the house to break it in before playing, I immediately noticed how light it felt. 

This could get addicting.

My first feeling was that it was surprisingly stiff in the toe box (almost as much as the Yonex Comfort Z3), but with more padding than I had expected. Especially at the upper heel where it has a sausage-like cushion.

The fit felt fairly snug, but less so than Victor’s A970Ace especially on the upper heel as it’s lower in the Aerus Z. You notice the difference immediately as the A970Ace just feels so good and locked in in the fit.

The design and color are decent, but what stood out to me was the wide tongue that I hadn’t seen on a badminton shoe before. This is nice and basically guarantees that it won’t slide down to the side and mess with the fit (as was the case with the Yonex Comfort Z3).

Here’s the review on video if you prefer that over reading.

Let’s dive into how this model plays on court, starting with the fit.

The fit (+ upper area, sides, and tongue)

With a shoe that takes the opposite approach of comfort, injury prevention, and cushioning, it’s natural that it’ll feel more barebones. That makes the fit that much more important and possibly the best way for it to stand out as most other tweaks will increase the weight.

As I was wearing this shoe around the court, I couldn’t help but think that it might offer the best fit I’ve tried from a Yonex badminton shoe, even if it’s just slightly better than their other flagship shoes. But this could be because there are fewer other things to distract you. The only one to beat it is the injury-preventive Eclipsion Z3 which feels stiffer and more snug.

I’m not a fan of how most, if not all, of the high-end Yonex models feel tighter and more snug around the heel with a looser fit at the front of your foot. This could be due to the shape of my feet, although I believe they are as normal as feet get (not too narrow or wide). 

I’ve noticed that I tend to get more fatigued on the side of my big toes in Yonex shoes rather than those from other brands, and the Aerus Z2 was no exception.

The sides and upper area feel like there’s barely any room for air between my foot and the outer layer of this shoe. That sounds bad, but it gives a snug feeling that’s nicer than it sounds. It’s not quite as stiff in the sides and upper area as the bulky Eclipsion Z3, but leaning in that direction.

The sides in the Victor A970Ace still suit my feet better as there’s a touch of comfort whereas this feels like it’s leaning slightly towards your typical running shoe that’s more lightweight and thin at the upper.. without it being as much.

The tongue is terrific and probably my favorite as it’s so wide it seems impossible for it to slide down the side and cause annoyance.

On the other hand, the shoelaces feel loose at times and like they might untie themselves every now and then. Annoying, but somewhat common with Yonex shoes I feel.

In case you’re wondering, this shoe still feels hot. Sure, it’s less than the most bulky shoes, but still hotter than I had hoped for considering the extremely lightweight (I tend to play in 30-35*C/~90ish*F, so maybe all shoes feel hot here).

The fit + upper area

80 %

The outsole and grip

The grip used on the Aerus Z2 is Yonex’s radial blade sole grip. This is my favorite grip on badminton shoes as it feels slightly more gluey and grippy than that of other brands or Yonex’s older models.

There’s not much else to comment on in terms of the outsole, as the design follows that of other similar models.

The insole

The insole feels more basic than in other top-of-the-range badminton shoes from Yonex and without any grippy texture. 

yonex aerus z2 insole

The Aerus Z2 is one of the few pairs where I’ve noticed the insole feeling slightly loose or like I’m slipping within the shoe. This could be due to sweat, but either way, it isn’t good and I don’t like it (I’m not including the insole in this rating).

The outsole and grip

100 %

The toe area and protection

The toe box protection is limited with barely any protection at the front, below, or above. If you put them on for the first time and have never tried a pair of high-end badminton shoes with cushioning before, they’ll feel good.

But if you’ve tried other top-of-the-range pairs, your feet won’t feel much love beyond your first few games. It didn’t take long until my toes began feeling fatigued. In fact, as I’m writing this it’s just a few hours since I finished a two-hour session playing in this pair and I began noticing fatigue after just an hour of play or so, despite not having played all week. 

Getting fatigued that quickly isn’t common for me. In fact, in many other badminton shoes I rarely get fatigued at all.

I don’t know how else to describe it, but my feet feel boxed in and the bottom of the toe box feels like a stiff plate with less comfort than in any other high-end badminton shoe I can remember testing.

When I take my shoes off, the front of my big toe feels like it has taken a beating without feeling blistered or broken. My toenails are cut properly and the shoe sizing is correct.

It’s as if the skin at the very front of the big toe is sensitive without being pre-blister-like. The bone underneath the foot at the front of the foot that connects with the toes feels fatigued too. 

… As if my feet need a foot bath, a serious massage, or something.

If you, like me, don’t exactly have amazing footwork, this will become a painful or fatiguing experience over time.

Toe protection

60 %

The heel area

The lower heel area and the upper sides of the heel feel nice and snug, much more than the front half of the shoe. Not as much as the Victor A970Ace, which has my favorite heel, but not too far behind considering that the Aerus weighs 87.5 grams (24%) less per foot.

The Yonex Aerus Z2 uses a sausage-like cushion around the sides and back of the upper heel as I’ve noticed in several other more cushioned models. This appears to be a common approach to comfort in the heel. It isn’t my favorite approach, but still decent and reasonably comfortable.

The heel area

80 %

Cushion and shock absorption

As I’ve hinted at already in this Yonex Aerus Z2 review, cushioning and shock absorption is at an absolute minimum in this model.

I wouldn’t call it terrible because it’s intended to be that way to reach the low weight it has. But to be direct, this has mostly been prioritized away and it feels like playing on a plate or box of something with a touch of padding underneath your feet.

Cushion and shock absorption

60 %


Word on the street is that the durability of this model isn’t great. I haven’t played with it nearly enough to be able to judge its longevity, but based on my usual indicators, the lunge tear and outsole tear, things look good.

If you’re struggling to see the tear, that’s because there isn’t one (they are holding up nicely)

There’s some extra padding to protect the lunge tear. It’s beginning to tear, which is concerning after just ten hours.

This is where the lunge tear is happening, but this tear appears to be in the seams of the padding instead (the lunge tear is just below this on all other models I’ve tested)

I noticed some miscoloring at the top of the shoe on both feet in areas that wouldn’t easily come in contact with anything that could make it dirty. Since I take good care of my shoes between sessions, this concerns me as I’m guessing it must be due to sweat coming through the thin fabric.

The color can be hard to see through a camera lense

Finally, I noticed that the texture at the bottom of one of the shoes began to crumble after just a few hours. This isn’t something I’ve seen before and since it hasn’t been in contact with water or anything else that could cause it, I’m wondering what that is too.


80 %

Let’s summarize this Yonex Aerus Z2 review.

The conclusion of the Yonex Aerus Z2 review


The tongue is great, and the upper heel and fit are surprisingly nice.


This shoe is fatiguing to play in due to the lack of padding.

It’s hard to complain about this shoe not being comfortable, cushioned, or injury-preventive enough as it’s aiming to fulfill a different goal than other shoes I’ve tested.

I’ve noticed my energy recovery between rallies and games being faster than in other shoes if we look at recovering energy from being tired. It has to be due to the lighter weight.

On the other hand, recovering energy from fatigue in legs and feet is slower as your feet take more of a beating in this pair.

Twice I’ve noticed feeling tired in my knee on the racket foot after using it. It’s not painful, but it isn’t good either. I’m sure it’s due to hard landings on lunges from my less-than-stellar footwork, but nonetheless, it isn’t helping me. I also notice my calves feel more tired than usual towards the end of a typical two-hour session on court.

When I’m tired during a session (say, after a few games), I do notice the lower weight of this shoe plays a role and that I perform better.

It isn’t all the time, so I’m not entirely sure whether it’s an illusion or really true because I know that’s what’s supposed to happen. But I’ve noticed it a few times throughout this test.

Even so, I probably wouldn’t play as much as I do (twice a week) if this was my only shoe. It’s tiring and fatiguing as hell despite the seemingly slight increase in performance at times.

I certainly don’t feel like wearing normal shoes for a while after playing with the Aerus Z2, and I’m glad I have my comfy slippers for the trip home from the court.

Overall, the Yonex Aerus Z2’s price tag is surprisingly high, even compared to other flagship Yonex badminton shoes. In terms of value for money for recreational players who prefer comfort, longevity, and playing more badminton, I can’t recommend this model.

It feels like it’s achieving its goal well, but the goal (and shoe category) just isn’t a great fit for many of us.

Yonex Aerus Z2: the verdict


It’s a super lightweight badminton shoe with little cushioning and protection. It feels raw while playing and makes your feet and legs feel more fatigued after playing.
Fit and upper area
The grip and outsole
Toe protection
The heel
Cushion and shock absorption
Value for money
The fatigue-o-meter (lower score = more fatigue)

Summary + the beasty score

For what it’s trying to do, it’s doing a good job: no other shoe I’ve tested has come anywhere near as close to the ultra-low weight the Aerus Z2 has.

At the same time, it causes more fatigue and other issues in my feet and legs than I’ve experienced with any other shoe.

That’s why I don’t recommend this shoe if you’re a recreational player looking to stay injury-free and play more games.

Hey fellow beasty badminton player,

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Technology and marketing used in this shoe

TechnologyYonex's DescriptionNote
FEATHER LIGHT XYonex’s lightest midsole material
Seamless UpperThe upper is built with a single primary piece which is a combination of the Durable Skin Light, a strong and lightweight material, and the Double Raschel Mesh, a highly breathable fabric. The two materials are fused together using a vacuum-pressing method which enables the upper to be built with less material.
RADIAL BLADE SOLEBy finely arranging a windmill shape that combines areas with large and small indentations, the weight of the shoe is dispersed, and the grip is improved by approximately 3%
POWER CUSHION+A 28% increase in shock absorption and a 62% increase in repulsion when compared to the standard EVA materialsOther flagship shoes tend to also not use standard EVA materials, so this seems to only be a comparison against lower grade badminton shoes

Which badminton players are best suited for the Aerus Z2?

Who Yonex Aerus Z2 is suited for

The Aerus Z2 (and the featherweight shoe category) feels like it’s better suited for women or players with smaller frames and low body weight that pushes less on your joints like ankles and knees.

Who Aerus Z2 is not suited for

  • Players who practice or play a lot
  • Players that are heavily built
  • Older badminton players who prefer extra injury protection or comfort

Aerus Z2 compared to other similar shoes

Let’s compare this shoe to other similar ones.

Yonex Aerus Z2 vs Mizuno Wave Claw 3

The Mizuno Wave Claw 3 is the most similar shoe I’ve tested (review coming soon), but it’s still more of an all-around shoe leaning towards being lightweight and speedy compared to going all in on being lightweight (it was 14% heavier than the Aerus Z2, per foot, when I had it on the weight).

The Wave Claw 3 feels more snug in the toe box, especially in the side, as if it has less dependency on the heel for a good fit. The upper area (incl. The tongue) also feels more snug whereas it feels more loose in the Aerus.

Overall, the fit feels similar between the two models but as if it’s approached from different ways.

While I felt fatigued playing in the Wave Claw 3, too, it wasn’t quite as much as in the Aerus Z2 as it has a touch more padding in the midsole and toe box.

While the grip on this Mizuno shoe is somewhere between the Yonex radial blade sole grip and the top Li-Ning and Victor grip, I noticed that the top of the inner side of the non-racket foot kept biting my ankle for the first several hours on court.

It’s the first time I’ve experienced this and it forced me to change shoes throughout my session to avoid getting a scratch or blister. It disappeared towards the end of my test, after, say, seven hours of playing time).

The insole felt slippery similar to what I’ve experienced in the Aerus Z2. 

Overall, these two shoes will feel similar, where the Mizuno Wave Claw 3 has slightly more padding and comfort than the Aerus Z2, but also weighs slightly more.

1 comment
  1. I’m a lower-intermediate, lightweight and quite agile 56 year-old guy who bought a pair of WIDE Aerus Z2 and Z3 each from China online shops. Costing only 1/3 the price of the official MSRP of Yonex’s authentic shoes, I don’t know if my purchases are authentic or fake copies of the real thing. Lucky for me, they both look and feel authentic, as these shoes are wonderful on the court. They are a tad heavier than less agile than my lightweight Nike cross-trainers, but offers more grip and protection on rubber courts. Sure, they offer minimal protection but good enough for a 57 kg lightweight like me. I can use them 3 times a week with no problem. Wish their “wide” toe-box could be wider though. Still, they help me dart around the court like a cat. Overall, they are well worth the money! For me, these are the best badminton shoes!

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