Yonex Comfort Z3 Review: not what I had expected

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This Yonex Comfort z3 review is not sponsored.

Before diving into my experience with the shoe, I like to look at which colors are available and who’s wearing the pair on the World Tour. This Yonex Comfort z3 review is no different.

The Yonex Comfort Z3 comes in a black model for men and a white model for women.

In their press release, Yonex points out that this model is a redesign of a Lin Dan favorite, but doesn’t give us any insight into who’s playing with it on the World Tour as it usually does.

After digging around online, I noticed images suggesting Kenta Nishimoto wearing the white model, but I haven’t been able to verify that from any official sources.

He officially switched to working with Mizuno in April 2021, while the Yonex Comfort Z3 was released in 2022, so that is unlikely. Pro players often get gear before it’s released to the market but I doubt it’s a year earlier.

There’s also an image of Viktor Axelsen training in the black model but he’s been playing in the Yonex’s 65z3 for the past few years, so that may be a test or a fake image.

Muhammad Rian Ardianto (ranked #1 in men’s doubles with Fajar Alfian at the time of writing this) played with the shoe in 2022 before switching to a white version of Yonex’s SHB 65z3 wide edition in 2023.

The Comfort Z3s crisp design makes it easy to spot on camera, so there should be no doubt if someone else was playing in this pair on the World Tour.

I’m working on a shoe matrix that helps us players compare shoes across brands, and here’s where this shoe falls within it.

yonex comfort z3 - badminton shoe matrix example

Yonex Comfort Z3 review and my experience

I’ve been trying to get a hold of these shoes in my size for months before finally finding one while I was on holiday.

Let’s dive into the meat of this Yonex Comfort Z3 review, starting with my first impression.

Unboxing and first impressions

At first glance, the model for men looks awesome. Perhaps the best-looking badminton shoe I’ve seen thus far.

The colors are dark enough that it’ll age well (as opposed to white shoes), while still having a fresh touch and a great color contrast.

yonex comfort z3 unboxing

They could tone the neon colors down a notch, but compared to most other models, I’ll take it. From a marketing perspective, I bet they’d do well being on the feet of someone who won a tournament as they’d draw attention on the podium.

As a casual player, cushioning and shock absorption are among the most important aspects of a shoe for me, so I couldn’t wait to get these on court!

I like to break new shoes in before playing with them and my first feeling wearing them at home was… meh.

My first impression was that the toe box didn’t feel particularly cushioned or protective as I had expected. It just felt stiff.

It left me confused and slightly concerned, but I convinced myself that I had to wear them for a while, so they could shape themselves around my feet as has been the case with Yonex’s Eclipsion Z3.

After a few hours, it got slightly better (more on that later).

I was off to a “flat” start but I’ve been unusually excited about this model and hoped things would get better on court.

As usual, I’ve tested my Comfort Z3 pair for ten hours through drills and casual games. This Yonex Comfort Z3 review is intended for beginners and intermediate players. 

Let’s start with the fit.

Fit and upper shoe

The fit resembles that of the Yonex 65z3, which will impress you if this is your first pair of high-end badminton shoes. They’re snug all around, and comfortable to wear, but nothing special if you’re switching from another flagship model from Yonex, Victor, or Li-Ning.

In fact, when I’ve had them on for a while, I’ve felt that they weren’t tight enough around my ankles and the upper part of my feet. When I first tie them, they are fine but they have a bit of “give” after moving around during a few games.

I’ve tried tying them both tighter and looser but it didn’t make a difference, and I noticed other players making similar comments.

I’m guessing this is done to produce a more comfortable feel, and it might not bother you at all, but since this is an independent review I thought it was worth mentioning. I don’t like my shoes being too “soft” or loose out of fear of an ankle injury. 

The shoelaces are twisted slightly to the side, similar to what we sometimes see on football (soccer) shoes and that may be creating this effect.

comfort z3 shoelace example

Yonex calls this their Flexion Upper and describes it as “The FLEXION UPPER is a soft stress-free design with minimal material overlap and a larger seamless surface for a more comfortable fit.” in their PR release.

At the end of that is the tongue and it’s slimmer and less cushioned than other shoes. It felt a tad annoying as it was hard to keep in place while playing. It had a habit of moving itself slightly to the side after a few rallies, like my normal sports shoes do at times. That annoys me and isn’t something I’ve experienced on shoes with a thicker tongue.

yonex comfort z3 - tongue comparison vs yonex eclipsion z3

Anyway, the fit around my toes and midfoot feels snug and tucked in like you’d expect from a high-end performance shoe. The toe box and the heel feels stiffer than I had expected, and I’m guessing it’s to counter the cushioning so it doesn’t feel too soft when you’re moving around the court at high speed.

The Comfort Z3 also comes with Yonex’s Inner Bootie technology, replacing the conventional tongue to improve comfort and all-around fit.

I remember this technology from their Eclipsion Z3 shoe, where it felt as if it helps my feet stay in place within the shoe. It’s less noticeable in this pair and I don’t feel like there’s anything standing out and worth commenting on.

Overall, the fit feels good, but nothing outstanding at this price level.

Fit and upper shoe

80%

The grip and outsole

One of my favorite parts of creating these shoe reviews is when I get to try the outsoles and grip. This Comfort Z3 has a non-marking sole as you’d expect and is equipped with Yonex’s Radial Blade Grip.

This grip is my favorite among all the ones I’ve tested, and Yonex puts it on all their current top models.

As odd as this may sound, I’ve noticed these shoes feeling more slippery near the heel. I’ve tested them across three different court surfaces, and at first glance, it doesn’t seem to make sense as I didn’t experience it with the other pairs I’ve tested using the same grip technology.

The outsole around the heel looks mostly like the one on Eclipsion Z3, but with slight differences. The Comfort Z3 is slightly lower with its lines being more straight and with fewer lines breaking up the horizontal lines compared to the Eclipsion Z3.

The feeling of slipping could be caused by my technique or bad habits that I’m unaware of, but either way, it doesn’t inspire confidence when using the shoe. In fact, I’ve nearly slipped in this shoe more than any other I’ve been testing recently, and it tends to be when I’m landing from a jump (with the heel first as we’re supposed to).

The grip and outsole

85%

Toe protection

The toe box is among the most important and noticeable areas for me as my feet tend to get sore after playing.

After testing the Eclipsion Z3s, which has the best and most protective toe box I’ve experienced, I had high expectations for the Comfort Z3.

Compared to a budget shoe, the toe protection is good and feels decent as you bump your toes against the front of the shoe when lunging. No problems there.

Compared to other flagship shoes, like Yonex’s SHB 65z3, it’s pretty much the same but with a surprisingly stiff and hard feel rather than cushiony, as I had expected. 

It especially showed in the top part of the toe box when pointing my toe upwards, and underneath the toes, where I felt sore like I would from performance-based shoes such as the SHB 65z3.

To be fair, no one, including Yonex’s marketing material, had given me the impression that they would be as good as the Eclipsion model in that area. But considering that this model is marketed as a shoe with cushioning, I was expecting more.

Toe protection

75%

Insole

The Comfort Z3 felt slightly less hot than other models I’ve tested. It’s not like a freezer or that it doesn’t get hot but playing in extremely hot and humid conditions, I’ve found that even a slight difference helps.

That’s fortunate as this model is built with fewer air ventilation holes than i.e. the Eclipsion Z3 in the insole. It also doesn’t have any holes through the mid- and outsole to increase air ventilation. Perhaps that’s due to its thinner, less bulky nature.

The insole is virtually the same as in the Eclipsion Z3 except for having fewer air ventilation holes in the middle part.

It’s reasonably soft and doesn’t feel like it makes you slip, but at the same time, it’s nothing special and worth highlighting compared to other flagship shoes in the same price range.

Insole

75%

The heel

The upper heel area is similar to that of Yonex’s Eclipsion Z3 and goes almost as high up near the ankle but is not quite as stiff and protective on the outside.

On the inside is a slim sausage-like cushion that is often used on badminton shoes to create fit and protect near the ankle. It’s comfortable and helps keep your heel in place on both sides of your foot.

On the Comfort z3s, the sausage-like cushion is slimmer and smaller than on the Eclipsion Z3s and Li-Ning’s Yun Ting (Jonatan Christie’s current shoe). It’s nice but because it’s soft, it wouldn’t hurt to have a bit more to make the fit extra snug since it doesn’t keep its shape like cushions often don’t.

On the other hand, the smaller size of this cushion makes it feel more sporty and speedy compared to those two protective-style shoes. At least I didn’t feel the skin tearing off on the heel like I did with the Eclipsion Z3 at first.

The heel

80%

Cushion and shock absorption

Now for the big thing we’re all wondering about: the cushioning and shock absorption that these shoes are marketed with.

They don’t feel particularly cushioned in the toe box while the heel area feels reasonably well cushioned considering how the rest of the shoe is. However, I have to give it some points in the midsole and underneath the shoe towards the heel.

It feels soft and cushioned while being less stiff than the Eclipsion Z3s. As if Yonex has added extra padding that shapes itself after your feet.

This didn’t jump out at me at first due to the stiffness in other areas of the shoe. In fact, it took me a while to notice it, which means you might also not notice it if you’re trying them on at your local badminton store.

In terms of shock absorption, I didn’t feel any noticeable difference compared to what I’ve been used to with other flagship shoes. 

I still find myself coming back to the Eclipsion Z3s, when my feet are tired, sore, and need extra cushioning. Based on my impression of what these shoes were before I got them, I feel as if that shouldn’t happen.

Cushion and shock absorption

85%

Durability (and The Lunge Tear)

As mentioned in my other shoe reviews, durability is a tricky thing to test in such a short period of time. I’ve come up with something I call The Lunge Tear, which I’ve found to give a good clue about durability despite the relatively short testing time.

It’s that area on the non-racket foot we use to brake and control our movement when we lunge to get a shuttle. As far as I know, it’s only badminton shoes that are reinforced in this area.

As with other flagship badminton shoes, there’s a stiff material on the outside to help with durability. At this point, they’re holding up just as well as Yonex’s 65z3 and Victor’s A970Ace. The material even appears to be the same as on the A970Ace.

Durability (and The Lunge Tear)

90%

Conclusion

At first, I was disappointed by these shoes. 

I was expecting a lot more in terms of cushioning and had high hopes that this model would be the ultimate shoe for players who aren’t hardcore tournament players.

It has since grown on me a little, but I’m still left hoping for more. I’ve played with loads of different players since the release of this shoe, yet I’ve only seen one player wearing them.

That makes me wonder if they may be out of the market again soon as we don’t see any pro players use them either.

It wasn’t until I finished this Yonex Comfort z3 review that I realized it may simply come down to confusing marketing, as my expectation was so far off what it really felt to play with them.

Rather than a comfortable shoe first, I see Comfort z3 as a performance shoe first with a touch of comfort second. When I purchased them, I was expecting a softer and perhaps less sturdy version of the Eclipsion Z3s.

They remind me most of a far lighter and faster version of the Eclipsion Z3 but cushioned isn’t the first word that comes to mind. Almost as if the 65z3, with its all around-performance, and Eclipsion Z3, with its protective and cushioned capabilities, had a baby.

While it’s nice that Yonex provides so many options for us players with different preferences, it also makes it more challenging to find the perfect pair for us.

On an unrelated note, I should point out that the Comfort Z3 feels true to Yonex’s usual sizes, which are between half to a full size smaller than normal shoes for me.

POSITIVE


The cushioning underneath the heel feels good and as if it shapes itself after your foot, despite being relatively lightweight.

NEGATIVE


The toe box isn’t as cushioned as I’d expect from a flagship cushion-based shoe.

Hey reader, a quick interruption...

I’m experimenting partnering with webshops that sell badminton gear, like Amazon. I’ll include links to buy the gear I review and if you do, they’ll pay me a small commission. That doesn’t change your price and you’ll get more play-tested gear as a result but I thought it was fair to let you know.

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I appreciate your support,
Aske

Yonex Comfort Z3: the verdict

Aske

Fit and upper shoe
80%
The grip and outsole
85%
Toe protection
75%
Insole
75%
The heel
80%
Cushion and shock absorption
85%
Durability (and The Lunge Tear)
90%
Value for money
70%

Summary

The Yonex Comfort Z3 feels like a performance shoe with a touch of cushioning, rather than an all-out cushion and protection-based shoe.

The toe box felt stiff and with the same level of cushioning as Yonex’s SHB 65z3. The heel felt decently cushioned.

Overall, it’s a decent shoe but gets outperformed by other shoes in almost any area, making it hard to see where this one comes out on top.

80%

Technology and marketing used in this shoe

To my surprise, I’ve been struggling to find marketing videos for the Comfort Z3 in English. I was only able to find the PR announcement I mentioned earlier along with a video in Japanese by Yonex Japan, that highlights this shoe’s features.

That’s unusual for Yonex.

Anyway, here’s a list of the technology used in this shoe.

TechnologyYonex's DescriptionNote
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
Feather Bounce FOAM8% lighter in weight, while generating 20% more repulsion
FEATHER LIGHT XYonex’s lightest midsole material
3D POWER GRAPHITE SHEETOur proprietary graphite sheet is built to flex and generate power and propulsion with each step, while providing stability from unwanted twist
FLEXION UPPERa more secure and comfortable fit
Inner Bootieintegrated into the shoe replacing the conventional tongue for improved comfort and better all-around fit
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%

Which badminton players are best suited for Yonex Comfort Z3?

Next, let’s look at what type of player this shoe is best suited for along with comparisons with other similar shoes.

Who Comfort Z3 is suited for

Yonex Comfort Z3 seems best suited for ambitious casual players that play the occasional tournament.

It feels more like a performance-type shoe with a touch of cushioning, rather than a shoe focused on cushioning and protection above all.

Who Comfort Z3 is not suited for

As I was getting this shoe I was expecting it to be for casual players looking for a cushioned and protective shoe. 

After testing it, that doesn’t feel like the case and I don’t see which casual player would choose it over the Eclipsion Z3 if they are looking for protection.

Yonex Comfort Z3 compared to other similar shoes

Finally, let’s compare the Comfort Z3 to other similar shoes you might consider.

Comfort Z3 vs Yonex 65z3

Based on the name and marketing, I expected to compare the Comfort Z3 with Yonex’s Eclipsion Z3. 

After playing with it, it feels similar to Yonex’s SHB 65z3 but with added cushioning and lower ride height, closer to the floor.

It almost feels as if the 65z3 is the tournament- or performance-based version, whereas the Comfort Z3 is a slightly more casual version springing from the same main shoe product.

As someone who’s big on protecting your feet as a casual player, I’d consider getting the Comfort Z3 if you were initially looking at the 65z3, but play mostly casually and want a touch more cushioning when landing.

Comfort Z3 vs Eclipsion Z3

Everyone seems to want to know who the Yonex Eclipsion Z3 and Yonex Comfort Z3 stacks up against each other, as the marketing material seems to put them in the same category.

During this Yonex Comfort Z3 review, I’ve compared the two a bunch already, so this section will be a summary rather than introducing new points.

The simplest way I can look at it is: if you are a casual player prioritizing injury protection, you’ll probably like the Eclipsion Z3 more as it’s sturdier and keeps your feet locked in where they’re supposed to be. It’s certainly bulkier and heavier due to that extra protection.

Cushioning tends to feel softer and the opposite of sturdy. If you’re looking for performance with a bit of cushioning, get the Comfort Z3.

The biggest difference for me was that the toe box and its protection on the Eclipsion Z3 feels much better and less stiff, but takes a while to shape itself after your feet. You likely won’t notice this until you’ve been wearing them for a few hours.

The Eclipsions feel more bulky, but I continue to find myself coming back to them when my feet, and the area underneath my big toe, get sore in other shoes.

Comfort Z3 vs Li-Ning Yun Ting (YT01)

Li-Ning’s Yun Ting is a similar shoe and also feels like its performance first, but rather than cushioning second, it feels more on the sturdy and stable side. 

It feels more snug around the upper sides of my foot, like it better wraps around it whereas the Comfort Z3 feels slightly softer.

Surprisingly, it’s the other way around when it comes to the insole. The Comfort Z3 feels like a harder cushion whereas the Yun Ting’s insole feels softer, more cushioned, and pillowy.

Comfort Z3 vs Victor A970Ace

I didn’t expect to say this, but the Comfort Z3 feels quite similar to Victor’s A970Ace as both feel like a performance shoe first, with cushioning second. Victor A970Ace’s fit felt better as they are snugger. 

These models take two different approaches to solving the same problem. They are similar enough that you’ll likely be happy with either pair if this type of shoe is what you’re looking for.

Where the black Comfort Z3 has a nicer look in my opinion, the back-heel padding on the A970Ace is the best I’ve tried. The Comfort Z3’s upper heel area doesn’t feel as comfortable and snug as the Victor A970Ace.

Both seem to have the same mesh at the side of the shoe to protect against The Lunge Tear.

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