Last Updated on August 6, 2023 by Aske
The Yonex Eclipsion Z3 differentiates itself from other Yonex flagship shoes by focusing on stability and protection.
This model dropped just a few weeks before I got them, so I was stoked to find them in my size as that’s always difficult here in Asia.
Before we get into the review, make sure you don’t confuse them with the more affordable X3 model or last year’s Z2 model. The easiest way to tell the difference between the former Z2 and the new Z3 models is around the ankle as illustrated in this image.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the new Z3 (the high-end model) and the new X3 (the affordable sibling), is that the outsole underneath the X3 isn’t dyed in a different color.
Now, for the review.
Yonex Eclipsion Z3 review (2023 model)
Upon seeing these shoes my first thought was: FINALLY, a pair of non-marking badminton shoes that looks good!
When I tried them on for sizing at the store, I noticed they felt extra snug around the toe area compared to my current Yonex SHB 65Z3. Especially at the top of the toe (when pointing your toes upwards), and I’m cautious of that area in particular as it has caused me problems with broken toenails in other shoes.
They felt a tad too small in my normal size, but the clerk reassured me that they follow Yonex’s standard sizing for badminton shoes. Just to make sure, I tried one that was half a size bigger but it was easy to tell that it wasn’t right as there was too much space between my foot and the shoe.
I told myself that this extra tight, almost claustrophobic, feeling would go away after breaking them in.
So far so good.
When I opened the shoe box at home, I was reminded of how well they look and I noticed how much their design and color scheme stand out from other badminton shoes.
I’ve played with these shoes for about 15 hours doing social games and drills, and I’ve used the same slightly thick socks as I normally do to keep consistency between the shoes I test.
During the first test session, it took a little while to get used to just how tight the fit was around my foot inside the shoe. It wasn’t in a bad way or as if they were too small anymore, just an unusual feeling coming from the Yonex SHB 65Z3.
As if my feet were covered in a shoe-like airbag of sorts.
As soon as I got on court, I got curious about the grippy radial blade outsole underneath the shoe and whether it would feel the same as with the Yonex 65Z3. I remember being impressed when I first got those on.
It is that same sole but for some reason, it didn’t feel as grippy as on the 65Z. I figure it’s because I’m used to it by now, whereas when I first tried that sole, it made a big impression on me as I upgraded from a budget shoe.
The Eclipsion Z3’s outsole has what Yonex calls the “The Semi One-Piece Sole” and they describe that “The Semi One-Piece Sole combined with radial blade sole increases the overall grip and area of contact by integrating the outer rubber of the tread and heel with a ninja star rubber pattern calculated to ensure grip for sudden vertical, horizontal, and diagonal movements. This increases stability when landing and reduces the risk of sprains.”
I didn’t notice this “improvement” in grip compared to the 65Z but the language is slightly vague, so I guess they could be referring to a comparison with a more budget-friendly shoe. Coming from a marketing background myself, this feels like a common way of phrasing it so as not to get in trouble while still conveying a benefit.
As we can see, the outsole is the same on both shoes and the only two obvious differences are that the outsole is dyed in a different color on the Eclipsion Z3 and that it’s all connected in one piece, whereas it’s made up of two pieces in the SHB 65Z.
I actually mildly twisted my ankle towards the end of my playing test, while playing in the Eclipsion Z3. When I played the following session, I felt more confident using them as I went back on court due to their protective side and I did feel the stability from, what I’m guessing must be, that semi one-piece outsole.
The toe area (toe protection)
The skin on the inner side of my big toe (the bit that faces towards the other foot if you place them side by side) has often felt uneasy after a session, almost in a pre-blister stage if we can call it that, but it never turned into blisters. That was my reference point.
I felt the same in this pair of Eclipsion Z3. In some sessions, it felt as if it was a bit more than in the 65Z3, while in others, it felt as if it was a bit less. Two pairs of socks didn’t help and throughout my entire experience testing, this didn’t go away or get any better.
I figure it has been due to the more “booty” style, which may make the feet hotter and thus sweat more as the skin on the big toe grinds against the side of the shoe when you’re lunging or otherwise moving explosively forward or sideways on the court to cover the corners.
The rest of the toe area felt very protected. Especially, when pushing your toe upwards or forward, so the toes hit against the front of the shoe when you’re lunging or performing a net kill. For someone who’s careful about not getting injuries, this feels reassuring.
Stepping on my toes during split steps feels nice and snug, like playing on a small cushion that is glued all around my foot. Although it did take a little while to get used to how tucked in my toes were.
Update: since I’ve tested more shoes, I’ve decided to revise the previous score as I’ve found another pair that offers better cushioning underneath the toe (Li-Ning’s Yun Ting).
I understand that this is due to what Yonex calls their “Lateral Shell” technology and they describe it as “The Lateral Shell is the shell-like portion positioned to support the area that absorbs the most force, reducing lateral shake in sidestep footwork.”
Where the 65z’s insole felt more grippy or grip resistant with the wave-like design, the Eclipsion felt slightly softer and reminded me of sock-like material.
The airy holes in the insole were a nice touch, especially as they’re connected to the little semi-open area in the bottom of the shoe but didn’t feel as if it made that big of a difference against the heat I felt on my feet.
This shoe truly felt like a sports boot, but the extra protection also meant that my feet felt quite hot.
I play in hot weather, so depending on where you live, you might not feel the same but this is an expected trade-off against the extra protection.
Airflow and heat reduction
The heel area
A small area at the top of my heel, where most other badminton shoes end, just below the achilles heel begins, did feel irritated as the skin and sock were grinding against the top of the heel on the unusually high back end of this shoe.
This forced me to change shoes every now and then throughout my testing to avoid the skin coming off entirely and causing blisters.
Fortunately, that went away after playing with the shoe for 10-15 hours and partially using two pairs of socks and plaster as protection at first. Even after spending quite a bit of time breaking them in. No biggie but it’s worth mentioning if you’re investing in the Eclipsion Z3 and haven’t had a pair that are that tall around the heel before.
Despite the annoyances I had with the top of the heel area, the bottom bit where the heel actually is, felt nice and locked in, which was reassuring when I was moving backward to return an attacking clear or landing from a jump smash, for example.
Cushioning and shock absorption
I didn’t notice any difference in cushioning or padding between the SHB 65Z3 and the Eclipsion Z3 underneath my feet and in the midsole area.
Both shoes use the terrific Power Cushion and Power Cushion+ for cushioning. It feels nice and comfortable landing after a jump or during another move around the court.
Cushioning and shock absorption
Yonex Eclipsion Z3 Verdict
The Yonex Eclipsion Z3 is a great shoe for the right player.
It’s protective, especially around the toe area, and gives you a stable footing when moving around but can feel a bit warm if you play in a hot environment (i.e. South Asia).
Which player is the Yonex Eclipsion Z3 for?
Who this shoe is for
In my opinion, The Yonex Eclipsion Z3 will be a great fit for the casual player who is concerned about injuries and wants extra protection. That could for example be an adult player or senior returning to court after many years away and is willing to trade some performance for extra protection.
Who this shoe isn’t for
The tournament player or a player who’s serious about their achievements in badminton doesn’t seem like a good fit for this shoe. I figure they will prefer other options on the market as this shoe can feel a bit heavy and bulky at times.
Yonex Eclipsion Z3 compared to other similar shoes
Yonex Eclipsion Z3 vs. Yonex SHB 65Z3
Compared to the popular Yonex SHB 65Z3 shoe, this Eclipsion Z3 feels like a buff tank, whereas the 65Z is an all-around shoe that shares some protective qualities but also focuses on speed and being relatively lightweight.
Both are terrific shoes but are not intended for the same type of player.
Yonex Eclipsion Z3 vs. Yonex Comfort Z3
Before testing both of these shoes, I expected them to be quite similar. That turned out not to be the case.
Where the Eclipsion Z3 is bulky, sturdy, protective, and well-suited for the casual player who’s doing everything they can to avoid getting injured, the Comfort Z3 feels more like a performance shoe with a touch of cushioning around the heel area.
As I describe in my review of the Comfort Z3, I was expecting more cushioning and protection from the description of the shoe before trying it on court. In fact, The Comfort Z3 feels more like the 65z3 but with a touch more cushioning.
- Great shoe for protection and stability, likely good for you if you’re particularly concerned about injuries or an adult player returning to court after many years without playing
Find the perfect racket