Wilson Shift vs Wilson Clash (Full Racket Comparison for 2023)

Buying a new racket can be an overwhelming process. It would be nice if there were just a few models catering to key abilities and demands. Rackets for beginners, intermediate and advanced players, and rackets that address key demands such as spin, power and forgiveness.

But each player is different with their own specific demands which makes manufacturers eager to ensure that they have something for every nuance possible, even though certain models may appear to overlap in terms of what they offer.

So, with manufacturers introducing a myriad of new models it can make the concept of choosing a new racket somewhat of a bewildering challenge.

As an example, Wilson has just added a new model to what is an already accomplished family of frames. Their newest ‘Project Shift’ model has met with rave reviews but consumers may wonder where this frame sits within the Wilson stable.  

Here we look at Wilson’s newest offering, comparing it with their ever-popular Clash model, the nearest sibling within the Wilson family of frames.

Who Are Wilson Tennis Racquets?

Few manufacturers have dominated the tennis spotlight like US-based Wilson. In recent years they have experienced glittering success on both ATP and WTA tours with Roger Federer and the Williams sisters using Wilson frames to not only win majors but to capture the attention of racket buyers worldwide. 

But prior to these contemporary greats, Wilson has a long and enviable history with names such as Connors, Sampras, and Edberg forming an enviable Wilson alumni.

And for the future, with the likes of Tsitsipas, Raducanu, and Jabeur relying on Wilson hardware, it seems that more majors are in the stars. 

On the pro tours, most of Wilson’s tour staff play either the Blade or Pro Staff model, and inevitably, both models have won an avid fan base among amateurs. But what of the Shift and Clash frames?

Neither racket is necessarily designed for use by elite-level players, rather they are created primarily for the needs of recreational players.

So, with the Clash and Project Shift models can Wilson pivot from tour-level success to give casual and club-level players an effective weapon? And how do they compare? 

Wilson Clash

The Wilson Clash is a model that has garnered a lot of interest from recreational players. Its main feature is its ‘soft’ construction. With an RA (stiffness rating) ranging from 57-60, this family of rackets has earned a reputation for comfort and ‘arm friendliness’. 

Then, the compliant construction is paired with a substantial beam profile (mostly a constant 24.5mm) to provide a powerful package that has a distinct appeal to many club players.

Cosmetically, the latest iteration of the Clash series sees Wilson adopt a rich and unique red hue that is striking yet classy.

Wilson has dedicated itself to innovative color schemes as witnessed upon the Blade, Ultra, and indeed the Project Shift line, and similarly, the cherry-red Clash looks very appealing.

Wilson Clash Models

Within the Clash range, there are a number of options spanning 198-sq-inch, 100-sq-inch, and 98-sq-inch head sizes. Additionally, you can choose between a spin-centric 16×19 string-bend or a more control-orientated 16×20 option. 

An ultralight model at 265 grams is available while those wanting a more weighty option can select a 98-sq-inch model at 310 grams or two 100-sq-inch options – the ‘regular’ frame at 295 grams and the ‘Pro’ option at 310 grams. 

Here is a list of the Wilson Clash models currently available.

Who Is It Aimed At?

Anyone who needs power without stiffness will enjoy the Clash, albeit in the wrong hands the racket can feel a little too powerful and uncontrollable. For those more powerful players that still demand an arm-friendly racket, however, the Pro version does temper the unpredictability to make it a more viable proposition – especially with the right string/tension. 

Ultimately, the Clash has earned itself a reputation for comfort and power, and the demographic for this type of frame is wide-ranging. 

From juniors who have yet to fully develop, to seniors who need a racket to compensate for a natural drop-off in power, the Clash merits serious consideration.

And of course, there are many players who depend upon the Clash to keep them playing – those who struggle with tennis elbow can especially rely upon this frame’s much-documented softness.

Discover your favourite model of the ever popular Wilson Clash tennis rackets
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Wilson Labs Project Shift

We can understand why players will want to compare the Wilson Clash and Shift models. The former is renowned for its power and softness while Wilson’s newest model promises unique bending technologies in tandem with a substantial beam that potentially suggests some sort of crossover in qualities.

On-court however, the experience is very different. 

The Project Shift frame is indeed a new hitting experience that takes an adjustment period and demands something from its user – the new ‘lateral bending’ technology is created to emphasize what the player puts into the racket.     

Where the Clash frame will readily compensate for a lack of power and/or spin, the Project Shift asks its user to participate long before its proprietary technologies begin to work.

But nonetheless, the Project Shift will embellish solid mechanics and could appeal to better players looking for a versatile weapon that is a hybrid between a forgiving racket and one designed for ‘players’.

Shift Models

The Project Shift line is limited to just two options at this stage, quite possibly because it is so new, but maybe because it is designed with stronger players in mind.  

Where the Clash line is extensive with both light and oversized frames to make life easier for less skilled or weaker players, the Project Shift comes in a choice between two 99-sq inch models at 300 grams (16×20) and 315 grams (18×20) which naturally narrows the field in terms of who should play this frame. 

It is very likely that the Project Shift range will expand over time. But whether the ultimate line-up will cater to a demographic as comprehensive as the Clash is somewhat doubtful. We feel it is aimed at slightly stronger players, both technically and physically.

Who Is It Aimed At?

Without question, the Project Shift frame is aimed at good players who want to turbo-boost their game. As mentioned, this racket will enhance good mechanics, making strong shots more powerful and adding revolutions to any solid topspin or slice – but you have to meet the frame at least halfway, unlike the Clash, the Project Shift won’t do all the work for you.

On paper, it looks like a much stiffer proposition than the Clash with a RA (stiffness rating) in the high 60s.

In our experience, the lateral bending technology helps to mitigate much if not all of the harshness expected from such a superficially stout construction. 

Hearing that the Project Shift plays ‘soft’ will undoubtedly lead many to compare this frame with the Clash model but truthfully a meaningful difference exists between the two. 

So, the simple choice in terms of playability is between free power at the expense of complete control (Wilson Clash) versus a more demanding but more accurate hit (Wilson Project Shift).

Is the Wilson Shift racquet the one for you?
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Which Is Better?

Truthfully, there is no ‘better’ racket because they are fundamentally different. Yes, they are compliant frames with powerful beam profiles, but the player who needs the benefits offered by Wilson’s Clash will be short-changed by using the Project Shift racket. 

If you have sensitive joints or lack power, Wilson’s Clash is your friend, you just have to discern the right model for your ability.

Novices will love the 108’s forgiveness and free power while more accomplished players will enjoy the more substantial Pro or 98 model.

Conversely, stronger and more experienced players who can provide their own muscle may well thrive with a Project Shift in their hands – whether that is the spin-centric 300-gram model or the more control-focused 315-gram version, both will amplify good technique.

Could the Wilson Clash or Wilson Shift Be Your Excalibur?

We can see why Wilson has introduced the Project Shift line of rackets. In many ways, it borrows from many of the models with Wilson’s family of frames and speaks to the nuances required by modern tennis players. 

If you find Wilson’s Clash too unpredictable, their Ultra too powerful and the Blade/Pro Staff lines too demanding, the Project Shift could answer your prayers.

It is a forgiving player’s racket that offers a lot of desirable qualities and may eventually feature in the bag of some professionals, especially WTA players.  

By the same token, however, while the Clash may never be used on tour,  we cannot diminish its value for a broad spectrum of amateur players. It is great fun to use and responsible for helping many players to enjoy tennis a lot more. 

And if you are curious about what racket is right for your game, check out our excellent custom fitting program.  Save time and money by letting us do all the hard work of researching your next racket and string combo. No more misery and frustration as we take a deep dive into your style of play, injury history, goals, and much more to find your perfect setup.

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