When you reach the ripe old age of 70, it pays to still have a few tricks up your sleeve. Diadora certainly managed that as they marked the end of their seventh decade in operation — regularly playing to their strengths, while also producing a couple of surprises for us. The Italian sportswear specialists have always prided themselves on providing some of the best sports tech available on the market, and this focus on form and function was on display throughout the year. Let’s take a closer look at what Diadora brought to the sneaker scene in 2018...
Location, Location, Location
While an obsession with location is more readily associated with the real estate industry, it also has a role to play in the sneakersphere, as brands and designers relish the opportunity to pay homage to spots on the globe that mean something extra special to them. At the very beginning of 2018, Diadora opened a season of location-referencing kicks by dropping two N9000 designs that were inspired by the brand’s homeland: Italy. The ‘Bianco’ rendition proudly displayed the flag of Genoa, while the ‘Rococo Red’ colourway featured the Lion of Saint Mark — the proud symbol of Venice. However, they didn’t take themselves too seriously, as the Lion of Saint Mark proudly brandished a sneaker instead of his usual accessory: a bible.
A little further north, and across a couple of borders, another notable location-themed Diadora colab was the pastel-hued N9002 inspired by Berlin’s Gedächtniskirche (aka the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church). Released in June, the drop was the work of German streetwear whisperers Highsnobiety and former Solebox head honcho Hikmet Sugoer.
Elsewhere in Europe, a select few Diadora devotees with Scottish roots had the opportunity to cop an ‘Aberdeen’ — a re-imagined 1970s court shoe that referenced Scotland’s ‘Granite City’ of the same name. Fitted with some seriously premium materials — including super soft calfskin nubuck, kangaroo leather, and ostrich leather — the colab between Hanon and Diadora was limited to just 200 pairs.
Travelling even further afield, one other Diadora colab for 2018 went all intergalactic on us by paying homage to the planet of Saturn. The colab with LC23 threw multiple colours across an N9000 Sock, with each said to reference the colours of the mega planet. This drop fell as part of a collection that included silhouettes for Earth, Mars, and our very own Moon.
Game, Set and Match
Diadora’s long-standing tennis credentials were again leveraged throughout 2018, starting the year by serving up some classic colourways on the Rebound Ace and N9002. That particular drop was part of a neat colab with Japanese shoelace specialists GETABACO, and packed some serious retro vibes into four silhouettes that looked just as much at home on the street as they did on the tennis court. The Rebound Ace then returned a month later with an equally desirable 1990s aesthetic, complete with Diadora’s Blueshield technology — designed to increase cushioning, reactivity and balance.
In May, Diadora took to Instagram to announce their return to tennis performance, declaring #weareback and unveiling a new range of apparel and shoes just in time for the Italian Open in Rome.
Later in the year, Diadora paired up with Packer to deliver the ‘ON/OFF’ collection which again included new takes on the N9002 and Rebound Ace. The dynamic combination of dropping tennis vibes both on the court and off it ensured that Diadora more than held its own in the tennis arena over the course of 2018.
Wubba lubba dub dub!
Before the door could be permanently closed on 2018, Diadora teamed up with animated icons Rick and Morty for an apparel and kicks colab that set the Sneaker Freaker website on fire when the partnership was first announced in November. A Foot Locker exclusive, the collaboration included a Morty-inspired N902 and a Rick-inspired B.Elite — plus t-shirts and hoodies that delighted fans and had cash registers pinging.
By year’s end, Diadora had managed to pack plenty into their 70th year on the sneaker scene. From Commonwealth Games presence, to location-specific kicks, to longstanding tennis credentials, and animation colabs, the Italian sportswear legends made the most of their milestone year. We now look forward to what surprises they have in store for 2019.