2016 Highlight Reel: Diadora
The years are floating on by, but Diadora is one brand that’s concentrating on the past. While continuing to produce some of the most cutting-edge runners for the performance-minded, its lifestyle division remains steeped in heritage. The brand’s signature V7000 and N9000 silhouettes led the charge in 2016. Despite both receiving upgraded iterations that minimised weight and wastage, with the V7000 Weave and N9000 MM II respectively, eyes were all upon these and other bygone models in their unadultered incarnations. Forming the basis for a year of adventurous collaboration, we take a trip to The Boot with passport in hand to recap some of Diadora’s most impressive projects in 2016.
Sneaker Freaker x Diadora V7000 ‘Taipan’
The Diadora highlight of 2016 for us at Sneaker Freaker was undoubtedly the release of our first ever collaboration with the brand – the deadly V7000 ‘Taipan’. Assembled from a sophisticated blend of sandy suedes, outback olive nubuck, 3M heel bites and venomous violet highlights, the colab was inspired by the indigenous Australian serpent of its namesake. Ranking at number one on the deadliest land snake index, our vicious tribute replaced the signature Diadora squiggle with a golden serpent slithering across its black suede tongue and dug its fangs into the outsole. Finished off with a killer Taipan shoebox, complete with matching tissue paper and full size poster, sneakerheads were quick to strike when this reptilian release dropped. Props if you were one of the lucky buyers to land a pair with the exclusive Friends and Family luminescent 3M ‘snakeskin’ laces made by LaceSpace especially for our limited webshop release.
From Seoul to Rio Collection
To coincide with the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Diadora pulled off an all-time PB in August of this year, collaborating with seven of the world’s best sneaker stores to deliver their own unique interpretations of Olympic spirit. Revisiting the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Diadora resurrected two never-before-retroed late-80s runners, passing the baton to collaborators from both sides of the Atlantic to produce a medley of historically thematic creations.
The European team – consisting of 24 Kilates (Barcelona), hanon (Aberdeen), Patta(Amsterdam) and Solebox (Berlin) – embraced the IC4000 model, while the likes of Concepts (Boston), Kith (NYC) and Packer (NYC) stepped forward to represent the US of A through the Intrepid. The resulting designs featured a smorgasbord of sporting inspiration, including nods to period-correct fashion trends, Olympian symbolism and a particularly controversial moment of athletic achievement. Made in Italy and limited to just 500 units per design, the collection was a championship-worthy effort from Diadora that shattered the industry-wide record for most number of collaborators on a single project.
The ‘From Seoul to Rio’ Collection wasn’t the only Olympic-themed release from Diadora in 2016 however, with North Carolina’s Social Status having collaborated on a duo of ‘Rio Olympic Medal’ N9000s earlier in the year.
Founded in Italy in 1948, Diadora continues to pride itself on its heritage. In 2016, the Caerano di San Marco-based sportswear brand explored its homeland through an assortment of collaborations with key retailers around the world, including the likes of Philadelphia’s UBIQ, London’s Footpatrol and Las Vegas boutique Feature.
Inspiration was sourced from an assortment of quintessential Italian delicacies, products, locations and styles. New York’s Extra Butter chose to stay true to their cinematic roots with a duet of theatrical releases, the first being a Titan 2 tribute to the spaghetti western genre that emerged in the mid-60s and the second a N9000 tribute to the ‘giallo’ genre of slasher flicks. Aberdeen’s hanon took inspiration from the mighty Tuscan Racer road bike, while the crew at BEAMS threw things back to the 80s with primary-coloured N9000 inspired by the bold fashions of United Colours of Benetton. Other sources of inspiration included gelato, macchiatos, and the sandy beaches of Sardinia. Naturally, each of these collaborations were treated to revered Italian-made construction.
In 2006, La MJC launched All Gone as an annual recap of the hottest streetwear releases of the year. A decade later, and the yearly tome is still going strong. To celebrate the publication’s ten-year-milestone, La MJC collaborated with Diadora in 2016 to produce a series of make-ups inspired by iterations of the book from years gone by, from 2006 right through to 2014. Starting with a black and gold V7000 symbolic of debut annal All Gone 2006, La MJC spent the year sporadically darting through the publication’s iterations to produce an assortment of diverse creations, with colourways drawn from the uniquely distinctive covers of each yearly instalment. From an all-over faux leopard fur N9000 to a tan leather S8000, the theme for these Italian-made colabs may have been consistent, but the end result was anything but. Limited to just 200 pairs per design, you had to act fast to cop a pair before they were all gone.
BAIT x Dreamworks x Diadora ‘COPA America’
Not satisfied with just one massive collaborative collection in 2016, Diadora were lured into the Hollywood limelight for a set of sneakers themed around some of show business’ most beloved animated icons. Produced in partnership with West Coast footwear giant BAIT and officially licensed by DreamWorks, the likes of Felix the Cat, Shrek, and Kung Fu Panda‘s Po received their own footwear tribute on either the N9000 or S8000 silhouette. Even 80s icons Skeletor and Wally of Where’s Wally?fame got a look in. Not wanting to exclude the little ones, pint-sized versions of the Shrek and Felix the Cat make-ups were also produced. Brought together with a curious connection to the ‘COPA America’ international soccer tournament, each make-up featured themed uniquely themed licensed package, as well as their character inspiration printed on the insole in full pitch-ready get-up. Made in Italy and ridiculously limited in number, these were only available to lucky raffle winners through the BAIT website.
What the N9000
One of the most insane Diadora products of 2016 was entirely off-limits to the public. Diadora created a one-of-one N9000 exclusively for the brand’s former Special Project Leader, Rudy Comazzetto, on his departure from the company. Fusing elements from the many amazing colabs Rudy helmed during his time with the brand to create one of the all-time greatest sneaker mash-ups of all time. These custom N9000s mashed together elements from a stack of coveted collaborative releases, including24 Kilates’ horsehair-clad ‘Toro’ colab, mita sneakers’ blazing orange ‘Aperitivo’-themed release, Hanon’s ‘Saturday Special’ N.9000s (both part one and two!), the Solebox ‘Ferros’ and both of Patta’s premium N.9000 colabs from 2014. In an added touch that we have still yet to see on any other ‘What The’ release, the heel panel has been split down the middle to produce a two-coloured ‘diadora’ embroidery on the left heel and a bonkers mita sneakers x Patta logo mash-up on the right. Fingers crossed Diadora attempt a similar execution on a project in 2017.