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Refresh and Reboot: Diadora Aims to Revive its U.S. Business

Once a force in North America during the 1980s and early ’90s, the appeal of Italian sneaker brand Diadora faded to legacy status for American sneakerheads and tastemakers with a hunger for nostalgia.

While the brand has retained a strong position in the European markets, specifically in the lifestyle and sport categories, Diadora aims to make a comeback in the U.S., backed by the momentum of some of its popular former models. Armed with a deep catalog of retro silhouettes and timely collaborations, the Giavera del Montello-based company is focused on looking “back to the future” for its Fall ’15 North American reboot.

Dre Hayes, Diadora North American brand director, said, “Diadora Generation 2.0 is focused on addressing the sport, lifestyle, and sneaker culture market based mainly on original retro models from Diadora’s vast archive spanning back nearly 70 years.”

Building upon several strong runner collaborations with European boutiques Patta, 24 Kilates, and Hanon, Hayes said the brand plans to bring back tennis based models that were once popular in the U.S., as well as other lesser known retro equipment. He added, “Diadora was also known for basketball in Europe in during the ’80s and ’90s, so there will also be a basketball component.” Hayes noted the brand will continue its partnership with the boutiques, while adding collaborative styles with U.S.-based Packers and several other notable U.S. retailers in 2015.

In a historical context, collaborations have brought about some remarkable revelations about Diadora’s appeal and originality. As Hayes explained, “What is interesting [is] that people actually thought the N9000 ‘OG’ colorway that came out this year was a copycat colorway of a collaborative release from another brand. That particular style was from the 1990 Diadora catalog, which still exists [for public consumption.] The particular colorway was worn as a training shoe by the Italian soccer team at the World Cup that year.”

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Looking ahead to Fall ’15, the mainline collection will be anchored by mainstays, including the N9000, Titan II, B. Elite, Camaro and Mi Basket. The season will also mark the introduction of the S8000 in two colorways, as well as the addition of several upper tier styles to Diadora’s “Made in Italy” Espresso collection.

And true to the brand’s Italian heritage, the fall line will be driven by styles that marry classic looks with high-quality construction. According to Hayes, there will be a blending of the old and new.

Hayes noted, “We have an extensive archive of original models that are unique to the Diadora brand. This is a heritage brand with heritage DNA.” He added, “In the future you will see products from other time periods incorporated into the line, as well as some hybrid construction that incorporates original uppers with the soles and technology from the Diadora Performance Collection.”