Diadora – 75 years of sports-rooted, casual style

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Diadora. The Italian brand with strong links to terrace culture celebrates 75 years in 2023, marking a huge milestone in the patterned history of the label.

Founded by Marcello Danieli in the Italian town of Caerano di San Marco, Diadora began with a single hiking boot in 1948. Made to an impeccable standard, it achieved moderate levels of success in the ‘40s and ‘50s before the brand diversified with more winter-ready footwear – specifically ski boots. Diadora continued to build a reputation for high-quality winter sport shoes, before shifting gear into tennis and athletic shoes in the ‘70s.

As has often been the case with shoes and styles now considered classics of the terraces, many of Diadora’s much-loved designs had their initial heyday in sports and athletics. The label rode the wave of new interest in sports that occurred in the ‘70s, capitalising on the onslaught of fresh new athletes to market its performance shoes. It was a strategy which worked seamlessly. A prime example is Diadora’s recruiting of hugely popular tennis star Bjorn Borg to promote its shoes in 1976; thus encouraging a new generation of lifestyle wearers to adopt the highly desirable tennis shoe themselves.

This was a strategy that Diadora deployed to great success through the ‘70s and ‘80s, with the label emerging onto the football terraces where it gained a new identity as a symbol of casualwear. Joining other huge sporting labels that are now considered part of the fabric of terrace culture, Diadora added something premium to the unofficial uniforms of terrace fans. Promising the unrivalled materials and craftsmanship associated with Italy, with the subcultural appeal reserved for a select few sporting brands through the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s – Diadora was the ideal terrace hybrid.

Diadora’s influence in football on and off the pitch continued into the early-noughts, with label bringing its finely-tuned craftsmanship to the clothing – specifically kits – of English football teams. Huge names including Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Rangers were kitted out by Diadora during the 2000s, further cementing the brand’s place in the football history books.

From Diadora’s partnership with Bjorn Borg came the emergence of perhaps Diadora’s most adored silhouette, the Borg Elite. Following back-to-back Wimbledon wins over five consecutive years, Diadora commemorated Borg’s monumental successes with the release of the shoe in 1981, with it quickly catching the attention of casuals and becoming a defining silhouette for the brand. We were even lucky enough to release a ?exclusive of the Borg’s successor, the B. Elite II, in 2013 – you can find the blog here.

Diadora has throughout its history, set itself apart by an infallible reputation for premium quality. Hiking boots? Diadora produced some of the best to be found in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Athletics shoes? They were worn to win titles and trophies for decades. Terrace shoes? Diadora made arguably the most premium casual shoes of the era, with silhouettes like the Borg Elite confirming its position on the terraces. A hybrid label that boasts a rich Italian heritage, and an unrelenting pursuit of top-tier quality – Diadora remains a defining brand in the culture.

Check out more Diadora content and more at our blog.

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