The Diadora n9000 Review by OBB

Diadora is becoming a fan favorite among sneakerheads, particularly for the people who love retro style runners. Although Diadora got their start in the 1960’s making mountain and work boots, the company’s dedication to top-notch quality has withstood the test of time.

Although Diadora had many collaborations done with the n9000, many of which were European exclusive, and several other’s that released both in the US and in Europe, their general release sneakers have started to appear in boutiques all over the US. With some crazy steals going on during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, writer Paul Jeung and I took a chance on the brand, and wanted to give you guys our thoughts on the Diadora n9000.

-Jonathan “MisterHype” Paek

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MisterHype (MH): So since I got my n9000’s, I haven’t taken them off. I know you’ve worn your pair a bunch already, too, since getting them last week. Let me start by saying that the overall craftsmanship is impeccable, and the detailing of the different panels. I’ve had really minimal glue stains around where the midsole meets the upper, and have been pleasantly surprised by the overall bulkiness yet light feel of the sneaker. How has the build quality and feel of your pair been for you?

pjeung (PJ): I was able to get the last 9.5 in the black/sand colorway for $85 shipped from Packer Shoes (sorry to add salt to the wound Jon haha).  I had no idea what to expect being this was my first pair of Diadoras.  The build quality is excellent on my pair Jon, but it’s the weight, fit, and comfort of the shoe that really took me by surprise.  I honestly wasn’t expecting the shoe to be so lightweight and comfortable on my Frodo like feet.  The materials aren’t exceptional, and it’s to be expected since Diadora’s GRs are made in China, while their collabs and/or limited releases are still made in Italy like back in the day.  I’d say the materials are on par with GR Asics GL3s and 5s, what are the materials on your pair like Jon?

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MH: My sneaker is a mostly nylon pair, with hits of suede and smooth leather. But, if I had to compare the raw materials to another sneaker, I’d say they are on par with the Bait Asics Gel-Lyte III “Teal Dragons”, which were a collaboration sneakers. Even though the materials are pretty stiff and rigid, the padding throughout the upper, and the relatively thick tongue, which is also well-padded, makes for a super comfortable shoe. Kind of allows Diadora to make super comfortable sneakers without having to rely on softer, more heavily processed raw materials, or rely on mesh to give their sneakers better step in feel. Compared to some of your other retro style runners, how does the cushioning of the sneaker compare to a Saucony G9 Control or a Gel-Lyte III?

PJ: It isn’t as plush if I’m honestly speaking. after running errands in the n9000 I could tell that anything beyond a few hours walking in these sneakers probably wouldn’t be ideal.  Step in comfort is great, as you mentioned Jon the padding throughout the upper is really nice.  I know it’s a retro runner, I just wished it offered a little more cushion and impact protection (I’m probably just spoiled by boost).  The cushioning is definitely adequate though and gets the job done from a casual use standpoint.  How as fit and lock down for you Jon?

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MH: I think fit and lock down are adequate. Because of how thick the tongue is, it’s hard to get the sneaker on really tight without looking like you’re choking your feet with your sneakers. I’ve always worn my sneakers really loose, or unlaced all together, so this may be a null and void point. But my heel does slip a bit in these, which isn’t the biggest deal but definitely something to note. They run a bit long, but because of my hobbit feet, the width is fine, so I will deal with the extra space in the toebox. What did you think of the fit and lockdown?

PJ: Well we both heard to stay true to size on made in China Diadoras, aka the GRs, and go half to a full size down on the collaborations/limited releases, which are made in Italy. I’m glad I stayed true to size, these really fit me perfectly.  Length is good, width is good, I have absolutely zero complaints with the fit.  The lock down is decent, again for a retro runner I think you have to lower your standards a tad.  I don’t plan on running any 100 meter dashes in these, so as long as the fit is good the lock down in my opinion doesn’t have to be spectacular.  I think we’ve covered nearly everything we can about the Diadora n9000, any final thoughts Jon?

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MH: After trying Saucony’s and Asics and being underwhelmed, even by collaboration pairs, I’ve finally come back to retro runners, and this time for good. The n9000 is one of my favorite pickup’s of 2015, and I couldn’t be happier. Extremely wearable for the spring and summer, I love the complexity of the upper, the different panels and overlays of materials, and the colorblocking is what really takes the cake. I’m going to keep kicking myself for not picking up the pair you have, but I’m really happy with the one I was able to get. What’s your take on the sneaker, overall?

PJ: I really think the Diadora n9000 is a great runner overall. Aesthetically it’s there, the comfort is there, and the materials are there.  I know Diadora isn’t really a major mainstream brand at the moment, but the the collabs they’ve done with Packer (Purple Tapes) and Concepts (Liras) hopefully will get them a little more mainstream sneakerhead appeal.  I for one love my n9000s, and regardless if people know what they are or not, it’s a beautiful and highly underrated in my humble opinion.


Check out Rise NY, Bait, or your favorite boutique, to grab your own pair of Diadoras, and let us know what you think on Twitter!