the story behind Diadora
There is a story behind every brand. In our category ‘Behind the Brand’ the designers share their candid insight about their inspiration, the production process, and the people behind the brand. We sat down with Enrico Moretti Polegato, CEO and president of Diadora Spa.
Diadora was founded in 1948. How did it all begin and what was the initial idea behind the brand?
Diadora was founded as an artisan’s laboratory for making mountain boots. These quickly established themselves as the best mountain boots on the market. Since 1948, the company has been located in Caerano di San Marco (Treviso) in the heart of the famous Montebelluna shoemaking district, an industrial hub internationally known for expertise in the manufacture of sport footwear and home to authentic niches of excellence. Only in the ‘60s the production moved towards the world of sports. Diadora distinguished itself for the high quality and cutting edge qualities of its products. Its production reached major industrial volumes. Then in the ‘70s Diadora became the first Italian company to develop a new concept of sports marketing, in fact entrusting hugely popular champions with the role of brand ambassador. Thus, in addition to being major sport figures, athletes of the caliber of tennis player Bjorn Borg and soccer player Roberto Bettega became true style icons. With sports now acquiring living trend status, Diadora products went beyond the limits of competitive activity to enter the realm of leisure, along the way helping not only to make sports history but also to influence the tastes of the new lifestyle market. The victories on the court or pitch of Diadora's ambassadors heightened the prestige of a brand which by then was known worldwide for its modernity, Italian style and excellence.
“Representing what we are has always been the focus of the brand, one which clearly aims to encourage a determination to be what others are not: ourselves.”
How would you describe the aesthetic identity of Diadora?
Premium collections born from sports, shaped by the brand’s archives. Representing what we are – no compromises – has always been the focus of the brand, one which clearly aims to encourage a determination to be what others are not: ourselves.
Diadora is established in Italy, however its name comes from the Greek language. What is the connection between Diadora and Greece?
The word Diadora comes from the ancient Greek dia-dorea meaning “to share honors and gifts”. The sharing of success, effort and fatigue; the belief that sport takes teamwork just like companies do. Divided when we lose, united when we win. Moreover the symbol of Diadora is not an arrow or a flash but a stylized outline of an upper, representing the main element that goes into making a sport shoe and thus the artisan roots of a company that has 70 years of history.
What does a week at Diadora look like?
All departments work together to inspire and serve our consumers through collections founded on passion, cutting-edge style and innovative solutions. Every day is made up of minor-major steps. A journey taken together is a better one. Sport is at the center of our life. We have a fitness center and a beach volley field. Every employee practices some form of sport and we have a flexible work schedule to allow the employees to do sport activities and to cultivate their hobbies. This reflects our vision of the very concept of sport, because at Diadora sport means joy, happiness and health. We believe sports should be part of everyone’s life in order to live a better and more satisfying one.
How do you stay inspired to come up with new designs? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Diadora products are not simply products, they are a mix of ideas, passions, and visions. They truly have a soul. Sport DNA and Italian artisan tradition are the Diadora marks of distinction, we are a brand that originates on the sports pitch yet finds its natural habitat in lifestyle. The collections bring life back to archival products that made sports history in the legendary '70s, '80s and '90s, thereby creating new contemporary icons for a generation of consumers in search of a premium product that offers both design and authenticity. The collections are a reflection on the evolution of taste and style across the decades. In essence, modern silhouettes pay tribute to exquisitely Italian know-how and to a new contemporary concept of refinement.
“The Diadora collections are a reflection on the evolution of taste and style across the decades. The more you live in them, the better they look.”
What kind of role plays Diadora in the sport world today?
Today, we focus on running, tennis and soccer. Diadora is the only Italian brand which plays a main role in both sport and lifestyle categories. And for this reason we have the ambition to be a brand which represents and brings the beauty, the unique sense of style, the passion and the way of life of our amazing country into the world.
What kind of materials do you use for the production of the shoes?
The use of unusual materials, products and unique treatments, as well as a decisive bent for experimentation, have made Diadora the Italian go-to sport brand on the lifestyle market.
The Heritage line specifically epitomises Diadora’s excellence with a selection of products featuring both exclusive ‘made in Italy’ craftsmanship and the use of special fabrics and materials which are the label's cornerstones.
Sustainability is important for Diadora. What do you contribute to being sustainable and what difficulties did you face to get where you are now?
For Diadora it is of keen importance to link brand competitivity and recognisability to the value of sustainability. Therefore, the company recently set in motion a major move toward the integration of ethical criteria and environmental safety/social safeguard goals in both business activities and stakeholder relations. Great attention is given to the activation of projects that aim to disseminate a corporate culture oriented toward sustainability, with respect for ethical principles and values, sharing the same standards all along the supply chain.
What would you name as the greatest accomplishment of Diadora?
Diadora aims to bring Italian excellence to the world. To do so it pursues a strategy geared to maintain and consolidate the key factors of the Italian quality and know-how which have set the brand apart in the design and development of lifestyle shoes. For this reason, one of the greatest accomplishments of the company has been the reopening in 2015 of its original artisanal production line, which was reactivated for the first time in nearly 15 years. Thanks to the use of the now-updated OG machinery, this area is devoted to the manufacturing of high-end products. Company employees with more than 40 years at Diadora run and operate the manual conveyor area. Amongst them are enthusiastic young workers, eager to learn this unique trade consisting of traditions, knowledge and experience. Working side by side, these two different generations share one thing that is a basic part of Diadora's DNA: passion.
How can you keep your Diadora shoes in the best possible condition?
The more you live in them, the better they look!
Any future plans you would like to share with us?
We are always trying to get better at crafts, to find the most exclusive treatments and the best materials available in the market. Always with a strong passion. Follow us to stay updated on our future product releases.
Discover the Diadora collection and its Heritage line in one of our stores or here.