The history of Diadora

The Diadora story is largely a part of Italian history. Diadora is one of the only Italian athletic footwear and apparel manufacturers to still make product in Italy-a tradition that began in 1948 when the company's founder Marcello Danieli, first began working in the trade as a young boy.

It all began in the center of the Trevigiani hills in an area known as Montello. Nestled on the western slope of the Montebulluna hills in the town of Caerano San Marco, birthplace of Marcello Danieli.

During W.W.I, many divisions of the Italian army were stationed in Montello and the surrounding areas, requiring constant supplies of both food and clothing. The local citizens were more than happy to provide the soldiers with whatever was needed to help put an end to the war. Although this area is now famous for the production of athletic footwear and apparel, its history began with the manufacturing of an all-important army supply: mountain climbing boots. 

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During this time, Marcello Danieli, not yet old enough to enlist, was a busy young man. After only a short time in school, Marcello left to support his family, as was the custom for male children. His chosen occupation was shoemaking. He fast became the most sought after craftsman in the area, bringing to the ancient art, a passion and great desire for the knowledge, creativity, and invention.

Over the next three decades, Danieli honed and polished his skills in shoemaking. In 1948, Italy was struggling out of the dark tunnel of yet another World War. Vast unemployment and violent ideological clash between the North and South marked a period of sadness and threatened the outbreak of civil war.

It hardly seemed the backdrop for adventurism, but when Gino Bartali won the Tour de France, it signified a win for all of Italy, and prompted optimism throughout the country. Marcello Danieli's contribution to his country's healing and building was to put his vast experience in shoe making to work by setting up his own business.

He called his company "Diadora" a name suggested by a friend. In Greek, "dia dora" means "by means of gifts" which was appropriate, but probably not the origin of his friend's suggestion. More likely, it came from the name given by the Greeks of Byzantium to the Dalmation town of Zadar. Originally called "de ladera" or "from Zadar," it was mistakenly copied and translated from Dalmation to Latin, becoming, along the way "Diadora."

Armed with needle, thread, ambition, and determination, Danieli, helped by his wife, managed to successfully launch his first product, mountain climbing boots. During the fifties, a reputation for excellence and quality helped the company to grow and become a familiar name throughout the Italian market. During the economic boom of the sixties, people began to enjoy prosperity and increased recreation. Skiing became popular and Danieli once again met the needs of the market by manufacturing ski boots and the first apres-ski boots, always adhering to his self-imposed criteria: elegance, comfort, performance, durability. Continued high standards deepened the public's faith in his product, and DIADORA was rewarded with increasing sales.

When plastic was introduced to ski boot manufacturers, Danieli stopped producing them not because he lacked the technical innovation, but because using plastic meant the value of handcrafting was lost, and he had no intention to concentrate apres-ski boots which rely, even today, on the unique top qualities of hand-finishing.

Next, DIADORA introduced walking shoes and shortly thereafter, tennis shoes. With the seventies came a young generation whose explosive interest in athletics initiated a boom in the sporting goods industry. Based originally on the renowned Italian artisan techniques, DIADORA's shoes became more and more technologically advanced, thanks to cooperation from champions such as Vilas, Mulligan, and the legendary Bjorn Borg.

The mid-seventies also marked DIADORA's entry into the soccer category, aided by Roberto Bettega, who provided invaluable consulting information.

The continual expansion of shoe production and the technical research in new products were also the result of changes within the company. Danieli's sons, Pierluigi, Roberto, and Diego became actively involved in the business up until June 30, 1998.

On June 30, 1998, DIADORA was acquired by INVICTA. INVICTA is a leader in outdoor gear with a core business in backpacks, travel bags, apparel, accessories, and footwear.

DIADORA maintains a very close relationship with top athletes who wear DIADORA shoes. All DIADORA champions are actively involved with the business, providing advice, comments and suggestions.

Like DIADORA, the athletes that wear their shoes are the champions of yesterday, today and tomorrow. DIADORA does not boast a fabricated history, but a story of authenticity... a legitimate tale of a family business that started in Italy, grew in Italy, and is still proud to be manufacturing in Italy.

Diadora & the world cup

Between the 70’s and the 80’s the best football in the world has Diadora written on it.
First came great champions of the likes of Bettega, Cabrini e Zico.

The company starts in great style the sponsorships era, that helps the brand reach unexpected success worldwide: the very finest sportsmen wear just Diadora.

The Diadora journey in the football world began in 1977 and evolved rapidly thanks to all the work done en route with great teams and champions.

Roberto Bettega was the sport’s first testimonial and was also the first to wear Diadora during the Argentina 1978 World Cup. After Bettega, Diadora earned the trust of other champions like Zico who then gave the company yet another push worldwide with the "Brasil" model, a Diadora collection classic, revamped and perfected year after year, a longlasting success that still represents one of the best styles in the field.

After the world cup victory durino the Spanish editino of the cup in 1982, Diadora touched new heights thanks to testimonials such as Giancarlo Antognoni, Giuseppe Dossena, Daniele Massaro and Giovanni Galli, and new national heroes like Marco Tardelli and Antonio Cabrini. Diadora accompanied every Italian adventure during the World Cups of Mexico 1986, durino the Italian "magic nights" in 1990, and up to the grand final in 1994, supplying the whole national team with their uniforms.

Many other great champions stepped into our family during the year, and they contributed to our brand’s affirmation on the market as one of the leading companies.

European Footballers of the Year Marco Van Basten, Gorge Weah and Roberto Baggio, are among them, together with many other champions such as Faustino Asprilla, Beppe Signori, John Barnes, Josè Guardiola, Vincenzo Scifo, Marc De Grijse, Frank Rijkaard, Walter Zenga, Stefano Tacconi, Nela, Di Bartolomei, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Donadoni, Rizzitelli, Caniggia, Dino Baggio, Casiraghi, Crippa, Marco Simone, Riedle, Petrescu and Shalimov up to today, with Vieri, Recoba, Roy Keane, Filippo Inzaghi and Francesco Totti


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