When it comes to taking on new technology, Diadora is not a company that likes to shy away. Once you get past the absolutely unique visual design of the Diadora Solano GX 14, you will encounter one of the more advanced soleplates currently on the market. The NET Breathing System offers a completely new way for players to play without less concern about foot breathability. And rather than being a generalized boot, the Solano has a streamlined offering that matches the requirements of specific players. For review, I had the opportunity to test the Olympic Blue/Silver colorway in a size 9US.
I had some reservations going into this review after taking the DD Eleven through testing a few weeks prior. In that review, the inside lining of the shoe was a synthetic material that offered minimal grip and the same material is used on the Solano. It was the same through the first few sessions until I finally felt like they started to move in sync with my stride. Once they were ready, the Solano makes for a decently comfortable boot. The synthetic upper might not be ideal for touch, but it certainly passes the comfort test, easily molding to the ideal shape in a timely fashion! There is also plenty of padding right throughout, ensuring you are protected in the right areas.
Synthetic Upper and its Design
Obviously, Diadora looked to create a very visually enhanced boot with these. The Olympic Blue/Silver colorway is pretty nuts to say the least! Not only do you get a bunch of funky black lines running from the ankle lining right down through the toes, but the mix of silver through the Olympic Blue TechPro microfiber upper gives a look that won’t be missed on-field. The silver color comes in small diamond shapes and under lights they offer a shimmer effect.
NET Breathing System
Obviously, the NET Breathing System needs to get it’s own entire section, seeing as it is the latest technological advancement in the footwear industry. Its purpose is to keep your feet dry and cool by allowing maximum breathability through a waterproof soleplate. Once you think about it, the concept of allowing your feet to breath in a waterproof environment seems pretty unattainable. There are several layers involved in making it happen, including a synthetic fiber net and a breathable, waterproof membrane that improve breathability while keeping moisture out. Check out the below image for more in-depth details about how it is pieced together.
The big question is does it work? The answer would be a Yes, and having had the opportunity to now test it on two different ranges and in several games on both natural and artificial surfaces, Diadora are on to a winner! I don’t have any scientific evidence to prove it and I didn’t try recording the temperature of my feet after playing. But, I can tell you that I didn’t notice my feet heating up as much during play. in other words, there were no moments in the game when I thought “dang, my feet are hot right now!” It is definitely something I have experienced while wearing other soccer cleats on hot days, so they do serve their intended purpose. For players who are trying to find a solution for the problem of playing on hot surfaces, I definitely recommend giving these a shot.
Knowing that the Net Breathing System works effectively, how does the rest of the boot shape up? The best way that I can illustrate the performance of the Solano is by comparing it to a Stealth Bomber! When people spot them, they will want to know what the heck they are; they will probably stare for a while; they will want to take a second look. But, once they move into their working environment, they disappear. I think you can easily determine what that means for the Stealth Bomber (it is doing its intended job) but for the Solano, this means performance is not that noticeable, or they don’t quiet fulfill their intended duty. The upper is advertised as featuring touch control, but I couldn’t find or take advantage of its use, especially when it came to wet conditions – the upper became very slick on the ball. I love the fit, the shape and the overall structure of the boot, but unfortunately, I didn’t find anything special in terms of in-game performance.
For me, the synthetic upper doesn’t offer enough in terms of touch on the ball – I needed more to allow for close control. I am also not exactly a fan of the design and colorway, it is pretty wild and sure to appeal to a vast range of players, just not me!
I give props to Diadora for offering such a bold combo on this release. The colorway is extremely unusual, the technology is pretty advanced and the boot weighs in at an impressive 9.4oz. I can’t see a large number of players splashing out on a pair, but they will fit the requirements of specific players. Most notably, I can see defenders who are looking for a new look wearing a pair, and also players who want a well-constructed, lightweight and very durable option at a great price – they retail at around $115. In terms of the NET Breathing System, I found it to be effective and if you need a solution for playing on extremely hot surfaces, these are well worth taking a risk on!
(*boots supplied for review by Diadora USA)