Every now and then, a company will release a boot that seems to go against the norms of their style. The Diadora DD-NA GLX 14 is a prime example of just that. This latest release from Diadora has been created to battle within the lightweight speed boot market. Renowned for their comfort boots that are usually full bodied and designed for durability, the DD-NA has a thin microfiber upper and weighs in at an extremely competitive 6.4oz.
I’ve had this pair in testing the past few weeks and they have a lot of benefits to offer different types of players, plus some that give it an advantage over the likes of the adiZero and Mercurial Vapor.
You can currently find the DD-NA GLX 14 at soccer.com.
Surprised – it was a release I had anticipated from Diadora, but one that would help elevate their brand in a more modern direction, if they could pull it off. The designs look fresh, vibrant and offer some curb appeal. My primary concern was centered on the upper material, its durability and feel across the foot.
Breaking In and Comfort
To my surprise, there was a definite ease in breaking in the DD-NA. In fact, we actually shot a video (YouTube – The Boot 411) of the first time we wore them. Everything on the day felt really good and it has continued to be that way right through wear. There is no hot spots and where the upper fits snugly, it doesn’t rub or cause comfort issues. That makes them a very typical Diadora release – something I had hoped for considering my experience with the Cambio PU. The stud configuration covers plenty of surface area, so they are comfortable to wear for extended periods and feel very shock absorbent on impact as you sprint.
Notes About the Upper
The synthetic upper, called SuprellPro3L, has been specially developed by Diadora for this boot. When you take it out of the box for the first time, you will notice it holds a smell that is a cross between a rubber and a leather. It has a slightly more rigid feel than other speed boots on the market, but what differentiates this boot is the crease lines that run right around the forefoot. Rather than sitting around your foot, this allows for the upper to move more uniformly across the shape of your foot, and I found the top crease just below the laces to be perfectly positioned – right where it is needed to ensure the upper molds downward. Even though it looks pretty simple, it is not easy to transfer creases into an upper material and simply hope it works. It takes some research and time ensuring comfort is not compromised. Diadora could, in theory, have just guessed and stumbled across a random winning concept, but we don’t have any back-story on the boots development to really know.
In order to make it work, Diadora has used a support system inside the boot, in similar fashion to the SprintFrame on the adiZero and the EverFit Cage on the evoSPEED. It seems to work perfectly well, although it will take an extended period of wearing them to really see how the hold up.
Since we just talked bout the upper, I think there are some key elements to address on its actual performance. I think Norman summed it up during our “The Boot 411″ episode when he said that “you feel like you are getting what you pay for.” This is a very true statement that is sometimes quite the opposite with big grand releases. In this case, there is a slightly more rigid feel about the upper and for me that means extra durability. It is the type of material that doesn’t feel like it will tear under a tough challenge and will stand up to at least a seasons wear.
When it comes to feel on the ball, I love what they have to offer. You get a great balance of natural touch and padding for shooting. In other words, they make for a pretty perfect boot for wingers; dribbling, you can feel the ball in a very natural fashion, while they are ideal for striking firm crosses and shots without complete impact. In fact, I loved striking shots while wearing them.
In terms of traction, they make for a perfect partner in crime when playing on both Firm Ground and Artifical Ground. I would actually consider the configuration to be more useful on artificial. Diadora use a mix of diamond and conical shaped studs that prove effective in catching the surface and providing a balanced feel without causing drag. Often, drag is the issue on artificial grass, but that is definitely not the case in this instance.
What Does DD-NA GLX 14 Mean?
When it comes to Diadora’s naming conventions, they are sometimes quite unorthodox and simply confusing. This release should simply be referred to as the Diadora DD-NA, with the GLX 14 section referring to the type of stud configuration used. This is a strategy Diadora continually use as a strategy to update consumers about the surface that particular boot is intended for use on.
Tackling the Lightweight Category
Yes, I was confused to see Diadora come out with this release but you have to give them credit for testing themselves outside the box. In saying that, I don’t want to see a complete shift in this direction as Diadora has more power in its heritage style and branding than anything else. At 6.4oz, they provide a solid option for players that either want something a little different, or a boot that is not priced at $200.
How Do They Fit
Initially, the size 9US proved to be a perfect fit and very much true to size. In terms of length, that was the case right through review, but in terms of width there is some fluctuation. Starting out, they felt pretty snug but through the first few wears they stretched out (which is odd for a synthetic) and definitely ended up providing a pretty wide fit. If you are interested in speed boots but have yet to find one that offers a wide enough fit, I would definitely direct you in the direction of the DD-NA. Players with a narrow foot might want to skip them. I’m a medium/wide fit and they worked out really well thanks to the style and cut of the forefoot.
A second important note here is the shape and fit through the heel. Diadora has taken a Mizuno approach and included a tight fitting, narrow cage and heel counter. It measn that after you put them on, they fit very snugly around the ankle. It is something I really like a lot as you get a snug, very secure fit but I could see where it causes problems for players who don’t find the right size from first wear.
First, I think there is some room for the upper to be tightened ever so slightly so they don’t end up fitting so wide. I’m sure players with a required larger fit would disagree with this though! I’ve also had some other players complain about the tight fit of the heel counter. The top tends to cut inward, causing some reported discomfort and blisters. I didn’t experiences this directly but it is still something to note.
See the current available Diadora DD-NA collection.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Diadora delve into the lightweight market with this well designed, supportive, dynamic release. Features a thin upper, plenty of padding and their patented NET Breathing System in the soleplate.
Category: Lightweight, quick, sharp cutting, defender burning Speed!
Would I Buy Them: I’ve already found myself referring these to players, so it is a definite yes. Diadora has created a very desirable boot with these, considering the price.
Player Position: An ideal boot for wingers as the upper provides a great feel on the ball without lacking protection across the foot. Pretty much a good option for any attacking styled player.
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