Diadora’s more than 70-year history includes lots of tennis nostalgia, from Bjørn Borg to Jennifer Capriati to Jim Courier. The brand’s efforts in tennis get a strong push forward from the brand new B.Icon performance tennis shoes on the court.
“This is the first new performance product to hit the market in a really long time,” said Alexander Feldman, Diadora USA’s national tennis manager. “B.Icon attracts a new customer, a younger, more performance-driven player.”
The Italian brand has long had Speed Blushield Fly and Blushield Torneo as premium tennis models on the court, but B.Icon, which debuted globally in March, represents a renewed tennis focus for the brand. After restarting performance races in the United States over the past few years, Diadora has now focused on heritage sports such as football and tennis. However, B.Icon borrows from some of the running know-how, and takes the brand’s new DD Anima “super foam” from running, a proprietary blend of materials designed for cushioning, energy efficiency and durability, and “sets it to be more supportive of lateral movement, “says Feldman.
With the underfoot upgrade comes a lightweight model – under 13 ounces for a men’s size 9.5 and 10.2 ounces for a women’s size 7.5 – and step-in comfort.
While the Diadora focused on the fit and created a warm feeling on the tips and a wider design elsewhere, the new D Hook feature allows the user to customize their heel fit. The hook rises from the heel towards the collar and allows consumers to grip the back of the shoe as they wish, helping to stabilize the heel and ankle. A raised heel collar provides extra comfort.
The upper, called the D-Skin, includes reinforced panels at key points for durability and a Suprelltech material blended in “air mesh” for breathability.
“We’re really pleased with how this came out,” says Feldman, noting that the shoe fared well against competitors in sales tents during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
The new performance features come with a fresh aesthetic. “We wanted to create something that is eye-catching, that pops out of the wall, something where you go in and want to pick it up first,” Feldman says. “I think it looks futuristic and you can also rock this in a lifestyle situation.”
B.Icon released in a red-based colorway globally, and the brand added a red-silver American-exclusive design. Expect three more colors to come this year, including a white-based look.
On the field in 2022 you will find the Spanish world No. 42 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina wearing B.Icon, and soon the American double specialist Nicole Melichar-Martinez will wear the sneaker.
Diadora is in line with the brand’s business plan and has $ 150 B.Icon available online and in specialty tennis stores. Expect ahead and expect Diadora to continue fine-tuning B.Icon in the coming years and investing in additional silhouettes of tennis footwear.
Looking back on Diadora’s history, Feldman says consumers once lined up at specialty tennis dealers to get the latest Borg design, Courier model or Maverick style. The brand’s Heritage line, made in Italy, still has an advanced B.Elite, a remake of the Borg model. New performance efforts aim to push tennis further. “With the history we have in the sport,” says Feldman, “we want tennis to be culturally relevant.”