Diadora Frequenza Review: An Italian Rebel

Diadora have announced their running resurgence in a big way with the Gara Carbon and their recent Venice launch event of spikes and new Olympic bound athletes. How does the Frequenza fit into the line up?

Diadora Frequenza: Bridging the Gap

Andy: Blasting back onto the running scene with the remarkable Gara Carbon, Diadora are looking to take their place across the running range. For easy recovery runs we have the Cellula. Bridging the gap is the Frequenza. Designed for fast and tempo paces, it is supposed to be lightweight, responsive and bouncy. 


After running in the Gara Carbon, I was very excited to put the Frequenza through its paces. I was hoping for a fun experience and a versatile shoe which could add some fun to each run. So far, I have used the Frequenza for a couple of longer runs of around 16 km and various easy pace efforts and a few fartlek style sessions. How did it perform? 

Diadora Frequenza (5 of 18)
Diadora Frequenza (12 of 18)


Weight: 230g / 8.1oz

Drop: 8mm

Price:  €175

Diadora Frequenza (2 of 18)
Diadora Frequenza (13 of 18)

Diadora Frequenza Upper: Looks Can Be Deceiving 

Andy: Initially, when I stepped into the Frequenza, I was a little worried about the taper towards the front of the shoe. My first instinct was that it was rather extreme and may cause me problems on my run. However, I am glad to report that this was not the case. On lacing up, I found that the Frequenza fit my foot well and is true to size for me. If you have a notably wide foot, it would probably be worth trying before you buy. 


The material is Nylon Air Mesh which has some microfibre overlays. For a lightweight shoe, the upper is fairly substantial. At first glance, the mesh looks very breathable and quite open. However, it does get a little warm and sweaty when the temperature has increased as we move into spring. It is not an uncomfortably thick upper but the mix of mesh and microfibre may have you reaching for thinner socks as the temperatures rise. 


At the rear of the shoe, the heel cup is stout and very well padded which doesn’t reduce the temperatures inside. That being said, it does help with the lockdown of the shoe. A traditional lacing system holds the foot firm and comes equipped with the same sawtooth laces as the Gara Carbon. Lockdown is sound and the Nylon Air Mesh does hold the foot in place well. Meanwhile, the tongue is thin but strategically layered to avoid lace pressure. 


Overall, the upper is well designed and does its job well. The overlays add some protection to the toe area and a little structure to the medial side. My only real gripe is the dye on the greenish outline of the tongue has bled a little onto some white socks when I was on a very wet run. This is an annoyance, but not really a deal breaker for me.

Strange Shaped But Secure

Josh: When first looking at the Diadora Frequenza I was intrigued what the breathability and fit of the shoe would be like considering the suede-like material and the dual layer mesh material. These exotic materials in running shoes gives the shoe an interesting aesthetic which goes well with the Italian heritage and design of the shoe. After all the Italians are known for dressing nicely. I am glad to be able to say that I have not found any breathability issues with the shoes even when using them with thicker socks in 25°C+ weather.


The slightly strange shape of the shoes initially worried me as to whether they would fit well. Appearing to be quite tall and narrow in the mid foot reminds me of the profile of lifestyle trainers that we see from the likes of Nike and New Balance at the moment. However I have found the fit to be perfect and the shoes are extremely secure on my foot, in part thanks to the rigid heel cup.


Similarly to Andy, I have been pleasantly surprised by the upper of the Diadora Frequenza. However, I have also had the same issue of dye bleeding into my white socks from the tongue after the first few uses.

Pinky Problems

Ivan: In terms of length, the Diadora Frequenza fits true-to-size for me. However,  I do encounter some discomfort in the width around my pinky toes. Although this issue slightly diminishes, it never completely fades away. Despite being marketed as a lightweight uptempo shoe, it surprisingly boasts a fair amount of padding around the heel collar. Personally, I haven’t experienced any breathability issues, and overall lockdown is satisfactory. 


However, the tongue could benefit from a bit of additional padding.  The dye bleeding problem is particularly disappointing considering the price point and Diadora’s reputation for quality. Another noteworthy aspect is the excessively long laces. This prompted me to utilise a heel lock not for improved lockdown, but simply to manage their length. Despite these drawbacks, I find the overall fit and comfort to be fairly good. It may seem quite simplistic in some ways, but I actually appreciate that in my uptempo trainers.

Diadora Frequenza (18 of 18)

Midsole: Soft, Unstructured and Versatile 

Andy: Rather than a PEBA based midsole, Diadora have opted for a super critical EVA named Anima N2. This is a very soft midsole. Very soft. I would imagine heavier runners may sink all the way through the cushioning when putting the power down on the pavement. Aside from being soft, the midsole is very flexible. Almost as pliable as the midsole of the hylo ATHLETIC Impact, it is probably not a shoe for those who need stability added to their run. 


That being said, I have found the ride of the Frequenza very enjoyable. Each run I have taken in it has either been longer or faster than intended. Sometimes both! For me, the Frequenza has the same vibe to the ride as the New Balance Rebel. It is a bouncy, poppy shoe with a fun toe spring which I enjoy as a major forefoot striker. 


During my testing time so far, I have used the Frequenza as both a daily trainer and a shorter session shoe. Like the Rebel, it is a great fun fartlek shoe. Whilst it doesn’t have the mechanical assistance of something like a Takumi Sen, it does a good job of picking up the pace. It is definitely not the most efficient shoe I own. The feel of sinking into the midsole is apparent. However, this doesn’t detract from the fun I feel running in it. 


On easy runs, the Frequenza has been a no fuss shoe which has helped me roll through some daily distances but allowed me the versatility to have a blast through a couple of Strava segments when the mood arose. It is definitely one of the more unstructured midsoles I have ever run in. Thankfully I have a fairly strong foot but it is worth bearing in mind.

Super Soft and Stable

Josh: Having used the Frequenza predominantly as an easy and recovery run shoe I have appreciated the extremely soft feeling of the shoes underfoot. The plush and flexible ride of the shoes has become extremely apparent when I’ve put the shoes on directly after having completed a workout in spikes or a firmer, plated shoe. However, the flare in the forefoot and the heel of the shoe to create a wide platform means that the shoes feel extremely stable to run in. Moreover, the soft ride doesn’t result in instability or rotational movement like I’ve found in other extremely soft foams such as the ZoomX in the original Invincible.


I have put many miles into the Frequenza. During this time,  I’ve come to love them for their light-weight feel, durable construction and their flexibility. Weighing just 230g sets them up competitively to other similar shoes. Comparable shoes would be the ASICS Superblast which comes in at 239g. 


Personally, the Frequenza’s midsole is slightly too flexible for my liking to be used as an all-out speed shoe. However they are great for easy runs which may require a variable pace. Here the plush ride makes them extremely comfortable at more relaxed paces. On the other hand,  they make picking up the pace feel like a breeze due to the light-weight, balanced feel of the shoes.

Super Soft and Stable

Ivan: For me, the Frequenza falls into the same category as shoes like the Hylo Impact, NB Rebel, Nike Streakfly, and the latest On Cloudsurfer – fun but lacking structure. While some might argue that the lack of stiffness aids in foot strengthening, I caution against using these shoes for longer runs if you have any foot or ankle weaknesses. Dealing with occasional heel issues due to an inflamed arch myself, I’m particularly cautious with very flexible running shoes.


The remarkably soft supercritical foam compound provides a fairly pleasant experience on shorter runs and suits me well for fartlek workouts. However, it tends to bottom out at the front, despite being a fairly light runner. Stability is virtually nonexistent, so it’s important to exercise caution if you require it. The soft foam collapses entirely, and the extremely flexible midsole and outsole offer no support. 


I often struggle to fit these shoes into my rotation. They’re too demanding for recovery or long runs and too flexible for race paces. Daily mid-tempo runs, perhaps with some included fartlek, seem to be the most logical use case.

Diadora Frquenza (16 of 18)
Diadora Frquenza (11 of 18)

Diadora Frequenza Outsole: Robust Running

Andy: Diadora’s Duratech 5000 outsole rubber takes on grip duties here. There is a full but trimmed coverage on the sole of the Frequenza. The Anima N2 foam is protected both in the forefoot and the heel. Although there is a fair amount of exposed midsole with all the outsole cutouts to help reduce the weight in the shoe. 


After 50 or so kilometres so far, I can happily report that there is no real wear or degradation on the midsole material or the Duratech rubber. I have run the shoe across gravel, grass and pavement and, so far, have no reason to question the grip properties. I would hope that the Frequenza will have the durability to last me through a lot more running.

Long Distance Life

Josh: Having run close to 300km in the Diadora Frequenza I have been able to test them on a wide range of surfaces ranging from the smooth track to dusty trails. Not once has it missed a beat. Personally, I believe that the best outsole rubber on the market at the moment comes from Puma. However, I would say that Diadora’s Duratech 5000 outsole comes very close in performance, if not equaling it. The rubber feels extremely soft and sticks to most surfaces extremely well. It even makes a satisfying sound when unsticking from the surface.


As with any shoe at 300km, you would expect there to be a reasonable amount of wear on the outsole and Diadora doesn’t show any surprises. While there are usual signs of wear on the outsole, the exposed midsole foam in the forefoot has managed to show minimal signs of wear. They have even proved robust when gravel and stones have dug into the foam. This is a pleasant surprise when some of the other modern foams can become extremely flakey and deteriorate when exposed.


Since the wear of the Frequenza has been fairly standard so far, I would say that they have at least another 500km of use in them before degradation impacts performance.

Soft and Sticky

Ivan: The outsole features a soft and almost sticky grip, complemented by a waffle pattern towards the front, ideal for toe-offs. While I haven’t had the opportunity to test its grip in wet conditions yet, it has proven reliable on tarmac and even some gravel surfaces. Durability seems adequate. The soft rubber compound ensures a quiet run, a feature I always value. On one hand, he cutouts help keep the weight down, a much-appreciated feature. On the other,  they also contribute to the shoe’s very flexible and “free-feeling” nature, for better or worse.

Diadora Frquenza (10 of 18)

Diadora Frequenza Conclusion: Bound to Polarise!

Andy: The Diadora Frequenza will probably be a very polarising shoe like the Rebel. Those who enjoy a light, simple shoe which doesn’t require a particular foot strike will probably very much enjoy it. Although those who prefer structure, stability and a bit of firmness underfoot will probably find themselves aghast at the flexibility. 


Overall, the Frequenza is a very enjoyable running shoe which shows versatility as a daily trainer and a fun blast shoe. Most people will probably not use it as a long run shoe due to the soft Anima N2 foam bottoming out. However, if you want some mid range fartlek style fun, you could do a lot worse than the Frequenza. As with the rest of the Diadora range, the quality and aesthetics of the shoe are premium. Although so is the price. At €175 it is some €15 more than the Rebel to which it occupies a similar space.


I will continue to run in the Frequenza as part of my rotation and I would hope that the durability over time makes the price seem like better value over time. With the Cellula, Gara Carbon and Frequenza, is it possible to have a full Diadora rotation?

Diadora Delivers!

Josh: Similarly to the Diadora Gara, I think the Frequenza is an extremely competitive first training shoe from Diadora. It is marketed as a faster-paced fartlek style shoe. However, I believe people will find that it fits more in their shoe rotation as a daily trainer which has the possibility of being used at slightly faster paces. 


Similarly to Andy I found both the build quality and aesthetics of the shoe make them a premium shoe. Therefore, I believe this makes the slightly higher price justifiable. 


I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 300km in the Diadora Frequenza and look forward to putting another few hundred kilometres in them over the coming months. I hope that people start to realise what great quality shoes the Italian shoe brand are producing and we start to see them being worn on the feet of people more often around the world.

Fun and Free But Be Cautious

Ivan: I believe the Diadora Frequenza could be a nice option for proficient runners seeking a modern “fun and free” type of shoe, along with strengthening benefits that many of today’s stiff and quite thick shoes lack. However, I strongly caution runners needing any sort of support, or at the very least, advise treading carefully and rotating between different pairs to mitigate risks. Especially for those with foot or ankle issues due to the lack of structure. 


That said, if you’re comfortable with the trade-offs, the soft and squishy midsole of the Diadora Frequenza promises quite a joyful running experience. While it may lack the necessary protection for longer runs for the majority, it presents an intriguing option for fartlek-style workouts or for runners just aiming for a few weekly uptempo 5k runs



45 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner




48 years old

180cm (5’9″) – 63kg (138lbs)

Midfoot striker – Cadence runner

Mild pronator


Josh corporate picture


20 years old

178cm (5′ 10″) – 65kg (143lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner


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