Will Diadora’s Titan II Give Italy’s Best Sneaker Brand a Shot Stateside?

The shoes are everything the market wants, but the name on the inside is new to New York.

Diadora, the Giavera del Montello-based company that grew fat off thin running shoes, has long been the New Balance of Europe. Its sneakers are understated, simple and dad-ish without seeming actively conservative. They look good with jeans and godawful with khakis. They are, in short, excellent sneakers. What Diadoras are not is American sneakers.

It’s rare to see a pair worn outside a 100 meter radius of a futsal court because the brand never had its big breakthrough American hit. That may change with the Titan II, which goes on sale stateside this week. The new dual-chromatic kicks owe a great deal to the New Balance’s “Made in England” collections and to the Asic Gel Lyte III, which has become an effective bannerman for the retro runner movement (let’s just call it a movement).

We’re hoping to see the Titan II take off because a little friendly competition never hurt anyone and because Europeans have always excelled at tweaking great American ideas. Sure, Guiseppe Zanotti may be the future of Italian footwear, but we’d like to see a bit of the past strolling through SoHo.