Diadora DD-NA GLX 14 Review
The Diadora DD-NA GLX 14 is a boot that compares to very popular high-end models like the Nike Mercurial Vapor 9 and the Adidas F50 adizero when it comes to feel, but offers a fit that is better suited for a wide variety of foot types. One of the highlights of the boot is definitely the synthetic upper. Diadora calls it SuprellPro3L, and in all honesty, it is one of the most comfortable thin synthetic materials around. It’s thin, but at the same time has a slightly cushioned feel, almost like an ultra-thin version of Nike’s Kanga-Lite synthetic. SuprellPro3L also has the ability to form to your feet, allowing for a truly custom fit after only a couple hours of break-in time.
The problem that so many people seem to have when it comes to wearing ultra-lightweight soccer cleats is that they’re cut too narrow, especially through the mid-foot. The DD-NA is great in that it has all of the same performance features of the big brand lightweight options, but is also able to fit wider foot types very comfortably. This is something that isn’t uncharacteristic of Diadora as a brand, but when it comes to wide fitting, thin synthetic, lightweight soccer shoes, the DD-NA is a standalone. The boot has a slightly deeper fit in comparison to Nike’s Mercurial line, allowing for a lot of extra width, while still maintaining a high quality fit when you pull the laces tight. The deeper fit really allows the mid-foot of the boot to adjust to nearly any foot width or shape, while the forefoot and toe box area fits a little more snug. You’ll get a little bit of stretch out of the upper in the forefoot area of the boot, while mid-foot features some form of an internal support cage to prevent the upper from overstretching, while also providing some minor lateral support.
The soleplate and stud pattern are also designed with comfort in mind. The stud pattern features mostly bladed studs that grip well, but at the same time provide a very stable feel, helping to cut down on any form of stud pressure. The soleplate itself is made from flexible Pebax, giving the boot a very natural feel when running. One of the unique features of the DD-NA, that is more or less exclusive to Diadora, is the NET Breathing System. Essentially it’s a cutout in the forefoot area that is filled in with what appears to be a silver colored mesh. The meshing is made from several different layers and membranes that allow air to flow out of the boot without allowing dirt or water to get in. Think of it as a form of ventilation for the boot, which is somewhat of an unusual feature, but it does work to a certain extent. I can’t say that it’s a super noticeable feature, but it does help with heat dispersion a little bit, which at the end of the day will make for a slightly more comfortable playing experience.
The main aspect of the DD-NA that makes it such a winner when it comes to comfort, is the overall flexibility of the boot. The upper and soleplate are both very flexible from right out of the box, making for a boot that requires almost no break-in time. When it comes to sizing, I had the opportunity to wear both a size 8.5US and 9US for review, normally I wear a size 9US. Diadoras tend to run half a size large, depending on the model of course, but the DD-NA doesn’t necessarily follow that trend. I would say that the size 9US fit me most comfortably, but there was a little bit of extra space in the length that I could have done without, while the 8.5US fit very snug. If you’re looking for a snug fit overall, especially if you have wider feet, I would definitely recommend going true to size. If you’re looking for a tighter fit, than you can safely go half a size down, but for the most part, I think the majority of people would be most comfortable staying true to size.
The DD-NA weighs in at an impressive 6.2oz, making the DD-NA Diadora’s first true lightweight boot. This puts the DD-NA right on par with very popular lightweight options like the Nike Mercurial Vapor 9 and the synthetic Adidas F50 adizero, at a fraction of the price, and in a package that I would argue is more comfortable. The DD-NA provides a premium lightweight feel, without the premium price.
The stud pattern of the DD-NA is pretty simple, but performs well. It’s made up of a combination of bladed and conical studs, designed to provide plenty of grip at push off, while still maintaining a stable feel. You’ll find that there are four conical studs located through the middle and medial side of the forefoot. These conical studs have a much more narrow profile about them, allowing for better ground penetration in the main push off point under the foot, making for great traction during quick lateral cuts. The bladed studs themselves aren’t particularly large, but since they span nearly the entire outside edge of both the lateral and medial sides of the boot, there’s great coverage for pushing off in multiple directions, while still maintaining plenty of stability. The flexibility of the soleplate also helps to keep as many studs under your feet as possible, at all times, no matter which way that you twist or turn.
Overall, there isn’t anything particularly fancy about this stud pattern, but it works, and that’s what counts.
To me, it’s tough to beat the quality of the Teijin synthetic upper featured on the Nike Mercurial Vapor 9, but the SuprellPro3L synthetic featured on the DD-NA comes very close, and is arguably more comfortable. SuprellPro3L is thin, but at the same time, slightly spongy, giving the upper a very soft and more natural feel than most thin synthetics. The finish of the upper features a combination of matte and grip finishes that flow with the graphics on the boot. The lower half of the upper, used predominantly when dribbling, features a smooth, matte finish, allowing the ball to slide freely against the surface of the upper, while the upper half of the boot features a slightly grippy finish that adds some minor grip on the ball, without having that clingy feel.
In all honesty, I don’t have anything bad to say about this particular synthetic, it’s just great. It provides a barefoot feel, with a slight amount of natural cushion, while still maintaining a softness and level of comfort that just isn’t normally attributed with boots of this type. It’s an awesome synthetic that is definitely on par with every other high-end thin synthetic out there.
Striking the ball feels great in the DD-NA. The boot doesn’t have any fancy striking elements, and all you really get is the slight cushion of the upper. There is a slight amount of extra grip provided by the finish of the upper, but not to the point where I would call it particularly noticeable. Given the lightweight nature of the boot, it still offers a very solid feel, with plenty of stiffness through the mid-foot.
Like most thin synthetic boots, the feel is very responsive and there’s a nice sensation of control when taking more finesse oriented shots. If you’re looking for that close to the foot feel from your boots when striking the ball, you’ll definitely get that from the DD-NA.
As with most thin synthetic soccer cleats, there isn’t much protection. Should you get stepped on, you’ll definitely feel most of the blow. There is an external plastic heel counter, but it’s pretty small and doesn’t really provide much in the way of coverage. If protection is a major concern for you, then you’re best off staying away from all ultra-lightweight soccer shoes all together.
Diadora is a great company when it comes to producing high quality soccer shoes. The DD-NA, while it is very light, still has a nice solid feel about it. Nothing jumps out at as a potential durability concern, and I wore these shoes more than I normally would for testing, simply because I enjoyed the boot so much. Even the upper is riveted to the soleplate, so sole separation isn’t really a concern. Overall, this is a boot that should easily get you through an entire season’s worth of play, and in my opinion, is well worth the investment.
Keep in mind that the firm ground version of the DD-NA, or any FG shoe for that matter, is designed for use on firm, natural grass playing surfaces. Using any FG boot on artificial playing surfaces will surely have an impact on the longevity of the boot.
The Diadora DD-NA is one of those hidden gems that so many will overlook for the simple fact that it’s a Diadora boot, and not a shoe made by one of the bigger brands. Not only it is a great performer, but it also offers a fit and feel combination that you just can’t get from any other shoe out there. It matches the high-end models from the big brands in quality, and is available at pretty much half the cost. While some might argue that they aren’t huge fans of the boot’s aesthetics, I have to say that I received nothing but compliments on the visuals of the boot throughout testing! The DD-NA is a solid option no matter how you look at it, and is definitely one of the best values on the market.
|Comfort/Fit||10 out of 10|
|Weight||9 out of 10|
|Traction||8 out of 10|
|Touch||10 out of 10|
|Shooting||8 out of 10|
|Protection||6 out of 10|
|Durability||8 out of 10|
|FINAL SCORE||59 out of 70 or 84%|