Diadora DD Eleven GX 14 Review
Diadora makes some of the most comfortable kangaroo leather boots on the market and the DD Eleven is no different. It is becoming tougher and tougher to find a soccer shoe that has an upper that is majority leather let alone kangaroo leather, and the DD Eleven offers all of that, and the result is a fantastic soccer shoe. The upper of the DD Eleven is made from some of the highest quality kangaroo leather that I have ever seen on a soccer shoe. It is soft and supple from right out of the box and quite simply put, feels amazing on your feet. Like any good kangaroo leather shoe, the fit will be tight at first, allowing the leather to stretch for a perfect fit. The toe box may feel on the smaller side from brand new, but give the DD Eleven a couple of hours to really break-in and soften up and you will be left with a near perfect mold of your foot. The heel is lined with a textured synthetic and feels really great, but not until the shoe has molded to your foot. I noticed that my heel was slipping a little for the first hour or so of use, but after the upper gave in a little bit, the issue disappeared. Essentially what I am getting at is that the DD Eleven feels good at first, but only gets better with time. Sizing is very important with any kangaroo leather shoe, and it is crucial that you get the proper size in the DD Eleven in order for it to stretch and mold properly. Pretty much all of the Diadoras fit half a size large, so where I would normally wear a size 9US, I needed a size 8.5US in the DD Eleven. Like I said, the shoe may fit a little bit tight at first, but it will soon loosen up. As far the width goes, there is a generous amount of width in the midfoot, so even the widest footed players can wear this shoe. That being said, even a narrow footed player will have no issues with this boot, mainly because it is reliant on the stretch of the leather to create the best possible fit. It is also worth mentioning that the sole plate is nice and flexible without any issues with stud pressure, making for a very smooth feel when running, which results in a comfortable playing experience. It is also worth mentioning that this shoe feature Diadora’s Net Breathing System, which is essentially a sole plate comprised of layers of special mesh which is supposed to allow for a shoe that lets air in and out, without letting water in. While it is difficult to say that my feet felt cooler when wearing these boots, I can say that it does not let water in, so it is successful in doing what it claims. If you do struggle with your feet over heating, especially if you play regularly on turf in the summer, this may be a technology that could benefit you.
The DD Eleven weighs in at 10.6oz, which is exactly on par with other kangaroo leather boots, but to be completely honest, the quality and amount of leather that you get on this boot, considering the weight. I expected this boot to weigh a lot more than it actually does. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, if the shoe has to weigh an ounce or two more to fit better or to include better quality materials, I would take it. But with the DD Eleven, you get a better fit and better materials without the extra weight. This is not a shoe that is going to weigh you down, and considering what you get, it is surprisingly light.
I am a really big fan of simple, conical stud patterns, and I really feel like the stud pattern on the DD Eleven is a good one. If you were wondering what the “GX 14” stands for in the name, it is essentially the stud pattern and sole plate, which is composed of 14 conical studs. The reason why this is such a good stud pattern is because of how evenly dispersed the studs are, meaning that there is an equal amount of room from stud to stud. Not only does this ensure that you will have good traction no matter what part of the foot that you’re pushing off of, it also means that the feel of the stud pattern will be very smooth and comfortable. If you play a lot of soccer on turf fields, this is probably one of the best stud patterns to use, not only because it provides good traction, but it will also be very comfortable. The studs themselves are about a medium length, which means that there is plenty of stability, even if the playing surface is a little harder. If you have never tried a conical stud pattern, this is a great option for your first time, because it really is great.
Something about the leather that Diadora uses is just unique. The leather is slightly thicker than what you might find from other kangaroo leather boots from other brands, but when you touch the ball with the DD Eleven it just feels so good. I descried a similar feel with the Diadora Maracana, another great shoe by the way, and this one feels similar, but with a slightly more modern twist. The main section of the upper is coated with a very thin grip coating, which adds just the slightest amount of grip on the ball. It is almost unnoticeable when playing, but it is there. The leather itself is pretty heavily padded, but still allows for plenty of feel on the ball. You’ll notice that the stitching pattern creates these hexagon-like shapes, where the padding of the leather bulges out just a little bit in the middle of each shape. What is also great it the consistency of the touch, as the forefoot area is the exact material and thickness as the midfoot area, making it so where ever you touch the ball, the feeling is going to be the same. It is also worth mentioning the “Touch Counter” which is essentially a dimpled finish on the heel counter. Again, do you really need more control on a back heel? The answer to that question is most likely no, but if you’re into that kind of thing, this might be a feature that you will enjoy. The DD Eleven is a prime example of what a kangaroo leather soccer shoe should feel like, and it offers a feel that you can only get from Diadora.
The DD Eleven offers some really good shooting qualities as well. The laces are central with a flap tongue, but what is great is that the leather seems to be just a little bit firmer around the laces, so there isn’t that cushioned feel when striking the ball with the laces. The grip coating is also a nice addition for shooting and it may even help in adding just a little grip when curling the ball. Something about a nice, padded leather boot gives that feeling of control when shooting the ball, as the ball seems to stay on your foot just that split second longer, allowing for a shot that will drop ever so slightly when placing a shot. The soleplate also provides a solid amount of stiffness for striking the ball, so you won’t find your shoe flexing backwards when making harder strikes. Overall, this is a more classic feeling shoe, and although no real striking elements were intended, it does feel just a little bit better when striking the ball than your average kangaroo leather boot.
The way that this shoe feels on your foot is very solid. It is definitely going to be more protective than your average leather boot. The leather is nicely padded throughout the entire shoe, and leather that covers the top of your foot is also a little bit firmer, providing some extra protection. There is also a very hard internal heel counter to protect from the back. This is one of the safer shoes on the market, and if you’re looking to stay safe while still maintaining a premium feel on the ball, the DD Eleven will provide that.
It is pretty safe to say that Diadora uses some of the best quality materials, and puts them together to create very solid soccer shoes. Of any leather soccer shoes on the market, these definitely feel the most solidly built. The leather is very strong, and there are just very few things that could go wrong with the shoe. Keep in mind that this is a natural leather shoe, so it does require some maintenance in order to maintain the softness of the leather and make sure the shoe will last a little longer.
I am a really big fan of the DD Eleven. It offers some of the nicest kangaroo leather on the market, a phenomenal fit, and a great sole plate and stud pattern combo. When I first saw this shoe in person, the quality of the leather really struck me as being fantastic, and it feels just as good. If you are considering a kangaroo leather soccer shoe, but don’t want that classic styling, or are just looking for easily one of the best leather shoes around, the Diadora DD Eleven GX 14 is a shoe that I strongly recommend for you to give a try. Trust me, you’ll like it.
Comfort/Fit 10 out of 10
Weight 8 out of 10
Traction 9 out of 10
Touch 10 out of 10
Shooting 9 out of 10
Protection 9 out of 10
Durability 8 out of 10
Final Score 63 out of 70 or 90%