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Road Running Shoes • April 12, 2024

Diadora Frequenza Review: Tempo Turnover Time

Diadora Frequenza cover

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What You Need To Know


8.1 oz. (229 g) for a US M9,

6.4 oz. (181 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

35 mm in heel, 27 mm in forefoot (8 mm drop)

Best For

Uptempo running, but really anything

Key Features

Anima N2 midsole, Nylon air mesh upper, Duratech 5000 outsole rubber

On The Run
Lightweight and fun Bouncy and responsive Cramped toe box
Price / Availability

Available now for $180


Introduction to the Diadora Frequenza

KALEB: Everyone knows that Diadora has long occupied the style space, but in the past, it’s never quite nailed the performance side of things (at least when it comes to running footwear). Most of the Diadora reviews that Believe in the Run has written go something like this: “It’s fine, and it’s certainly a looker, but the performance isn’t anything special, and I probably wouldn’t pay the beefy Italian price tag for a shoe this heavy.”

In their defense, Diadora’s mission seemed near-impossible: make runners fashionable. As any Altra fan will tell you (rest in peace, Aldren, our former stability reviewer turned Altra sales rep), it doesn’t particularly matter what a shoe looks like as long as it works for the runner. In that way, Diadora has been fighting an uphill battle trying to get the same people who were willing to wear something as goofy-looking as the [insert really any Brooks shoe here; haha good ol’ Brooks punchline] to care less about performance and more about fashion. When forced to choose between cutting-edge looks and quality performance, the red carpet is going to lose nine times out of ten.

That is until you finally manage to combine the two.

Arguably, it started with the Atomo V7000 back in April of last year, but undeniably, the Gara Carbon solidified it: Diadora finally took a break from the catwalk and got in the kitchen to start cooking. The Gara Carbon finally, finally, seemed to nail the marriage of utility and sexiness. Not only was it a true race-day option, complete with a soft, PEBA-based midsole, a carbon plate, and premium upper materials, but it also nailed Diadora’s mission of being a hot-looking option to lace up on the line. Bottom line: Diadora finally showed up.

The Frequenza (which means frequency, or turnover, in Italian) is Diadora’s attempt to keep the momentum from the Gara Carbon going into the rest of the Diadora performance line: it’s a lightweight, plateless tempo shoe with a supercritical EVA midsole and some lofty claims. Supposedly, the Frequenza’s energy return rivals that of some plated shoes on the market. So, did Diadora spend all its wow-factor on the Gara? Or is there still enough left in the tank for some tempo?

diadora frequenza yellow

MERCER: Italians have a long history of making beautiful things meant to be used and stand the test of time, such as the aqueducts from Rome or Ferrari supercars, and even dictatorships; okay, maybe they aren’t good at making everything. But recently, with olive oil prices skyrocketing, the Italian brand has been cooking up a storm, and now we’ve got the Diadora Frequenza.

With its brand-new Anima N2 supercritical foam, the Diadora Frequenza should be an Italian workhorse. But is it a Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, or is it more like the current Ferrari F1 team? Let’s find out.

ROBBE: I certainly have a soft spot in my heart for Diadora. From the Eurosport catalogs as a kid to the shoe showing up at my doorstep now, they’ve always carried a certain cachet for me. However, as a running shoe brand, they’ve looked great but performed mid. That is, until 2024. I’ve worn every shoe in the Diadora lineup (with the exception of the Cellula) this year, and confirm that something has changed and it’s for the better. The Atomo v7000 v2 is a solid daily trainer that looks absolutely amazing, the Gara Carbon is a legitimate (though expensive) race day contender, and the Frequenza has been set up to fall somewhere in between those two. So does it do that? Stick around and find out.

Diadora Frequenza upper vert
Diadora Frequenza laces vert

What we like about the Diadora Frequenza

KALEB: I’ll address the most obvious part of the shoe first: yeah, this thing is sexy. Diadora can do just about no wrong when it comes to style, and the Frequenza is no exception. It actually looked so good that my instincts told me that it couldn’t possibly be any good on the run. Thankfully, I was proven wrong.

Right out of the gate, this is the softest shoe I’ve ever put on my feet, full stop. The midsole compound here is not the same PEBA-based Anima PBX found in the Gara Carbon. Instead, Diadora opted for a nitrogen-infused, supercritical EVA compound they call Anima N2. Translating from shoe-nerd-speak, Diadora took a fairly normal, ho-hum midsole material and souped it up by adding a bunch of microscopic gas pockets to increase the shoe’s softness and bounce.

Both softness and bounce are certainly present in the Frequenza. At slower speeds, the ride is pillowy-comfortable and almost seemed too squishy to pick up the pace, but as soon as I did, the shoe responded, and I was happily proven wrong. I took this shoe out for a track tempo workout, and even during some 200m strides at mile race pace, the Frequenza kept my legs turning over smoothly. Undoubtedly, a good deal of credit belongs to the weight — my US M9.5 (more on that size later) came in just around 8 oz. — but the responsive midsole certainly didn’t hurt things.

Maybe more important than the weight or midsole is the fact that the “lower” stack (it’s around 30 mm with an 8 mm drop, folks; please don’t let maximalism brainwash you into thinking that’s a truly low stack) of the Frequenza helps the shoe feel quick and nimble while accelerating or cornering. The soft rubber forefoot grip is tacky in both wet and dry conditions, which helps, and (for the most part) the ridged, performance-oriented laces allow for a secure lockdown during workouts. In a world where forward propulsion is the main selling point for most running shoes, it’s easy to overlook the importance of agility in a tempo shoe when, in reality, it’s a trait that can make or break a high-speed workout. It doesn’t matter if I can run a great rep in a perfectly straight line if I can’t turn without shattering every bone in my leg or just straight up tipping over.

Diadora Frequenza on foot vert
Diadora Frequenza logo vert

MERCER: Starting with the upper, it’s gorgeous. A simple nylon mesh is something we’ve seen on shoe after shoe, but Diadora has put a little spin on it. With a lattice along the inside of the nylon mesh, Diadora has achieved a very tight yet comfortable fit. There are also a lot of overlays on the shoe that give it the support it doesn’t necessarily need but is definitely a want. The upper has so many layers and quirks that it is a work of art. I couldn’t name another shoe from any company resembling the Frequenza.

In addition to the mesh and overlays, I have enjoyed the Frequenza’s lacing system. It has aggressive laces that stay tied and a nice throat to keep your foot locked in but comfortable for any distance.

Now, the real meat of this shoe is the nitrogen-infused Anima N2 midsole. While I didn’t find it to be the softest shoe in the world like Kaleb, I found the foam amazing underfoot. With some squish and traditional comfort in the initial step and slow paces, the shoe would flip on its head and offer a bounce and responsiveness when paces dropped.

But… I don’t think Diadora is advertising this shoe in the best way. Diadora calls this shoe your “tempo tool,” but I think its versatility is what makes this shoe so good. I’ve used it for easy runs to 20-second 150’s, and it has responded well to everything. What I think it belongs in is the ever-evolving fast daily trainer/super trainer category. I believe this can slide in perfectly alongside shoes like the Asics Superblast and Cloudmonster Hyper, which can be used for tempos if needed but excel in a fast, normal run.

Underfoot, this is one of the tackiest rubbers I’ve ever used. It’s been great on every run I’ve gone on, from pavement to grass, even on a muddy single track. The rubber provides excellent grip and even some initial cushion on impact.

Diadora Frequenza outsole

ROBBE: I agree with pretty much everything Kaleb and Mercer have said so far, with the exception that I don’t think the supercritical Anima N2 midsole is that soft. In fact, I think it’s pretty much exactly where it should be. It provides a good amount of comfort but gives back the energy you put in. It’s flexible, it’s lightweight, and it gets you going. In fact, on a 10-mile long run the week after a 50K, I felt like the shoe was pushing me to go faster than I had intended. That’s always a good sign.

The upper looks great and provides a solid lockdown (a little too solid, more on that later), and the sawtooth laces are always a nice touch. Mercer’s right– I wouldn’t put this shoe in the tempo category, though it can slip into that use when it’s asked to. Thomas actually thought this was a max cushion daily trainer. Everyone’s right, because it’s really more like a super trainer. It can be used for a daily trainer or long runs, but it’s also able to push the pace whenever you want to go there.

Its versatility is what makes this shoe shine.

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Diadora Frequenza heel

What we don’t like about the Diadora Frequenza

KALEB: As one of our reviewers, Caryn, found out, Diadora’s sizing can be a little goofy. I’m typically a US M9, but Diadora sent me a US M9.5, which fit on the roomy side of comfortable. Caryn wasn’t as lucky and received her normal size, which ran so short that her pair was un-runnable. Purchase up a half-size, and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The Frequenza’s upper is sharp-looking, to be sure, but I found the fit to be pretty relaxed across the board, which, again, could’ve been because of the extra half-size. As long as I cranked the laces, it proved not to be much of an issue on the run, but whenever a tempo shoe takes risks on lockdown, I’ll raise some eyebrows.

This isn’t an inherently bad thing, but a word to the wise: these shoes are SOFT. Like, really soft. I said earlier that the Frequenza is the softest shoe I’ve ever put on, and I wasn’t exaggerating. The choice to put supercritical foam in a shoe without a plate to stabilize it may be refreshing for some, especially lighter runners with an efficient stride who enjoy a light, snappy ride and aren’t worried about bottoming out. But if you’re a heavier runner who sinks through mid-stack shoes, or if you have stability issues and tend to roll your ankles [insert roast of Robbe’s biomechanics here, because I believe in recycling, and that includes jokes], this shoe could be a dangerous choice.

diadora frequenza medial side

MERCER: I need some stability in my life…

Okay, but for real, I wear tons of stability shoes, and this is not one of them. Considering the foam and how squishy and bouncy it is, it did a great job keeping my ankles supported, but if I wore it too many times in a row, I would get a little sore. I can’t call this bad; just not ideal. You can’t paint stripes on a horse and complain it’s not a zebra, so I can’t complain when a neutral shoe doesn’t have stability. I would just be cautious like Kaleb said.

The overlays are great except for the extended tip on the big toe, no matter how many miles I’ve run in this shoe or how long the run is, I am aware of it every step, and it pisses me off to no end.

Finally, one hundred and eighty dollars in this economy is crazy. I get it. Diadora is a “luxury” brand, but c’mon, just cause you’re from Europe doesn’t mean you can charge that (cough* On *cough).

ROBBE: Diadora sizing is really all over the place. I’m not sure if this is because some shoes are made in Italy and others are not, but I went a half-size down in this shoe, because that’s the same size I went with in the Gara Carbon. That shoe fit perfectly. I also thought this shoe fit perfectly. It felt good everywhere and had some room between the toes and the front of the shoe. It was not a perfect fit. I didn’t feel it during the run, but afterwards, my toes were killing me. So much so, that I couldn’t wear the shoe the next day for an actual tempo workout and had to resort to an old pair of Reebok Floatride Energy at my parents’ house. That was a bummer. I’m not sure going up a half-size would’ve been the solution, cause everything else fit great. Either way, stick with your normal size.

At $180, it’s a little bit spicy, but it’s Diadora. This feels more like a shoe in the $160 range.

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Diadora Frequenza midsole vert
Diadora Frequenza side vert

Final thoughts on the Diadora Frequenza

KALEB: Although I’ve never run in any iterations of the New Balance Rebel, the Frequenza reminds me of how people talked about the Rebel v2. That shoe was a soft, bouncy, low-to-the-ground tempo trainer that reminded everyone that non-plated shoes were still relevant despite the quickly intensifying Carbon Plated Cold War. The Frequenza brings a similar experience to the table: soft and protective enough for daily miles but light and bouncy when it’s time to pick up the pace. At $180, you’re definitely paying a little more for that Italian logo, but as far as prices these days go, at least it’s not the Atomo V7000 for $240.

Is this the shoe for every runner? No, and if you’re at risk for blowing out a knee, you shouldn’t have even read this far. That said, companies have clearly demonstrated that every time they try to make a shoe for everyone, it kinda sucks, so if you’re even a halfway efficient runner looking for a soft, snappy tempo shoe that doubles as the coolest footwear in your closet, the Frequenza is a hard choice to beat.

MERCER: This shoe is Italian through and through. While I wish it had some changes overall, Diadora’s direction looks good as long as it doesn’t drag other companies into this luxury world of running (I’m afraid we’re already on that path). While this shoe does wonders, if you still aren’t over Nero burning down half of Rome, some other shoes you can try out are the Brooks Hyperion Max and the Hoka Mach 6.

ROBBE: Diadora has really shown that they’re here to play and taking it seriously. The Frequenza is another great shoe that will give you some very enjoyable and effortless miles. Comparisons would be the New Balance Rebel v4, Hoka Mach 6, Saucony Endorphin Speed 4, and Asics Magic Speed 3. Just stick with your standard size and you should be good to go.

You can pick up the Diadora Frequenza for $175 at Holabird Sports using the buttons below.

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Robbe Reddinger
Senior Editor
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

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Fav. Distance


  • 3:27

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Kaleb Kabakjian
Track and XC Reviewer

Kaleb is one of the younger, “both of my knees still work” reviewers on the BITR team. As a high school cross country, track and field, and road racing athlete in Pennsylvania, Kaleb loves hearing about the latest endurance-athletics studies and seeing how everything out there can fit into a well-rounded training program. If you don’t see him drinking a weird health concoction or doing some strange warmup technique, he’s probably already started the race.

All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Ride 14, Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

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  • 1:18

    Half Marathon
  • 16:14

    5K (XC)
  • 4:30

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Mercer Alden
College XC/Track Reviewer
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Mercer is a collegiate athlete at the University Of Lynchburg, majoring in being awesome. He’s also extremely talented at folding shirts during GRIT packing at the Believe in the Run HQ.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Gel-Kayano Lite, Hoka Clifton 6, On Cloudmonster

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  • 57:50

    10 Mile
  • 15:55

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