The 50 Greatest Tennis Sneakers of All Time

14. Diadora Maverick

Year Released: 1986

Unlike Ellesse, Fila, Tacchini, etc., Diadora was known for its shoes more than any gear it produced. Diadora made a lot of dope shoes in the 1980's. I was extremely depressed when I saw re-issues in giant piles in bins at the Colosseum Mall in 2006. The Diadora shoe that heads probably remember most (but probably never saw a pair in person) is the Borg Elite. But the shoe that really got me open to Diadora was the Maverick, and here's why. I had seen nubuk here and there before the Maverick, but in the summer of 1987, Diadora freaked the Maverick an crayolafied array of nubuk colorways. I am sure I saw at least five, but the ones that stick in the crane are a very serious black-silver, and the babiest and bluest of baby blue, that just shut it down in Philly that summer. In fact, now baby blue is a totally acceptable sneaker colorway, but in 1987 it was pretty unusual. Maybe even a little bit feminine. But now that Diadora was doing it, it was like my man June of Bestown, France: it wasn't feminine-- it was just European. I think that by 1987, European brands were ready for prime time in the urban market, and I can recall Philly Sport, Shenk Bros. and City Blue selling these at a price that was reasonable enough that it worked. Also, no matter what the colorway was, each had the Italy colors on the heel tab. Doing something like that might work in the fashion market for brands like Christian Louboutin. But in a market where kids are trying to match, that is a bold ass move. But it worked. I have a very soft spot for this brand, and I wish them success.

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