WORDS BY LIKE THE WIND – PHOTOGRAPHY SUPPLIED BY DIADORA


Humans are excellent at adapting to their surroundings. The specific challenges of different environments prompt humans to create products to help them thrive. And it is in a place where the mountains meet the sea that the skills and resourcefulness to make some of the best footwear in the world were developed. This place is Diadora’s Italian home, Run Valley.

On 24 December 1968, NASA astronaut William Anders glanced out of the window of the capsule of the Apollo 8 spacecraft and saw an extraordinary sight: Earth appearing from behind the moon. Anders asked his colleague Jim Lovell to hand him a camera loaded with colour film and took a photograph that came to be known as Earthrise.
 
Earthrise was not the first photograph taken of the Earth from space. But for many reasons it had the biggest impact. Apart from anything, this photograph showed the planet as appearing to be almost perfectly smooth when, of course, we know that it is not.
 
According to mathematicians, if our planet was shrunk to just a few centimetres across, it would be smoother than a billiard or snooker ball. The highest and lowest points on the surface would become miniscule ripples, measurable only in thousandths of millimetres.
 
But of course, the rocky ball on which we live is anything but featureless. It is full of deserts, oceans, mountains and valleys which fill the Earth’s surface. Humans have adapted to these variations in their surroundings, honing different skills and gathering specific knowledge relevant to their locations.
 
One such unique combination of topography and skills is found in the Montebelluna Valley – known as Run Valley – in the north of Italy. The valley floor rests in the shadow of the towering Dolomite peaks to the north and is swept by the cool sea breeze coming off the Adriatic Sea to the south.
 
Because of its location – around 60km inland from Venice – between the mountains and the sea, Montebelluna Valley is a place where different forces of nature meet and combine.
 
Historically, it is an area where the struggle to survive in hard times led its inhabitants to become resourceful, especially when it came to building the products needed to thrive in changing, and often harsh, conditions.
 
THE VALLEY OF THE MAKERS
 
In part thanks to its geography, Montebelluna Valley became home to some of the world’s most creative and innovative sporting gear technicians, manufacturers and designers. These people thrived because in times of need, they were close enough to each other to be able to share ideas, techniques and concepts, developing exceptional skills and practices.
 
The territory became a pool of passionate souls devoting their hands and minds to new projects. Over the years, the knowledge that was created in the valley built up, mobilising intuitions and shaping outward symbols of an inner state of creativity. Innovations are the result of creative togetherness.
 
Run Valley – the place Diadora calls home – is where you’ll find a concentration of knowledge, experience and passion for footwear and apparel unlike anywhere else.
 
Since the company’s creation in 1948, Diadora’s headquarters and factory in the Montebelluna Valley have attracted and developed some of the world’s most talented and passionate individuals in the running footwear and apparel spheres. Together they have created world-class products.
 
Diadora has brought together these designers, athletes and product specialists with a single purpose in mind: supporting athletes who are striving to be the best they can be. On the site of Diadora’s headquarters, artisans in the factory hand-make the shoes that form the “Made in Italy” range. The care taken and attention to detail means that the shoes that leave the factory are of the highest quality. And surrounding Diadora’s headquarters are businesses that support the production of top-class footwear by creating the elements that the company uses in the manufacturing process.
 
But Run Valley is not just about design and manufacture. It is – perhaps unsurprisingly – also about running.
 
THE VALLEY OF THE RUNNERS
 
In the high mountains to the north, athletes are able to test themselves on trails that criss-cross the steep slopes. When it comes to top-end speed, the Gara Carbon (pictured right) has everything the competitive runner needs for the track or the roads. Put simply, the Gara is the ultimate tool for smashing new personal bests and training towards a faster pace.
 
The Gara’s carbon plate runs throughout the length of the shoe, from heel to toe, and has an extreme curve crafted to optimise ground clearance. Surrounding the carbon, the ANIMA PBX compound powers the shoes, boosting midsole bounce by 55 percent and reducing weight by 40 percent. The combination of carbon plate and ANIMA PBX technology strikes the perfect balance of responsiveness while also warding off post-run discomfort.
 
On the flat valley floor, runners can rely on the Cellula shoe. This model has been designed specifically to allow road runners who have no set destination, just a craving for a long run, to trust their feet. Cellula becomes the companion for daily workouts and long-distance runs. With a low drop of 40mm, the shoe provides an unparalleled comfort sensation. This is driven by Anima technology, a material that amps up midsole responsiveness by 30 percent while trimming weight by 20 percent.
 
And in the city – down in Venice, for example – runners can weave their way through the narrow streets in the Atomo V7000-1, which perfectly balances performance and Italian style. The Atomo V7000 project embodies Diadora’s rich “Made in Italy” tradition. This running shoe, the first to be manufactured in Italy in the past 30 years, was meticulously crafted at the Centro Ricerche Diadora and put together in the historic in-house manovia (assembly line).
 
So as you can see, the uneven surface of our planet serves a purpose. It creates places with unique characteristics. And the Montebelluna Valley is an extraordinary place. Here you will find the elements that, over time, have come together to create a perfect environment for both running and for making the products that support runners.
 
Welcome to Run Valley.

www.diadora.com IG: @diadora

 

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