Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Diadora Equipe Atomo Multi Tester Review: Azzurri! High Performance, Durable, Made in Italy, Artisanal Excellence

Article by Derek Li, Beto Hughes, Michael Ellenberger, Dominique and Sam Winebaum

Diadora Equipe Atomo ($195)


Sam: The Equipe Atomo is a  light 8.7 oz / 246g US9  daily miles to uptempo trainer with a  maximal class full stack of 36mm heel / 31mm forefoot.

Atomo was entirely designed, developed, and manufactured in Diadora’s Italian factory. Unusual to say the least in this day and age. And on top of that, Gelindo Bordin, 1988 Olympic Marathon champion and 1989 Boston winner, and long-time Diadora employee helped lead its development. 

Diadora quite frankly has been better known for its beautiful lifestyle, tennis, soccer, track spikes (Edwin Moses wore them),  and “near” but closer to lifestyle running shoes in recent years. But the light weight, in house developed foam, and sleek Italian looks sure had me sit up and eager to test and evaluate this $195 beauty.


Expanded EVA with rubber polymer compound midsole balances deep cushion, a touch of bounce and firmer responsiveness very well  Sam/Derek/Beto/Dominique/Peter

Single shoe in the quiver class: most any pace and even race versatile ride and cushion Sam/Beto/Peter

Well tuned plateless ride with a subtle rocker and after break in flex Sam/Beto/Peter

Impeccable Made in Italy quality construction and detailing Sam/Beto/Dominique/Peter

Performance (trainer) super secure fit: Sam/Derek/Beto/Dominique/Peter

Combination of geometry and cushioning with a good bounce yet still responsive to keep a fast turn over. Beto

DD Anima midsole has high durability and resilience, will last many miles. Beto/Peter

The iconic Italian colorway looks gorgeous, Italian high quality materials. Beto/Sam/Peter

To date- remarkable outsole durability, zero wear, zero scuffing Sam/Peter


Performance type fit may not suit all foot shapes, tapered toe box Sam/Derek/Dominique

Pricing is for sure premium for a plateless trainer (but so is quality and ride)  Sam/Derek/Beto/Dominique/Peter

Some folding of the top of the narrow achilles collar when pulling them on Sam

Pointy toe box will fit many but not wide foot runners. Beto

Too short in my regular size 9 Dominique


Approx.weight: men's 8.7 oz / 246g (US9) :: women's 7.8 oz / 221g (US8)  


  men’s  8.43oz / 239g US8.5   8.85oz / 251g US9.5 / 10.7oz / 304g US13

  women”s: 7.58 oz / 215g US9

Midsole Stack Height: M 29/24, W 27.5/22.5     

Full Stack Height: measured at M 36/31 including stock Ortholite sockliner, 5mm drop

Available Nov 30, 2021 from Diadoa and at our affiliate partner Holabird Sports HERE

First Impressions and Fit

Sam: Immediate first impression: “ Italia, Azzurri!”  The blue in the men’s here is clearly a riff on Italy’s soccer and other national teams’’ blues, always highlighted by the green, white and red of Italy’s flag. And here in Atomo we have Azzurri on full display.

Sleek, detailed, in a rich blue with gold and Italian flag highlights, the Equipe Atomo is unmistakably Italian and Italian sports cars inspired in design. 

I love the small black Made in Italy rubber piece at the front of the laces, the reflective gold highlight very thin overlays and the green and red Italian flag motif painted at the top of the midsole.  The engineered mesh upper has many densities of weave and is visually very sophisticated but not overwhelming or overly showy.

The fit is more performance than a comfort daily trainer and is true to size if on the small size in volume. 

The toe box mesh is soft and relatively dense/thick with evident ventilation holes up front with a denser weave at the bunion area and through the midfoot. 

So we have a  highly supportive and comfortable upper that is moderately low volume and which with running stretched slightly. The tongue is moderately  thick and well padded with no gusset. The heel counter is rigid with a softer more pliable narrow top of achilles collar which while not overly plush or sloppy does due to the narrow opening does have a tendency to want to fold over when pulling them on.

Derek: This shoe should be the official run trainer of the Italian football (soccer) team. The chosen shade of blue reminds me so much of their national football jersey. 

The overall color scheme is actually fairly simplistic, yet the final package with the sculpting of the midsole makes everything come off looking very classy. The kind of shoe where you end off the run sipping San Pellegrino on the Spanish Steps in Rome. 

Step-in feel is comfortable enough, and you can tell all the materials are of a very high quality, but my first thought was that the shoes run a little small, which surprised me somewhat because shoes have trended to fit on the larger side recently across multiple brands. I would still say the shoe fits firmly in the true-to-size category and they do fit me perfectly well with thin performance socks, but I can see things getting a little snug up front with thicker socks. To confirm my suspicions on sizing, I took some sockliners from other shoes and swapped them into the Atomo’s and sure enough, the front bit is bunching up because the shoe runs marginally short. 

To compound matters, the toe box is also a bit on the pointier side, so simply sizing up might not be enough for people with wider feet. The lockdown of the shoe is very good, on par with lots of top end racers. This is again quite surprising, considering the external appearance of the shoe actually seems to imply a fairly relaxed fit. 

Sam has gone into some detail on the heel so i won’t re-hash that. What I will say is that this shoe has one of those uppers where you need to loosen up multiple rows of laces to elevate the tongue to slide your foot in easily. 

Simply loosening the top 2 rows of eyelets and trying to bulldoze your foot into the shoe doesn’t end well, as the eyelets hold the laces fairly well and lace tension doesn’t slip over time. The same is true when removing the shoes. Trying to step on the heel to pull your foot out is likely to end up in frustration. Walking and jogging around, one can immediately appreciate that there is a bit of give and bounce to the foam, though the overall feel is still fairly traditional.  

Beto: First impression was: what a gorgeous colorway of Italian blue with those accents, the Italian flag, the details on the midsole and upper are all on point and got me excited. Just as Derek said: this should be the official Italian Soccer’s Team shoe to train in at least for their runs!  On  foot you can really feel how comfortable it is and the high quality of the materials. My size 13US fits  well but is in between sizes 12.5 and 13 so I still can say it’s true to size. The shoe holds my foot in place with a racing type fit with a good padded tongue which is super comfortable and has no pressure points. The shoe is pointy, for some it may an issue but you can go half size up with no issues. The heel counter secured my heel very well, no issues there. As Sam said this shoe fits like a performance shoe in a trainer package.

Dominique: In keeping with the soccer theme, the women’s Equipe ATOMO, is the color of the “Italy Away” team -- a white shoe with a streak of half green and half red line delineating the upper from the midsole along with reflective gold overlays, lining both the upper and the pull-up tag in the back of the heel.  It is a shoe that displays Italian pride -- flag logo, made in Italy rubber tie across the bottom shoelaces, and midsole displaying colors of the flag.   Classy looking and well crafted, I have received a few compliments thus far when chatting on the side of the road after a run.  

I was not familiar with the Diadora brand until now  and as my first experience has been quite positive -- style, comfort, and performance - I started exploring their tennis shoe line and found out that a new model is coming in January with the same DD Anima foam as here, so I am patiently waiting for it.  

In my usual size 9, the fit is a bit tight, and I would size up half of size for more wiggle room for my toes.  Also, transitioning from a wide toe-box to a narrow toe-box, I need some adjusting.  This said, this is an extremely comfortable shoe with a snug fit.  Lightweight, breathable, and performing, I am enjoying running in them.  

Peter: I’ll keep it brief. The box is beautiful, the shoes are beautiful. The materials are obviously top quality as is the build. The first impression is just “Wow, Diadora is here to play”. True to size for me. 

Michael: We haven’t gone this far (yet) in running shoes, but the Equipe Atomo truly feels like an “artisan” running shoe. It’s finely crafted to a higher degree than your average Saucony or Nike (or so it feels) - but ultimately, it all comes down to how the shoe runs. So, I had to go and dirty up the Italian beauty with just over 100 miles (including a 19-mile tempo workout!) in the build up to my end of season half (I would have had nearer to 150, but the arrival of the Zoom Fly 4 interrupted that) - even so, with a long build up, I was able to put more miles on the Diadora than my average tester, and I’m excited to share the results (and learn from others!).


Derek: Describing the upper as using engineered mesh doesn’t quite do the shoe justice. The blue hue actually has a somewhat reflective quality to it and it is very silky smooth. Perforations have been incorporated at the toe box and and the medial and lateral sides of midfoot to improve breathability. There is an internal toe bumper in front, but the overall toebox volume runs on the lower side for me. In recent memory, the Puma Magnify Nitro probably has the closest match in terms of volume. The mesh is reinforced with stitching and the logo overlay just around the level of the metatarsophalangeal joints, and I think this helps to enhance the overall stability and performance feel of the upper. Perforations are noticeably absent at midfoot, and again this minimizes stretch in the upper materials and serves to further reinforce foothold and withstand sideways forces.

I like that they have kept to the tried-and-true in terms of eyelets (six rows) and the choice of tongue construct (traditional non-gusseted padded tongue). The lockdown at midfoot and toebox are one of the best I’ve tried this year in a trainer. To round things off at the heel, you have fair rigid heel cup that runs about ⅔ of the way up the heel, with the remainder composed of soft padding around the ankle collar. The shoe comes with a very pretty pull tab, but in truth i’ve not tried using it to slip the shoes on as it looks somewhat flimsy and i fear i might just rip it off at the attachment, seeing as the ankle opening is fairly small and I do need to loosen up 4 or more rows of laces to slip my foot in. The Atomo comse with one of the Ortholite sockliners with its  spongy material. I generally prefer the more consistent and responsive feel of EVA sockliners, but the softness of the Ortholite sockliner blends well with the midsole feel here. All in all, there really isn’t anything I would want to change in the upper. It works very well for my foot shape, though I suspect people with wider feet will struggle with this one. 

Dominique: A lightweight engineered upper that provides plenty of breathability and keeps the foot securely in place.  This is probably the tightest foothold I have experienced in a running shoe and I like the snug and secure feel of the upper, though I do need to wear a thin sock when running in them. 

I would agree that the toe box is on the narrow side though I find the sizing to be more of an issue, namely it is a short fit for my regular size 9. The padding around the ankle is adequate and comfortable -- this is a lightweight shoe after all.  I would agree with Derek that the ankle opening is fairly small and getting my foot inside the shoe requires loosening  the top three rows of the shoelaces.  

The padded tongue displays the Diadora name in gold letters and works well with the shoelace system to keep the foot comfortably and securely in place. 

After one month of running (70 miles), the white upper is still looking like it came out of the box.  

Peter: It’s hard to believe that an upper this deluxe is on a shoe this (relatively) light. As covered above, the engineered mesh is comfortable and quite breathable. There’s a fair amount of material, so I’m not sure it’s a summer shoe per se, but it’s a damn fine upper that holds the foot extremely well. 

Beto: The upper is a lightweight engineered mesh of very high quality. It is breathable. I have had no issues on hot and humid days here in Mexico/Texas. The upper hugs my foot in place and especially my mid foot, the front is a bit low in volume but with my regular medium thick sock I haven’t had  any hot spots.  The tongue is really well padded with no pressure points and very comfortable too. The laces lock the midfoot very well in place and the construction of the upper has a secure fit. The heel has a nice padding and the ankle collar is nice and comfortable too with no issues with the ankles. 

The pull tab is a nice touch to the shoe’s look. It is on the thin side so it looks like it can rip off but it hasn’t. The Ortholite insole is nice and comfortable. It blends very well with the midsole. Some people won’t like how spongy it feels but they can switch to their own insole with no issues but given the low upper volume very thick insoles may not work as well.

Michael: Really well done upper here; from looking at the shoe visually, I thought the toebox was going to be overly wide. Not so - if anything, I thought they were a little snug (not in length, but in general volume). 

My only distinct complaint is on the lacing, where I found it a tad too easy to over-tighten at the laces and have to readjust. This only happened to me once that I can remember, but I did end up airing slightly on the loose side to avoid it.


Sam: The midsole foam was developed in house at Diadora, they showed us a video of the chemist at work and is a blend of expanded EVA and a rubber family polymer. Whatever that means! While PEBA is all the rage, blended and expanded EVA’s perform especially in trainers  

The midsole feel is in a word “sophisticated”. Relatively firm, highly shock absorbing, the rubber polymer is clearly felt delivering a very well mannered touch of bounce. There is ample protective cushion, particularly noticeable at the forefoot. Overall the feel is considerably more pleasing and with a more pronounced shorter amplitude and quicker rebound than say PWRRUN from Saucony (EVA/TPU) or React from Nike (EVA/Olefin). This is a midsole that you don’t worry about as it is neither too firm or too soft or too thin with plenty of shock absorbing but not energy sapping protection, shock absorption, and rebound. 

The 29/24 midsole stack height is amply cushioned and the same as a Hoka Clifton or Mach 4 in stack and drop at 5mm. 

The underfoot platform is broad with deep decoupling grooves, so while inherently stable the flow forward remains smooth at all paces except faster tempo where they feel a bit too rigid. They clearly require some break in as at about 25 miles the previously almost totally rigid inflexible profile developed some flex. Out of the box Atomo had a rigid profile with a noticeable slight final toe-off rocker effect somewhat similar to Saucony Speed Roll but more subtle and starting further back. After some miles the rigid profile gets some flex and the rocker is still present but less noticed on the run but still clearly felt when walking so I think the blend of flexibility (once broken in)  and rocker is well executed and what I seek.   

Derek: The midsole rises up just a little bit around the edges in this shoe, as is often the trend these days, to improve stability. I personally felt it probably wasn’t necessary, because the platform is already fairly wide in the midfoot and heel, and the foam isn’t that soft that it would require these additional steps to enhance stability. I would describe the midsole as being on the relatively firmer side, but with good vibration dampening. When I say firm, it is still softer than e.g. Nike Pegasus or Brooks Ghost but a touch firmer than the Puma Magnify Nitro or Saucony Triumph 19. 

Unlike Sam, I didn’t find the forefoot rocker of the shoe to be particularly prominent on the run. I found the shoe to transition fairly naturally, with good flexibility through the forefoot. The 5mm heel to toe drop was definitely noticeable here, and with the fairly flexible forefoot, i found it more tedious to roll through the shoe and maintain faster paces in this shoe. 

For example, the recently reviewed Scott Speed Carbon RC is also 5mm drop with near identical stack numbers but has a much more rockered ride quality, assisted by its embedded carbon plate. It seems that Diadora really focused on midsole durability for this shoe, and only time will tell if the ride quality will hold up with more mileage.  

Dominique: I agree that the midsole is on the firmer side and that the feel is not super plush in the manner of a HOKA model, however, the cushioning is protective and responsive.  What is remarkable is that the shoe is super lightweight , yet it delivers plenty of responsive cushioning and is very stable.  By all measure, this is the maximal cushioned shoe but without the super plush feel.  The midsole has been designed for durability so that mileage, up to 400- 500, will deliver the same experience - feel - as with the first ten miles.  At 70 miles,  I am not there yet, however, I don’t plan on retiring my Equipe ATOMO anytime soon. 

Peter: There’s something special about the midsole. It’s firm without being harsh and highly cushioned without being mushy at all. Turnover remains quick with the Atomo and runs of various speeds are comfortable. My only issue so far with the Atomo midsole is that it seems to be a little bit too firm when the temps drop below 40. 

Beto: The DD Anima Midsole has a nice firm but forgiving ride with a nice bounce, I’m a heavy runner, at 195 lbs / 88kg  and I like firm shoes and this midsole has a nice balance between a firm and soft comfortable ride. It has a wide platform so it has a very stable ride. 

The midsole has a rocker that maybe is not that noticeable but at a certain speeds say 4:40 km pace or faster the shoe kept me on my mid foot with a nice propulsion and a very stable landing. It delivered a nice and smooth transition on each stride.  You can feel the midsole feel soft and firm at the same time with a nice bounce. 

The midsole looks like it will last a good amount of kms as it has no creases at 118km of testing, as shown above, so I’ll keep adding more kms and update here as the DD Anima midsole feels like it will last a long time.

Michael: In a relative surprise, I found the Equipe Atomo to be aggressive and fun, even at <5:00/mile pace. In what was an otherwise boring stretch between Milwaukee Lakefront and Indy Monumental, I took the Diadora out for 19 hilly miles, with some embedded miles around 5:00. Truly, I found this to be the perfect shoe - I wasn’t taxed, due to the hefty stack and soft cushion, but they were sufficiently aggressive to get out and turn over at near HM pace. Would it have been a better workout in a plated-option? Maybe - but despite finally getting some elevation in, my legs weren’t taxed the next day.


Sam: The segmented outsole is D5000 rubber front to back. No softer blown rubber. I have seen zero wear to date, no scuffing, nothing. I note that  on hard pack gravel the grip is excellent and agreeing with Derek below no abrasion of the exposed midsole telling me the midsole foam (recall with rubber family polymer) is clearly outsole grade as for example the Mach 4’s is.

Derek: The outsole rubber seems to be very durable, and it feels more like a blend of carbon-injected rubber to me. More impressive for me, still, was the durability of the exposed midsole. This shoe has less outsole rubber than the Saucony Endorphins, so a lot of it is exposed midsole. That midsole is holding up incredibly well to road wear. I am seeing near zero scuffing after multiple runs on road and light gravel. That puts it on par with Saucony’s PWRRUN PB in terms of midsole abrasion-resistance, and way better than the likes of Nike’s React foam (incidentally also rubber-based, i believe). Wet traction seems good enough for me so far on roads, but there is a bit of slippage on grass or damp soil. 

Dominique: Indeed, this appears to be a very durable outsole and I am equally impressed as Derek and Sam by the durability of the exposed midsole.  The outsole has an interesting configuration delivering plenty of traction and a durable platform. 

My pair above has 60- 70 miles of running. Remarkable!

Peter: Brick Shithouse. The rubber hits the road and the road politely steps aside.

Beto: The D5000 rubber outsole on the front and back is a firm rubber so it blends well with the DD Anima midsole giving a nice ride. 

The D5000 so far  is looking way better than I expected with almost zero wear which is very impressive as I am a heavy runner. 

In my normal wear pattern areas it looks almost brand new. The exposed DD Anima midsole is also very durable with almost no wear on the exposed midsole which is incredible. 

You'll have to look very closely to see the scuffs so this is a really high quality exposed midsole and outsole rubber. 

On wet roads there isn't any slippage. It really has a nice grip on wet roads and even on smooth concrete roads and sidewalks. 

Michael's Diadora Equipe Atomo at 100 miles

Michael: Will echo everyone’s praise from above - with more than 100 miles on the Atomo, I think my shoes could pass as new. Many of those miles were on either dirt or treadmill, but they still have more than 50 outdoor, pavement miles on ‘um, and hardly a hint of wear.


Derek: This shoe has one of the best lockdowns of the daily trainers I have tested in recent memory, right up there with the NIke Tempo Next% and Adidas Boston 10. Ironically, the shoe rides best at easier recovery paces for me. The 5mm drop and flexible forefoot make the shoe a little sluggish in transition for me, and while it is comfortable and cushioned at 7:40-8:30/mile pace, the shoe doesn’t seem very happy to maintain or push sub-7:00/mile. I think this shoe works best for people with more of a midfoot strike, and who want a cushioned shoe, but with a more traditional sort of transition and underfoot feel. Sort of like a super maximalist Atreyu base model. For me, I think it makes a good daily trainer and perhaps also an easy effort long run type of shoe, but I would prefer something a little more snappy for runs that require any sort of uptempo work. 

Sam: Steady, stable and light for the big stack the ride is on the firm side but highly protective with some rebound.  I even took them on some mellow dirt trails where they performed well and gripped surprisingly well. The broad platform underfoot, deep dense foam and highly supportive upper had me consistently aligned and confident. No wild bounce, no need to over focus on anything to click off the miles here. Agreeing with Derek, they are a bit sluggish and not snappy at faster up tempo paces. I think due to the rigid profile that takes some break-in. The sluggishness has for sure subsided with some miles as now the subtle rocker and increasing flex work together just as I like them too. I prefer a platelets rocker with some flex. For the most of the daily steady miles and even for those with a need of a touch of stability the ride is reliable , protective, and responsive. And if you have hills in the mix the downhill cushion, bounce and stability will have you smiling. What an ideal shoe for a “downhill” marathon.

Dominique:  As an occasional reviewer for RTR, I had run in a stability shoe - ASICS GT-2000 10 -  for about a month prior to stepping into the Equipe Atomo.  Great joy from the very first steps and the novelty has not worn off.   Even though I run at a slow pace and relatively short distances - 5 miles - running in a shoe that fits my style matters.  The lockdown is just incredible that I feel I am running in a racing shoe, and not a daily trainer.  I am enjoying the feel of the ride -- enough bounce, plenty of cushioning, reliable, stable, and lightweight. 

Peter: The ride has changed a bit for me over time. I was wowed on my first run and wound up running more of a tempo run than an easy run because the Atomo felt so good. In the runs since, I feel that the Atomo does better at easy tempos. As I said above I find the ride to get a little too stiff in cold temps, I’m about 50 miles into them and I’m hoping that they give in to be a little more flexible. I like the ride a lot, but I’m not sure I totally love it. 

Beto: The ride is so smooth at 4:30 a 5 min/km pace.  The Atomo really keeps me going, feels light, fast and responsive with a nice firm to soft landing and nice bounce at each step after  a very stable landing. It is not the fastest shoe to go sub 4min km but for other normal training runs when you want to pick up the pace and then slow down a bit the shoe works great. I did some long runs in the Equipe Atomo and enjoyed it a lot in a steady 4:50 - 5min / km (7:46- 8:02 min/mile) pace,  the ride goes really smooth with a nice rebound. During easy runs with some strides at the end the shoe really responded well with a very stable landing, nice flex and toe off.

Michael: Such a pleasant blend of cushion and speed here - if you had told me this was plated (or even positioned aggressively, ala the Endorphin Shift), I would have believed you. There’s something special about the midsole blend here - it’s not as firm as Nike’s React, for example, but a little more airy and open, and I think that cushioned structure really fools you into thinking they won’t be fast. But they are!

My complaint here (as Peter astutely pointed out) is the flexibility - especially though the midfoot, I wish there was just a little more flex. Even so, this is a shoe I plan to keep running in until its end of life. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Derek: This is the first Diadora running shoe I've tested so I don't have anything else in their lineup to compare it to. They have already gotten a lot of things right. The upper and foothold of the shoe are excellent. The outsole also works incredibly well. The midsole as a compound seems to hold plenty of promise too, as it is clear that the foam is capable of good vibration dampening, and has enough subtle bounce in there to keep things interesting and responsive. 

What doesn’t quite work for me here is the 5mm drop combined with a relatively flexible forefoot. I’ve had good experiences with flexible shoes, and I’ve had good experiences with low drop shoes. The list is substantially shorter for flexible and low drop shoes that work well for me; and almost all of them are on the lower stack end of the spectrum; e.g. Nike Zoom Streak LT3, Skechers Speed 6 Hyper, Altra Escalante. Somehow when the stack goes up, they tend to be more miss than hit, as the heel tends to sink a little too much and then you need a really good rocker to carry you through the gait cycle, e.g. Saucony Endorphin Shift (4mm), Nike Tempo Next% (4mm), Skechers MaxRoad 5 (6mm). My take is you need to like a more traditional type of transition in a shoe, even if you are not a pure midfoot striker, to enjoy this shoe for anything beyond the recovery runs. 

Derek’s Score 8.8 / 10

Ride 8.5 (50%) Fit 9.5 (30%) Value 8 (15%) Style 10 (5%)

Sam: The Equipe Atomo is a class act from its elegant and highly effective upper to its sophisticated riding platform which balances light weight, deep protective cushion, and even stability just so. The care and attention that went into every aspect of this shoe is evident to the eye and on the run. 

Durability of midsole and outsole to date has been excellent with the outsole rubber and even exposed midsole with no abrasion evident in particular is in another class of what is typically put on a shoe that weighs 8.7 oz / 247g in a US9 with a big 36/31 stack. I expect class leading longevity here. 

I do agree with Derek that a touch more drop might be in order to move it along snappier, maybe by moving some forefoot stack to the heel. This said, as the shoe has broken in, it has gained flexibility and the early sluggishness is reduced. One should not mistake the front toe off impulse for that of a plated shoe or a super bouncy supercritical foam shoe either but you won’t regret the deep densely rebounding cushion and protection up front and outback as the miles pile on.

It’s lightweight, deep cushion, and big stack make it a versatile trainer from daily miles to long runs with some longer tempo thrown in. As far as a racer I think it is an excellent choice for hilly courses, heavier runners and  those needing a touch of stability and a very secure lockdown. 

At $195 the Atomo is for sure pushing the bounds of pricing for a plateless trainer which is neither supercritical foam light or carbon powered, yet still manages to come in sub 9 oz for a maximal stack trainer.  Depending on your priorities, it can be a good value based on the following: 100% designed and made in Italy by workers for sure making a very decent living wage, a reliable consistent light for mount cushion ride, expected very long durability top to bottom, and for me anyways beautifully and impeccably assembled, and styled Azzurri!

Sam’s Score: 9.31 /10

Ride: 9.45 (50%) Fit:9.6 (30%) Value:8 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)

Dominique:  I value the fact that the Equipe ATOMO was designed and made in Italy.  I was not a soccer mom which may have exposed me to the Diadora brand earlier in the game!  I am thrilled to be running in a shoe that displays Italian colors and pride, excellent craftsmanship, and design elements that enhance my running experience.  In agreement with Sam, the price tag is a bit steep, however, the shoe has been designed for longevity from the upper, to the midsole, and the outsole.  

Dominique’s score: 9.4/10.

Peter: Overall I really like the Equipe Atomo. It’s clearly a high end, highly cushioned trainer that can work for lots of runners. I think the price tag is a little prohibitive--but that is mitigated a bit by the fact that they are likely to last a long, long time. They are stable, fit like a glove and are pretty fun to run in. I’ll check back in after a few more longer runs, but for now I’ll say that I really like them and I’d say try a pair if you can. 

Score 9/10

Solid shoe, enjoyable. Let’s see what the next iteration brings. 

Beto: The Equipe Atomo is an expensive shoe but well worth the money given the quality materials of the upper, a very resilient midsole (DD Anima) and a very durable outsole (D5000). The shoe checks all the boxes for the price. It can be a deluxe daily trainer that can do it all and I think you will get your money in terms of miles per dollar paid . $195 USD it  is a lot of money and of course there are other great options for less but if looking for a do it all shoe that can last many miles and looks good too the Equipe Atomo is worth the price. The shoe is responsive, protective, stable and the upper can fit perfectly for many. Italians definitely know how to make great running shoes!

Beto’s Score: 9.52/10

Ride: 9.6 (50%) Fit:9.8 (30%) Value:8.5 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)

Michael: But for the price, this would be an instant recommendation for me. But, as I said in the intro, I think the Equipe Atomo is something of an “artisan” shoe. There’s really impressive stuff here - a poppy and fun midsole, adequate cushion, and really nicely done upper. There are equally good shoes for two-thirds the cost, but we know that luxury goods sometimes have that “it” factor, and I think the Diadora really has nailed it. I’d buy at MSRP.

Michael’s score: 9.5/10


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Hoka Clifton (RTR Review)

Derek: My last Clifton was the Clifton 6. I wear US9.5 in both models. The Clifton fits much longer and roomier than the Atomo. The Clifton is also a much softer and bouncier shoe overall. While the stack numbers and drop may be similar, the Atomo has a more responsive, traditional type ride with a lot less sponginess underfoot. The Atomo also seems to be much more durable from initial testing. 

Sam: At exactly the same weight and stack height these two are a close comparison. The Cifton 8 upper is clearly roomier (and available in wide) while the Atomo is clearly a more performance oriented fit.  I think the Atomo fit is an advantage over the thick forefoot of each as it better directs the foot to the rocker with flex. While I believe similar in composition (both primarily EVA with Atomo expanded and Clifton compression molded) the Atomo midsole is more deliberate and pulled together in its rebound with despite improvements in the Clifton 8 Atomo more stable and consistent. I would daily train in the Atomo exclusively but not the Clifton due to its relatively loose upper and softer less stable ride. .  

Hoka Mach 4  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. The Mach 4 has similar width to the Atomo, but fits slightly longer. Overall, I think the Mach 4 fits more true-to-size than the Atomo. The Mach 4 has a bouncier ride, but also a little more ground feel. I find it easier to go faster in the Mach 4 than the Atomo. Overall, I think the Mach 4 is a more fun shoe, and is somewhat more versatile in terms of handling different paces. The Atomo on the other hand is more of a cruiser for me, and seems to beat me up a little less for longer runs. 

Peter: The Mach 4 is more fun for me. It feels like less shoe and I reach for it first, truth be told. 

Michael: This is the most similar shoe; I prefer the Diadora only slightly, and a lot of that has to do with durability. The Mach 4 wears down fairly quickly, and the upper is a little cheaper. Not so on the Diadora.

Craft CTM Ultra  (RTR Review)

Ssam: Heavier by a solid 0.7 oz with 4mm more heel stack and about the same forefoot stack as the Atomo, the Craft has a more  pronounced drop in toe off feel and a more aggressive rocker. Compared to the Atomo its far more breathable and less structured (no heel counter for example) upper has more difficulty keeping up with the fast paces the shoe is capable of than the Atomo’s. There is plenty of cushion from a combination of an EVA and a PEBA insert and and excellent TPU beads insole but the whole package isn’t quite as consistent feeling as Atomo if nicely stable underfoot (less so from the upper). I wouldn’t daily train in it as a single shoe for that purpose as I would reach for the Atomo but as with Scott I would reach for it for faster long efforts or even races before the lighter Atomo due to the greater drop and more aggressive rocker profile.

Scott Pursuit  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Atomo and Pursuit have similar length, but the Atomo toebox feels a little lower. The Atomo is more cushioned, and has noticeably more springy ride, while the Pursuit has a firmer but more rockered ride to it. For easy runs, the Atomo would be the better choice, but if you plan to do some faster tempo runs, then the Pursuit would be a better option. 

Sam: Agree with Derek, the Scott has a more pronounced rocker ride (and 3mm more drop) and favors faster paces than the Atomo while interestingly the Atomo upper due to its security would actually better suit the Pursuit whose upper is not the most secure or structured. This said I raced a half in the Scott but likely wouldn’t the Atomo.

Saucony Endorphin Shift  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Shift v1 upper and the Atomo have very similar uppers. Both relatively plush and somewhat lower in volume in the midfoot. Shift’s toebox is still slightly higher volume than the Atomo for me. The Shift’s ride is much more rockered, with a firmer heel and springy forefoot (which requires some breaking in to reveal itself), and really doesn’t feel like its official 4mm drop at all. Much like how a Nike Tempo Next% doesn’t feel like its 4mm drop. The Atomo has a more traditional ride, softer in the heel and just about the same under the forefoot as the Shift, but with more flex through the toebox. Shift, while noticeably heavier, feels easier to pick up the pace in than Atomo, while Atomo feels more at home at slower paces. I think I prefer the Shift overall for versatility, but the Atomo is definitely the better and more forgiving shoe for easy runs and recovery runs. 

Sam: Both excellent choices for me in super stacked shoes that can pick up the pace with the Shift, despite its considerably heavier weight, more effective in that respect while Atomo has a wider pace range for me but leans more towards moderate paces.  The Speed Roll front rocker is far more noticed in the Shift and remains in play miles in and the secret to its propulsive effect.  The similar more gentle front rocker of the Atomo is felt when the shoe is new and  when walking but fades in sensation as the shoe gains some flexibility whereas the Shift will continue rigid and with the Speed Roll.  The Shift completely isolates you from the ground with 3mm more heel stack and 4mm forefoot stack but with less rebound effect than Atomo and at 1.7 oz more noticeable weight.  

Michael: Really, really close call. I think I’d take the Saucony - they’re just a little faster, without sacrificing much else. I’m keen to see what Saucony does for its next evolution of this shoe (I hope darn near nothing, as with v2) because the Diadora is right on its heel.

FuelCell Rebel 2  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Both shoes are similar in terms of volume, but Atomo is marginally shorter. Both shoes offer excellent lockdown, though Atomo’s upper is more structured and traditional-feeling. Ride-wise, they are quite different. Rebel 2 is very bouncy especially at the heel, but tends to bottom out a little under the balls of the feet. Atomo is more traditional in terms of transition and underfoot feel. Rebel 2 is by now quite well known for poor outsole durability, and I am fairly confident that the Atomo has superior outsole durability. Purely from a ride perspective, i think Rebel 2 is the more fun shoe to run in. 

Peter: The Rebel V2 is way more fun to run in. So bouncy and so fun. I think if you’re a heavier runner or need some more stability you might be happier in the Atomo. 

Puma Magnify Nitro  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Magnify has a 10mm drop and slightly higher heel stack than the Atomo. Both shoes are surprisingly very similar in terms of fit volume, except at the toebox where the Magnify is somewhat more relaxed. The Magnify has a more springy midsole and a more built up outsole, but all this comes at a 2oz weight penalty compared to the Atomo. Both shoes are best suited for easy runs and recovery runs for me. Despite the heavier weight, I find the Magnify easier to pick up the pace in, because it has a snappier transition and a more traditional 10mm drop. Overall, I think the Magnify is a more forgiving and versatile shoe. 

Sam: I find the Magnify more plodding and flatter than Atomo. I agree it is more forgiving (but not by much)  but the weight penalty despite the livelier midsole relegates it to easier runs for me. A closer comparison for me is the Velocity Nitro.

Adizero Boston 10 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. The Boston fits marginally longer and wider for me. The Boston’s upper is also thinner and somewhat stiffer with less of a padded feel. They are quite different for me in terms of ride. The Boston is closer to the Endorphin Shift, with a firm heel and springy forefoot and very effective forefoot rocker. The Atomo has a more traditional type of transition and a very apparent flatter feeling heel with a low heel-toe drop. I find the Boston to be more cushioned for longer distances, and has a more grippy outsole. Atomo being about 2oz lighter, has the more versatile ride, but a ride that is somewhat less interesting. Overall for training, I think the Atomo will appeal more to the majority of people due to the more forgiving underfoot feel. 

Sam: The Boston 10 is a faster feeling shoe even if heavier. I find it considerably less forgiving and agree with Derek that Atomo is flatter feeling due to its lower drop while at the same time easier to transition due to its more flexible forefoot which is also more forgivingly cushioned.

Beto: I agree with Derek and Sam. The Boston 10 is heavier but feels faster and is more responsive at certain paces, the weight doesn’t feel when cruising the miles even on longer runs. Is not as forgiving as the Equipe Atomo but the flatter platform and lower drop makes for a different type of ride. As it is more flexible thanks to the flex grooves also stable the transition and responsive midsole of the Equipe Atomo feels fast too but not as fast as the Boston 10 which remember it has rods inside that makes the shoe not that flexible but more snappy too.

Brooks Ghost 14 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Ghost has a similar heel feel with a thinner, firmer forefoot likely coming from its greater flexibility and more extensive front rubber coverage. The Ghost toe box is clearly broader with the mesh more forgiving but with clearly less front lockdown. I prefer the Atomo as it is both more cushioned, more stable. The Diadora foam and geometry is more dynamic and any pace smooth due to its combination rocker and flex vs. only flex and despite the higher drop 12mm of the  Ghost vs. 8mm for Atomo. And the Ghost weighs an ounce more and that is noticed as is its price point $65 less for a durable shoe.

Saucony Triumph 19 (RTR Review)

Beto: The Triumph 19 feels like it is in the same category, nice rides to go the distance, nice foot lock downs, durable midsoles and outsoles. The main difference is the ride as the Triumph 19 is more bouncy but a similar firmer/soft ride. The Equipe Atomo has a nice flexible toe off on the run and the Triumph 19 a more bouncy feel. The geometry of both shoes are different which makes the ride different too. Personally I love PWRRUN+ but the DD Anima feels amazing on the run not as bouncy but still responsive and stable and it is a far lighter shoe.

Watch the Diadora Equipe Atomo Video Review (14:09)

Tester Profiles

Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years.

Beto Hughes Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico 

31 yrs old, Height: 5’10,, Weight: 195lbs

I started running in 2016 and training to lose weight. I used to weigh 295 lbs and between running and Crossfit began my love for the fitness life and for running. I am now aiming to be a Boston Qualifier.

Weekly mileage: 60 - 75 miles on Road 

Favorite distance: Marathon and Half Marathon also Ultra Marathon.

You can follow me on Instagram @betohughes  https://www.instagram.com/betohughes/

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss all-time women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 48 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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1 comment:

Xavier said...

Very interesting shoe! The price may be the only downside but overall the whole package is really impressive and its nice to see another company getting into the mix.

Could this somehow be compared to the Ultra Glide in terms of upper and midsole? For easy terrain of course, not real trails.