Thursday, April 04, 2024

Diadora Cellula Review: 5 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum

Diadora Cellula ($170)


Sam: The Cellula is the easier paces daily training model in the 2024 Diadora line up. It joins the flexible, lower stack bouncy supercritical foam Frequenza uptempo “fun” shoe (RTR Review)  and the full on long race Gara Carbon (RTR Review). All three are distinct in ride characteristics and purpose making for what I think is a superb rotation.

Left to Right: Diadora Cellula, Diadora Frequenza, Diadora Gara Carbon

The Cellula is the big cushion trainer with a moderately high 33 mm heel and 28mm forefoot on a broad 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot platform so it doesn't reach the stratospheric heights and often stiffness and lumbering rides of shoes such as ASICS GEL-Nimbus, Saucony Kinvara Pro, New Balance SC Trainer, or max extreme Adizero Prime X Strung.  This is a good thing as far as I am concerned as the weight remains below 10 oz for a US9 and the ride is stable, smooth and quite flexible (more stack height leads to more stiffness and requirement for rockers)  with the excellent Anima cushioning, highly protective and very decently reactive.


  • Easy on the legs and lively: dense very vibration absorbing  yet also forgiving and quick rebounding Anima foam: Sam
  • Very versatile: from daily training to recovery runs with decent stability: Sam
  • Plenty of “neutral shoe” stability from broad platform and foam with zero gimmicks  : Sam
  • Fun Italian styling, superb quality: Sam
  • True to size fit for all but very broad forefoot: Sam


  • Priced at the upper end of its class but you get what you pay for here: Sam
  • Traction on anything other than “clean” wet or dry pavement is below average: Sam

Most comparable shoes (see comparisons at the end of the article)

Saucony Ride 17


Hylo Impact

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

Brooks Glycerin


Weight:    men's 9.8 oz  / 277g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)

Samples: men’s  9.56 oz / 271g US8.5

Stack Height: men’s 33 mm heel / 28 mm forefoot ( 5mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot

$170. Available now

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Diadora styling is always classy and colorful and the Cellula for sure is no exception!

The upper is what I would call a sandwich mesh with an outer non stretch layer and an inner well perforated liner with large holes for ventilation. The overlays and toe bumper are a pliable suede like material as seen on other Diadora. Given they are a light cream like color, and they have some texture, they do tend to pick up some dirt.

The rear of the shoe: heel counter, achilles area and ankle collars are notable. The heel counter is very rigid with the inner lining padded and extensive running all the way to the last lace area. The textured grid pattern of the entire rear lining of the shoe holds the foot very well with no heel slip and plenty of moderate but not overdone padding. 

We have an orange overlay running from the lace up backwards to draw the foot back and into the heel counter, a key design feature when the rest of an upper is quite unstructured as here. The whole rear system works very well insuring plenty of  hold rear landing stability yet at the same time and surprisingly not feeling overly rigid

The tongue follows the suede overlays motif and is unpadded and has no gusset, with none needed as I am held secure and comfortably. 

I note an extended medial front of mid foot overlay which is a smart move given no gusset providing a touch of support as the foot moves to toe off.

The toe box is quite wide and pliable with good vertical volume. My narrower to medium fit just right and are well held at my US8.5 at my true to size.

Midsole & Platform

The Anima single density midsole is  Diadora’s Anima foam, an EVA blend first seen in the entirely made in Italy V7000 (RTR Review).The Cellula is lower stack than the V7000  but higher stack and lower drop than the new Frequenza (RTR Review) which features a supercritical Anima N2 midsole. 

It is plentifully cushioned with a 33 mm heel and 28mm forefoot on a broad 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot. I am liking the latest trend of moderating stack heights and going with broad platforms. 

Here the Anima foam in combination with the platform delivers great vibration absorption, quick if on the dense side rebound and plenty of reasonable softness. 

I would describe the flexible platform and its foam as stable, fun, consistent. easy enough to turn over due to its long decent flex  and reliable for any pace run. 

At sub 10 oz, the weight is reasonable. So we have a near “max” training platform which in combination with the upper delivers a dynamic quite plush riding shoe that does not go to crazy unstable heights (Prime X), awkward stiff geometries (Nimbus 26) , or over soft and sloppy riding if “exciting” foams (Fresh Foam 1080, Invincible Run 1 and 2).  


The outsole is fairly conventional for a shoe in this category. Grip on dry and wet pavement and hard pack gravel/stone dust has been good. Grip on gritty sand over pavement is below average due to the lack of profiling of the outsole. More profile could make the shoe a really fine light trails option due to its stability.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: The ride is soft and forgiving with noted rebound that is quick and doesn’t lag due to its flexibility  or have the shoe feeling mushy or on the way to bottoming out  or feeling back weighted even at slower casual paces, for me around 10-11 minute miles

Given the 28mm front height and 5mm drop,  the long relatively easy flex makes the Cellula very easy to run at slower paces, often not the case with higher front stack shoes and low drops. The sweet spot for the shoe is daily training paces and recovery type runs. While not a support type shoe its wide platform and very solid rear hold make it decently stable. I have frequently reached for them the last month even when other pressing and more aggressive riding review shoes were calling for its agreeable, pleasant and quite dynamic ride. 

There are really loose ends here. The upper is secure and comfortable and doesn’t resort to excessive stretch, the ride and cushioning all purpose and fun, the styling and quality top notch. I do think a touch firmer, more extensive and more profiled (for traction) front rubber might increase the response at faster paces off the front  of what is a big stack plateless shoe. 

If you are seeking a neutral high stack daily trainer with lively manners for all but your faster days, the Cellula is in my view a top 2024 choice as are its stable mates the uptempo Frequenza and long race carbon plated Gara Carbon. All get big smiles from me.  

Sam’s Score: 9.4 /10 

Deductions: -0.2 for more front response/snap , -0.2 for improved outsole traction, -0.2 for pricing)


5 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE Roadtrailrun 

Diadora Cellula

Weight: men's 9.8 oz  / 277g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)

Stack Height: men’s 33 mm heel / 28 mm forefoot ( 5mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot

$170. Available now

Saucony Ride 17 (RTR Review)

Very similar shoes weighing almost the same with Ride as an 8mm drop having 2mm more heel and 1mm more forefoot height. The Ride 17 moved to expanded TPU beads foam and as such has a slightly softer bouncier ride than the Cellula but one that is not as decisive and quick in rebound compared to the Diadora. Its upper is similar in volume and true to size for me but not as polished and secure. I prefer the Diadora here as a well cushioned all around daily trainer.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25/26 (RTR Review)

More massively stack at over 40mm at the heel and forefoot  the Nimbus clearly is more cushioned with its foam feel similar. It sits on a considerably broader platform which at the heel is a big 14mm wider and this is felt  as is its weight which is 0.8 oz more than the Cellula.  The heel feels blocky and cumbersome, if more stable than the Diadora there and  especially at slower paces and the 33.5 mm of stack upfront makes it less flexible. It’s just too much of everything for me and more lumbering.  A closer comparison might on the surface be the new Cumulus 26 (RTR Review) but I found it quite stiff and firm (due to its midsole as outsole)  and more of an uptempo daily trainer option than the more mellow Cellula.

Hylo Impact (RTR Review)

An interesting comparison. The extensively bio based Impact has a soft and very energetic supercritical foam midsole. Somewhat lower stack and slightly lighter, the very flexible  Impact is super fun to run. It's castor beans based  upper is not quite as secure and is more comfort oriented but gets the job done. The Diadora is a steadier option, especially for a heavier runner, but the Impact is more fun.  And at $5 less you get a shoe that is 40% bio based with zero performance penalty. 

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v13 (RTR Review)

The latest 1080 is all about “comfort” with a soft midsole and a soft stretch and not very secure upper. The Diadora outperforms it as a running shoe top to bottom while being nearly as soft and with a considerably more secure upper. Combining a soft midsole with a stretchy not very structured or secure upper just doesn’t work for me. Clear preference for the Diadora here in the category of forgiving highly cushioned daily trainers

Brooks Glycerin 21 (RTR Review)

While the underfoot supercritical DNA Loft v3 foam is forgiving and energetic and even more so than the Cellula denser EVA blend,  the “regular” upper (a knit lighter more performance oriented Stealthfit upper is also available which I did not test) just doesn’t keep up with the platform. As with the 1080 all out “step in '' comfort does not necessarily translate to run performance. The Glycerin in regular upper weighs over 1 oz more than the Diadora with a slightly higher heel and lower forefoot as it is a 10mm drop shoe compared to the Diadora at 5mm.

The Diadora Cellula is available now at our partners

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2023 was Sam’s 51th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

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