The ‘Golden Slipper’ or ‘Pantofola d’Oro’, is produced in the central Italian town of Ascoli Piceno in the province of Marche, and is to be launched in Japan and South Korea in 2008.
Pantofola d’Oro produces five million pair of football boots a year, with over half the football boot brands’s revenues coming from sales outside of Italy. This year alone Pantofola d’Oro has experienced a 40% rise in sales. With an expansion of its clothing and leisure footwear ranges, the brand estimates it will achieve a turnover of 10 million euros by 2010.
The brand was founded in 1886 when the Lazzarini family opened a cobbler’s workshop in a small street in the heart of Ascoli, Via Vidacilio. During the 1950’s Emidio Lazzarini took over the business from his father. As a wrestler, Lazzarini found the shoes he wore to be uncomfortable and unsuitable for grappling. After deciding to make his own wrestling shoes, word spread that the shoes were much softer and more comfortable than the other shoes on the market. Lazzarini began to produce bespoke wrestling shoes for other wrestlers, before contacting the local football team A.S. Ascoli (now known as Ascoli Calcio 1898), subsequently making customised football boots for the players.
The ‘Golden Slipper’ became renowned for its exceptional softness, allowing the player’s foot room to move, whilst giving outstanding ball control. Emidio Lazzarini’s secret lay in the soft calf-leather he used for the sole plate, rather than the more common heavier leather, and the boot’s ergonomic form, which perfectly followed the contours of the foot.
The Pantafola d’Oro football boot soon attracted a starstudded client base. John Charles, the former Leeds United and Juventus utility player, was an early customer, giving the Lazzarini football boots their name. “These aren’t boots, they’re slippers – golden slippers”. The Italian for ‘golden slipper’ is Pantofola d’Oro.
Newly installed England manager Fabio Capello was one of the many players to have worn Lazzarini’s boots. Others include Garrincha, Johan Cruijff, Jurgen Klinsmann, Roberto Mancini, Marco Van Basten, Dino Zoff and Paolo Di Canio.