Sports shoe company. It is said that it was John Charles, a center-forward for Juventus in the 1950s, who referred to a handmade sports shoe as a pantofolo d’oro: “It’s not a shoe, it’s a slipper… a golden slipper.” About ten years earlier, in his small shoemakers’ workshop in Ascoli Piceno, which had belonged to his father and before that to his grandfather since 1886, Emidio Lazzarini had invented a shoe that perfectly fitted the sportsman’s foot. First used by wrestlers, then by the local football team Ascoli Calcio, the secret of the Pantofola d’oro was its calf-leather sole, so supple that it could be bent in half with the lightest of pressure. They were ideal for the feet of the Brazilian Garrincha, who suffered from a congenital deformity, but who, thanks to a pair of Pantofola d’oro, was able to play for his country in the 1958 World Cup. Also, the Russian giant Yascin, who wore a size 47. Their true consecration came in the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to champions like the footballer Johann Cruyff and cyclist Francesco Moser. The expansion of the footwear industry and of big international brands present a company of craftsmen like that of Lazzarini with a challenge to which they can only respond by offering the highest quality. These days Pantofola d’oro make luxury sports shoes for football, five-a-side, and free time, still using the patented sole made from 18 different components, and the upper, which is shaped for at least two days. Their products are sold through about 200 shops in 40 countries worldwide, with the main outlets being in France and England. They have distributors in Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iceland.