Polegato, the father of the Geox shoe

Few Geox shoe wearers will ask themselves how these popular shoes came about, but the holes that made them world famous have a whole history behind them. Make way for the wonderful story of Mario Moretti Polegato.

The emergence

How the Geox shoe came into existence is a legendary story that Polegato tells everywhere he is a guest. How exactly does it work? Polegato graduated as an agricultural engineer and vinologist (specialized in viticulture). Not surprising as the son of wine merchants in Montebelluna , a rural community close to Venice. While staying in Reno, Nevada, USA for a wine conference, he went jogging in the mountains one morning and felt too hot on his feet. Smart as he was, he carved two holes in the sole of the shoe with a pocket knife so that his feet could get some relief. The next time he went for a walk it was raining and he returned with soaked feet. The idea itself was fine, but a solution had to be found to be able to exercise in all weather conditions. Years of thinking and searching resulted in the Geox concept, its own version of a system developed by NASA for spacesuits: a membrane was placed at the location of the holes that allows sweat droplets to pass through on one side but not raindrops on the other. , because sweat droplets are 700 times smaller. He immediately applied for a patent on his system so that others would not run with his idea. Since then, you can view the world-famous white Nike shoe with a large hole in the sole under an illuminated glass dome in the hall of the headquarters in Montebelluna .

The development of a global company

Although he had come up with a brilliant concept, top brands were not queuing up to include it in their range. He offered it to Nike , Adidas and Puma , but no one appeared interested, forcing Polegato to take production in-house. He founded Geox with five employees. The name comes from the Greek geo which means earth, the ground on which we step and the x symbolizes technology. Polegato surrounded himself with specialists from the shoe industry because he was a vinologist himself and started developing children’s shoes because he knew that parents always want the best for their children. When his collection proved to be successful, he also started a collection for adults. The children’s enthusiasm was transferred to the adults and the company, founded only in 1995, became a billion-dollar company. Polegato did not want to put expensive shoes on the market and decided for a mid-price offering because he wanted to keep revolutionary shoes available to everyone. The concept of the anti-sweat sole was a hit. Polegato is now one of the richest men in Italy. The company now has 30,000 employees worldwide and you can find well-functioning stores in almost all world cities. In 2008 it sold 22 million pairs of shoes. The steamy sole became Geox’s advertising image with the Italian slogan La scarpa che respira (the shoe that breathes). Because there is always room for improvement, more fashionable models have been introduced to the market so that ladies can now also buy shoes with stilettos or boots or ballerinas.

Breathable clothing line

Now that the shoe industry had been conquered, the company entered the clothing market in 2007. The CEO also wanted to achieve success here with the production of jackets. The principle is simple: the jackets appear to be ordinary jackets designed by a couturier, but there is a subtle, open piping along the shoulder seam. This contains the membrane that ensures that the jacket breathes. The moist air that can be created by perspiration is evacuated there.


Not so long ago, Geox also started producing sports shoes. Not surprising in itself, considering the origins of the Geox shoe. The first sports shoes are golf and running shoes. Unlike traditional sports brands, Polegato sticks to the concept of holes in the sole. In 2009 he bought the loss-making Diadora , which offers him more opportunities in this market.

Graduating in Geox

The Geox school was founded in 2001. Here students can follow a master’s program that prepares them for a career at Geox. However, Polegato sets high standards for the prospective students. Of the 3,000 applications that come in annually, he retains an average of ten to fifteen who can fully commit to ultimately mastering the Geox philosophy.

The breathing store

On February 25, 2010, a new stunt by the shoe guru followed: during Fashion Week in Milan, the Breathing Building (the building that breathes) was opened in the center of Milan. It is the largest Geox store in the world. 734 gold, bronze and copper-colored panels were attached to the facade of the building, which can be moved by computer control and can therefore be tailored to internal climate needs. The panels have small holes that allow light to pass through, which perfectly reflects the unique Geox concept. In the meantime, Mario Moretti Polegato has been proclaimed Entrepreneur of the Year several times, has been on the cover of internationally renowned magazines and has met the greats such as Shimon Peres, Bill Gates and Pope Benedict. Although he lives in a spacious villa and drives the most expensive and luxurious cars, he continues to travel around the world in his private jet and promote his unique concept.