Geox, the international purveyors of innovative footwear recently opened its latest retail outlet on the Third Street Promenade, and in attendance this week was founder and chairman Mario Moretti Polegato. The Mirror spent some time with Mr. Polegato to discover the secret behind the phenomenal success of Geox shoes, now available in 68 countries.
“Our shoes feature a unique patented rubber sole that utilizes a semi-permeable membrane that allows 99 percent of foot moisture to dissipate, but also prevents any water from entering, and that, combined with the fact that we produce affordable Italian designs in a variety of fashionable styles for men, women and children, means that once people have experienced the benefits of Geox they become used to the increased comfort,” said Mr. Polegato.
So, where did the idea for these ventilated soles come from? “I was once on a trip to Reno in Nevada to promote our family wine business at a conference, and I was out walking and my feet became very wet and uncomfortable because of the heat, so I pierced the soles with a knife and discovered that my feet became cooler and dryer,” Mr. Polegato explained.
Mr. Polegato returned to his home in Italy, refined the idea, shrewdly patented the membrane technology and set about pitching his invention to established footwear companies. Success proved elusive however, so Polegato established his own full-scale production enterprise. Now 13 years later, Geox (a combination of the Greek word geo, meaning Earth, and the symbol for technology, X) is the second largest footwear company in the world, with an impressive international presence that includes 60 stores in Russia and 140 in China.
When asked if he had any concerns about a slowing U.S. economy Mr. Polegato cited the global presence of Geox as a safeguard against such problems. “Not all of the economies slow at the same time,” he stated. Mr. Polegato continued to emphasize the importance of California in Geox’s international plans. “We are only in phase 1 of our North American expansion,” he shared, “and Santa Monica, with its good climate is the perfect place for us, people here want to feel comfortable and our products help them to do that.”
Mr. Polegato was very proud to explain to the Mirror that Geox is expanding it’s patented breathable fabric technology to an extended range of jackets. “If you put your hand between your shirt and a jacket on a warm day you will notice that there is always a damp area caused by sweat; with the breathable technology applied to the top part of the garments this problem will be reduced considerably,” he explained.
Mr. Polegato shared that he thoroughly enjoys visiting Santa Monica, and is very proud to include a Geox store in the city.Geox is located at 1425-1427 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. 310.584.6000