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Sneakers in which to scarper in style

When Tod’s created the Gommino moccasin in 1979, a design icon was born. Inspired by an old pair of driving shoes he found in a New York flea market, Tod’s CEO Diego Della Valle had the vision to create a contemporary version in the softest of leathers that would fit like a glove and appeal to a new generation of jet-setters.

Named after the 133 rubber pebbles – gommini – embedded into the sole for better grip on the pedals, the supremely comfortable and quietly stylish Gommino was swiftly adopted by a who’s who of prominent Italians, including Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli. From Italy the casual loafer spread to some of the world’s most influential feet, including those of Princess Diana, Catherine Deneuve, Hillary Clinton, Jack Nicholson and Princess Caroline of Monaco.

The genius of the Gommino is its stealth-wealth definition of luxury – it embodies a subtle ease and elegance rather than anything brash or ostentatious, yet cognoscenti know that the craftsmanship in each pair is among the world’s best. Produced in the small town of Casette d’Ete in the Le Marche region of central Italy, each shoe requires 35 pieces of leather and more than 100 production steps.

On the foundation of his moccasin empire Della Valle has amassed a fortune that in 2010 allowed him to commit €25 million ($37.6 million) to restore the Colosseum in Rome, one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions.

From the humble driving shoe, the Italian luxury company (tods.com) has gradually expanded into accessories and ready-to-wear. Among its new-season must-haves are these Scarpe gommino sneakers, available in various leathers and brushed suede, from around $600 to $670.

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