The history of Ropar

A simple invention can change history. The boldness of creating without constraints transforms the impossible into reality. In this way projects are born that make their mark on the world stage.

Ropar SA appeared on the market in 1966, with a distinctive product that quickly won over thousands of consumers around the world with its universal language of comfort.

The company, which owns the Arcopédico brand, was launched after years of work, thousands of hours of research and hundreds of tests, by the Italian scientist Elio Parodi. A born inventor who revolutionized the global story of comfort footwear.

Even today my father's time has still not arrived. It will come later. He often had ideas, but he found himself always overtaken by time. In the end he was always 50 years ahead of the story.

Enrico Parodi, founder's son and CEO of Ropar SA

Elio Parodi was born in 1914, in Italy. He studied Biological Medicine and Mechanical Engineering; he was a man with an immense thirst for knowledge and understanding. Proof of this is found in the numerous inventions that fill his vast curriculum. One of his most successful creations is called ARCOPEDICO®.

It was his participation in the Universal Congress of Podiatry in Örebro, Sweden, which opened the door to a world of discovery and achievement. After the congress there followed months of study to support a conviction: the arch of the foot is the central pillar of the spine and therefore should be supported.

It was the patent of an orthopedic sole with the correct support for the foot arch, embodied in two lengthwise support structures, which impelled the foundation of Ropar. The Arcopédico brand mirrors the premise of its creator: he developed a sole that best supports the foot arch, which is the central pillar of the spine. The ambition of the scientist was to develop a shoe where comfort was 100% proven. The first major step was already taken.

The term "to dress the foot" became inseparable from the brand, given that the uppers of the first Arcopédico shoes were knitted.

For 20 years, the model with an upper of nylon mesh was the only one to be produced at the plant in Vila do Conde, but in 1985 the company decided to risk the launch of new models.

The diversity of models served as an impetus for an export-oriented brand that was soon to fly to distant markets and make the world its home.

Inside the doors of Ropar there are no borders or cultural differences. The world is embraced as a single country, where all the steps converge on the same path: to innovate and be always ahead of the game to win more consumers worldwide.


1966- Universal Congress of Podiatry in Örebro, Sweden,
1966- Elio Parodi performs tests on soles and the functionality of mesh for the foot
1966- Creation of the brand ARCOPEDICO®
1967 – Issuing of world patent No. 47707, based on the foot arch support
1968 – Elio's wife, Maria de Lurdes Parodi, takes leadership of the direct sales team
1980 - Enrico Parodi becomes Ropar's director of sales
1980 - Internationalization of company, with the 1st participation in international fairs
2009 – Opening of the 1st ARCOPEDICO® shop in Lisbon
2010 - Elio Parodi, grandson of the founder, joins the company's management
2015 - Company prepares launch of a new patent
2016- Company celebrates 50 years of existence, in a special event at the Micam fair, Milan, September '16

The brand: A'RCOPEDICO

The first line of footwear from Arcopédico, has existed for almost half a century and annually sells 50,000 pairs. The Classic Line is a line of shoes of techno stretch mesh, knitted with volume control allowing correct blood circulation and with an orthopedic sole. In total, this line has sold 20 million pairs worldwide after its humble beginnings being sold in cafes by the wife of the founder, Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues Parodi.

An enthusiastic and determined woman, she soon realized that the key to sales was to convince customers to try on the shoes and experience the sensation of comfort.

"I had to convince people that were in the cafes to put on the Arcopédico shoes. People had to experience the sensation. When I convinced them to put the shoes on, I knew I would be able to sell them"

Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues Parodi, President and co-founder of the brand

Ropar currently produces 600,000 pairs of shoes per year, with annual sales of €13 million in 51 markets on 5 continents. It owns five distinct footwear lines, but the original one, Classic Line, remains the worldwide sales success story.

After Elio Parodi's invention and his subsequent passing, the soul of the company was carried forward by his descendants. The second generation of Ropar have taken on the inventive legacy of its founder. Enrico Parodi assumed the company's leadership in 1982. From his father he inherited the internationalist soul, the vision of the world as a whole and his irreverence, always wanting to be one step ahead of the game. Continuing the innovative genesis that guided its creation, Ropar, produced in 1999 the first models in leather, but the most recent success is the Lytech® line.

This shoe has an upper developed with ecological materials, environmentally friendly and with an elasticity that provides a unique comfort to the foot. This line is aimed at the more fashion conscious, without forgetting the comfort component.

Ropar is at the forefront of innovation, it is part of the brand's DNA, and it has just created a new line of research: the health sector.

It's new footwear brand, Ortomedical, is specifically targeted at sensitive feet affected by structural changes and is also suitable for the specific case of diabetic foot.

On the commercial side, the brand has three of its own shops in Portugal and another four in Spain.

Present: A permanent way to look to the future

After 50 years of innovation in the Portuguese footwear industry, Ropar continues to seek new technological solutions for comfort. The irreverent legacy of the founder, Elio Parodi, leads the company to thread every day in unknown ways to ensure the pursuit of innovation. Besides being a brand without borders, a business of the world, it is in Ropar's make-up to be permanently searching. To always be ahead in the market and in time is the mission of company.

"It's part of our DNA that we continue to strive to improve, innovate and seek out something better for the consumer"

Elio Parodi, Executive Diretor of Ropar

50 years after the launch of the first patent, the group still returns to the laboratory in search of new technological footwear solutions.

The Star Shoes Project has a audacious spirit. This is a pioneering project that challenged 2,600 consumers around the world to participate in an unprecedented study. Fifty years after their opening, Ropar wants to become familiar with the soles of the feet of the great majority of the world's population. To this end, it invited customers in 19 countries to leave their foot imprints in phenolic foam boxes, so as to integrate them into a database of feet from around the world. The objective of this project is to get to know feet on a global scale.

To ensure accuracy in the steps of this project, Ropar entered into a scientific partnership with the Institute for Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Porto. In Labiomep new mechanical and biomechanical paradigms for footwear are analyzed and evaluated through hundreds of tests, such as, the plantar distribution of A'RCOPEDICO shoes and biomechanical testing of gait and posture. The results of the investigations will be the subject of the new Ropar Group patent.

The future of Ropar is reaching out in the search of technological innovations. At Ropar targets are drawn up without set times but always with a scheduled arrival place: the world.

A'RCOPEDICO, the mark where comfort is 100% scientifically proven.