La Mano Cornuta—“the Horned Hand” in Italian—has been a good luck charm and protection against the Evil Eye for centuries. For Guy’s new design, he brought La Mano Cornuta to the sock liner of the ultra-clean silhouette of the Team Classic. We talked with him about his Italian roots, finding luck and why his new shoe design reminds him of his favorite pasta dish.
Nike SB: Tell me about your family connection to Italy? What part of Italy are they from?
Guy Mariano: My dad was Italian. Salino Gaetano Mariano. He was born in Rhode Island but his parents were from a small town in Northern Italy called Gemona Del Friuli.
SB: Did you have a strong Italian-American upbringing?
GM: I would say the Italian side of my family was the dominant side. From the food we ate to the traditions we held.
SB: Favorite Italian food?
GM: Cacio e pepe. It’s a minimal classic recipe of three simple ingredients: pecorino cheese, pepper, and pasta. Not to sound corny, but it’s like this shoe, it’s a classic Nike silhouette, but made with quality materials, it changes the whole structure, the way it looks, feels, and skates. Super psyched on it.
SB: When did you first learn about the Evil Eye & the Horns?
GM: My dad always used to wear them. He was a proud Italian-American, big on his heritage and traditions. Now me, my wife, and daughter all wear them as part of carrying on those traditions.
SB: Any local LA traditions or superstitions growing up?
GM: I’m not a superstitious type person, but I believe in traditions. We had our go-to Italian bakery and deli, Eagle Rock Bakery. We still go there for every holiday or family gathering. Even after my father passed away my mother took on the Italian tradition of Sunday dinners at home. She would always make sure there was enough food for our family and all my friends.
SB: Have you ever felt like somebody gave you the evil eye?
GM: Not so much an evil eye but some people you could feel their energy and it’s dark. It’s the type of energy this charm protects you from.
SB: What’s the luckiest thing that ever happened to you?
GM: My daughter hands down.
SB: Any skate superstitions? Things you do or have done before trying a new trick or hitting a new spot?
GM: I did say I’m not a superstitious type, but I have had that lucky pair of pants, shirt, or shoes that has given me the good juju that I’ll take out for those battle days. In my opinion, when something is comfortable for me and looks and feels good it personally skates better.
With the Poets’ Bruin, Gino took inspiration from his love of sports growing up and his preference for skating non-traditional shoe styles.
The Nike SB Dojo in Tokyo, Japan opened Saturday, April 6. To christen the park, Ishod Wair, Shane O'Neill, Guy Mariano, Yuto Horigome, Aori Nishimura, Daisuke Ikeda, and others hopped over to the Land of the Rising Sun for a quick demo and signing session.