History of Castelli

Our roots are in a fine Milanese tailor’s shop in 1876 and we have been creating performance cycling clothing since 1910. Since then, we been a prominent presence within the pro peloton and have gradually changed its face with a host of innovative firsts, beginning with the first ever Lycra® cycling shorts.


1876 / Vittore Gianni founds a sports knitwear shop

From our origins as a small tailor’s shop in the heart of Milan, we have crafted sportswear. Vittore Gianni counted AC Milan, Juventus F.C. and Milan Ballet troupe among his customers.


1910 / We branch out into cycling gear

Our first prominent cyclist customer was Alfredo Binda, who would go on to be crowned World Champion three times and win the Giro d’Italia a record breaking five times.


1935 / Armando Castelli starts work at Vittore Gianni

An ambitious young tailor and sports enthusiast, Armando Castelli joined the staff of the tailor’s and by 1939 had bought out Vittore Gianni.


1945 / Castelli shifts the shop’s focus towards cycling gea

Castelli retained Gianni’s clients, including cycling heroes Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, with the latter appointing him as his personal tailor. Soon Castelli was supplying a few pro teams too.


1948 / Maurizio Castelli is born

Maurizio Castelli, Armando’s son, grew up rubbing shoulders with the cycling pros frequenting his father’s shop and started avidly following their races from a young age, especially Coppi’s.


1953 / Going pro

Maurizio was a gifted junior cyclist, but a broken hip ended his pro dreams. No matter – he had Raphael Gimignani, Louison Bobet, Rik Van Looy, Jacques Anquetil and 12 pro teams to clothe.


1974 / Castelli is founded

Maurizo formed Castelli so that he could innovate and move away from traditional methods. The scorpion was born.


1977 / Innovating the industry

Maurizio Castelli’s first idea was using Lycra®, an aerodynamic material previously only used in ski outfits, for cycling shorts. This fashion soon had cyclists lining up outside the factory.


1979 / A recognised pioneer

With the look of the peloton changed forever, we won the prestigious Corriere dello Sport Discobolo award for revolutionising clothing for cyclists in a futuristic way.


1981 / Raising brand awareness

The next innovation was coloured cycling shorts, in a peloton where black ruled. Our riders sparked a media frenzy by whipping off their leggings at the start line to reveal turquoise shorts.


1983 / Sublimation print and windproof jerseys

The firsts continued. Bernard Hinault wore the first windproof jersey to win La Flèche Wallonne classic, while printing sponsors’ names and logos on fabric changed the peloton’s look again.


1984 / Thermal cycling clothing

At the Spring Classics, frigid weather frequently proves to be an obstacle. That’s why Paris Roubaix was perfect for debuting the first functional thermal clothing with Francesco Moser.


1989 / Sweeping the Grand Tours

By the late 90s, we had become a household name, respected within the industry. Around this time, we became the supplier of leader jerseys to the Giro, Le Tour and a dozen pro teams.


1995 / A sad day

Maurizio Castelli suddenly died of a heart attack while riding up the Cipressa, the famed Milan – San Remo ascent.


1996 / Designing for women

The innovations continued, with the first women’s collection and the first fully aerodynamic skinsuit being worn by Team Italy at the Atlanta Olympics. Paola Pezzo won gold in the MTB.


1998 / Wicking treatment and a modern seat pad

We launched the first wicking fabric treatment, Prosecco, on the jerseys of Team Once with Abraham Olano. We also designed the first modern anatomic bib short seat pad, the Y-cut pad.


2007 / Innovation on innovation

We released the first Aero Race Jersey, the first aero bib shorts and the lightest cycling jersey the industry has seen. Our Giro elastic band came out, making cycling shorts more comfortable.


2008 / Getting warmer with Radiation

The new ‘Radiation’ insulating system used riders’ body heat to help keep them warmer on cold winter rides. We used it to make our jackets cosier without added bulk.


2009 / Even better bib shorts

We brought out Body Paint, a single piece of seamless fabric that integrated most of the components you expect from bib shorts. From then on, they were much more comfortable.


2010 / Enter the mighty Gabba

Designed with input from Cervelo-TestTeam, the aero cut Gabba featured Nano Flex breathable but water shedding fabrics. It was the first, much imitated, foul weather racing and riding jacket.


2011 / First skinsuit for road racing

Johan Van Summeren tasted victory at Paris-Roubaix wearing our new Sanremo Speed Suit, made to pair aerodynamics with comfort, so that it was useful for more than just time trialling.


2012 / A pure time trial suit

We engineered one of the most sophisticated time trial suits ever made, the Body Paint 3.0 speed suit. It helped Ryder Hesjedal to win the Giro d’Italia by just 16 seconds overall.