Sperry top sider refers to the original boat shoes initially designed in 1935 by sailor Paul Sperry, elder brother to Armstrong Sperry, the famous writer. Like Paul, Armstrong’s books have sailing themes. Paul designed the shoes specifically for wear by boatmen even though they have come to be part of everyday footwear. Men and women, boys and girls included are fond of Sperry brand of shoes not only in the US but across the world as well.
History of Sperry Brand
Design of Sperry brand of shoes literally started after an accident. While sailing on Long Island, Paul slipped and fell overboard before he managed to climb back on board. The reason for his slipping was because of the slippery shoes he wore. It is out of that experience that the idea to design a shoe with non-slippery sole hit him. Luckily, he noticed that his dog had the ability to run down a snow slope with minimal effort, something he attributed to the grooves found on a dog’s paws. Paul immediately set out to create grooved patterns on rubber soles ending u with a shoe that featured canvas on the upper part and rubber sole featuring herringbone pattern grooves.
Sperry top sider shoe instantly became the shoe of choice for boaters. This was until 1939 when US Navy started manufacturing similar shoes for its servicemen after a lengthy negotiation with Paul. With popularity of his shoes growing, Paul eventually sold the brand to US Rubber Company in 1940 before Stride Rite Corporation bought the brand in 1979. The brand has been bought by different companies over the years until 2012 when the brand was eventually bought by Wolverine World Wide with its headquarters in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Modern Sperry Footwear
Although design of the modern Sperry top sider differs from the original design, the brand continues to live on. Modern Sperry shoes are not only everyday footwear; they are the official footwear of the US Sailing team and the US Junior Olympic sailing team.