OUR BRAND PURPOSE

TO INSPIRE EVERYONE
TO FIND COMMON
GROUND, AS WE HAVE
SINCE 1935.

Close up of an 85 Sperry shoe.

THE STORY OF AN ICONIC
AMERICAN BRAND

Close up of an 85 Sperry shoe.

1934
MAN OVERBOARD!

When Sperry falls off the deck of his sailboat, he sets out to design a non-slip boat shoe.

When Sperry falls off the deck of his sailboat, he
sets out to design a non-slip boat shoe.

The Original Shoe carved with a penknife by Mr. Paul A. Sperry in 1935.

1935
THE MOTHER OF
INVENTION

Inspired by his dog’s grooved paws, which never
seemed to slip, Sperry carves grooves into a
rubber sole and glues it to a canvas upper.

Inspired by his dog’s grooved paws, which never
seemed to slip, Sperry carves grooves into a
rubber sole and glues it to a canvas upper.



“A WET DECK WAS
SUCH A DAMN
DANGEROUS THING.”

- PAUL SPERRY

1935
THE PROTOTYPE

Sperry manufactures ths Circular Vamp Oxford,
or CVO, with rubber soles which featured
herringbone patterned grooves.

A shoe illustration showing the original Sperry prototype in black and white.

FELLOW
YACHTSMAN GET
ON BOARD

Members of the Cruising Club of America place orders.

1936
A Friend
REACHES OUT

Paul receives a huge order from Abercrombie & Fitch.

You always know where you stand. Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

1936
A Friend REACHES OUT

Paul receives a huge order from
Abercrombie & Fitch.

1937
THE TOP-SIDER

Sperry follows his original deck shoe—featuring
a canvas upper and a rubber sole with the development
of a leather version. The same construction is used
today in the iconic shoe known as the Authentic Original
Top-Sider, or A/O—the shoe now synonymous with the term boat shoe.

1937
AN UNEXPECTED PARTNER

Sperry strikes a deal with a rubber company in Boston (Converse) to produce blank soles to which he would apply the siping himself,
using a machine of his own unique design.

1939
PATENTED

November 14, 1939: Sperry receives United
States patent 117585 for his non-skid sole.

1940
WAR EFFORT

The United States War Department names Sperry Top-Sider as one of the official shoes of the Navy and negotiates the right to
manufacture the shoes for its sailors. It becomes the official footwear of the casual uniform of the United States Naval Academy.

Top-Sider
Sailors refer
to the upper
deck of a ship
as “topside,” so
it's a fitting
moniker for
shoes that
allow them to
stay “topside”
without
slipping
overboard.


1946
NOT JUST FOR SAILING ANYMORE

With the war coming to an end, the armed services cut back on their orders, and Top-Siders become available for civilian use once
again. New styles come into being and the Top-Sider came ashore for leisure, tennis court and industrial wear.

1960s
ICONIC

The canvas CVO carves out a niche for itself
both as a tennis shoe and a fashionable
accessory for the surfer look. They become a
favorite of style icons like JFK, Lauren
Hutton and Paul Newman.

1968
LAUNCHING
A TREND

Newport Daily News reports that Sperrys
started catching on “as a fad item,” starting
in New Bedford, CT.

“Then kids from
New England
took the shoes
to other
schools and
it spread."

- NEWPORT DAILY NEWS

1969
A BEAUTIFUL DAY

Mister Rogers starts every episode of his
show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” by
changing into the navy blue Captain’s CVO.

1975
BLOCKBUSTER
STYLE

Sperrys are worn by marine biologist
Matt Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfus
in the blockbuster film Jaws.

1977
AN ICONIC IMAGE

Paul Sperry is honored at the New York Yacht Club luncheon and is presented with an oil painting of himself as a 1930s yachtsman,
holding the boat shoes he invented.

1980
PREPPY STYLE

Lisa Birnbach’s The Official Preppy Handbook solidifies Sperry’s iconic status in American style. She writes, “The classic sailing shoe,
now widely imitated. Sperry’s shoe has razor thin ripple cuts in the sole that give it terrific traction on wet decks.”

“WHEN THEY’RE LOOKING TO SEE IF
YOU’RE PREP, THE FIRST THING THEY
LOOK AT IS YOUR SHOES"

- THE OFFICIAL PREPPY HANDBOOK

1982
FAREWELL

Paul Sperry passes away at age 87, proving what he had demonstrated so many times over the years—that he was
one tough dedicated sea dog.

1985
50 YEARS OF
SPERRY

Sperry celebrates its 50th anniversary,
and launches the TS-50, created especially
for top performance with special oil styled
leathers, foam inserts and a uniquely
designed bottom for better traction on
wet surfaces.

1987
CHAMPION OF
THE SEAS

Dennis Conner wins the America’s Cup
and becomes a Sperry spokesperson.

2008
COLLABS LAUNCH

Sperry has a long history of partnering with culturally relevant brands, retailers and style setters
for fresh takes on our iconic shoes.

  • 2008
    BAND OF OUTSIDERS

  • 2009
    J. CREW

  • 2010
    JEFFREY NEW YORK

  • 2012
    BARNEYS NEW YORK

  • 2012
    MILLY

  • 2016
    JAWS

  • 2018
    NOAH NYC

  • 2018
    ROWING BLAZERS

  • 2019
    GOOP

2010
75 YEARS OF SPERRY

Sperry releases a 75th anniversary limited edition CVO.

2013
SEA PROJECT BOOK

Sperry launches The Sea Project, a book of images all taken by Sperry fans.

2015
80 YEARS OF
SPERRY

Sperry announces that in celebration of their
80th anniversary, the company would send 80 influencers,
innovators, and athletes on adventures around the world.

2018
SPERRY CLOUD

Sperry introduces the Cloud
collection—a celebration of the
brand’s iconic silhouettes—A/O,
CVO and Captain’s Oxford.

2019
GOING
SUSTAINABLE

Sperry works with NGO Waterkeeper
Alliance to launch an on-going sustainability
platform, and a collection of shoes for men,
women and kids, made with BIONIC®
material, spun from plastic recovered from
marine and coastal environments.

2020
85 YEARS OF
SPERRY

Sperry celebrates 85 years of iconic style
and true innovation.

Discover Sperry’s History & Current Events

From the world's first boat shoe to today's contemporary styles that remain true to our heritage, Sperry exists for those drawn to the sun, surf and soul of the ocean. Learn more about Sperry and find the perfect fit for your style in our classic collections.