Sperry is continuing our long-running collaboration with New York-based clothing brand and design studio Rowing Blazers. This time, a new, limited-edition collection of A/O boat shoes.
The Sperry x Rowing Blazers Authentic Original Boat Shoe updates Paul Sperry’s original, iconic 1935 design – including its traditional leather welt construction – with a Vibram® lug sole, a two-toned Taslan hiker lace, shock-absorbing EVA heel cups, and a heel pull featuring the Rowing Blazers signature zig-zag pattern. Most notably, the shoes’ uppers are made from 100% certified rPET: recycled polyethylene terephthalate, which is the type of plastic used in soda bottles and food containers.
“Rowing Blazers is such a pioneer of the modern preppy aesthetic, and we always enjoy our collaboration process,” says Sperry’s Senior Vice President of Product Sean McDowell. “Rowing Blazers Creative Director and founder Jack Carlson came to us with a proposal to be more sustainable. We crafted a gorgeous SeaCycled™ canvas that is made from recycled PET. The bold primary colors create a bright and optimistic collection that matches the warm weather of spring.”
Paul Sperry invented the world’s first boat shoe – now known as the Authentic Original Top-Sider and hailed by The Official Preppy Handbook as “the footwear symbol of classic Prep style” – after noting the ease with which his dog navigated his cutter’s slippery decks. Sperry noticed small grooves on the pads of its paws and was inspired to carve similar channels into the bottom of a solid rubber sole. His intuition was rewarded: the new, grooved soles provided much-improved traction in wet and icy conditions, and the Authentic Original Boat Shoe, or Top-Sider was born, becoming a global fashion staple. A decade later, they’d be named as one of the official shoes of the U.S. Navy.
This is our sixth installment of an ongoing collaboration with the legendary footwear brand, which includes a future capsule of Warm & Wonderful Cloud CVO deck sneakers to be released later this summer.
“It’s an honor to be tapped by Sperry once again,” says Rowing Blazers’ Jack Carlson. “We’ve created some amazing designs over the past few years. This time, I wanted to take it back to basics. I grew up wearing the A/O boat shoe, and it’s an American icon. But I’m interested in exploring alternative and more sustainable materials in footwear. The rPET material lends itself particularly well to bright colors, and Rowing Blazers is all about color. The Vibram lug sole makes the shoe more substantial and more modern to me, and the Taslan hiker lace also.”
The unisex shoes are available in three different colorways (red, yellow and blue), and range from size 4.5-13 (men’s sizing; for women’s sizes, subtract 1.5).