WELCOME ABOARD

OUR MISSION IS TO INSPIRE THE WORLD TO RAISE THEIR SAILS AND LIVE LIFE FULLY.

Sperry was born
of the desire to embrace the boundless possibilities of the sea. We craft the tools for life's memorable experiences — on, off, and by the water.

THE STORY OF AN ICONIC BRAND

Sperry was born of one man's refusal to let slippery ship decks stand in the way of his passion for the open sea. To wear Sperrys is to refuse to wait for life and to instead seize the possibility of what could be; to find joy in discovering what's around every corner, around every bend, and after every wave. A timeless, durable classic you can count on, we are made to be worn.

1934 MAN OVERBOARD!

Late one night on Long Island Sound, Sperry slips and falls from the deck of his sailboat, the Sirocco. As he climbs back onto his boat, the idea that would launch a company was born: a shoe uniquely designed to keep a wearer standing firm, even on wet slippery surfaces.

1935 THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

Determined to create a nonslip shoe, Sperry takes inspiration from the natural texture of his cocker spaniel Prince's footpads, which never seemed to slip, even on ice. He cuts grooved patterns in a natural rubber sole, and glues the hand-cut rubber to the base of an old pair of canvas sneakers, and the world's first non-slip deck sneaker was invented.

"A WET DECK WAS SUCH A DAMN DANGEROUS THING." - PAUL SPERRY

1935 THE PROTOTYPE

Sperry manufactures the canvas Circular Vamp Oxford, or CVO for short. The shoe was lined with quick-drying cotton. A white rubber sole, which featured the herringbone patterned grooves, called siping, is attached with a new heat-sealing method known as vulcanization, and did not leave marks on a boat's deck, making them an instant favorite for boaters across the country; and a signature element of Sperry shoes.

FELLOW YACHTSMAN GET ON BOARD

Sperry writes to all 500 of his fellow members of the Cruising Club of America and asks them for comments on his development of a nonskid deck shoe. He is surprised to receive 497 replies — all requests for a pair of the shoes. Sperry knows he is on to something.

1936 A Friend
REACHES OUT

Paul receives a huge order from his old friend Frank Howard at 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. Made with specially tanned leather that didn't corrode in saltwater, the shoe is the first to utilize the classic moccasin toe stitching as well as the iconic 'saddle' lacing, where the shoelaces wrap around the ankle to tighten up the collar. 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. He first offers the patent to the United States Rubber Company of Connecticut. The company turns him down because the siped sole would make a pair of shoes very expensive.

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.

In 1940 after distribution had become well established on a national and almost universal scale Mr. Sperry sells the patents and thriving business to the US Rubber Company, now Uniroyal. The brand's name officially become Sperry Top-Sider Footwear.

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.

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 Englandtook the shoes to other schoolsand it spread." - NEWPORT DAILY NEWS

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. Sperry becomes the official footwear sponsor of the America's Cup as well as the official sponsor for the US Olympic sailing team for many years.