OUR BRAND PURPOSE

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

Paul Sperry was born in New Haven, Connecticut, a coastal city steeped in ocean-going tradition. From his formative years, Paul
had an affinity for the outdoors and there was never any doubt that saltwater ran deep in his veins. He joined the navy, and upon his
return, he purchased a sailboat, the Sirocco, and he spent much of his free time sailing on the Long Island Sound. An avid inventor,
Paul Sperry would create a product that would change history.

Close up of an 85 Sperry shoe.

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.

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

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.

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

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

1935
THE PROTOTYPE

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

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.

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.

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.

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

1936
A Friend REACHES OUT

Paul receives a huge order from
Abercrombie & Fitch.

1936
A Friend
REACHES OUT

Paul receives a huge order from
his old friend Frank Howard at
Abercrombie & Fitch.

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

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
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.

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.

The United States War Department names
Sperry Top-Sider as one of the official shoes of
the Navy.

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.

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.

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 England
took the shoes
to other schools
and it spread."

- NEWPORT DAILY NEWS

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 England
took the shoes to other schools
and 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.

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.

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

"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 that
he was one tough dedicated sea dog.

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.

1987
CHAMPION OF THE SEAS

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

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.

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.

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.

To celebrate our 75th anniversary Sperry launches an exclusive collection featuring Authentic Original boat shoes, Striper
Slip-Ons, CVO Sneakers and Seamate Sneakers. Each pair comes in a limited edition throwback shoebox.

2013
SEA PROJECT BOOK

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

Sperry launches The Sea Project, a book of images all taken by Sperry fans. Sperry invited individuals to share their creative
expressions inspired by their own passion for the sea and enter them for consideration in an Instagram-fueled photography contest
with the hashtag #mypassionforthesea. The best photos were selected to be featured in this limited edition book, and were displayed
at The Popular Workshop in San Francisco. A percentage of proceeds from book sales went to benefit Ocean Conservancy.

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.

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. Participating
influencers would then create content and
share blog posts about their journey on
Sperry's website and social media channels.
As part of the brand's "Odysseys Await"
brand campaign, Sperry encourages
consumers to explore and escape their
comfort zone. Odyssey Project travelers
were sent on trips to New Zealand,
California, Florida, Iceland, Alaska, Costa
Rica, and Cuba among other destinations.

2018
SPERRY CLOUD

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

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.

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.

2020
85 YEARS OF
SPERRY

Sperry celebrates 85 years of iconic style
and true innovation.