Our founder, Paul Sperry, was born into a family with a long sea-faring tradition. Paul grew up listening to his great-grandfather speak of wild adventures in the South Seas. These tales set the stage for young Paul’s inventive spirit, passion for sailing and curiosity for adventure.
The rough seas, a slippery deck and a struggle for sure footing almost cost Paul Sperry his life; and began his long and ambitious quest for a solution. One day in 1935, after watching his dog dart effortlessly across the ice on a cold Connecticut day, he was inspired to carved grooves – like those on his dog's paws – into the bottom of a rubber sole. In that moment of inspiration, the world's first boat shoe was born.
Every single member of the Cruising Club of America wrote to Mr. Sperry to request a pair of these remarkable new boat shoes. Nothing else kept sailors safe on deck.
During World War II, the US War Department named Sperry Top-Sider as one of the official shoes of the US Navy.
The Kennedy family is photographed while on vacation, triggering a love affair with the active nautical life and classic American style. Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes and sneakers become established as an integral element of this iconic look.
The Official Preppy Handbook endorses the Sperry Top-Sider Authentic Original as the footwear symbol of classic Prep style, marking a legacy of good taste.
Dennis Conner leads the America’s Cup Team that wins back the trophy for the United States in 1987. Sperry Top-Sider is the official shoe of the America’s Cup.