Our Story

A MAN - A DOG - A BOAT
See how it began
Sperry Top-Sider Journey
EARLY YEARS
1895-1920's
Paul Sperry was born into a Connecticut family with a long sea-faring tradition. He grew up listening to his great-grandfather, Captain Sereno Armstrong, tell of wild adventures in the South Sea islands. Sperry's college years at Dartmouth were interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, when he enlisted as a Seaman in the US Navy.
Sailors
Paul Sperry enters the US Navy During World War I as a seaman, first class
Paul Sperry purchases a Nova Scotia schooner named'Sirocco.'
Paul Sperry took a gum rubber sole and cut grooves in it, mimicking the pattern in his dog's paws
THE BIRTH OF
SPERRY TOP-SIDER

1935
An avid sailor and inventor, who almost lost his life to a slippery deck, Paul Sperry spent years and dozens of experiments trying to perfect a non-slip boat shoe.

One day, after watching his dog dart effortlessly across the ice, he 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.
Dog
After a near death experience on a slippery deck, Paul Sperry thinks about non-skid soles and tries hundreds of experiments.
Ads WINNING SAILORS'
HEARTS & MINDS

1936-1940's
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.
Sole
United States War Department specifies Sperry Top-Sider as an official shoe of the US Navy
Sticks Like a Barnacle
JFK
JFK
JFK
CLASSIC AMERICAN
STYLE

1960's-1970's
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.
Flag
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back to whence we came. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
A SIGN OF SUCCESS
1980's-1990's
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.
Flag
Sperry Top-Sider signs an endorsement with Dennis Conner, winning America's Cup Skipper
TODAY

By 2007, Sperry Top-Sider Authentic
Original is the best-selling men’s shoe in
US Department Stores.