Sperry Topsider Shoes: The Legend That Never Went Away

Sperry shoes for men, women and kids are perennial favorites. The original Sperry topsiders have been around since 1935, when they were invented by Paul Sperry and have since become the world’s favorite boating footwear as well as being extremely popular leisure footwear. Instantly recognizable, Sperry shoes have been the source of many styles of shoe trying to copy the original design but none have really matched the elegant yet simple style of this brand of shoes.

How the Legend Began

fasten Sperry Top-SidersThe story of how Sperrys for men and women first began is well known. It all started when Paul Sperry took his cocker spaniel, Prince, out one wintry day in Connecticut for a walk. Sperry was an avid boater and former US Navy sailor and like many boaters had found wet, slippery decks a danger and had often wondered whether there was a way of making walking on wet decks easier.

He noticed that his dog seemed to race across the icy winter landscape without slithering and wondered whether it was something to do with the design of the dog’ pads under his paws. He looked
carefully and noticed that dogs have a series of natural ridges on their feet and this seemed to be what gave them traction on the ice.

He then experimented by cutting parallel slits in a herringbone design on the undersides of a pair of sneakers – what had already been christened as “siping”. The siping immediately improved the ability of the shoes to stand up on wet surfaces. He then patented the design using a moccasin style shoe with leather soles with his Sperry Razor-SipingTM as comfortable and safe boat shoes.

So What is Siping?

Remove Spots from Sperry ShoesSiping itself was actually a relatively new idea that was originally invented by a man called John Sipe. Nobody seems sure exactly how he developed the siping principle. Some say he was a deckhand, fed up with slipping around on wet decks. Others say he worked in a slaughterhouse where his boots continually slipped on wet, bloody floors. He cut slits into his boots which worked well, but were never a commercial success. The idea was then applied to tires which again proved unsuccessful until much later when it was used on newly invented pneumatic tires and soon became a standard. Sperry’s Razor-SipingTM, as it was applied to boat shoes, was therefore a winning combination of the right man, the right idea and the right time.

A Navy Shoe for Serious Sailors

The shoes immediately became very successful and an icon in the East Coast yachting world. The Sperry design was borrowed by the U.S. Navy just before the Second World War so that it could be used by their seamen on the decks of U.S. warships. The Sperry footwear has remained a very popular sports shoe for the boating fraternity and the Sperry brand has now expanded to include boots, loafers, flats, sneakers, oxfords and slippers as well as a number of other sporting accessories.

Sperry Topsiders Retain Their Original Successful and Traditional Look

arnold-schwarzenegger-sperrys-for-mensSperry shoes for men and Sperry shoes for women have continued to be a very popular brand known for its simple yet successful design for sophisticated people who either love the outdoors or who aspire to be seen as outdoor types.

The original Sperry topsiders (called that because they were intended for use on the top side of a boat) retain their hard wearing moccasin style design with leather soles to resist water penetration and the siping that helps with traction. They are designed so that they can be worn without socks, although many Sperry wearers who wear them as a fashion statement or simply because they like to wear them will use them with socks. The leather is kept in good condition with a regular application of leather oil and Sperry shoes are renowned for their solid construction and durable stitching.

Sperrys Boat Shoes for the East Coast Fraternity Culture?

best-sperry-top-sider-lanyard-reviewThe shoes became associated in the 1950s and 60s with East Coast university fraternities. Partly this was because many wealthy families along the Atlantic Seaboard were familiar with boating and the shoes had practical value on and off the boats that were owned by so many of these families. The shoes developed a certain cult status and were worn as much around the home and around town as they were on the water. Young men and women who attended Ivy League Universities situated in the Eastern States commonly used Sperrys boat shoes as desirable fraternity footwear.

Sperry Shoes for Everyone

Through the decades, whoever has used and worn Sperrys for men and women has found them a dependable, stylish and functional shoe whose attraction never seems to fade.

In 2009, Sperrys opened their first five brand name retail stores in Boca Raton, Tampa and Orlando in Florida, Dallas, Texas and Kansas City in Missouri. This was followed in 2010 by the opening of more stores in Massachusetts, Texas, North Carolina and New York.

Sperrys have their very own “Team Sperry” which travels around the globe and competes in many prestigious boating events. The members of the team help the company design and perfect performance leisure sporting footwear.

The Sperry Top-Sider brand won an award in 2009, awarded to them by Footwear News for the Brand of the Year.

Sperry Top-Sider is a footwear sponsor of both the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team and the Junior Olympic team and also sponsors the U.S. Paralympic Team.

3 Best Sperrys for Men

The Striper CVO Salt Washed Twill Sneaker uses Striper’s Wave-SipingTM to help increase traction underfoot and make them a great shoe equally on the sea or on land. They are relaxed weekend footwear with optional laces. They are built with premium canvas and a vulcanized construction with very strong bonding between the outsoles and the uppers. Their comfortable sole with its PU Removable Footbed provides extreme comfort for the wearer.

The Sperry Cup 2-Eye Boat Sneaker Sperry Cup continues Sperry’s reputation for craftsmanship with a hand-sewn construction in premium, soft leather. These shoes provide wearability all day and are offered in a variety of contrasting outsoles and colors.

The Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe is a classic Sperry shoe and has been a favorite for those who love the ocean. These shoes showcase Sperrys “passion for the sea” and its commitment to durable and perfect craftsmanship.


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