You may know someone who swears by Sperry Top-Siders and constantly tries to convert you into a believer as well. For me, that person is my boyfriend. He owns "fancy" Sperrys trimmed with gold grommets, "casual" Sperrys that go with every J. Crew button down in his closet, and "hiking" Sperrys — the shredded to bits pair that he wears, rain or snow, on long walks. Each time I complain of blisters from my cute little flats he stares down at my feet with disdain and mutters "You should buy Sperrys..." And although I never plan on becoming a boat shoe girl, I am intrigued by the brand's backstory. Turns out that Sperry Top-Siders were inspired by... a dog.
HuffPo recently shed some light on the origin of the world's most comfy yachting-appropriate shoe, giving us some insight into just why the footwear style is so durable.
The world's first boat shoe was invented in 1935 by Paul Sperry, a sailor who was "looking for a solution to the leather-soled shoes that all boaters wore on slippery decks," Karen Pitts, the Vice President of Marketing at Sperry Top-Sider, told The Huffington Post. "Inspired by his dog Prince’s ability to run nimbly over the ice and snow without slipping, he used a penknife to carve cuts that mimicked the grooves on his dog’s paws into a rubber outsole," she adds.
Man's (and shoe's) best friend.
So that explains why my boyfriend can wear his in an ice storm without falling down and breaking his face (but, like, he should probably wear some snow boots instead — just an idea). Of course, a WASP-friendly brand like Sperry needs an all-American origin story to warm the hearts (and wallets) of prepsters all over the nation. Add a puppy and you have marketing gold.
Next time you wear your Sperrys to a beachside brunch on a tropical island, rest assured that should bad weather hit, your boat shoes will still carry you at least as far as that Black Lab playing Frisbee with his owner on the sand.