The Sperry Top-Sider Was Inspired by Rubber Tires and a Dog's Paw

The shoe has stayed popular beyond the preppy crowd


A rare bit of agreement echoed through the fickle world of fashion in the past year. It began when GQ announced that “Boat shoes are back.” Next came Esquire: “Yep, boat shoes are cool again.” Newcomers such as the website Valet piped in: “The classic preppy shoe has returned.”

image
Paul Sperry (1) came up with the Top-Sider after slipping on the topside of his sailboat (2) and falling into Long Island Sound. His design—inspired by his dog’s paw and borrowed from the grooves cut into rubber tires—created a durable, flexible shoe that gripped wet surfaces (3).
AW+

WORK SMARTER - LEARN, GROW AND BE INSPIRED.

Subscribe today!

To Read the Full Story Become an Adweek+ Subscriber

View Subscription Options

Already a member? Sign in

Adweek magazine cover
Click for more from this issue

This story first appeared in the Oct. 7, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.