Have you ever thought about the name of this famous shoe? It’s quite unique. How did the moniker “Sperry Topsider” come about? You might be surprised at its origins. The footwear’s history follows an interesting tale that starts with a man falling overboard into Long Island Sound.
The Need for Traction
In 1935, a sailor named Paul Sperry suffered a mishap one night. He slipped on his boat deck and fell overboard. As he climbed out of the waters of Long Island Sound and back into his boat, he realized he needed more seaworthy shoes. He didn’t want this type of incident to happen again.
Sperry began to experiment with various solutions in an attempt to come up with a non-slip shoe. As it turned out, his dog had the answer. Sperry noticed that his cocker spaniel, Prince, was able to run over ice and snow without sliding. Examining the dog’s paws, Sperry took note of the grooves that allowed the dog to nimbly run about on such slick surfaces.
Eureka! Sperry carved similar grooves into the rubber sole of a shoe to mimic the non-skid paws. This was the first step toward today’s Sperry Topsiders.
An Instant Success
By 1939, this shoe design had become a roaring success. They were so effective that the U.S. Navy named them the official footwear of their casual uniform for United States Naval Academy personnel.
Decades later, they are still popular. In fact, The Official Preppy Handbook features this shoe style on its cover. Clearly, more than sailors are enjoying their look and comfort in fashion circles of today.
The name Sperry clearly comes from the shoe’s inventor, but why call them Topsiders? This term also comes from the shoe’s origins. To sailors, the upper deck of a ship is called the “topside.” When wearing these shoes, a sailor can walk around topside without fearing a slip overboard.
Where Can You Find Them Today?
Would you like to add these unique shoes to your wardrobe? Your shoe store in Basalt, CO can help. Visit Midland Shoe to discover an extensive selection of Sperry Topsiders as well as a variety of other styles. Whether you hope to sail the ocean blue in Sorels, hike the majestic mountains with a pair of Icebugs or hit the rapids with Boss & Co, we have the right shoes for you.
Slip into Something Great
For top brands like Sperry Topsiders, visit Midland Shoe today. Our shoe store in Basalt, CO specializes in shoes that are ideal for the mountain lifestyle and any season. We have a combined 50-plus years of customer service to ensure your purchase meets or exceeds your shoe, boot and accessory expectations. Our amazing selection includes a wide variety of fashion comfort brands for work and play, including Dansko, Birkenstock, Hush Puppies Klogs, Merrell, Blundstone, Spring Step, L’Artiste, OOFOS and Teva Naot. We also carry hand bags and accessories. Stop in to check out our latest offerings and deals. We look forward to equipping you and your feet with the latest styles.