Sperry Top-Siders were designed in 1935 by Paul Sperry. Paul’s older brother was the well-known writer and illustrator of children’s books Armstrong Sperry.
Paul Sperry was an avid boater who saw the need for boating shoes that did not slip. His innovative design with grooves and cracks that improved traction was inspired by his dog’s feet. The herringbone groove pattern on the rubber sole made the shoe quickly popular with both civilian and military sailors.
In 1939, the United States Navy gained the right to manufacture canvas shoes using Sperry’s special soles. Because of the Navy’s contract, Sperry’s business was purchased by the U.S. Rubber Co., which then marketed the shoe across the country.
Rumor has it that the U.S. Rubber Company is being revived and is re-issuing some of their pre-1950’s collections in 2012.
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