Paul Sperry was born into a Connecticut family with a long sea-faring tradition. He grew up listening to his great-grandfather, Captain Sereno Armstrong, tell of wild adventures in the South Sea islands. Sperry's college years at Dartmouth were interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, when he enlisted as a Seaman in the US Navy.
An avid sailor and inventor, who almost lost his life to a slippery deck, Paul Sperry spent years and dozens of experiments trying to perfect a non-slip boat shoe.
One day, after watching his dog dart effortlessly across the ice, he carved grooves - like those on his dog's paws - into the bottom of a rubber sole. In that moment of inspiration, the world's first boat shoe was born.
Every single member of the Cruising Club of America wrote to Mr. Sperry to request a pair of these remarkable new boat shoes. Nothing else kept sailors safe on deck.
During World War II, the US War Department named Sperry Top-Sider as one of the official shoes of the US Navy.
The Kennedy family is photographed while on vacation, triggering a love affair with the active nautical life and classic American style. Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes and sneakers become established as an integral element of this iconic look.
The Official Preppy Handbook endorses the Sperry Top-Sider Authentic Original as the footwear symbol of classic Prep style, marking a legacy of good taste.
Dennis Conner leads the America's Cup Team that wins back the trophy for the United States in 1987. Sperry Top-Sider is the official shoe of the America's Cup.