Written by: Kimberly Bellamy
In 1935, avid sailor and inventor Paul Sperry—a former Dartmouth student and U.S. Navy seaman—made an astounding discovery. One day, after watching his dog run effortlessly across the ice, he used a penknife to hand-cut grooves into a gum rubber sole, mimicking the natural pattern on his dog’s paw pads. In that moment, the world’s first boat shoe was born.
Word quickly got out about Sperry’s remarkable new shoes and their ability to keep sailors safe on deck. During World War II, the Sperry Top-Sider became one of the official shoes of the U.S. Navy. It is still the official shoe of the America’s Cup race.
So, next time you’re on a slippery boat deck, dock, or walkway, remember that you have a dog to thank for keeping you steady on deck.
Classic all-American companies, Orvis and Sperry share a love for adventure and a commitment to a life spent outdoors. Are you an Authentic Original die-hard? Or do you gravitate to the colorful ease of the Bahama 2-Eye? Whatever fits your style, we’ve got the shoe (and the sandal, and even the watch!).