|Subsidiary of Wolverine World Wide|
|Traded as||NYSE: WWW|
|Founder||Paul A. Sperry|
|Headquarters||Lexington, Massachusetts, United States|
Rick Blackshaw, Brand PresidentBlake Kruger, CEO of Wolverine World Wide
|Parent||Wolverine World Wide|
Sperry or Sperry Top-Sider is the original American brand of boat shoe designed in 1935 by Paul A. Sperry, older brother of writer and illustrator Armstrong Sperry, whose books often featured a sailing theme. Sperrys, or Top-Siders, were the first boat shoes introduced into the boating and footwear markets. Today the Sperry brand is owned by Wolverine World Wide and is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts.
While sailing on the Long Island Sound, inventor and sailor Paul A. Sperry slipped on the deck of his boat and fell overboard. He was able to pull himself back on board, but the experience drove him to develop a non-slip shoe. While experimenting with possibilities for non-slip shoes, he noticed his dogs’ ability to run down the icy hill without slipping. The grooves on the paws of his cocker spaniel, Prince, inspired him to try cutting grooved patterns into (siping) a natural rubber sole. The pattern of grooves or cracks on his dog's paws gave him the idea for a canvas upper-shoe with a herringbone pattern of grooves on the sole.
The cutting of grooves in the sole of the Top-Sider was an implementation of a process of splitting or siping a shoe sole invented and patented in the 1920s by John Sipe. This process was instrumental in maximizing the traction of the Authentic Original Sperry Top-Sider boat shoe, which was first introduced in 1935. Sperry's first shoe featured a white outsole, which prevented the shoe from leaving marks on a boat's deck. The Commonwealth Shoe and Leather Co. later partnered with Paul A. Sperry to design a new leather shoe design made with specially tanned leather which later became the Sperry Authentic Original boat shoe.
Sperry's shoes remained a niche product for boaters until 1939 when the U.S. Navy negotiated the right to manufacture the shoe for its sailors at the United States Naval Academy. As a result of this increase in production, Paul A. Sperry sold the Sperry brand to the U.S. Rubber Co. in 1940. In 1979 the Stride Rite Corporation purchased both Sperry and Keds (shoes) from the U.S. Rubber Company. In 2007 Payless ShoeSource acquired Sperry Top-Sider as part of a multi-brand acquisition, but the company was again acquired in 2012, along with the other brands from the Collective Brands Performance and Lifestyle Group portfolio, by Wolverine World Wide and Blum Capital Partners for $1.23 billion USD.
From 2001 to 2014 Craig L. Reingold served as the Brand President of Sperry, but upon Reingold's exit from the company Wolverine World Wide announced in a press release on September 15, 2015 that Rick Blackshaw, the former Brand President of Keds, would be leading Sperry as the Brand President. In early 2015 Sperry President Rick Blackshaw announced that the brand had dropped the "Top-Sider" moniker from the company name as part of the footwear company's new brand campaign.
In 2009 Sperry opened its first five retail stores with locations in Tampa, Florida, Orlando, Florida, Boca Raton, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri and Dallas, Texas; in November 2010, the brand opened stores in Burlington, Massachusetts, Houston, Durham, North Carolina and Westchester, New York. By the end of 2015 Sperry had opened 68 specialty and outlet stores in malls across the United States.
US Sailing Team Sperry
The athletes of Team Sperry travel around the globe and compete in prestigious competitive events in their sport. They also assist the Sperry product team in the design and testing of performance footwear.
In 1987, Sperry Top-Sider served as the official sponsor of the America's Cup World Series. Sperry shoes were worn by champion sailor Dennis Conner during the race. Sperry served as the footwear sponsor for the America's Cup sailing tournament for several years, but later began to sponsor other sailing events. On December 9, 2015 Sperry announced they will be the official Footwear Partner of the 35th America's Cup and the official footwear supplier for ORACLE TEAM USA.
President Rick Blackshaw stated in a press release that, "In seeking a competitive advantage, America's Cup athletes look to footwear that will help them maintain agility and mobility on the high-performance catamarans used in competition. Sperry will work together with ORACLE TEAM USA to support and improve performance by developing a special shoe for use during training and racing."
The Odyssey Project
In February 2015, Sperry announced that, in celebration of their 80th anniversary, the company was going to send 80 influencers, innovators, and athletes on adventures around the world. Participating influencers would then create content and share blog posts about their journey on Sperry's website and social media channels. As part of the brand's "Odysseys Await" brand campaign, Sperry encouraged consumers to explore and escape their comfort zone. Odyssey Project travelers were sent on trips to New Zealand, California, Florida, Iceland, Alaska, Costa Rica, and Cuba among other destinations.
In 2009 Footwear News named Sperry Top-Sider the Brand of the Year.
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