I wore Sperry Top-Siders every summer on Cape Cod as a kid. (to be precise, I wore the Authentic Original which is pictured above.) Over the years I have continued to wear them and love the brand because of those great memories growing up. I love all of the associations that Top-Siders embody: preppy, summer, clam bakes, sail boats, beaches, vacations and so much more. I love that the laces won’t stay tied until you get them wet and I love the history. With all of that said, in 2004 I stopped wearing Top-Siders altogether.
That summer I needed a new pair and I went to the store to see if there were any original Top-Siders that were actually made in the USA. I knew they would cost more, but I just felt like the shoes I had been wearing didn’t age all that well, and more than that I really wanted something more authentic. After a long search I couldn’t find any Sperry Top-Siders that were made domestically. I wasn’t really surprised, but I was disappointed so I just stopped purchasing shoes from the brand.
The other day, after a long time of not even really even considering the brand as an option, I went to Sperry’s website and there it was: Sperry Top-Sider Made in Maine collection. I was pretty astonished, and pretty happy to see that the thing that I had hoped for so long ago had actually come true. I just discovered this collection the other day on the company website (oddly, this was sent to me last year but I completely missed it – maybe its because I wrote them off? Looks like the same thing happened to James Fox last year) not in a magazine and I didn’t catch any word of this other places.
Sperry re-released the original Top-Siders in the classic colors and they are all made in Maine. I have not tried them on yet (can’t decide which color to buy, I honestly want them all), but it appears that the shoes are made from the Sperry lasts to make sure the shoes are the traditional Sperry boat shoe shape / proportion. Just looking at them in the photos you can see they look much more hand made than the imported Top-Sider. Obviously there’s a huge price difference, so I would expect to see this and expect higher quality leather. I will report back on this more when I get my pair. (If any of you have seen these in person, please report back).
When I started ACL, it was my hope that companies would at least give consumers the option to buy U.S. made versions of their products, as opposed to only offering imported goods. This is exactly what I had hoped to see and I hope people vote with their wallet and show Sperry that it has made the right decision. [SPERRY TOP-SIDER MADE IN MAINE]
Sperry also produced this video about the Made in Maine collection. It’s a nice little video (which could have probably been cut down by about four minutes) which speaks to what went into making this collection. The factory where these shoes are produced also makes several other hand-sewn shoes that shall remain nameless, though you all would know them.