We're gonna bet that you didn't know that one of fashion's most iconic pair of shoes was inspired by a dog.
Yup, you read that right. Boat shoes came to be thanks to our four-legged friends. While almost everyone and their mother owns a pair of the comfortable shoe, few people know its interesting history. Never fear: here's a crash course on Sperry Top-Sider, the Massachusetts-based brand that claims to have started it all.
The world's first boat shoe was invented in 1935 by Paul Sperry, a sailor who was "looking for a solution to the leather-soled shoes that all boaters wore on slippery decks," Karen Pitts, the Vice President of Marketing at Sperry Top-Sider, told The Huffington Post. "Inspired by his dog Prince’s ability to run nimbly over the ice and snow without slipping, he used a penknife to carve cuts that mimicked the grooves on his dog’s paws into a rubber outsole," she adds. Genius. The shoes proved so effective that in 1939, the U.S. Navy negotiated a deal with the brand to manufacture Top-Siders specifically for them.
These days, of course, boat shoes are no longer just worn at sea. In fact, they've evolved quite a lot since the 1930's. The shoe became a staple of the popular 1980's prep trend, following the release of Lisa Birnbach's "The Preppy Handbook." Today, you can find them in hundreds of fabrics, colors and styles, and everyone from kids to adults wear them.
To celebrate this legendary shoe, we've compiled a timeline of all our favorite boat shoe moments over the years.
Check it out and shop some cool versions of the kicks in our slideshow below.
Photos: Courtesy of Sperry Top-Sider and Getty Images; Art: Raydene Salinas