How to Tie Sperry Top-Siders

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The Sperry Top-Sider was first manufactured in 1935.
The Sperry Top-Sider was first manufactured in 1935. (Image: Tim Umphrey/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Man’s best friend is responsible for one of the classic American shoe trends: the Sperry Top-Sider. In the early 1930s, Connecticut sailing enthusiast Paul Sperry observed his cocker spaniel, Prince, deftly navigate the ice without slipping. Sperry examined the tiny grooves and cracks on the dog’s paw and etched similar grooves into the rubber sole of a shoe, launching a shoe empire. While the Top-Siders are meant to stand the test of time and elements, the leather laces require some finesse to remain tied.

Dampen a washcloth and hold the ends of the laces inside of the cloth for about two minutes, ensuring that they become wet all the way down to the last two eyelets through which the laces are threaded.

Put the washcloth aside and dry your hands.

Slips both shoes on and tie the laces tightly in a traditional butterfly bow. When the laces dry, the leather laces will remain tied and not loosen.

Slip your feet out of both shoes with the laces in their bow and they will stay tied. Simply slip the shoes on and off without having to retie them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some people prefer to curl the lace ends rather than tie them in a traditional bow.
  • To ease the lacing process of the leather laces, consider using a Sperry lacing needle.

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