With America’s Cup Finals happening just across town, San Francisco hosted another boat-related event, highlighting the most iconic fashion staple of the nautical life, the Sperry Top-Sider boat shoe. But Sperry went beyond simply showcasing their latest Fall collection, because this also doubled as an art exhibit and book release for their culture-driven course, The Sea Project. Their seasonal theme, Coastal Discoveries, played out in everything from the details in the shoes, to the seaside bites, and the array of ocean-inspired images on the walls.
I walked into The Popular Workshop Gallery wearing my leopard-print and patent Bluefish shoes, although I could have easily worn classic brown Authentic Originals without a doubt. To help me decide my shoe fate for the night, I polled my friends on Instagram and the leopard-prints won with a unanimous vote. If only all of life’s decisions were as easy as a social media poll. I’m glad I chose to sport Sperry that night, because although the other ladies looked lovely in their heels, I had an edge over them in comfort, without compromising style.
There were a few styles that had me taking a second glance because they weren’t the typical Sperry boat shoe. I was quite surprised to see a variety of options that could style a lady’s whole wardrobe, ranging from wedge booties to soft scarves, leather riding boots to embellished flats. What a versatile brand! Yes, Sperry set sail with the nautical look, but they understand that we all walk different paths and need the looks to go with it.
For instance, what’s a girl to wear on a nice date to a waterfront restaurant? Don’t go with heels that could get stuck in between the boards of the dock! Sperry solved that problem with the Sophie and Linden, two new styles in feminine flats. All of the Sophies feature a grosgrain bow for a very classic style, but the detail of each color make it difficult to decide which one is best. First there’s the nude shoe with a black bow. I love the colorblocking and can see this as a neutral shoe that can match so much. Then there’s the black suede pair with rhinestones on the toe box, making these perfect for a holiday party. And last, Sperry went a little wild with the leopard print and contrasting cobalt trim and bow. I can’t choose which one I want to take home- they’re all essential! Looks like I need to poll my friends again!
The Linden flat is a little more edgy, with a pointed toe, studded ribbon, and nautical detail. What makes this shoe nautical? The hardware is actually designed like a bow shackle used on a boat, proving that Sperry will always have sailing on its mind. The colorways are more subtle than the Sophie, but for the extra wild gal, go with the leopard print.
The bow shackle hardware carries on to other shoes in the collection, the Chelton and the Sable. These two are actually boots, which was another surprise for me from the land of Sperry. The Chelton is a must-have stacked heel ankle boot for the fall, using the bow shackle to tie leather around the ankle. These can easily be dressed up or down and come in tan, black, and russet.
The Sable was one shoe that I had my eye on all night. Yes, it is a tall riding boot so it towers over everything, but the detailing of the boot make it drool-worthy. I especially swooned over the black pair with gold studs on the leather tie, kicking up the boot a notch. The inside of the boot is also noteworthy, with the floral lining and grosgrain ribbon boot straps. But what really makes these fashionable boots fall in line with the Sperry brand is the signature Sperry DNA with Adaptive Wave Siping. This little detail on the sole gives traction both in dry and wet conditions.
For those who live in, or travel to, wetter climates, check out the rainboots. The Everham wellies feature a lined boot shaft that can be packed down to fit in any bag for those rainy day emergencies.
The Harlow suede booties are such cuties! The signature leather ties tie in the Sperry look, but everything else will make you do a double take and think, “Wait- those are by Sperry?!?” These come in black, grey, and sand, very earthy colors for fall, and then there’s the pop of color with the cobalt suede. I absolutely love the cobalt pair, although all of them would go so well with the fall trends. The Harlow booties also feature contrasting printed lining to make putting on these shoes as much fun as wearing them on your next adventure. For the ladies that like to kick it, Sperry has a sneaker collection with unexpected details, like jute-inspired rubber to look like espadrilles, a boot-sneaker combo called the Raleigh, and the world’s first boat shoe, the CVO, in eye-popping shades.
Sperry has also established themselves as a lifestyle brand since launching their accessories line last season, and they continue to provide other essentials, on or off the water, but with a nautical touch. Their line of watches, sunglasses, belts, hats, and bags all tie in the Sperry look nicely. Their sunglasses are lightweight and protective, perfect for those sunsets at the beach.
Let’s not get too carried away with all of the new stuff, because to keep it real, Sperry Top-Sider started off with the boat shoe, and there are plenty of new styles and colors to update their iconic silhouette. For the A/O’s, a.k.a. the Authentic Originals, new textures ranged from corduroy to studded leather, and other details like teddy fleece and ice soles. The A/O was even blended with the height of a chukka for the Baystar, another one of my favorites of the night. I fell in love with the charcoal/mint pair that has an ocean blue outsole.
Another update to the A/O can be found in one of the more popular styles, the Grayson: a double stacked sole with the Authentic Original upper. Great way to update a classic!
For a custom look, or to represent your school colors, Sperry introduces the Back to School Color Pack. These A/O’s come in a variety of colors: Red, Orange, Evergreen, Maroon, Light Blue, Royal Blue, Navy, Purple, which you can then pair up with different colored laces to show off your pride. It’s not too late to shop for back to school!
It was amazing to see all that Sperry has to offer, and aside from the delicious crab cakes, clam chowder shots, and lobster rolls, what really blew me away was The Seaside Project. This project bridges together the arts with Sperry’s passion for the sea, and their charitable spirit. For this year’s efforts, Sperry curated an Instagram contest, #MyPassionfortheSea, that resulted in close to 10,000 entries that spanned across 39 countries, with everyone sharing what they love about the waters. A panel of judges, including a professional sailor and a rep from Hypebeast magazine, chose their 10 favorite images to win a prize pack, with 2 additional winners chosen by fan votes. Not only were the images the perfect backdrop for displaying the latest Sperry Top-Sider collection, they also made me realize how vast the sea is and how its beauty shines so differently all over the world.
Yes, the show is long gone, but you can enjoy the photos in the book, available at The Sea Project website or at Sperry Top-Sider. $5 of each First Edition Book will benefit the Ocean Conservancy, an organization that “works to keep the ocean healthy, to keep us healthy.” And if you can’t get your hands on a book, you are always welcomed to check out the official Instagram hashtag of this year’s project, #mypassionforthesea. Even though the contest is over, you can still tag your ocean photos, because it’s never too late to share your passion with others.
Follow @SperryTopSider to find out about what’s coming up next with The Sea Project and their latest collections.
Thanks to the Sperry Top-Sider family for inviting M.I.S.S. to celebrate their passion for the sea with us.
Image edits by C-Rocka.