Sperry Oxford Canvas Fall Look

Long Term Review: Sperry Top-Sider Oxfords (Not Their Boat Shoes)

September 24, 2015 | by Josh

I have had my Sperry Oxford Saddle shoes since January of 2013. In the past 2.5 years, and easily over 100 miles walking in them, they have become my favorite pair of shoes. Sperry is well known for their Top-Sider Boat Shoe, which ended up near the top of our Boat Shoe Top 10 two months ago. They are, sadly, less known for their oxfords. I’m assuming that it’s because Sperry isn’t associated with anything but boat shoes yet. I endeavor to do something about that!

Sperry Oxford Saddle Top and Side

These shoes have been worn over 75% of the time sans-socks, accounting for the white residue on the insole. If you’re not already aware, sprinkling some Gold Bond in your shoes before wearing them barefoot keeps the funk down and does a great job keeping your feet happy.

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These shoes have weathered beach walks in Jamaica, Mexico, and Aruba. They’ve had beer and cocktails spilled on them at bars in the US. They have been for long walking commutes in Chicago and New York. They were even under water for an hour (while being worn) at a July 4th pig roast that had a fireworks display abruptly ended by thunderstorms that caused the yard we were in to flood, and I helped the host get the good stuff stored safely away.

Sperry Oxford Saddle Profile

Throughout all of that wear and tear, the only maintenance I’ve done is unceremoniously throwing them in the washing machine with 1/4 of the normal dose of detergent, and then allowing them to air dry. I’ll also sometimes throw a shoe-tree in them if they’re ever smashed at the bottom of a suitcase for too long, but that’s it. As you can tell the canvas has held up nicely, and even the leather doesn’t have terrible staining.

Sperry Oxford Saddle Sole

The soles have held up surprisingly well through the years and the miles (again, I’m guessing that it’s easily over 100 miles on these puppies). They are soft soles with a larger heel on them for how squishy they are. I wouldn’t recommend wearing these if you’re going to be putting on more than 5 miles of city-walking in a day because you’ll probably end up with a sore ankle. They are perfect, though, for my last office space. A casual place with distributed building leading me to have to walk 2+ miles a day, including a lot of standing. A place where the dress code was shorts and t-shirts during the summer where I wanted to keep my feet cool but dress just a little nicer than the common rabble.

The non-slip soles have held up too. I expected the “razor-cut wave-siping” (the pattern on the bottom of the shoe that provides traction) to wear down pretty quickly, but it has held up great other than absorbing some of the color of whatever I was walking in around town.

Sperry Oxford Saddle Front and Rear

The only noticeable wear (besides the light water-line you can see in a picture near the top of this article) is my usual wear on the outside of the heel of the sole. Even that wear has proceeded much more slowly than other brands of shoes with what I thought were tougher sole material. Additionally, the canvas at the top of the rear of the shoe has some light fraying along the edge. It’s well above the stitching and adds some character, so I haven’t bothered trimming it.

These shoes have had no structural problems, which is what I would expect from a $100 pair of shoes. They have held up through everything that I would ask of them except for winter. These shoes are so breathable that you absolutely don’t want to wear them if you have a chance of getting cold. They are hot to warm weather shoes to be sure.

While you may want to mute the guy talking, this video from Zappos gives you a good idea of how the canvas moves when putting weight on the shoe. It gives the whole shoe a much more fluid look than a shoe made with more “traditional” materials.


Sperry knocked it out of the park with these shoes. I will absolutely buy another pair when these wear, but I don’t expect that to happen for another couple of years. Sperry has changed their looks a little bit (which you can see here). Their most similar shoe now comes in a more-refined canvas instead of the seersucker, and they’ve replaced the leather saddle with a canvas saddle. The shoe looks more simple, but the positives remain the same.

I believe that Bass is the company making the spiritual successor to the Sperry Canvas Oxford with the leather saddle, and they call it the Bass Carson Oxford at $50. I haven’t owned a pair of Bass kicks for quite some time, but I’d expect that you get what you pay for. I’d still opt for the $100 pair of Sperry’s just because of the quality of the shoe, but I believe the Bass Carson may net you more compliments on the looks.

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Own these or any other Sperry shoe?  Did you have a different experience than I did? Leave a comment.  

Can’t get enough of reading reviews? Here’s another one for the Merrell Freewheel Lace shoe.

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