This season, fall footwear is all about hybridizing sought-after, sensible qualities into a single shoe – and to exceed shoppers’ expectations, footwear brand Sperry is debuting the Moc-Sider, an all-in-one moccasin that offers comfort with sharp style and savvy construction.
Sperry’s Moc-Sider is a footwear essential that complements everything we’re looking for as we get back to more normal living: catching up with others at school, late summer gatherings at the shore, casual dinners, even more formal events, or just relaxing with other fashion-forward friends (those who also appreciate footwear that is convenient, comprehensive, and chic).
Oh, and did we mention that the Moc-Sider is super packable and a slip on, slip off shoe? It’s a dream for one’s feet — especially for those who are fashion-focused and on the go, living life from one joyous moment to the next, and documenting it all on Instagram and TikTok.
For its part, Sperry said its Moc-Siders are a new product franchise it created to reach a younger, fashion-oriented consumer, “combining cozy comforts with the effortless style of Sperry.” They clearly scored on that one with a construction of a bootie, the convenience of a slipper and the support and durability of a sneaker, “you can wear them going out – or staying in,” said Elizabeth Drori, CMO, Sperry.
Sperry is clearly taking a new direction with the debut of the Moc-Sider – and one that reflects changing dynamics of our needs and wants, and also the evolving footwear industry-at-large. With so many lifestyle changes taking place over the past year, people are looking for style and comfort in their footwear.
But how did this essential, must-have shoe come into being? Sperry said it saw a trend of more casual, comfortable, easy on, easy off footwear prior to COVID-19, and that over the past year, that inclination has only been magnified. As a result, the Moc-Sider represents the creation of a new category in footwear. It has the perfect silhouette as we come out of a gloomy pandemic. We still crave a plush, comfortable indoor feeling, but the Moc-Sider offers a more versatile design.
Let’s face it, comfort is king. But it doesn’t have to come at the expense of unique styling, bold colors and eye-catching designs. So, that’s exactly where Moc-Siders fit in. And we’re not alone in this fashion footwear demand. NPD Group says 70 percent of consumers plan to dress just as or more casually than they did prior to the pandemic. And while fashion footwear sales inclusive of heels, sandals, and boots saw overall sales decline by 27 percent in 2020, slippers and clogs grew 21 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
Easy, slipper-inspired footwear addresses these new consumer demands in a unique way – and Sperry’s Moc-Sider offers this and more, alongside innovative footwear technologies, fashion-forward materials, and solid construction.
The Moc-Sider is available in an assortment of material executions and at varying price points, meeting the brand’s objective to create opportunities for a wide range of global retailers to carry the product. Its scope includes the Moc-Sider Nylon, a quilted nylon with padded construction offered in an array of colors, priced at $69.95, and the Moc-Sider Premium, which features water-resistant premium nubuck uppers and genuine shearling linings that promote coziness throughout, priced at $119.95, among other styles and colorways.
Katherine Cousins, President at Sperry, said that “seeing how much our consumers are continuing to value comfort, they don’t want to sacrifice comfort for style. We’re so excited about the Moc-Sider because it looks great and feels like a sleeping bag for your feet.” We agree.
If you don’t know, Sperry is a heritage brand that was launched in 1935, and has since appealed to a broad spectrum of consumers, demographics, and style profiles for decades, Cousins noted, particularly with its Authentic Original boat show and CVO sneaker. But given Sperry’s renewed focus on fashion and reaching a younger consumer, Cousins said that the brand is redefining its look and positioning Sperry at the forefront of the Neo-Prep movement.
“In addition to resetting our visual identity in a way that is fresh and modern, we are continuing our longstanding relationship with ‘Prep 2.0’ leader Rowing Blazers, in 2022,” Drori adds. Rowing Blazers, known for its “irreverent take on the classics,” aligns well with Sperry’s mission to modernize and resonate with a younger set of shoppers.
Cousins also said, “At the same time, the brand is re-establishing itself as a fashion must-have, tapping into trends with new styles like Sperry Float and Moc-Sider, stylish boots, loafers and sneakers, and innovative collabs with fashion innovators.” The Moc-Sider will be available at Dillard’s, Macy’s, Zappos, Nordstrom, Amazon, Journeys, and other select retailers, as well as on Sperry.com and in Sperry brick-and-mortar stores.
The Design Genesis
Regarding what informed the design and product development of the Moc-Sider, Sean McDowell, Vice President of Design and Development at Sperry, said the company has always had a close relationship with its consumer. For the Moc-Sider, he said the company started touring campuses in 2019 “and saw this trend of an indoor/outdoor slipper. Some of the kids called it ‘Slounging’ others called it the ‘2 mile slipper.’ They wanted something extremely comfortable, something that works great around the dorm room or running out to the cafeteria. It needed to be easy on/easy off with no shoe laces.”
And that was the birth of the Moc-Sider. “The design brief was to ‘Build a sleeping bag on top of a marshmallow,’” McDowell said. “We feel we achieved that. Now that we are coming out of the pandemic we have gone back out to campuses and consumers love it! The Moc-Sider is a very versatile product. It comes in many color options and material options. It also works well with many university wardrobe options: sweatpants, PJ bottoms, track pants, chinos and jeans.”
Slip On, Stand Out
Taking a deep dive into the Moc-Sider reveals that the versatility McDowell describes is what differentiates – and elevates – it for back-to-school footwear. Designed on a sleek last and available in an assortment of materials such as luxe suede, quilted puffed nylon, and dip dyed canvas, the Moc-Sider’s range of colorways and patterns is exhaustive, and includes animal prints, buffalo plaid, metallic, and tie dye.
Praised for its super lightweight feel and easy slip on and off style, the Moc-Sider also impresses aesthetically: Microfleece and shearling linings provide an ultra-cozy experience, and its decorative details, such as Sperry’s signature 360 lacing, inspired by Sperry’s classic boat shoe, features an adjustable toggle for a custom fit.
The Moc-Sider is also water resistant, 30 percent lighter than Sperry’s average shoe offering, and designed in a relaxed, deconstructed way that make them super comfortable, Drori explained, adding that its custom designed, lugged, blown EVA outsole provides excellent traction. The style really hits all the trends, and Sperry said its retail partners are very excited to launch with us. “Because of the shoe’s styling, extreme comfort and versatility, the shoes will be marketed to younger, college-aged consumers, in addition to our wider customer base,” Drori said.
So, it’s looking like Fall will be a busy season for Sperry as it debuts the Moc-Sider, followed by the launch of a collaboration with New York-based designer Rebecca Minkoff at New York Fashion Week. Sperry will also launch a capsule collection designed in collaboration with musical artist John Legend, who is currently Sperry’s global brand ambassador, on September 20 and it will be Legend’s first-ever shoe collection.
Albeit the brand’s new partnerships and desire to cater to younger fashion-oriented shoppers hasn’t swayed Sperry from its roots. “Sperry is the leader in the boat shoe category, and we also have strong businesses and exciting growth in sneakers, boots, and casual shoes overall,” Drori said. And while the Moc-Sider is the newest silhouette in the Sperry family, the style simply builds on Sperry’s boat shoe DNA – and meets the needs of today’s consumer seeking new looks, comfort, style and easy wearability. It’s a win.
McDowell said during the pandemic, we all got a little more comfortable at home. So we think our timing is perfect. No one wants to give up that comfort, but if we can increase versatility and durability we have something special.