"When we wore Vans, we felt like teenagers," says Steven Tiller, "and when we wore Sperry Top-Siders, we felt like dads." Tiller, a creative director who once oversaw the Sperry brand, and Derek Galkin, a designer, fill the need for a fun grown-up shoe with SeaVees. It's a "respectful rehabilitation" of a '60s brand started by BFGoodrich back when every company wanted to be a conglomerate and Steve McQueen was the coolest.
The 09/63 Plimsoll — Brit-speak for canvas sneaker and named for the September 1963 creation of the color bible Pantone — comes in seven different shades from Pantone's original matching system. "They totally got our brand," says Lisa Herbert, Pantone's VP of consumer licensing and the founder's daughter. This summer's line "has a haze to it," Tiller says, "inspired by lo-fi, fuzzy music from bands like the Morning Benders." The $125 shoes are available for men and women. With their light-blue herringbone sole, askew brand "scab," and Pantone number imprinted on the back, you'll want to kick up your heels all summer.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.