Press Release

Baltimore-Based Footwear Startup for Kids Enters the Marketplace Exceeding Kickstarter Goal in 48 hours

jbrds seeks to fill void and disservice in children’s shoe market with physician-designed model

Baltimore, MD, April 21, 2022 – jbrds, a new children’s footwear brand anatomically designed to support foot structure and activity requirements at three distinct stages of a child’s physical development, today announced it is one step closer to launching its innovative line with the overwhelming success of the brand’s first Kickstarter campaign.

Surpassing its campaign goal in 48 hours in a demonstration of proof of concept, jbrds is bringing a first-of-its-kind model to the market in a category beleaguered by a “one-size-fits-all” approach to children’s footwear.

Co-founded by leading podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Jay LeBow, former sports industry veteran at Mizuno and adidas Mike Gugat, and top sporting goods merchant David Hirshfeld, jbrds is re-imagining children’s footwear with a child’s developing foot anatomy at the root of its unique, customized model.

“As a young podiatrist building my practice in Baltimore, I missed this insight with my daughters,” said Dr. Jay LeBow, jbrds Co-founder, and Chief Product Officer. “It wasn’t until I became a grandparent that I recognized the anatomical needs of a child’s developing foot. After reviewing hundreds of X-rays and then methodically evaluating the current offering of generic kids’ footwear, it was clear there was a void in the marketplace that jbrds could fill.”

Historically, the footwear industry has been shrinking shoes designed for adult feet to fit kids’ feet, even though kids’ feet are still developing. Infants don’t have arches nor the necessary stabilization to bear weight and stand. An adult shoe has a built-up arch and elevated heel. The current offerings are so generic that little ones and parents alike often don’t notice when a child is wearing the wrong shoe on the wrong foot.

“In the footwear industry, children’s shoes are often an afterthought. Our mission is to start kids off on the right foot,” said Mike Gugat, CEO and Co-founder of the Baltimore-based startup. “Our vision is to deliver the first active lifestyle brand that exclusively meets kids' needs from the cradle to eight (years old). The most crucial period of growth for children’s feet and jbrds sets up kids to move into adolescence, young adulthood and eventually to adults helping to avoid possible problems later in life from wearing the wrong shoes as a child.”

jbrds is currently developing a full-range footwear line with developmental milestones at the core of its unique design model. jbrds will launch its first products in its line in June 2022. The Stand2Walk, for ages 9-18 months, followed by Walk2Run (ages 18 months to 3 years old), Run2Play (ages 3 to 5 years old), and GoPlay (ages 5 to 8 years old).

By design, jbrds will ease the burden of choice on parents, especially new parents, when buying footwear. Consumers can reserve a pair of jbrds Stand2Walk shoes on Kickstarter at or order them directly from beginning June 2022.


Today, jbrds is a Baltimore based footwear start-up for infants, toddlers, and kids. Our mission is to start kids off on the right foot for a life filled with physical activity. We will ease parents' burden when deciding on what is best for their kid's feet.

Our vision is to become the first active lifestyle brand from cradle to 8 (years old). Developing innovative footwear and apparel products while executing a connected digital strategy engaging families.


Mike Gugat, Co-founder, and CEO