The problem with kids athletic shoes, to hear one-time Nike lead designer Jason Mayden tell it, is that they’re little more than shrunken down versions of their adult counterparts. And they aren’t designed for tiny feet. “The companies simplify [the shoes],” says Mayden, “but they never actually think like the child or take into consideration how children move or what they do on the playground.” His new shoe and apparel company, SuperHeroic, on the other hand, does just that. And this month, it’s releasing a debut line of performance kicks, the TMBLR v1 Sneaker.
The TMBLR v1 is designed with one goal in mind: to get kids out playing. In fact, one of the shoe’s slogans is “footwear for tactical play.” Mayden embarked on the SuperHeroic endeavor after his son began suffering from health issues related to food allergies and obesity, and it’s clear that a lot of research went into to ensuring the kicks wouldn’t limit a child’s movement. Right out of the gate, this sneaker stands apart. “The proportions on the TMBLR are very different than on typical children’s shoes because we’ve designed them for [a kid’s] foot, versus shrinking an adult model,” says Mayden, who’s renowned in the industry as the guy who redesigned the ultimate ‘dad’ shoe, Nike’s uber-popular Monarch. “So we get a sleeker toe and we get a wider base which helps them stabilize.”
In technical shoe lingo, TMBLR v1 features “dual-density performance midsoles for comfort, sidewall traction ridges for grip, and an offset durable rubber outsole for balance and stability.” There’s no sock liner ⏤ just a smooth internal lining that fits comfortably against the shape of the foot ⏤ or laces, which have been replaced by an eye-catching and easy-to-fasten adjustable utility strap to secure the foot. “For playground use only” is printed on the heel bumper. Hell, yeah.
The packaging is equally as fresh: the shoes come in a cool tube dubbed ‘a shuttle’ (that can used for creative play or storage later) and include both a super hero cape and stickers. SuperHeroic will eventually include an accompanying app that does two things: one, identify nearby parks, playgrounds, and places for kids to get out and run; and two, calculate your kid’s current shoe size using little more than a measuring algorithm and pictures of their foot from different angles.
The TMBLR v1 will come in sizes 12C-7Y and is currently available online for pre-order, with shipping to start August 31. And just to play it safe, the company will reach out to all pre-order customers before dropping your kids kicks in the mail, just to make sure they haven’t grown a size.