How a Celebrated LA Chef Started His Own Footwear Brand

For Daniel Shemtob, starting his own footwear brand was a no-brainer.

As a self-taught chef with a cult favorite food truck that was crowned the “all-time food truck champion” on Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” and a fine dining restaurant, Hatch Yakitori, which won best Yakitori restaurant and best Japanese restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, Shemtob has worn many hats – and pairs of shoes.

After years of having his shoes fall apart while working, and experiencing the subsequent pain that came along with standing on his feet in the kitchen for long hours each day, Shemtob was on a mission to find a better alternative. As he searched for other work shoe options, Shemtob couldn’t find attractive styles that were functional.

“You had shoes that were cheap, would break down quickly, looked ugly, or were not good for you,” Shemtob told FN in an interview. “It was clear that people on their feet all day needed a better solution.”

CREDIT: Courtesy of Snibbs

So, Shemtob enlisted the help of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Snibbe and his longtime friend Haik Zadoyan to create Snibbs. After four years of design and development, the trio soft launched their “SpaceCloud” work sneaker in April 2020 – right at the height of the pandemic.

“It was a bizarre time to start a company,” Shemtob said. “At the same time, we were grateful we had products to support the healthcare workers, nurses, and frontline professionals during a time where industry individuals were indeed the most tired and overworked.”

And for Snibbs, the pandemic afforded the company a unique opportunity to give back to the community by launching its “Sole Support” campaign, where Shemtob sent his food truck all over southern California feeding thousands of frontline workers while also giving them shoes.

Snibbs also used this same time period to gather customer feedback on its debut sneaker model. “We called our customers weekly looking for honest feedback and reviews on Snibbs,” Shemtob explained. “Since our soft launch, we were able to update different components of the shoes to further improve and keep perfecting our product.”

CREDIT: Courtesy of Snibbs

Of the improvements made to its sneaker, Shemtob said the company changed some of the components, including a smoother lace cage that’s easier to tie, and some internal materials to make the shoe have an overall better feel. It also made a pivot to become a more eco-conscious brand by utilizing 100% recycled cotton and post-consumer polyester/microfiber made from 100% recycled plastic bottles in various parts of the shoes.

Now, as the shoe brand celebrates its official launch, Snibbs is focusing on spreading the word while giving back to the community it serves. “Our goal has always been to make the best shoe possible,” said Shemtob. “By being active in our community, adding sustainable components to our product, and donating to our favorite charities who are aligned with our causes, means our customers also want the world to get to a better place. We hope people who support us, and our loyal customers, believe in what the brand stands for and trust our shoes and company to get to a better future.”

Looking forward, Shemtob is moving full steam ahead on Snibbs. “We are building the company of our dreams,” Shemtob admitted. “I say we because everyone who purchases a shoe, our factory workers, our vendors, and our employees are all part of that vision.”

The Snibbs “SpaceCloud” work sneaker, which retails for $135, is now available for both men and women in five colorways at Snibbs.co.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Snibbs

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