Panther Teeth is the result of founder and owner Brad Pelkofer’s wanting to improve the comfort, fit and performance of ice skates and athletic shoes based on his personal experiences playing hockey and using various types of athletic shoes, hiking boots and climbing shoes. The desire was to create a product that was light and strong, easily added to any type of footwear, and that could customize the fit of any off the shelf skates or athletic footwear.
Our company name is derived from the University of Pittsburgh mascot, the Panther, as the university was a key partner in the engineering and development of the company. Now with two patent pending products, Panther Teeth has developed a solution to help any end user improve the fit and performance of their skates and athletic footwear.
–Brad Pelkofer, Inventor & President of Panther Teeth
As somebody who played hockey in his youth, I still enjoy going down to the local rink to do some skating and to get a little exercise. On one particular Saturday afternoon as I was lacing my skates, I noticed a mother trying to tie her young son’s skates, and it was obvious that this was their first time ice skating. As I laced my skates, I tried to give the young mother a few pointers.
At that time, I remembered all of the problems that I had experienced over the years with my laces loosening, lace bite and foot pain caused by overtightened laces. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to invent a device that could help young skaters tie their skates correctly and that could eliminate all of the problems that I experienced over the years. The idea of Panther Teeth was formed that Saturday afternoon.
In the fall of 2017, I secured the help of the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering as a design engineering partner. It was a perfect partnership of aspiring young engineers in helping a first-time entrepreneur to develop a new product in a category that had very few advancements over the years. The scope of development grew to include athletic shoes and cleats. After three plus years of designing and testing, Panther Teeth had developed two similar products that would enable a skater or athlete the ability to set and maintain different zones of lace tension, thereby creating a customized fit that increases comfort and performance of their footwear.