The KT26 was developed in the late 1970s by Jerry Stubberfield in Portland, Oregon, USA. Stubberfield, came up with the concept of Kinetic Technology and developed the unique bio-kinetic lugged sole for the OSAGA shoe company in direct competition to Blue Ribbon Sports (NIKE). The OSAGA company started up 3 months after Blue Ribbon Sports (NIKE) & competition between these revival companies became quite tense that apparently OSAGA & NIKE used to fly helicopters over each other's offices in an attempt to annoy each other. They also took turns at sponsoring the Hayward track & field clock. OSAGA got into financial difficulty & closed it’s doors by the start of the 80s.
Stubberfield then went on to start AVIA shoes (AVIA became the 4th largest sport footwear company during this time) & this is why early AVIA shoes feature 'cantilever technology' which is derived from the KT26 design. Stubberfield then sold AVIA onto REEBOK by the late 80s for a tidy sum.
Dunlop Sport (Australia) first came across the KT26 shoe at the NYC Shoe Fare in the late 1970s. An agreement to purchase the shoe was arranged thanks to the son-in-law of the OSAGA shoe company being friends with an employee of Dunlop Sport (Australia). Dunlop Sport then purchased the ownership rights to the KT26 design (10 year royalty agreement with Stubberfield). The KT26 was then redeveloped to become the Dunlop KT26 which has been on continuous sale since 1978 (minor pattern changes to the upper & revised sole lug pattern with added forefoot section).
The KT26 has become a standard clothing issue item for many Australian factory workers. At one point the Australian Occupational Health & Safety Department realised that there were thousands of factory workers wearing these shoes without steel safety toe caps. Although uncommon for such a light shoe to feature a steel cap, Dunlop Footwear was quick to solve the problem by creating a ‘safety’ version with a steel toe cap.
In 2003, Dunlop Footwear calculated it has sold more than 5 million pairs since release. In addition, Dunlop exports on average 120,000+ pairs of KT26 shoes to Papua New Guinea per year.
Dunlop KT26's have become ubiquitous fashion items within rugged countries such as Papua New Guinea, where they are prized for their low cost, wide-fit, sturdy construction and superior tread pattern. The shoe's tread pattern is particularly useful in muddy conditions, which has helped it to become the footwear of choice for competitors in the Kokoda Challenge, a race over the length of the Kokoda Track. It is reported that there is over 23 counterfeit versions of KT26 on sale in Papua New Guinea.
Dunlop Footwear recently redeveloped the KT26 shoe with revised fit (last shape as per original 1978 shoe), construction, improved materials & the addition of women's, youths', infants' & babies' sizes. The range will be available in Australia from July 2012.
Kinetic Technology means that the shock waves are radiated outwards so minimal impact is felt making the shoe extremely comfortable for running and walking. The bio-kinetic sole lugs distribute energy so that when running or walking the impact and stress of the movement is directed away from the foot which improves not only the comfort of the person wearing the shoe, but their overall stability, support and control. Many podiatrists and chiropodists have recommended the KT-26 to help overcome foot problems.
KT is short for Kinetic Technology (also referred to as Kinetic Training), and 26 represents the number of miles in the famous race, the marathon.