The history of the brand begins in 1979 with Bob Gamm, the American company founder. He is the inventor of the "ORIGINAL SHOES WITH POCKETS". The architect and passionate runner was one of the first jogging fans and spends a lot of time with it. So much time that even the annoying "where to put my key" question doesn't let go of him. During one of his daily 10-kilometer workouts, he finds the solution: running shoes with an integrated pocket. Bob named his shoes "KangaROOS": the kangaroo is a fast runner, it never moves backwards and it has a 'bag' - the original KangaROOS pocket.
The then super-light COMBAT is the first model with the integrated pocket, which every shoe still wears as a significant distinguishing feature. 1980, Bill Rodgers wins the Boston City Marathon in COMBAT. He tops his own personal best and the American record at the same time. The KangaROOS success story begins. In the same year, the revolutionary design was sold 700,000 times a month in the United States and a little later around the world.
Even after the hour of birth, KangaROOS has rapidly established itself in the world of sports. In 1983 the legendary KangaROOS basketball hi-top SKYWALKER conquered the National Basketball Association and became a classic among basketball boots with ankle straps, colored outer soles and the KangaROOS pocket. Its most prominent wearer at the time, NBA legend Clyde 'The Glide' Drexler, helped the shoe to become popular beyond the sports arenas, the SKYWALKER became a must-have in 80s streetwear. As a team player in the US “Dream Team” from 92, Drexler won gold at the Olympic Games in Barcelona and since 1996 has been one of the 50 best NBA players of all time.
At the same time, Bob Gamm signed Ray Tonkel, a Nike designer. The KangaROOS team focuses on performance and establishes another innovation in the running segment: the energy recycling and damping system DYNACOIL, a patented shock-absorbing material tested by NASA, which from now on makes KangaROOS running floors extremely comfortable, especially the COIL R1. To this day, DYNACOIL counts as a heritage element in running silhouettes as a success feature.
In the years that followed, KangaROOS expanded its performance-oriented sneakers and served various sports. In addition to running and basketball, the product range also includes tennis shoes, hockey and special athletics models. A special friendship develops in football that has continued to this day: when the Chicago Bears won the Superbowl for the first and only time in 1986, William Perry and Walter “Sweetness” Payton wore the 'BEAR LO' and 'BEAR'. Walter Payton is one of the best football players of all time with his records and awards; KangaROOS supports the Walter Payton Foundation.
In 1988 Bob Gamm withdrew from the business and sold KangaROOS to a group of investors from California. He died in 2010 at the age of 91. KangaROOS commemorates him with an edition limited to 91 pairs of his favorite KangaROOS sneakers, the Classic BLAZE.
In Europe, Bernd Hummel is pushing the brand forward and establishing it in the lifestyle segment. The PENTLAND GROUP, a family business based in London, has held the rights to the KangaROOS brand since 1991. Bernd Hummel is still the world's largest licensee of KangaROOS.