JOGGER, DUNLOP BLUE KT26
The Dunlop KT26 was a running shoe made by Dunlop Sport (Australia), from 1978 to 2012 and originally designed by Jerry Stubberfield for the OSAGA shoe company in the 1970s. KT is short for Kinetic Technology (or Kinetic Training) and 26 represents the number of miles in a marathon. The shoe featured a light weight upper, wedge shape and wide flared sole to spread impact and increase traction and a hard wearing rubber sole with a tread pattern of “cantilevered” large deep lugs and voids which provided 360° grip edges and was relatively self-cleaning making it useful in wet and muddy conditions.
The Dunlop KT26 became a lasting favourite. In 2003, Dunlop Footwear calculated it had sold more than 5 million pairs since release. Versions were made in synthetic with suede, full suede and vinyl uppers and with lace up or Velcro tab closing. In addition to sport and recreational uses, the KT26 became a standard clothing issue item for many Australian factory workers and was widely used by construction and other outdoor workers. Dunlop Footwear later made a “safety” version with a steel toe cap. Its sole tread pattern made it a choice for bushwalking, canoeing, rafting and rock fishing where it was also valued for its low saturated weight and quick drying. A version, the Dunlop KT Centurion, was made for the Australian Defence Forces. Dunlop KT Walker shoes, in leather or canvas uppers, used the same wedge and sole design. Dunlop KT26 Osaka was a specialty line. The Dunlop KT XLC is a cheaper, lighter and fully synthetic variation.
Dunlop exported on average over 120,000 pairs of KT26 shoes to Papua New Guinea per year. Dunlop KT26s have become ubiquitous fashion items within rugged countries where they are prized for their low cost, wide fit, sturdy construction and superior tread pattern.