Robert J. “Bob” Gamm, the founder and inventor of KangarOOS athletic shoes, died at his home near St. Louis on July 13. He was 91 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease more than five years ago. As an architect and a jogger himself, Gamm designed an athletic shoe with a small, zippered pocket on the side, to solve the problem of where to put keys and money while he ran. The KangaROOS company started in 1979 and sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shoes in the 1980s. Toward the end of the decade, in an attempt to rival Nike Air's technology, KangaROOS came up with Dynacoil, a patented energy-release system designed in collaboration with Nasa's engineers. Gamm sold his company to investors in 1988 and failed to buy it back a few years later. Now a property of Pentland Group, the company shifted its strategic focus from performance sports to lifestyle footwear, with much of it still featuring the zippered pocket on the side. Today KangaROOS shoes are sold in over 60 countries worldwide, with a recent expansion through Central and South America and Asia.

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