Who Invented Hacky Sack


Have you ever played Hacky Sack with a group of friends? This small ball is weighted just right so that it can be kicked around with some control, yet be effectively caught on a dime thanks to it soft inner filling. The original invention wasn’t actually called a Hacky Sack, but was instead called the “footbag.” A Hacky Sack is actually just a trademarked term that is used to market the footbags that are produced by one specific organization.

Footbags were around for many years before their invention, but it was Mike Marshall and John Stalberger who brought the modern footbag to the market. The normal Hacky Sack that is used for circle kicking today is generally a crocheted ball with plastic beads as a filling, though some of them are also filled with beans. For professional food bags, anything from sand to lead shot has been used as a filler.

How did the invention come about? As the story goes, Stalberger was trying to rehab his knee and saw Mike kicking around a homemade beanbag. It looked like fun, so they kept playing and the modern Hacky Sack was born.

You Mean There Are Two Different Kinds of Hacky Sacks?

Well… there are two different kinds of footbags. What people would generally call the “Hacky Sack” is the product that is produced by Wham-O. This company has either invented or helped to distribute the inventions of toys for several decades. Many of the best known toys have either come out of Wham-O’s research and development or was specifically chosen for distribution by the company after an inventor presentation.

Stalberger and Marshall invented the home version, but they also invented the competition version as well. The typical Hacky Sack is either crocheted or stitched together with one seam, but competitive footbags contain 32 or more different panels that are incorporated into the ball. This is then used for freestyle events, specific games, and there are even World Cup events that utilize this fun little ball that is so easy to kick around.

How Many Variants of Footbags Are There Today?

There are a lot of unique inventions that have been created to compliment the footbag over time. You can get glow in the dark models today. There are ones that have been made with chain mail. There’s even a Hacky Sack that is made with a flame retardant material that you can set on fire to kick around, although that one tends to be illegal in many parts of the world.

What makes using a Hacky Sack so fun? It’s the fact that everyone can play along! You just get a footbag, grab some shoes if you want them, and then begin practicing your kicks, maneuvers and stalls. It’s easy for everyone to play, is a great group event, and there’s even a World Hall of Fame for footbaggers who have excelled at the sport.

For what started out as a fairly humble invention, the Hacky Sack has become part of the world’s culture. If you haven’t used one before, make today be the day to get this highly affordable invention.