Why Manufacturers Use Kangaroo Leather for Soccer Cleats
By Holden Lewis
So there’s someone out there who’s job it is to make leather from a kangaroo?
Seems strange, doesn’t it? I once thought leather came exclusively from cows. But that was before I got my first pair of Copa Mundials.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Keep reading, and by the end of this post, you’ll know why kangaroo leather (aka K-Leather) is THE go-to choice for the best soccer cleats made from natural materials.
My Introduction to Kangaroo Leather
I remember the first time I heard that some soccer cleats were made of kangaroo leather (aka K-leather). I was 17 and standing with my Dad in our local soccer shop, and the clerk had just handed me a pair of Adidas Copa Mundials to try on. Size 11.5, a half size less than my previous shoes.
“They’ll be tight,” the guy said. “But they’ll stretch and form to your foot after just a few times wearing them.”
That clerk was right. Those Copas were my first real high-quality boot, and remain some of the best soccer shoes I’ve ever worn.
The Upsides: Lower Weight, Higher Strength, and Better Performance
We’ll go in depth into cow leather in a different post, but just to set the stage, cow leather includes calfskin, full-grain, and Taurus materials, all which come from a cow hide.
Companies use Kangaroo leather for a simple reason: it’s better than cow-hide leather. It’s lighter, softer, and molds to your foot quicker than any other material on the market, including any cow-hide or synthetic. Depending on who you listen to, K-Leather has 10 times the tensile strength of cow-hide leather and is 50% stronger than goatskin.
The Downsides: Cost, Durability, and the Poor Kangaroos
You’ll only find K-Leather in high-end shoes, because it’s significantly more expensive for the manufacturers than cow leather and most synthetics. Durability is usually less too. Eventually, the leather that once stretched to mold to your shoe will simply stretch out to where it no longer supports you. This happens with any soccer cleat, but it happens faster in K-Leather.
There have been some questions raised about the treatment of the Kangaroos that are the source of K-Leather. In some parts of the world, Kangaroos are raised like cattle and used for both their meat and their leather.
David Beckham caused a stir in 2006 when he dropped his K-Leather Adidas Predators and switched to a synthetic boot after being sent video by kangaroo-welfare activists. Beckham wasn’t the first to make the move, but his profile was likely the final nudge that spurred a huge growth in synthetic material development by all the top soccer shoe manufacturers since then.
Whatever your preference, yes, K-Leather is made from Kangaroo hide, and for good reason. If you like a natural material shoe, and you want the very best soccer cleats out there, then K-Leather is the right choice for you.by