- Nike recently said it will stop using kangaroo leather in its Tiempo soccer cleat, and plans to stop using kangaroo leather altogether in 2023.
- In a statement to FN, Nike announced the launch of a new Tiempo Legend Elite soccer boot for summer featuring a proprietary synthetic upper instead of the kangaroo skin currently used in the series. The company added that it will also eschew kangaroo leather for its Tiempo Premier.
- Nike said it had already divested its only kangaroo leather supplier in 2021.
In place of kangaroo, Puma will be using a proprietary K-Better material made of nylon. Nike has not yet released details about its proprietary synthetic replacement material. Although Nike’s announcement has been widely reported, the Oregon-based company had not posted an online statement about its plans to stop using kangaroo leather by Thursday afternoon press time, and did not respond to a request for comment.
This latest move leaves Adidas as the last major soccer manufacturer using kangaroo leather. While Adidas did not respond to a request for comment, spokesperson Stefan Pursche told the Washington Post that Adidas had plans to phase out kangaroo leather.
The material “plays a minor role and is significantly below 1 percent because we’ve been able to substitute kangaroo leather with other innovative materials in many products,” Pursche said.
For activists working to eliminate kangaroos from the leather supply chain, this was a clear reaction to Puma, said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy.
“Puma taking that step pushed Nike as a key competitor to match their play,” Pacelle said. “Frankly, I'm expecting Adidas to follow suit at this point.”
Pacelle said Adidas has already been making moves toward eliminating kangaroo from its supply chain.
“I don't see any reason for Adidas not to make an announcement tomorrow,” he said.
The strategy, Pacelle said, has been to put pressure on what his organization calls “the top brands” first, in the hopes that others would follow suit. “We began our focus on Nike because it's a U.S. based corporation,” said Pacelle. “Puma and Adidas have a big footprint here, but they're both Germany based.
“Now we want to get Adidas, but I think New Balance is our next conversation,” Pacelle said. “We're going to be knocking on their door within days.”
Outside of athletic shoes, Pacelle said kangaroo, which is hunted in the wild, is used in some boots manufactured by L.L. Bean and for motorcycle riding gear.
But he’s looking to start small and build, he said. “We want to close out the athletic shoe industry, and then get away from cow's leather as well. And then we'll take a look at the larger skin trade.”