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Attention soccer purists: Get your kangaroo leather cleats while you still can

Nike announced on Monday that it will no longer produce kangaroo leather products, including its famous soccer cleats. For collectors and enthusiasts alike, the news is a real wake-up call. Since the 1970s, kangaroo leather has represented the pinnacle of what a football boot is and should be, providing players with a touch on the ball unlike any other boots on the market. 

This material has been utilized by soccer cleat companies around the world with the goal of creating a remarkable sensation that can only be achieved through kangaroo leather. It feels like butter out of the box and gets better with age. Just ask icons of the sport like Toni Kroos, Andrea Pirlo and Francesco Totti. 

It simply has always been the best. But in recent years, many lawmakers have sought to put an end to the use of kangaroo leather, namely California’s law prohibiting the use of the material, prompting companies like Nike to create California-specific variations of their products. 

In January of this year,  a similar law was proposed in Oregon that would prohibit the purchase or selling of “any part of a dead kangaroo or any product containing a part of a dead kangaroo.” 

Nike’s main headquarters within the state would make the continued production of these products extremely difficult, if not impossible, so the athletic giants have announced they will be ceasing production of any kangaroo leather products by the end of 2023. 

According to ESPN, “as recently as April 2021, the global commercial kangaroo product industry was worth roughly $200 million annually to Australia.” 

ESPN went on to say “the Commonwealth Government estimated in October that there were 42.7 million kangaroos to 26 million Australians.” 

While the animal’s leather is prized in a variety of different fields, the majority of its usage goes toward soccer cleat production. Other manufacturers have made comparable promises as Puma announced it will also stop the use of kangaroo leather while Adidas began using calf leather for its Copa line. 

So, it looks like this may be your last chance to get your hands (or feet) on some of your favorite boots from your favorite brands. Nike’s famous Tiempo line has been a staple for years, as well as its vintage Nike Premier boots. Puma’s King conjures up memories of Maradona, Pelé and Cruyff while Adidas Predators or old-school Copa Mundials are about as iconic as the players who wore them. 

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