Most manufacturers of football boots use cruelly sourced kangaroo leather to make their football boots. Nike has promised to make a change.

David Beckham famously gave them the boot in 2006 after activists sent him graphic images of animals being slaughtered for his shoes. And now the premium kangaroo leather football boots ditched by the former England captain and made by the likes of Nike, Adidas and Puma, are soon to be given the red card after pressure from animal rights campaigners, celebrities and a clampdown in the US.

It comes after Nike last week announced it would drop the use of kangaroo skins in all its products by the end of year. The US giant ended its partnership with its only kangaroo leather supplier in 2021.

The company said its famed Tiempo football boot range – which have reportedly been worn by England midfielder Jordan Henderson and Liverpool and Netherlands centre-back Virgil – will in future be made with a synthetic fabric.

Nike’s German rival Puma made a similar commitment earlier this year. Luxury fashion houses including Gucci, Chanel and Prada as well as British brands like Paul Smith and Victoria Beckham have previously rejected kangaroo leather.

The announcement by the sports giants was welcomed by animal rights campaigners, with Wayne Pacelle of the Center for a Humane Economy hailing it as ‘a seismic event in wildlife protection’.

The group spearheaded the ‘Kangaroos Are Not Shoes’ campaign, which was set up in 2020 and went viral online after being backed by celebrities including Ricky Gervais and Woody Harrelson.

Previously, the most expensive football shoes were made with kangaroo hide, which is more lightweight, durable and flexible than cow leather. Now the majority of football boots made by Nike and its rivals are made from synthetic materials, but some like Nike’s Tiempo Legend 9 Elite boot and Puma’s KING Platinum 21 Rallye boot feature kangaroo hide.

The US state of Oregon, where Nike has its headquarters, introduced a bill in January that, if passed, will ban the sale of ‘any part of a dead kangaroo’. California is currently the only other US state that bans the sale of kangaroo-based products.

But there has been some criticism of the move in Australia, where kangaroos are widely regarded as a pest. Australian leather producers say they’ve fallen victim to an international ‘misinformation campaign’ about k-leather that threatens the lucrative industry. Some ecologists say banning trade of kangaroo products would create more harm for kangaroos due to overpopulation.

Original source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk