Back in June, we asked whether it was full-time for football boots made of natural leather – and whilst the majority of you seemed to oppose the idea, it looks like more top brands are set to begin phasing out it’s K-leather cleats…

adidas copa mundial football boots being produced in Germany

Following the UN Rio 20+Earth summit, Puma chief executive Jochen Zeitz made no secret of it’s intentions to take a more eco-friendly approach to the way they do business, and a keystone of that plan is to ditch leather for a synthetic alternative.

And now it seems that adidas are on the same path as their decades-old rival, after a new report from responsible investment specialists Co-Operative Asset Management revealed they have been working with adidas to reduce the amount of K-Leather used in it’s products – with football boots in particular a focal point of the initiative.

Following the adidas Predator moving away from K-Leather (first to Taurus leather on the Predator_X, then to Hybridtouch synthetic on the new Predator LZ) Co-Operative Asset Management say that over the next 12 months, adidas will have reduced their K-Leather sourcing by a whopping 98%.

NIke Tiempo Legend IV Elite - Football BootsHang on to your Tiempo Legend IV’s – They might become a rarity, soon…

Nike & Umbro

The same report also says that the Manchester-based firm have also been in contact with Nike (and subsequently Umbro) about their continued use of Kangaroo leather in their products, with the American sportswear giant also assuring that they had “publicly committed to phase out the use of kangaroo leather” in their products.

Further investigation shows that both adidas & Nike have been signatories on the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group communiqués (commitments to climate change and environmental issues) since 2008 – the same year the last K-Leather adidas Predator (the Predator PowerSwere) was introduced.

With the advent of alternatives like Taurus, HybridTouch, Goleo, KangaTouch and Kangalite it’s been clear for a number of years that adidas and Nike have been shifting away from football boots that adversely affect Kangaroo populations in Australia.


But, as with Puma 3 months ago – it definitely raises the stakes when public commitments are made and timeframes are enforced by investment firms like the Co-Operative.

If we had one lingering question, it would have to be whether the Copa Mundial will survive the next 12 months. Whilst it could be the classic Copa will be the product of the remaining 2% of adidas’ remaining leather outsourcing, it could just as easily find itself labelled as another antiquity.

As a sport that is undoubtedly excessive, are synthetic boots and recycled shirts a small way for football to do it’s part for the environment? Or is this the equivalent of getting Forumla 1 cars to run on batteries?

Let us know in the comments!

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  1. says: Ryan Tang

    you know what? i really believe that nike and adidas, need some sort of kangaroo farm. Feed the kangaroos with chemicals to give them extra soft skin. Just to keep up the supply of k leather. And there you go, our problems are solved!

  2. says: Auskick

    Ridiculous. There is an overpopulation of kangaroos in Australia, and therefore there is a ongoing population control. So the result is plenty of dead kangaroos. The meat is sold as steak, but then there’s the skin as well. It seems immoral to waste parts of an animal for “environmental” reasons.

    1. says: Hondo

      Amen to that. The fact of the matter is that these companies are incredibly cynical and looking to make maximum profit providing a far inferior product; essentially legitimising their greed through using environmental concerns. It is akin to how the Carbon Tax in Australia is couched in ‘environmentalism’ when in reality it is a cynical money-grab to account for the massive hole in the federal budget.

  3. Total BS. The industry is regulated and the population is managed, and I see no evidence of it being adversely affected. The meat is widely eaten in Australia and the skin is useful – it’s strong, supple and durable, and ought not to go to waste. It’s been the perfect material for soccer boots, and synthetics are a cheaper alternative, espoused by manufacturers under the guise of environmentalism. I’m not convinced at all.

  4. says: theDreamer

    seems industry may be using a convenient platform such as environmentalism in an effort to increase demand, all the while using cheaper materials to be sold at a higher profit margin

  5. says: theDreamer

    from wikipedia:
    The Australian kangaroo industry produces a range of meat and leather
    products from animals harvested from the wild under strict government
    controlled Management Plans. These ensure the harvest is sustainable and
    humane [12]. A wide cross section of Australian ecologists support the kangaroo industry as being both sustainable and environmentally wise[13].
    Many argue kangaroos, which are native to Australia, are a more
    environmentally friendly livestock option than introduced sheep and

  6. says: Verbian

    I always held firmly into the “leather is better” category and continued to buy leather boots despite my being a vegetarian. I felt bad buying them, but I just never met a synthetic boot I liked. I can’t wear Nike due to a wide foot, but I just picked up the Predator LZ with the hybrid touch, I love this material. Your touch will be no worse or no better with leather, and vice versa. You do gain durability and less water retention with synthetics. There are still some bad synthetics out there, I don’t like Puma’s or the Sprint Skin. Kangalite seems really nice, but I can’t wear Nike’s so I wouldn’t know.

  7. says: Lozboi2

    I prefere synthetic boots…because they are lighter, but for the love of joy, please do not totally stop using k leather on copa mundials! Even as a synthetic boot wearer, I do not want to see the classic and best material phased out. It’s nice to have choice

  8. says: Jose Luis

    As far as I know, Kangaroo meat sold all aver the world and leather used to produce footwear and other goods come from “farms” that grow kangaroos just as cattle, in a controlled environment and with the proper care to sacrifice them according to all international regulations. Free kangaroos around Australia are, in some places, a plague that can be aggressive and that finishes harvests of several grains and vegetables. Personally I love K-leather soccer boots and will keep on looking for them.

  9. says: Karl Ting

    They are just doing deception, they make it look like that they’re eco friendly with their synthetics, but in reality, they just want to reduce production costs. What are the most expensive boots made of? SYNTHETICS
    OPEN YOUR EYES!!! Synthetics are worse, what’s the point of making recycled shirts when they produce even more plastic?
    Where will all those lumps of rubbish end up in when the football boots break?

  10. says: c.f.

    i like how they make recycled shirts now (that is, if they can be recycled again), but as everyone here points out the move from k-leather due to “environmental” reasons is a fallacy, simply bc using k-leather is not nearly as harmful as would be producing cheap unrecyclable and dangerous synthethics. and yes, while the somewhat earth-friendly nike gs seems like a great idea, it is a great money-milking idea rather, bc otherwise they would have made it mass-produced and not at such a hefty price tag.
    i would hope to see that the smaller brands do not buy into this marketing non-sense (some of them already making awesome leather boots like pele sports, mizuno, hummel, joma, lotto, etc). if they kept leather, i’d be their client, and hopefully many others would.

  11. says: Crocket

    What a load of rubbish. The real reason they are moving away from Kangaroo leather to synthetics is it’s cheaper to manufacturer a synthetic boot in the long term. That is all. Nothing more to it. Nike and Adidas can do that, but there will still be those smaller co’s like Diadora and Loto who will always produce a good full Kangaroo leather cleat. I absolutely hate and will never ware synthetics in any of my footwear (except for running shoes).

  12. says: Insider_11

    I’m just going to state the obvious here…if we consider all the boots which Nike and Adidas sell – all silos and all tier levels – what percentage of these boots atually include Kangaroo leather? I can only think of Copa and Tiempo top tier. This probably equates to less than 1% of total boots sold. Considering this, I dont think they care how many people are crying about it on the internet. Business is business and they obviously see synthetic and synthetic leather as being the right business move. Case closed.

  13. says: dion

    Thank god concave is back they make a top k leather boot!!!!! Just saw a picture of there new boot in white and red on google pics, it looks AWESOME!!! If the big boys want to sell us rubbish I will support companies like this that make a real product!!!!!!

    1. says: KyleFB

      It can also be a possessive apostrophe – when describing something that belongs the noun in the sentence.

      But the sentence was a little poorly worded, I’ll give you that.

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