Thanks to Sokito (@officialsokito) for making this post possible.
Kangaroo leather has been for many years seen as the top leather available for football boots. No matter the brand, whenever there is a top leather model it is almost always kangaroo leather. After all, kangaroo leather is a unique material. In its best-used form, it is soft, pliable and durable. It stretches better than other leathers and tends to be the most sought-after material for boot heads like myself. This is not to say that kangaroo leather is perfect, but in terms of its use for football boots, it is pretty close. In our rapidly ecologically aware world, every material needs to be looked at when it comes to its use. So, lets dig a little deeper into this oft-used material.
First off, a lot of the kangaroos are hunted for their meat. Of the kangaroos that are hunted, only four species are allowed to be hunted, which are also the four most populous species: the red kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo, western grey kangaroo and wallaroo.
Secondly, they are not farmed. All kangaroos killed in the production of meat and leather are all wild and there are strict quotas to what amount of kangaroos are allowed to be culled. There is even a national code in Australia for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies. There are even rules for how the animals are to be killed and that mother kangaroos with young are not to be targeted.
Thirdly, kangaroos are not facing extinction and actually have a booming population thanks to human interventions of clearing trees, adding more grass, adding more permanent water sources and killing dingoes, which are the main predator of kangaroos. This is according to the Euan Ritchie, as quoted in The Guardian (from which a much of the above information is pulled).
What is interesting is having a look into like brands Sokito, which promises to be the most ecologically-friendly boot brand on the market. Sokito is planning to use kangaroo leather for their boots at a time when a lot of other brands are “going green”. The question to be asked then is why Sokito has decided to go about using kangaroo leather. After all, some could argue that it goes against ecological beliefs.
According to Sokito, they have thus far not found an adequate replacement for kangaroo leather that is humane and as ecologically friendly. Their research team has gone about looking and testing other materials but nothing has been close to what they see as acceptable. The brand also says that 60% of their boots are made of recycled materials and as mentioned previously, they are striving to make 100% recycled boots and are working on ways to make that possible. One of the biggest and most important things that can be done is making sure less footwear ends up in landfills.
The brand also points to the fact that kangaroos are not listed on CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) as an endangered species. Kagaroos are not farmed, and the annual cull is monitored and if the leather was not used, it would go to waste. Sokito has also promised that should the current laws change, they will stop using the material.
The other issue is that a lot of the materials tested so far did not hold up well and did not offer the performance needed or expected of a football boot. So, because of that Sokito decided to stay with kangaroo leather but have promised that if a better material is found, they will switch to that in future.
There is also the very inconvenient fact that it can take up to more than 500 years for polyester to decompose in landfills, thus leaving a massive amount of waste that not only is harmful to the environment, but also fills up landfills.
Thus, the end-of-life cycle for boots and similar products are extremely important if we are to reduce waste. Far too much product is being made by the bigger companies and ergo, far too much waste winds up in landfills.
Going back to kangaroos, the market for kangaroo meat and leather is also seen as one of the most sustainable markets, and certainly better than beef and cow leather by a massive amount. In fact, the beef industry is the heaviest polluting meat industry in the world and productions more greenhouse gases then every other meat combined.
Kangaroo meat and leather also exists in what we call a ‘live market’. That means that prices vary depending on what is available. While this means that there are times when the prices can become much higher than normal, the fact that animals are not farmed means it is more ecologically healthy for the planet.
Kangaroo leather has been around for a long time and looks to be around for even longer still. In spite of ecological concerns, it remains more ecologically friendly than other materials and that is before we remember the fact that no material can replicate its performance and quality. If new brands like Sokito are signed up for it while still maintaining an ecologically friendly stance, then it still seems to be much more worth over materials that will still be with us after we’ve long finished using them.
What do you think about kangaroo leather and its ecological footprint? Please share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!
2 thoughts on “A Look into the Ethics of Kangaroo Leather”
I mean, if we are talking about emissions then the biggest culprits like transportations, buildings, metalworks and other fuel “industries” must do they part first.
All the points you made in this post show why making football boots using kangaroo leather should absolutely be continued because of their performance and how we are making the most out of hunting them controllably.
Most (not all) of the humane or eco-friendly things are just pure marketing strategies to me anyway. So as long as we are not pushing something to extinction, I silently support doing it.
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Yeah, absolutely. So many other companies (and militaries) emit scores of pollution.
Yeah agree with your second point too. Agreed that a lot of eco-friendly stuff is just greenwashing.
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