Nike vows to stop using kangaroo leather to make football boots following pressure from celebrities including Ricky Gervais

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  25th March 2023

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Kangaroo leather was branded cruel by the 'Kangaroos not Shoes' campaign which is calling on manufacturers to ditch the animal skin


Nike has pledged to ditch kangaroo leather following pressure from a campaign backed by celebrities.

The Kangaroos not Shoes campaign, run by the Center for a Humane Economy, was launched in 2020. Vegan celebrities Ricky Gervais and Woody Harrelson were among those supporting the initiative.

Now the sporting giant has vowed to ditch the animal skin from its Nike Tiempo boots and all other shoes in 2023.

The pledge follows a similar promise made by Puma just a week earlier, which according to the Center for a Humane Economy, means that ‘ two of the biggest buyers of kangaroo skins are getting out of the business of financing the largest mammalian slaughter of terrestrial wildlife in the world’.

Kangaroo leather

In a statement, Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy, said: “Nike’s announcement that it will end use of kangaroo skins for its athletic shoes is a seismic event in wildlife protection.

“Tremors will be felt all over the world, especially in Australia where the mass commercial slaughter of kangaroos occurs.

“Non-animal-based fabrics are athletically and morally superior, and in March we’ve seen two of the three largest brands in athletic shoes pledge to end their use of kangaroo skins and to bring relief to these iconic marsupials in Australia.”

He added: “We are so pleased that Nike is shedding its skins made with kangaroos,” added Pacelle. “We now hope that this announcement and similar ones will prompt Australia to begin to shut down its ruthless commercial kangaroo-killing industry and spare these animals the cruelty they do not deserve.”

Natasha Dolezal, senior legal advocate for the Center for a Humane Economy, added: “These two announcements amount to a massive victory for the Center for a Humane Economy and its ‘Kangaroos Are Not Shoes’ campaign.

“Now it’s up to Adidas and the remaining soccer cleat makers to follow suit.”


Plant-based materials

We’re starting to see a boom in ethically produced vegan trainers and other footwear.

According to the Center, synthetic materials have become increasingly popular in recent years, with football boot manufacturers starting to opt for them over kangaroo leather.

The organisation adds that two million wild kangaroos are ‘cruelly gunned down in their native habitat’ every year by commercial shooters.

It notes that kangaroo killing guidelines are “deficient and impossible to enforce in the Outback and in the dead of night when the mass shootings occur. What’s more, commercial shooters are permitted to shoot mother kangaroos even when the joeys are still in their pouch or nursing from their mother.

“The industry’s commercial code instructs the hunter to then kill the joey by blunt force trauma to the head, which is often accomplished by slamming the joey against the side of a car or another hard surface.

“If the joey scampers off in fear, evading capture by the hunter, they are certain to die from exposure, starvation, dehydration, or predation.”

Keen to ditch all types of animal skins from your footwear? We teach you everything you need to know about vegan shoes

Featured image by Jami Tarris via Getty Images

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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