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As environmental concerns loom over the often-pollutant fashion industry, brands across the globe have made efforts to combat their own carbon footprint and introduce new technologies that have aided them in this effort. One major part that has helped was the introduction of synthetic materials that utilize recycled content as opposed to harvesting leather from animals. While we have seen various “Next Nature” Dunks as well as standard Nike products, portions of their soccer line have been constructed with kangaroo leather. Following Puma’s recent announcement they too will stop using the material, Nike will introduce its new proprietary synthetic upper to its soccer line according to Footwear News.
In a statement to the aforementioned publication, Nike stated that its latest entry in the Tiempo series, the Tiempo Legend Elite, “has a new material that is a better performance solution and replaces the use of kangaroo leather,” continuing, “Nike divested of its only kangaroo leather supplier in 2021 and will stop making any product with kangaroo leather in 2023.” Looking at the sourcing of this material and the context around harvesting kangaroo, the population in Australia actually exceeds that of the human population (43 million kangaroos to 26 million humans) and is a common food to eat when in the country.
Since the year 1999, the Australian government has sanctioned harvesting the animal to limit its population as it is considered a pest and an environmental hazard, though it still draws controversy. Many argue that the culling of the animal does not in fact help with the ecosystem of the country and may harm it as the animal can help fertilize the soil and prevent wildfires by keeping grass short.
In Oregon (where Nike’s headquarters resides), the state is set to prohibit the sale of any kangaroo product and Nike may be looking to avoid legal trouble by facilitating the sale of kangaroo leather products. Even still, kangaroo leather has long been used for sports equipment due to it being lightweight, yet stronger than typical cowhide. Going forward, those looking for soccer cleats will have to get used to the new synthetic material used by The Swoosh and can expect the first boots (the Nike Tiempo Legend Elite) to debut in Summer 2023. Keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app to stay updated on the latest releases, raffles, news, and more in the sneaker and streetwear world.