- New Balance will no longer use kangaroo skins in its footwear, according to an email sent to the Center for a Humane Economy last month and confirmed by sister publication Fashion Dive.
- The Boston-based athleticwear giant added kangaroo to its updated 2023 Restricted Substances Manual, stating in the guide that the company currently “seeks to minimize usage of kangaroo leather, and restricts the sourcing of kangaroo leather” to what is legally allowable now, and that it will “stop producing any footwear containing kangaroo leather by the end of 2024.”
- In March, both Puma and Nike announced they would discontinue their use of kangaroo in their soccer cleats, and Nike furthermore announced it would stop using kangaroo skin altogether by the end of 2023.
The battle against the use of kangaroo skins in fashion has seen some notable victories in 2023, including the reintroduction of the Kangaroo Protection Act in Congress, which would ban the sale of kangaroo skin in commercial products in the U.S.
“New Balance deserves our praise for pledging to disassociate itself from the wildlife-skin trade,” Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action, said in a release sent to Fashion Dive. “The two biggest athletic shoe sellers based in the United States have announced in 2023 that they will rapidly phase out sourcing kangaroo skins for soccer shoes, and there’s no question that the decisions will diminish the financing of the commercial massacres of kangaroos in their native habitats in Australia.”
The move leaves Adidas alone in the field as the last major footwear company still selling shoes made from kangaroo skin, although some smaller companies such as Japan’s Mizuno have also continued the practice, according to the release. Italian soccer brand Diadora pledged to go kangaroo-free in 2019.
No company is allowed to sell the material in California due to a state ban on the sale of kangaroo skins and parts.
In Australia, lawmakers welcomed the move from New Balance.
“We applaud New Balance on their decision to stop using kangaroo in their soccer cleats and the Center for a Humane Economy for helping make it happen,” Emma Hurst, a member of Australia’s Parliament in New South Wales, said in the release. “The demand for kangaroo leather is driving the commercial slaughter of kangaroos across Australia. New Balance is now among other major brands like Nike who are turning away from the unnecessary trade in wild native animals.”