Puma Replaces Kangaroo Leather With K-Better Material in King Boot – Sourcing Journal
Puma is making another attempt to phase out kangaroo leather.
After announcing they are back working with Rihanna on a new collaboration, the German sports company came out on Thursday with a redesigned King football boot showcasing its new K-Better material.
The Puma King was worn by soccer stars like Johan Cryuff, Eusébio, Lothar Matthäus and Pelé, who dominated the international scene for decades. Now the King returns with a completely animal-free upper that also contains at least 20 percent recycled content.
“The Puma King is Puma’s most legendary franchise in football and has always stood for the use of the best materials and the latest innovations,” said Pete Stappen, Lead Product Line Manager Teamsport Footwear at Puma. “Over the years we have seen the boot evolve and become ingrained in football culture on and off the field, from the pitches to the stands. The new King takes the franchise to the next level, offering a super-soft upper with optimal stretch resistance for ultimate touch and control benefits.”
K-Better has proven to outperform previous King K-Leather in feel, comfort and durability tests. Puma will stop producing football boots with kangaroo leather this year in favor of K-Better, which is made from 60 percent recycled nylon from post-industrial waste.
In addition to the redesigned upper, the King also features a new lightweight outsole with an external heel counter, King stability back and tapered lugs. The shoe features a lightweight, removable insole with NanoGrip technology to lock the foot in place for stability when changing direction. The women’s edition of the boot combines the latest King technology with the instep height designed for a woman’s foot.
The K-Better King will debut on the pitch with Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, Ingrid Engen of Primera Division Barcelona club, Lena Lattwein of women’s Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg and others. La Liga star midfielder Nabil Fekir of Seville’s Real Betis Club should also be among the first to wear the boot before recently tearing his cruciate ligament.
According to Puma, K-Better debuts Puma King Supercharge Edition online, in stores and at retailers focused on football products.
This isn’t the first time Puma is trying to move away from kangaroo leather.
In 2021, the German company introduced the King Platinum 21 Vegan as the first King football boot to be made from animal-free materials in the style’s more than 50-year history.
In 2021, U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) introduced the Kangaroo Protection Act, which aimed to curb the market for the marsupial’s body parts, particularly when brands are readily viable Substituting material alternatives could sacrifice performance. It is also known that major footwear companies outside of Puma, such as Nike and Adidas, use kangaroo leather in their soccer cleat offerings.
Adidas opened up about its use of kangaroo leather in 2021, stating that its k-leather accounts for “significantly less” than 1 percent of its total product material mix. Nike also said kangaroo leather makes up a “small part” of its football boots. Puma previously said K-leather was included in 0.5 percent of its total leather consumption.
By eliminating kangaroo leather, Puma is following in the footsteps of other brands that have turned to alternative materials in the face of a growing market; in January, vegan footwear brand Grounded People acquired $2.5 million in financing. Last September, Allbirds introduced Pacer made from organic cotton and vegetable leather. The Degenerate sneaker recently came back into stock after its first drop sold out due to strong demand for plastic-free, animal-free alternative leather. And in April 2022, California startup Blueview launched its Pacific Slip-on Sneaker, which is made from a proprietary blend of plant-based materials and claims to be the world’s first fully vegan and biodegradable shoe.
Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.
https://sourcingjournal.com/footwear/footwear-brands/puma-king-k-better-k-leather-kangaroo-football-boot-cleat-granit-xhaka-421063/ Puma Replaces Kangaroo Leather With K-Better Material in King Boot – Sourcing Journal