An animal welfare group is calling out Adidas for allegedly continuing to sell soccer cleats made with kangaroo leather.
The Center for a Humane Economy said on Wednesday that a statewide investigation in California revealed that retailers in the state are continuing to sell soccer cleats from Adidas made with kangaroo skin, despite repeated warnings about the violations of the law that forbid this commerce.
The Center, having already filed three lawsuits against soccer shops for violating the state’s Unfair Competition Law, said it sent notices of intent to sue two more retailers unless they respond with written assurances that the shops would immediately cease sales of the illicit products. (California Penal Code Section 653o prohibits the sale of the body parts of a number of animals in the state, including kangaroos.)
“For years now, many California retailers have been openly flouting the law, securing shoes from Adidas and other companies on open display in their shops and even bragging that they know it is unlawful while greedily ringing up sales,” Kate Schultz, senior attorney for the Center for a Humane Economy, said in a statement. “Our notifications to law enforcement officials about these illegal activities have not produced action, and we’ve been left with no choice but to attempt to enforce the law through civil proceedings and to bring these violators to court.”
In a statement to FN, a representative for Adidas denied these claims. “We certainly adhere to all applicable legal regulations and do not sell any kangaroo leather products in California,” the representative said.
In March, the Center for a Humane Economy lauded Puma and then Nike for pledging to end worldwide sales of kangaroo-based shoes by the end of 2023. Nike announced at the time the launch of a new Tiempo Legend Elite sneaker made without kangaroo skin — a turnaround for the company’s primary soccer shoe.
Nike’s stated intentions to move away from kangaroo leather comes on the heels of another key athletic player, Puma, announcing it would also soon step away from the use of kangaroo leather.
Puma revealed in March the next iteration of its pinnacle King soccer boot will feature K-Better, a material the brand described as “a completely new, non-animal-based upper material” that is at least 20 percent recycled material.
Diadora, the Italy-based soccer cleat giant, halted use of kangaroo skins in its product lines in 2020.
Since 2019, the Center said it has been conducting a global “Kangaroos Are Not Shoes” campaign, urging athletic shoe retailers to stop using the skins from Australia’s iconic marsupials for soccer cleats.