Packer Leather international marketing manager Graham Packer said kangaroo leather provided players with more ‘feel’.
“It’s thin and it’s lightweight but most importantly there is no other leather like kangaroo when it comes to durability,” Graham said.
“That’s what makes it ideal for use in football boots.”
The challenge for the Narangba-based tannery Packer Leather has long been in matching the needs and expectations of manufacturers who supply the footwear to the multi-billion dollar global sports industry.
It has meant an ongoing commitment to innovation for the 124 year old Queensland company.
“We cannot survive playing in the bottom end of the market,” Graham said.
“We have to continuously innovate because we have to be able to service a market that is constantly evolving.”
Packer Leather joint managing director Lindsay Packer said the needs and expectations of manufacturers were not limited to the on-field performance of the leather.
“Manufacturers’ expectations also include ensuring that our hides are supplied from a sustainable source and our processing methods meet environmental expectations,” Lindsay said.
“Fortunately we have been able to match all of those expectations and through innovation deliver what is required for high-performance athletic shoes.”
Most of the hides are supplied as a by-product of the kangaroo meat trade which focuses on the pet food industry and meat for human consumption. However, the quality of a kangaroo hide can only be determined once the fur has been taken off.
“It’s because we are dealing with a wild animal that lives in a wide range of environments,” Graham said.
“Drought, sharp branches, ticks, barb wire and plenty of other things in the landscape can damage a hide.
“Unfortunately we can’t see that damage until after the hide has been processed.”
The exceptional strength of kangaroo leather is because the fibre structure of the 1-1.2mm thick hides is similar to the extremely long fibre make-up of a rope. Unlike cattle hide, the thickness of kangaroo leather can be further reduced without affecting its strength.