Leather is one of, if not the earliest material used for making football boots. Even to this date, there is still a strong demand for leather football boots most especially because of the comfort they afford on feet and there has been significant improvements in their build, improving their structure and stretch for a superior product. Whether it is kangaroo leather, calf, Taurus or Alegria leather, they hold many similar properties, with differences in price, quality & softness depending on which you choose.
*Important Update – Nike to Discontinue Use of K-Leather in Football Boots*
This summer, Nike will launch a new boot innovation in its Tiempo franchise. The Tiempo Legend Elite will debut with a new Nike-only, proprietary synthetic upper. The upper has a new material that is a better performance solution and replaces the use of kangaroo leather. In addition, the Tiempo Premier, also set to launch this summer, will move away from the use of kangaroo leather.
Nike divested of its only kangaroo leather supplier in 2021 and will stop making any product with kangaroo leather in 2023.
Puma already moved away from K-leather, fitting its iconic King silo with a brand-made synthetic material called K-BETTER. With Nike now in the mix, all eyes are on adidas and its Copa boots to see if they’re also gonna join the farewell party.
With that said, expect that K-leather football boots might come at a premium in the near future. And so if you’re planning to get a feel for them before they are all discontinued, see if you can cop any of these top leather boots before we enter the beginning of the end for our heritage boots.
What You’ll Find On This Page:
- Top Leather Football Boots
- Questions about Leather Football Boots
- Did you Know…Leather Football Boot Trivia
Football boots nowadays are mostly knitted or synthetic, but football boot brands do retain a leather offering. The Big three brands in particular (Nike, adidas, and Puma) have leather silos that already evolved into several generations. The unique attributes of the material simply mean that specific features and on-feet feel that knit and synthetic may not necessarily replicate.
Top Leather Football Boots
The current generation is the lightest Tiempo to date and has the best attempt of Nike to replicate leather in a synthetic composite. A Flyknit tongue gives the opening a sideway stretch to ease up entry.
2. Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta
This is one of the boots that deliver the highest quality of K-leather in any football boot. The premium material comprises the vamp while the meshed midfoot provides the structure and responsiveness. This is a great option to test if leather & Mizuno are right for you.
The Copa Pure .1 from adidas gives you a leather boot that has a soft calfskin leather on the forefoot and a textile synthetic on the midfoot, with the overall upper structure called the Fusionskin. The secure lockdown is assisted by the structure from the textile midfoot, which jives well with the pliability of the quality leather vamp.
4. adidas Copa Mundial
Notwithstanding the classic old-school visuals like the generic shape and fold-over tongue, the Copa Mundial is still one of the nicest K-leather boot in the market as evidenced by its decades-old availability. Comfort is top-notch, but it does pack-in some weight.
5. Nike Premier
Nike’s answer to the Copa Mundial has a more contemporary silhouette and responsive structure. The quality of the K-leather forefoot is there, but the adidas classic silo might have a slight edge on that note.
6. New Balance VV2
New Balance’s leather boot entry VV2 v2 could be held back from getting mainstream by the simple fact that it is made outside of Nike, adidas, and Puma. How else could you explain the premiumness and significant amount of K-leather in addition to its modern structured feel? All of these at the price of the adidas Copa Mundial!
If you enjoy the K-leather of the Morelia Beta and want it extended all over the upper, then this is the Mizuno boot for you. It’s the most comfortable leather boot with just enough structural reinforcement for responsiveness and a modern outsole that simply works.
Besides the fact that it is actually a takedown option, the Tiempo Legend Pro is still a premium boot nonetheless as there is very little to separate it from the Elite. Quite a catch if you focus more on the value-for-money gain rather than having an Elite boot just for the sake of it.
The Copa Pure+ is one of the most technologically-packed leather boot. It is laceless and the leather seamlessly fuses with a premium Primeknit material from the brand to create the Fusionskin upper, delivering the benefits and feel of both knit and leather. The thin upper profile and the lightweight plastic soleplate makes the Copa Pure+ feel like a modern leather speed boot.
The Puma King, despite it being one of the most iconic K-leather silo, was nonetheless the first one among popular K-leather boots to move to synthetic leather. Dubbed as the K-BETTER, the upper promises to retain the damp qualities of leather without the extra water uptake and overstretching. Solid in fit and material quality, but might have some ways to go in replicating the plushness of leather.
This special edition of the Tiempo shows the handicraft of Nike’s Montebelluna factory, where the personal boots of the brand’s biggest stars are manufactured. With the Alegria leather, the Made in Italy Tiempo has a thinner feel than the regular Tiempo, and also has a less structured sensation. If you like more pliability for your Tiempo, you should then get the MI version.
Questions about Leather Football Boots
Are leather boots good?
The fact that the likes of adidas Copa Mundial and Nike Tiempo Legend have continued to survive despite the influx of other options is a testament to the uniqueness of leather among other materials for football boots. Leather boots can be good as long as your preferences are in line with the natural properties of leather. Because of the constant ground pounding and ball kicking, some wear leather boots because of the cushioned, padded feel of the material, in turn allowing the boot to absorb impact away from the foot. Moreover, these properties produce a comfortable press against the foot. The bulk and weight of older leather boots is also becoming less of an issue because of the thinner and lightweight construct of today’s leading leather boots.
Are leather boots better?
As mentioned, everything is relative and this applies as well to the inquiry of leather boots being better. Leather boots are obviously better in getting that soft, cushioned feel versus a soft, knitted boot whic is focused more on creating a sock-like sensation. What is sure is that there have been significant improvements in today’s leather boot builds. They are now thinner and more lightweight but still retain the softness expected from leather. On top of that, leather boots are being modernized through its incorporation with other technologies and materials to create a different experience.
Are leather boots waterproof?
As a natural material, leather is not totally waterproof, though they do provide a minimal amount of water resistance especially for those leather boots that do not have any stitchings. Brands usually employ some form of coating to assist the leather in reducing water uptake especially during rainy weather. You can them improve this further by adding your own waterproofing like dubbin or leather care products.
Are leather boots durable?
Given their denser yet pliable nature plus the padded sensation, they generally tend to last longer. Keep it mind though the leather boots nowadays are constructed with a thinner profile which might affect their durability and protective attributes. You can actually use some leather cream to help maintain the condition of the boot for a long time.
Why can’t you get K-leather boots in California?
Starting in 1971, all kangaroo products have been banned from the said U.S. State, based on concerns that the population of the said animal is declining. As such, brands with K-leather boots either substitute calfskin for K-leather or totally avoid selling the boots in California. Assuming you’ve acquired K-leather boots outside of California, using them to play in any part of the State is highly discouraged given the possible legal ramifications.
What are the types of hide used to make a leather material?
Regardless of the hide, the most sought part is the outermost layers called the top-grain and full-grain as this has the best quality. Synthetic leather is usually created out of the less durable inner layers and normally carries labels like genuine leather, split-grain or suede, and bonded leather.
1. K-leather: The hide from a kangaroo is extremely durable but is soft and flexible. This is the reason why it is the best leather material for football boots.
2. Calfskin: Calfskin is just a touch less premium than K-leather, but its closeness to it in terms of quality makes it a good substitute. Calfskin is a also a bit heavier.
3. Cowhide: Made from mature cattle, the material leans on the tougher and thicker side. They can help boots endure serious wear and tear.