Friday, September 09, 2005

Kangaroo vs Synthetic

There are way too many posts on rsd and on blogs about cleats. Here's mine... I read a comment over on Frisbee Spew where Heacox says he prefers the synthetic uppers they are putting on cleats these days. During Summer League EOS, AJ trots out with his new cleats and shows them off. "Kangaroo," he says. Here is a gratuitous shot of AJ modeling his Puma Kings. AJ and I agree on one thing, coed, wait. Kangaroo is King. The comfort scale in cleats goes like this (worst-best): synthetic, cow leather, and kangaroo leather.

I remember the first kangaroo leather cleats I got, some Adidas TRX 3's. I couldn't believe how good they felt. Then, of course, Adidas stopped making them. I switched to the Nike Talaria's, after hearing how amazing they were, and I was won over (not saying much since Adidas stopped making my beloved TRX 3's). I loved the traction I got and how light they felt. My feet paid the price though, as I started getting blisters and blackened toenails again. The Talaria's used Nike's synthetic upper, but I'd always had problems with Nike's so I just attributed it to that.

The Talaria's synthetic upper ripped after 3 tournaments. Thankfully, Nike has a great return policy. If your shoes tear or malfunction, within 3 years of their manufacture, Nike will 'replace' them. Generally this means they'll give you the MSRP of the cleats in the form of a gift certificate. Unfortunately, it takes a while to ship them there, have them inspect them, get the gift certificate, order the new cleats (hoping they have them online), and have them shipped. Regionals was coming up and I needed new cleats. I ended up getting lucky, I found a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapor K's. Basically the same shoe, but made from juicy Kangaroos. Gone are the blisters and the blackened toes. They've lasted longer than the Talarias too. The kangaroo stretches, which makes them more comfortable and durable than the synthetics. They are slightly heavier (.6 ounces), and a bitch to find though. I only wear mine at tournaments (I have an unlimited supply of Talarias from Nike for practice), and they're still going strong. I just bought a backup pair off Ebay.

Most of Adidas top-of-the-line cleats seem to be kangaroo, but Nike (and Gaia) seems to be sticking with the synthetics. I'm sure the Mercurial Vapors, Vapor TDs, Speed TDs, Super Speed Ds, Vapor Jet TDs and Total 90 IIIs are great and all, but I'll stick with my Mercurial Vapor Ks (if only to help the kangaroo population problem.)


Anonymous said...

I found Kangaroo leather to be by far the best/most comfortable. Feels like they mold to your foot instead of your feet having to get used to the cleats. No blisters at all and they dry quickly.
I find that Diadora have several relatively widely available kangaroo leather cleats with very similar cleat patterns as the Nikes

heacox said...

Actually, there is a big difference between traditional synthetic leather (usually found on the $44.95 cleats you buy at Dick's on the way to the tournament), and the synthetic microfiber materials that a lot of companies have started using in their cleat uppers the past two or three years.

The cleats I have been wearing for the past two years (Puma Shudoh) have an upper that combines traditional PU with a microfiber material called Schoeller Dynatec. It's kind of like Tyvek (the stuff they make FedEx envelopes out of)--like a weird plastic-y fabric. It's lightweight, resilent and retains it's shape. The material has held up incredibly well during two years of play in various conditions.

Anyway, what I was looking for in my comment on Frisbee Spew was whether the Vapor TDs were made out of something like this, or the really weird stuff they make the Mercurial Vapors out of, or something else (like traditional or synthetic leather).

Cleats made out of baby kangaroos are very nice, although it has been a while since I've owned a pair. The new Puma King Execs ( are about to bring me back into the fold. Especially if I happen to be playing soccer this fall.

Thank goodness AJ finally got some real boots.

mick said...

Kangaroo leather is the best. I hate the fact that it comes from kangaroos, but it makes for great cleats. I also have Puma Kings and they are by far the best cleats I've ever owned.

Nate-dogg said...

You silly people, it's the footplate, the sole, the arch that matters. Everything else is gravy.

By the way, first time poster, long time "reader".

Matt said...

Where can information be found about this 3 year replacment policy spoken of. I've never had a pair last even a year let alone 3.

_dusty_ said...

Call Nike Customer Service. 1-800-344-6453

I'm pretty sure its 2 years and not three.

I've returned a few pairs where the outsole seperated from the insole after a season's worth of college ultimate.

wood said...

You're right Dusty, 2 years. Sorry.

Check out;bsessionid=Y2XUGGK20HFASCQCGJFCF4YKAIZB2IZB?page=40&item=other

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, i've been reading this for a while now.. then what about the "Peeva Sockliner with Poron inserts" that the mercurial vapor II R9's are supposed to be made of?, how different is that from the kangaroo leather? does it still offer great confort with no blisters and blacknails at all?


Anna said...

Wow What an amazing football shoes.

I would have gone for it, If I would have seen this blog before.

I just ordered my Nike Vapor Shoes from, so I have booked marked this blog. Since I am very much interested in those

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