As far as exotic leathers go, kangaroo leather might be one of the stealthiest.
With a fairly smooth grain and a similar creasing pattern to bovine hides, kangaroo leather doesn’t immediately grab the eyes the way other uncommon leathers—say, ostrich or kudu—might. But kangaroo leather’s somewhat ordinary looks belie its extraordinary strength. It’s exceptional enough that there have been multiple studies produced on kangaroo leather to investigate its unique properties.
Kangaroo leather has about ten times the tensile strength of cow leather, and is roughly 50% stronger than goat leather. What’s more, kangaroo leather has the unique ability to retain much of its strength even after being split down into thinner pieces. A piece of kangaroo leather split down to about 20% of its original thickness will retain about 30-60% of its original tensile strength. Weigh that against a split cow hide, which will only have about 1-4% of its original tensile strength.
Kangaroo leather’s strength derives from the uniform formation of collagen fiber bundles in the dermal layers of the hide. In kangaroo leather, these fibers run parallel with the surface of the skin, with elastin—a protein that allows tissues to resume their original shape after being stretched—evenly distributed throughout.
Few footwear brands—outside, interestingly, soccer cleats including Adidas’ classic Copa Mundial—work with kangaroo. Grant Stone began working a very unique natural kangaroo leather into their lineup in 2021, and just released two new kangaroo models that also wear it quite well, in their Edward and Brass Boot patterns.
Grant Stone has previously showcased the moody Jungle Kangaroo on their plain-toe Diesel Boot, and now it’s been added to the moc-toe Brass Boot lineup. This particular Brass Boot ($380) features shiny brass hardware, a 360 storm welt, and Grant Stone’s own commando soles. As usual, it comes on the high-walled Floyd last.
The Edward Boot ($370) sees kangaroo added to its makeup list for the first time as well, in the form of a new-to-Grant-Stone color, a mellow Rust. Built on the Leo last, this Edward features a antique brass eyelets, a 360 flat welt, and a commando sole.
Oh and definitely take a look at how Grant Stone’s natural kangaroo ages in the Patina Project app.