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Kangaroos Are Being Killed To Make Alternative Performance Footwear Like This Shoe - Ugh!



Vibram FiveFingers shoes cost around $110 and approximately 4 million kangaroo lives per year*.

FiveFingers shoes are designed to make you feel like you're walking or running barefoot. Shame on them! Shame on the fitness industry for allowing this to happen! It's a barefoot-inspired shoe for God sakes! It makes absolutely no sense to me that a kangaroo has to die in order for fitness consumers to feel like they're walking or running barefoot. Especially when grassy fields are plenty. I'm assuming most barefoot runners worry about the consequence of stepping on something sharp or uncomfortable and a grassy terraine is one way to avoid that...I've done it and it feels great. I've also run full marathons next to runners who were completely barefoot on city streets. This is something I wouldn't do, but I know it can be done without killing a kangaroo!

*This number is an estimate of kangaroos commercially killed in Australia annually. Read more HERE



I wasn't born yesterday.

I know that animals are being killed everyday to make all kinds of clothing items that we, as consumer, purchase without thinking twice about (PETA and animal-free folks, I'm obviously excluding you here). And yes, I buy leather products often and know that a lot of my sneakers are made from it. I'll justify that by saying that most of these products are necessities. But a barefoot runner? C'mon now. It doesn't make any sense to me. Most human beings already own a pair of bare feet. Killing kangaroos for this kind of sneaker is not necessary, it's cruel and unfashionable.


These shoes are really unattractive...I'd rather stare at a kangaroo for 10 hours.

I'd rather watch a kangaroo hop around or a joey peak out from his mother's pouch than slide my feet into a pair of FiveFingers, even if it's just to test them out. It's really sad knowing that kangaroos are killed to make us feel like we're walking barefoot when we already have that luxury. The crazy thing about it is that I had no idea FiveFingers were made from Kangaroo leather until a reader commented on a video I made about barefoot-inspired running shoes. The reader raved about the performance enhancing quality of FiveFingers footwear so I went to the website curious as to whether their product range included a stylish option. That's when I realized the company uses Kangaroo leather which they claim enhances free motion within their shoes. The FiveFingers Performa along with several other styles is made almost entirely from Kangaroo leather. For a split second I considered testing this shoe (even though I'm not a fan of toe-separation) but then I thought, how could I live with myself? I freaking LOVE kangaroos! I became so upset about this that I began watching videos on Youtube to learn more about kangaroo killings linked to the fitness industry. It was not a pretty afternoon spent surfing the internet! But I learned a lot, including something about myself: I will not support or promote companies that condone cruel killing of animals for products that are absolutely unnecessary or that could easily be made without harming animals. Cruelty towards animals for the manufacturing of fitness product should not be happening at all and companies that traditionally use Kangaroo skin (i.e. Adidas for soccer cleats) should make sure to enforce humane guidelines.


FACT: Kangaroos are cool.

6 species have already gone extinct ---> NOT COOL


How can you save a Kangaroo and still wear a performance enhancing minimalist shoe?

Don't buy FiveFingers and tell them why. Let them know how you feel by visiting their contact page or shooting them an email at

Also, there are plenty of shoes out there that don't use Kangaroo leather. For example, one of my favorites is Terra Plana's Vivo Barefoot Evo collection which is 100% Vegan, planet friendly and super stylish. My favorite designs are The Evo in green and The Evo 2 in navy/blue mesh. Aside from looking great as a sport shoe that activates your core, they also wear casually and look cute with jeans.

the evo blue jeans

See it to believe it and do something about it.

You don't have to watch this video (includes graphic content) but sometimes you really need to see it to believe it. I know I did.



Cruelty is not fashionable and I hope you'll join me in furthering a movement of informed fitness enthusiasts who shop with a conscience and care about how fitness products are made. Thank you.


written by Bianca Jade a.k.a Mizzfit


fit couture

Say what's on your mind!

Barefoot TJ December 5th, 2010 7:14PM

Someone who runs in Vibram FiveFingers is not barefoot. You have to actually have b a r e f e e t in order to be considered barefoot. Just sayin'.

MizzFIT December 5th, 2010 7:26PM

Hi TJ,

I agree and that's why I called them barefoot-inspired shoes. It bothers me that instead of learning how to run barefoot, people are buying Kangaroo leather shoes that simulate the barefoot experience. I don't like Kangaroo leather being used in this way. It upsets me and makes me lose respect for companies like Vibram. I have nothing against barefoot runners, in fact I respect them immensely and consider myself one of them (except when it comes to running on streets). I'm sensitive to the ruthless killing of Kangaroos and feel the need to inform people of products that use Kangaroo leather unnecessarily. I hope this explains things a bit more. My intention was never to insult barefoot runners.


Jennifer December 22nd, 2010 2:36PM

Kudos to you for speaking out about this. I found your site because I was interested in their "shoe" today and couldn't believe when I saw they were made out of Kangaroo leather. It's as if they were bragging about it. I do want to point out that you justified your other purchases of animal products as necessities. I learned 8 years ago that really the only necessities might be tires and public items we use. There are tons of great fitness shoes, belts and bags that are animal friendly. Check it out. I know if you changed your perception about kangaroo leather, you can change your perception about cow, calve, pig, lamb and any other animal leathers. :) Here's to your compassionate and fit life!

Roxie December 26th, 2010 4:14PM

Why do you people take your anger out on one company? There are many soccer shoes which are made of kangaroo also, but are you protesting Adidas and other athletic manufacturers?

MizzFIT January 4th, 2011 10:29PM

Hi Jennifer,

I loved your comment and really appreciate your perspective. So much that one of my New Year's resolutions is to cut down on leather products that aren't a real necessity. There's so much truth to what you say and it really affected my conscience when I thought about animals dying unnecessarily. I know I can't change the world through my purchases but I can play a role in making a change. I'm going to keep you in mind throughout my career and will do my best to incorporate more animal-free products into my styling videos and suggestions. THANK YOU so much for sharing your views here.


MizzFIT January 4th, 2011 10:33PM


You're right, other companies deserve to hear these kind of complaints. This is just one of many cases and believe me, I was not happy to read about how many Kangaroos are killed to make Adidas soccer shoes. It really disappointed me even though soccer is one of my very favorite sports. I can only hope for Adidas to one day create a Kangaroo-free soccer cleat. I honestly believe it's possible so if you're up for it, then let's ask Adidas to give it a shot. There's no harm in asking and I think they'd love to get this kind of consumer feedback. Let me know if you're up for it...


MHFerrell January 8th, 2011 11:43AM

Kangaroos are not killed to make Vibrams. Kangaroos are killed for kangaroo meat in Australia and Vibram uses the leather as a bi-product of the meat production process.

MizzFIT January 9th, 2011 1:24PM


If you can prove it, I will listen. Until then I will speak out about this.


Theo Factswillsetyoufree January 9th, 2011 4:02PM

Sorry, MizzFit, no kudos from me. I hate to call out you and the good-hearted folks here who are upset about the kangaroos being killed, but what you're doing in incredibly hypocritical, despite your generally good intentions. If you're totally honest with yourselves, the real reason you're upset about this, and not about the use of standard leather is because kangaroos are "cute", and therefore are given a greater right to live than other animals. It's the same reason many so-called vegetarians have no problem eating fish, but won't eat some land animals. Furthermore, the kangaroos used to make these shoes aren't factory farmed like the cows that you're okay with killing, and factory farming is the real cruelty going on. In addition, there are many more more cows being killed than kangaroos (by a factor of tens of thousands!), so shouldn't you be speaking out against the larger problem if you're so determined to save critters?

The most important set of facts you're missing here relates to the status of kangaroos in certain parts of the world. In many areas of Australia, kangaroo populations are actually out of control, and are the ecological equivalent of rats. Their culling is actually encouraged so that other animals can survive. They're essentially vermin in their ecosystems that have put the habitats out of balance. Add to that MHFerrell's correct assertion that, in many cases, they are using the same kangaroos that were killed for meat (or population control), and you have a much more humane practice than the production of leather (which generally comes from different cows than the ones used for beef).

Time to get off the high horse, and stop using outrage as a way to disguise your own bias towards cuteness without really knowing what is going on.

Theo Factswillsetyoufree January 9th, 2011 4:04PM

For the record, though, I do agree that these "barefoot" shoes are silly, and criminally ugly. That's a much better-reasoned argument to take Vibram to task.

MizzFIT January 11th, 2011 6:41AM

Thank you for responding, but please don't assume that the only reason I've taken to my blog to write about this is because Kangaroos are "cute". It goes well beyond that for me. I think it's important to voice all opinions on serious issues, whether great or small in relation to other issues happening in the world. There's always something to talk about and this is a place for conversation to happen. So I don't feel like this topic is worthless at all. It got you to comment, didn't it? Also, there are many who disagree with you on the issue that Kangaroos becoming vermin in certain parts of Australia. I actually read up on that before writing this article because I had remembered hearing this side of the coin. When I dug deeper I found that certain species of Kangaroos have actually gone extinct due to over-killing. To me, that's quite sad. And yes, they are cute. A lot cuter than rats for sure. So what if I think that. All that matters is that people have an attachment to these animals and would like to see them better treated and NOT ABUSED.

That said, I think you offer some good points with regard to cows that I am giving a lot more thought to. I appreciate that you've taken the time to share this info and better inform me of another issue that deserves my attention and careful research. Thank you so much for commenting here on


BobM May 17th, 2013 8:05AM

I thought this was gross too. Totally changes the vibe I get from Vibram.

BobM May 17th, 2013 8:12AM

What is wrong with you? By your definitions, you would be ok with using humans as leather because they are overpopulated and disrupt the ecosystem.

Time to get off the high horse, and stop using skewed logic as a way to disguise your own bias towards human superiority without really knowing what is going on.

MizzFIT May 23rd, 2013 11:19PM

Hi BobM,

It's nice to know someone agrees with me :) But I don't expect everyone to. Thanks for your support!


Theo Factswillsetyoufree May 24th, 2013 11:36PM

BobM, Rather than insulting me, it might help to better understand the point being made. I'm not saying any animal usage is particularly ok (or your foolish reductio ad absurdum that it's equivalent to thinking human skin should be, too). The point is that there's no reason to protest the use of kangaroos any more than cows or other animals that are already being used by clothing manufacturers. You're either ok with using animals to make clothing or you're not...In for a dime, in for a dollar. I still maintain that the likely motivator for singling out kangaroos in the article from other animals is that we associate kangaroos with being cute, and cows with being dumb commodities to be managed for our own benefit. It would be easy to say "what is wrong with YOU?" for not realizing that, but I chose to be smarter than that. It's you who is on a high horse, touting moral grounds for your outrage while still using countless other products that exploit animals in your own life. If you can't accept that there is at least some moral benefit to using animals that are breeding in abundance and that have lived free, happy lives rather than exploiting endangered animals in factory farms, then the discussion is pointless. The only takeaway one can glean from your post is that anyone who isn't a vegan is a savage. Is that your position? If so, THAT would seem to be the high horse in this equation.

MizzFIT May 29th, 2013 7:50PM

Whoa Nelly! Let's not fight here. No one is on a high horse and not any of us know exactly how we lead or operate in our lives that relates to animal skin use or meat consumption. Let's just agree to disagree on this topic. My article was never meant to enrage anyone just to share my feelings about something I felt strongly about...I realize I am not always perfectly consistent in my views. And I hear both sides of your arguments. Thank you so much for responding and starting a conversation. But let's not fight on it. So not worth it. And I'd hate for anyone to feel insulted here.


Theo Factswillsetyoufree June 24th, 2013 5:48PM

Fair enough, MizzFIT, but it's worth noting that Bob attacked me and asked "what is wrong with you?" (the first ad hominem on this thread), and your response was to thank him for his support and agreeing with you, and give him a smiley face. When I reasonably defended my position, you then said we shouldn't fight. Not exactly even-handed. Often having our inconsistencies pointed out to us can be very emotional, but I'm not the one who started name-calling.

MizzFIT June 26th, 2013 3:25PM

What is wrong with thanking the man for his support? It was genuine and you're taking my appreciation of his support as an insult, which you shouldn't. Because I harbor no ill will towards you or anyone who disagrees with me. I was just happy that someone understood what I was trying to say and agreed. That is not a bad thing to be happy about. But I see your points too. So I'm sending you a a big old happy face so that we can clear this up for good: :) Hope you have an amazing day today and get a nice workout in. I'm headed to yoga now. Sending good vibes to ya!


gangaroo October 1st, 2013 2:32PM

Thanks for a great article and discussion, which hopefully has us all thinking about where our shoes and clothing come from. But is there any evidence that Vibram is "killing" kangaroos, the premise that this whole discussion is based on?