There comes a time in every shoe and boot maker’s life when you just have to start asking questions and getting some answers. That’s what Russell President, Ralph Fabricius, and Russell Production Manager, Joe Gonyo did a while back.
Both Ralph and Joe were well aware that kangaroo leather has the highest strength to weight ratio of any leather known to man. Kangaroo is 20% lighter than cowhide right off the bat. But when split, as all leathers must be before the tanning process to make them usable for making boots and shoes, kangaroo leather when split down to only 20% of its original thickness retains nearly 60% of its original tensile strength.
This is significant because cowhides...when split to 20% of their original thickness...retain only 1% to 4% of their original tensile strength.
Kangaroo has 10 times (10X), the tensile strength of cowhide and is 50% stronger than goat hide leather. Yet kangaroo is 20% lighter. Highly desirable attributes for making boots and shoes.
So why wasn’t Russell able to buy any of this wonderful leather here in the US? Good question!
Ralph and Joe went on a mission to find out. There had to be a reason.
Joe got on the Internet and went straight to the source of kangaroo leather...Australia! After much investigation, questioning, ordering samples, sorting out, Joe ordered several hides from the Packer Leather Company in Australia. Their unique K-Roo kangaroo leather is fine grained, lightweight, flexible, strong AND waterproofed!
Next Russell made prototype boots and shoes to test.
Joe, an avid Northwood’s grouse hunter, wore a test pair of new K-Roo South 40 Birdshooters on numerous wet Northern Wisconsin grouse hunting trips to test them. He purposely DID NOT TREAT the new boots with any kind of water proofing product as he wanted to find out how waterproof they were right out of the box. After days of wet hunting, Joe’s feet were dry. No problems at all.
The Russell Classics in full kangaroo are now available, including the popular Art Carter Traveling Sportsman, (in double vamp with outside molded sole and lightweight Aspen Gumlite sole), plus a super lightweight version of the Safari “PH”, (leather lined with canvas or leather uppers, Newporter sole with 1/4” heel lift), a Kangaroo Birdshooter, (double vamp, leather lined quarters with Aspen Gumlite sole), a Short “PH” that barely weighs 2 lbs. per pair, (leather lined lacing studs, Newporter sole with 1/4” heel lift), and a South 40 Birdshooter, (double vamp with outside molded sole, lacing studs, Poron slipsole, back pull loop, Newporter sole with 1/4” heel lift). All available in women’s sizes as well.
The new Russell Kangaroo Classics offer the best of all worlds....tough, long wearing, waterproofed leather and super lightweight.
Custom Made Only.