The leather in a sports shoe caused top rugby star Jason Robinson a big surprise recently. Until it was pointed out to him, he had no idea that his boots were made of leather manufactured in his home town of Leeds.

Jason achieved super fame status after scoring the only try in England’s triumphant Rugby World Cup final against Australia. He is now playing as a member of the English squad in the Six Nations tournament but took time off from his heavy schedule to visit Pittards’ leather factory in Leeds, Yorkshire.

‘All these years I’ve been looking at the Pittards’ tags in my boots but never knew that the leather was made not only here in the UK but just down the road from where I grew up’, said Jason.

Jason did know, though, that the flexibility, strength and comfort in the leather in his Puma King SL boots were exactly what he wanted. The leather used in these boots is Pittards’ WR100 Soccer Lite, a highly innovative technical leather developed after nine years research in Pittards’ own laboratories.

The leather incorporates a range of specialist properties demanded by world class players. The leather is very light in weight and very strong for its substance – one and a half times as strong as ordinary leather of the same substance.

The leather is highly breathable for comfort and foot care and it also incorporates some exceptional waterproofing qualities. In a high-speed player such as Jason, wet boots are heavy and can seriously hinder performance. Pittard’s Soccer Lite has an exceptionally low uptake of water – after being totally submerged for four hours, the material absorbs just 20% of its own weight. In comparison, regular leather absorbs 120% percent of its weight in the same time, becoming completely waterlogged. The Pittards WR100 Soccer Lite is also fast drying and quickly returns back to its original soft condition. Another advantage of this unique leather is that in hot weather, the leather stays cool and comfortable around the foot unlike most leathers and very different from the high priced synthetic boots on the market.

A final advantage of this leather is that all these benefits are not just a spray or a surface treatment. Every fibre in the leather has been treated to ensure the benefits are permanent; ie for the waterproofing, water repellent materials have been bonded to every individual fibre in the leather.

Along with the hidden properties, the Pittards’ WR100 Soccer Lite is a beautiful looking leather and can be made in a range of colours. When Jason visited the Pittards’ leather factory in Leeds, he enjoyed a tour of the factory with Pittards’ marketing director Richard Malin and Puma’s marketing executive Mike Walkman. Jason was also presented with a new pair of Puma boots made in his own choice of colours – red and white – which is already bringing him more success – last week he scored a hat trick of tries in the match wearing the boots he was given during his visit to Pittards.