Allbirds Co-Founder Joseph Zwillinger Calls Out Amazon For Selling Similarly Designed Shoes

By Annie Baker ● November 26, 2019
  • Allbirds co-founder Joseph Zwillinger is calling out Amazon for selling shoes that have a similar design as its products. These are the details.

Allbirds is a brand that sells a popular wool blend sneaker at a price of about $95-$135. But now Amazon is selling a similar product called the 206 Collective Men’s Galen Wool Blend Sneakers for about $45. And Allbirds co-founder Joseph Zwillinger wrote an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about it.

In the letter, Zwillinger offered to give Amazon the Allbirds shoe components in order to make its similarly designed product more sustainable.

“We are flattered at the similarities that your private label shoe shares with ours, but hoped the commonalities would include these environmentally-friendly materials as well. Alas, we’re here to help,” wrote Zwillinger in a letter. “As we’ve done with over 100 other brands who were interested in implementing our renewable materials into their products, including direct competitors, we want to give you the components that would make this shoe not just look like ours, but also match our approach to sustainability.”

Earlier this month, an Amazon spokesperson denied that it’s wool sneakers copy Allbirds in a statement to Business Insider:

“Offering products inspired by the trends to which customers are responding is a common practice across the retail industry. 206 Collective’s wool blend sneakers don’t infringe on Allbirds’ design. This aesthetic isn’t limited to Allbirds, and similar products are also offered by several other brands.”

Allbirds created the world’s first green EVA — which is a sustainable version of the foam used on the bottoms of sneakers. And by using a sugarcane waste stream, Allbirds was able to create a natural version of what has historically been petroleum-derived and they also removed carbon from the atmosphere and locked it away with one of the most photosynthetically-efficient crops.

“We want to give you the components that would make this shoe not just look like ours, but also match our approach to sustainability,” added Zwillinger.

Allbirds is not the only company that accused Amazon of copying its designs. Last year, Williams-Sonoma sued Amazon claiming that its private-label orb chairs looked similar to the ones sold in its West Elm brand.

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