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Allbirds Fires Shots at Amazon For Not Stealing Their Sneaker Design Properly

Allbirds Fires Shots at Amazon For Not Stealing Their Sneaker Design Properly

Allbirds uses sugarcane waste instead of petroleum to make the world’s first green EVA midsole, the foam that is used in pretty much every sneaker.

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Vishal Mathur

We all like Amazon Basics products, don’t we? The wide range of products means you will pretty much find any gadget or accessory that you need. Often, its Amazon Basics, and sometimes, it may be Amazon’s private labels but without the Amazon branding. However, these aren’t always original designs. Amazon has already gotten into trouble with regulators in the US and some other countries because of that. Now, footwear company Allbirds has waded into that debate alleging that Amazon ripped off the design of its popular shoes, but forgot one crucial element. The Allbirds CEO Joey Zwillinger has said that Amazon didn’t bother to use the environmentally-friendly materials that Allbirds’ shoes have.

Earlier this year, Amazon’s private label 206 Collective began selling shoes that replicated a lot of the features of Allbirds shoes. In a post penned on Medium, Zwillinger has called out Amazon’s business practices. “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. 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,” he writes.

The sustainability aspect and the use of green materials to make the sneakers are what Allbirds is highlighting. They talk about the partnership with petrochemical company Braskem to create what is essentially the world’s first green EVA midsole, the foam that is used in pretty much every sneaker that is made. But is largely a petroleum derived product, though footwear companies are trying to make this alternate process greener. Allbirds uses sugarcane waste instead of petroleum. Allbirds calls this SweetFoam. “We’re also removing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away with one of the most photosynthetically-efficient crops, fighting climate change in the process,” says Zwillinger.

“You can use it. We want you to use it. If you replaced the oil-based products in your supply chain with this natural substitute (not just for one product, but all of them), we could jointly make a major dent in the fight against climate change. With the help of your immense scale, the cost of this material will come down for all users of this material, allowing for even broader adoption,” he writes. Zwillinger says Allbirds would be glad to send over samples of the SweetFoam for Amazon to take a look at and hopefully use in all their footwear products, and also is willing to get Amazon in touch with Braskem to take this forward.

Shots fired.


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