In a post on Medium that starts: “We recently saw a product Amazon makes and sells that is strikingly similar to our Wool Runner…” Allbirds co-CEO Joey Zwillinger writes an open letter to Jeff Bezos, in the hope that Amazon will copy more, not less, of the popular New Zealand shoe’s features.
Bit of an odd move, you might think. But the letter does more than that.
It also (not so subtly) highlights a major selling point that Allbirds still has over Amazon. It’s ecofriendliness.
Zwillinger goes into detail about how Allbirds went to great lengths to develop “the world’s first green EVA”. A substance that uses sugarcane waste stream, not petroleum as the key foam ingredient.
EVA stands for Ethylene-vinyl acetate and is the foam that Allbirds use on the bottom of its shoes, btw.
The open letter goes on to double-down on Allbirds’ green credentials and make the salient point that the gave away its invention for free, in the hope that the industry would not be so reliant on fossil fuels.
“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.”
That, I suspect, highlights the other major difference between the two shoes. The price. Amazon’s 206 Collective wool shoe costs just US$50 whereas the Allbirds Wool Runners costs US$95.
Will Jeff Bezos read this letter? Probably not. Will Amazon take up Allbirds offer to implement the ecofriendly SweetFoam™ in its shoe instead of its current petroleum-based sole? Almost definitely not.
But the post did achieve one thing. We’re all a bit more educated on Allbirds shoes, aren’t we?