In one corner, we have Amazon's affordable private label, 206 Collective. And in the other corner, we have eco-friendly San Francisco-based brand Allbirds. It seems as if the two are going head to head, with shoppers pointing out that Amazon is now selling a pair of wool sneakers that look eerily identical to the machine-washable shoes created by Allbirds.
If you're not too familiar with the Allbirds brand, it was one of the first companies to make a no-fuss running shoe out of wool — lightweight, sweat-absorbing merino wool, to be exact. The $95 Runner sneakers have only been around for a few years, but quickly became a hit thanks to their reasonable price tag, minimal design, comfort factor, and A-list roster of fans like former-president Barack Obama and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Their $95 cost made the sneakers accessible to most, but Amazon is coming for the brand with a lookalike that's only $45. The resemblance is uncanny.
Some are calling it a competitive business move, while others are giving Amazon the side eye.
Amazon is now straight copying Allbirds.— Jeff Morris Jr. (@jmj) September 19, 2019
We have reached "peak cloning" in Silicon Valley.
There are no rules anymore - if you build a product that works, Amazon or Facebook will copy it.
People used to care. Not anymore. pic.twitter.com/73bDMgruMX
This isn't the first time a brand has tried to ride the Allbirds wave. Back in 2017, Allbirds sued Steve Madden for allegedly copying the brand's famous wool sneaker design, according to Business of Fashion. Since then, several other brands have released similar wool sneakers. In fact, if you type in Allbirds on Amazon's website, the search results include pages of knockoffs.
But I don't think Allbirds has anything to worry about. Between its generous return policy and the attention to detail that goes into every shoe, fans know that the merino wool shoes are totally worth investing in. In the words of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, ain't nothing like the real thing, baby.