Allbirds co-CEO lashes out at Amazon over non-eco-friendly rip-off

Allbirds co-CEO Joey Zwillinger has lashed out at Amazon for copying his company's shoes but apparently failing to follow their environmental ethos.

Amazon's 206 Collective brand is selling a wool sneaker called the "Galen" which looks very similar to the Allbirds "Wool Runner".

There's a couple of key differences though, it's only US$45 (NZ$71) and the materials listed are wool, polyester, viscose and "other fibres".

Genuine Allbirds sell for US$95 overseas and NZ$160 here. They're made of New Zealand merino wool, recycled polyester, wool insoles with castor bean oil and an EVA foam made from sugarcane instead of fossil fuels, according to a report from Fast Company.

The recipe for the foam is open-source and some other companies are using it including leather shoe startup Bendy.

Zwillinger told Fast Company there's no way Amazon is copying both Allbirds shoes and its sustainability practices at a price point like $45.

"There is no way you can sell a shoe for that low while taking care of all of the environmental and animal welfare considerations and compliance we take into account," he said.

Zwillinger said Allbirds likely won't be taking the company to court as he doesn't think it's worth the time.

"The way this goes down is typically that even when you bring a lawsuit, the other company will just drag it out to get as much sales as they can then stop selling it after a while anyway."

Allbirds was founded by Zwillinger and former All White Tim Brown. It's valued at US$1.4 billion.