We've officially seen it all in the world of knock-off sneakers at this point. There are indestructible Yeezys, Shaqs that look like Jordans, and now we have what amounts to an Amazon version of Silicon Valley's beloved Allbirds.
Produced by Amazon's in-house brand 206 Collective, the new men's Galen Wool Blend Sneaker ($45)—which is also available for women in a model known as the Tracy—is strikingly similar to Allbirds' Wool Runner ($115). The latter, which is a no-frills, sock-like runner reminiscent of the Nike Roshe Run, is known for its popularity in tech office spaces and college campuses, and it looks like this is Amazon's attempt to get in on the action.
The product description of Amazon's sneaker is sparse, detailing only its material make up (56 percent wool while Allbirds' description does not disclose—points for transparency, we suppose), memory foam insole, and slip-on style lacing. In comparison, Allbirds' Wool Runner uses a waterproof technology the brand calls Puddle Guard and an EVA sole made from Brazilian sugarcane for those looking to score sustainability points.
A favorite of the tech industry due to its San Francisco roots as a startup, some are taking umbrage with what they see as Amazon's blatant copying.
As similar as the shoes are, there appear to be enough differences that would allow Amazon to skirt around any infringement claims, notably the different lacing systems and sole shapes. Either way, this is the knock-off sneaker no one needed in 2019.