Manager, Materials Innovation (Polymers)

San Francisco, CA | Innovation & Sustainability Team | Reports to VP of Innovation & Sustainability

Who is Allbirds?

At Allbirds, we're on a mission to prove that comfort, good design and sustainability don't have to be mutually exclusive. We are dedicated to making the most sustainable footwear we can using premium natural materials, designed for the to and fro of everyday life. Our commitment to making better shoes in a better way is fueled by a belief that the shoe industry needs to focus less on flash and more on thoughtfulness. With funding from the leading venture capitalists in consumer products, and the founding CEOs of some of the greatest e-commerce businesses in recent history, our desire to shake up the footwear industry is off to a great start. In fact, TIME already called our first shoe, the Wool Runners, the most comfortable in the world, and there is much more to come.

Where we need help

At Allbirds we pride ourselves in bringing in high quality and sustainable materials to our products to deliver on our promise of comfort, design and sustainability. To date, we have introduced merino wool and plant-based foams in our current Wool Runners and Loungers, and Eucalyptus fiber and plant-based plastic in our Tree shoes.  Most recently we shocked the industry by launching the world's first sugarcane based, carbon-negative EVA in our Sugar Zeffer flip-flops and we are not stopping there.  The Materials Innovation Manager will be driving the efforts to develop and incorporate novel, sustainable materials in all future products releases and improvements.  This role will have high impact on Allbirds fulfilling its motto of "Better Things in a Better Way". Our company vision is to inspire the broader industry and to show the world that creating products that customers love can be done in a sustainable and profitable way.

We are looking for someone who is part dreamer and doer, and who thrives in a lean, unstructured environment full of opportunity, and is able to drive to meaningful, pride-inducing results.

What does the job entail?

You will work with our VP of Innovation & Sustainability to:

  • Source, evaluate, and prepare for commercial production novel and sustainable materials for our future products as well as improvements to existing products
  • Identify and drive the implementation of innovative manufacturing processes that can minimize waste and improve material performance.
  • Collaborate with Design, Product Development, Sustainability, Marketing, and Supply Chain teams to bring projects from conception to commercial release to end of life.
  • Develop a methodology to evaluate and prioritize materials for incorporation into our products, with consideration of performance, environmental impact, aesthetic, cost, social issues, customer impact, manufacturability and more.
  • Engage with external consultants on sourcing, testing, optimization of materials, textiles, and compounds to achieve company/product targets.
  • Support partnerships with material suppliers and/or academic institutions to develop new or improved sustainable materials for use in products.
  • Collaborate with marketing team to shape the material innovation narrative and storytelling. Translate our material initiatives into engaging consumer stories across website and social.
  • Travel to industry conferences to identify new materials, production technologies, sourcing standards, and partners to help us stay ahead and informed.
  • Conduct detailed industry and competition analyses to identify best industry material innovation practices.

What kind of person are we looking for?
  • Passionate about introducing novel and sustainable materials and to be part of a revolution in sustainable manufacturing
  • Influential and inspiring, can lead cross-functional teams of peers and external partners to achieve high performance
  • Insatiably curious, you would read about this stuff on the weekends even if it wasn't your job
  • Results-oriented, can dig into details while keeping an eye on what truly matters.
  • Scrappy, know how to get a lot done efficiently without endless resources
  • Self-directed, don't need or want a lot of over-the-shoulder management
  • Fun-loving, take your work seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously

More practical skills needed:
  • Bachelor's Degree in the fields of material science, chemical engineering, advanced polymers. 
  • Master's preferred.
  • Minimum 5 years professional experience with polymer and foam development for footwear and apparel.
  • Experience with international product development a plus

What can we offer?
  • Competitive salary + equity
  • Health insurance
  • Fitness benefits
  • 401k retirement savings plan
  • Paid parental leave
  • Free shoes


Allbirds is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit. Allbirds policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, marital or veteran status, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member), sexual orientation, pregnancy, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. It also prohibits discrimination based on a perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. All such discrimination is unlawful.

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