Rothy’s Shoes: Saving the Environment One Shoe at a Time

When it comes to buying eco-friendly shoes, the options are limited. There are not many companies that offer shoes that use sustainable materials and also go out of their way to support the environment. This is why Rothy’s shoes is a unique case. Not only do they create women’s shoes from post-consumer plastic bottles, but they also partner with other organizations to help the environment and people in need. We will go over the company as a whole, including how they make their shoes, how they care for the environment, and the different shoe styles available to you.

How Rothy's Started

The two founders of Rothy’s are Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornwaite. From San Francisco, California, Roth’s designs value form and function with a clean, modern look. He loves spending time creating new styles for Rothy’s and learning to work with repurposed materials. Rothy’s CEO is Stephen, who has a law degree but has spent his career in investment banking, among other things. 

Together, Roth and Stephen found a hole in the world’s shoe market. People know that they should give back to the environment, but there were not attractive and comfortable sustainable shoes. They decided to create shoes from post-consumer plastic bottles, which removes plastic waste from landfills. This gives back to the environment. On top of this, they created unique designs that are both attractive and comfortable. They wanted the designs to be versatile so people could wear them anywhere, from the gym in the morning to a night out after work.

Making Sustainable Women's Shoes

As stated previously, these shoes come from post-consumer plastic water bottles. Every minute, companies sell over one million plastic water bottles around the world. Research claims that by 2020, people will buy over half a trillion water bottles by the end of the year. Even with all of this plastic, only a small percentage actually makes it to a recycling facility. Thankfully, Rothy’s shoes a putting a dent in the number of plastic bottles going to landfills. Since the company started in 2016, they have used over 20 million bottles to create their shoes. This is incredible but is not enough. If we increase the demand for more products like this, more companies will start to offer them.


Now, let’s talk about how these shoes are made. To start, there are a few parts to the shoe. The main portion of the shoe is 100 percent post-consumer plastic, but there is more. The foam insole within the shoe comes from other recycled shoes, and the rubber sole is completely black carbon-free. All of the adhesives that hold the shoe together are vegan and non-toxic. As for the packaging, each shoe box is sturdy enough to ship by itself and comes with a recycled blue ribbon to seal it. The box contains 85 percent post-consumer recycled materials, but it is 100 percent recyclable.

Rothy’s makes their shoes in a factory in Dongguan, China, where they have many skilled employees that make the shoes everything they need to be. The production process creates much less waste than other factories, making it much more environmentally friendly. The biggest way that they cut down on waste is by eliminating the cutting process of the material. Instead, the machines weave the recycled plastic into the whole shoe. There are not any pieces of material to bind together. The employees then put the rest of the shoe together.

Rothy’s provides fair wages, daily meals, and living accommodations for each of their employees. The company is not so focused on their product that they do not treat their employees well. They are committed to caring for both the environment and others.


Because Rothy’s shoes come from China, there is no denying the carbon emissions the company is responsible. They do not try to hide it either. Instead, Rothy’s does their share to give back to the environment so they can make up for all the emissions. For every mile the shoes travel, Rothy’s uses carbon credits to fund Project Envira, which then converts those emissions into oxygen. In 2017, the company protected over 2,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest to offset their carbon emissions. These efforts clearly show their commitment to the environment.

Energy Efficiency

Even though emissions are inevitable right now, Rothy’s is still making steps to become more and more energy efficient. In their headquarters in San Francisco, California, they only use energy-efficient LED lights and appliances. They even use eco-friendly cleaning products! Their office also operates completely by wind power as of October 2017 through CleanPowerSF SuperGreen, which reinvests the funds the company pays in renewable energy infrastructure. The company realizes that their actions, no matter how small, have an impact.

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Image Source: Rothy's

Other Ways Rothy's Cares for the Environment

Since the beginning of Rothy’s shoes, the company has partnered with nonprofit organizations. Many of these organizations are ones that are dedicated to fight against plastic pollution and spread awareness. There have also been other organizations Rothy’s has partnered with that support other good causes. For example, their partnership with Americares allowed the company to donate 15,000 pairs of shoes to women who otherwise would not have any. In 2017, they also partnered with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, 5 Gyres, and The Ocean Cleanup.

Rothy's Shoes Styles

Rothy’s shoes come in four different styles that all use fun colors and patterns. There is the traditional flat, the point, the loafer, and the sneaker. You can purchase any style and there are plenty of colors to choose from. You can go for the traditional black, a bold red, classic green camo, or fierce leopard print. Each one has a great look that is ready for all your daily activities. The company designs the shoes so that they have a snug fit, but also give a bit as you move around in them. These shoes also do not require any time to break them in. They will fit just as well in a year as they did on the first day you wore them.

Perhaps the only reason why some people will hesitate before buying these shoes is the price. Depending on which shoe you purchase, you will be looking at a price tag anywhere between $125 to $165. This is a good chunk of money upfront, but it goes to a great cause. Unfortunately, it takes money to convince the world that we want to be better to the environment. On the plus side, the company guarantees that Rothy’s shoes will look brand new for a long time. This allows you to wear the same shoes all day, every day for quite some time before they start wearing out on you. This means that the money you spend, though it seems a lot at first, will give you a pair of shoes that you will not need to replace for several years.

It is also important to note that the women’s shoe sizes range from 5 to 9.5, so people may not be able to find their size.

How to Care for Rothy's Shoes

Because of the materials in Rothy’s shoes, you may be wondering how to take care of them. In reality, it is quite simple. In order to keep your shoes looking brand new, Rothy’s makes their shoes machine washable. However, there are a few points to remember before you toss your shoes in the wash. First, remove the insoles from the shoe and add them and the shoes to your washing machine. Wash them on a cold, delicate cycle and only use a mild detergent. Once the cycle is done, do not put them in the dryer. If you expose these shoes to heat, the plastic will warp and lose its shape. This is why it is also crucial to use cold water in the wash. All you have to do is let them air dry. The company creates the shoes in such a way that they dry pretty quick too!


Rothy’s shoes are great products that actually do something about the vast amount of plastic waste in the world today. They style the women’s shoes in such a way that makes the old plastic unrecognizable. These shoes are both stylish and comfortable, which is great for both you and the environment. Besides making a great, eco-friendly product, Rothy’s is also committed to helping the environment in other ways. They minimize the waste in their factory, use energy-efficient lights and appliances, and they partner with various nonprofit organizations. This is a great company that more people need to know about!

Image Source: Rothy's

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Lacey Jolley

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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