Decide To Wear Rothy's: Shoes Made of Recycled Water Bottles
Ever since I stopped eating red meat, I have been looking for alternatives to leather. It struck me as wasteful to use the skins of animals I am not willing to eat. I started by looking at vegan shoes, but most are made from polyurethane so, while no animals had been harmed in the manufacturing process, plenty of brands don’t have the sort of carbon footprint I am after.
Enter Rothy’s. I recently received my first pair of Rothy’s shoes as a gift. A pair of purple pointed toe flats that are both comfortable and stylish. I would like these shoes even if I wasn’t looking for leather alternatives.
Rothy’s have developed a unique woven thread made of 100% post-consumer recycled water bottles that are both comfortable and stylish. Let’s be honest: there are plenty of us that want to buy sustainably without looking like they just left Woodstock in 1969.
You can see that Rothy’s has achieved a lot in terms of sustainability on their website. Accomplishments include:
Figuring out how to make shoes from recycled water bottles in the first place!
Reducing waste in the manufacturing process through 3D weaving.
Keeping inventories low.
Providing an end-of-life solution for the shoes (taking them back for free and using them to make a new pair of shoes or something else - like a yoga mat).
Packaging is made from recycled materials that are also biodegradable.
Carbon offsets to counterbalance their shipping.
According to Wired Magazine, the average person in the U.S. buys 8 pairs of shoes per year and, per Rothy’s, 85% of these shoes end up in a landfill. There’s a lot of room for improvement, and Rothy’s seems to be really zeroed in on this. I’ve emailed them to see where their energy comes from to figure out the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process but, even without this final step, they’ve made incredible strides compared to other brands. I’ll update this post if I hear back.
The Rothy’s I have cost $145 USD. In a world where fast fashion is king, this may seem like a heavy price tag. However, I find that the more stuff I have, the less I actually wear. I honestly don’t have the patience to rifle through it all. I receive a lot more enjoyment out of having fewer things that I adore than volumes of things I’m less enthusiastic about, so Rothy’s are a brand I expect will be with me for awhile.
Now for the bad news (only if you live outside the U.S.). Rothy’s is based in San Francisco and currently only sell their shoes to the U.S. market. Hopefully, their business will continue to grow. In the meantime, I’m happy to bring a pair back for a friend next time I’m in the States.
Additional Resources for Curious Minds
With An Eco-Friendly Sneaker, Rothy’s Treads on New Ground (Wired Magazine)