These Shoes can be Re-Made Again and Again

Repurposing old shoes into new

Vlogging about these new recyclable shoes.

(Look Studio /

Though not a newcomer to the scene, Rothy’s, a San-Francisco based shoe company, is taking the fashion world by storm with their environmentally-friendly approach to shoes. Not only are Rothy’s fashionable ballet flats made from recycled plastic  that can be melted down and made into a new pair of shoes when worn out,  according to the company’s website.

The shoe company was founded in 2012 by Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite, reported Fast Company. Even back then the two, inspired by Patagonia, wanted to create more environmentally friendly shoes. The process, however, took them ten years. 

It took a number of years to come up with a shoe design that could be easily disassembled and recycled, and another few years to get funding and figure out the most effective way to use the global supply chain. In 2015, the company bought its own factory so that it could produce its shoes efficiently. Now, in 2022, it has reached full circularity.

What is a Circular Economy?
The term the circular economy has become somewhat of a buzzword over the last few years.  It was coined in the 1960s to describe a theoretical process in which materials could be used over and over again to do the same things like a car tire could be melted down and turned back into a car tire. 

Nowadays, as climate change worsens, more and more companies are trying to see how they can reduce waste and save energy. Some try to use recycled material to make their products, while others try to make their products more recyclable. However, there are very few that actually achieve full circularity.

Environmentally Friendly Shoes
Rothy’s shoes are made out of plastic bottles that have been melted down and turned into plastic fibers which are machine-knitted into shoes. Once the shoes have begun to break down and are no longer wearable, they can be returned to Rothy’s where they will once again be melted down and turned into another pair of shoes.

Saskia van Gendt, Rothy’s head of sustainability told Fast Company: “Our goal is to close the loop on the circle. We need to recover products, then convert them back into new materials that will go into the next pair of shoes.”

In the few years that Rothy’s has been selling shoes it has become a success. The fashion blog Oui in France raved about the shoes in a review, and the company has partnered with a number of distinguished and well known brands.

In 2021 the company partnered with Evian, the sponsor of that year’s US Open reported Foot Wear News. Rothy’s used the used Evian bottles collected from the event to create a tennis-inspired shoe using zero extra material other than the material provided to them by Evian from the US Open. 

Likewise, in November 2022, Rothy’s collaborated with the lifestyle brand FEED to create a collection of handbags made from the leftover thread from Rothy’s factory .Companies like Rothy’s prove that altruism and a concern for the environment doesn’t have to hurt your bottom line. 

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