A good shopping session can feel like a triumph. You came, you shopped, you conquered.

If you love finding new additions for your wardrobe, you’re not alone. According to recent research, the average American consumer buys around 64 items of clothes per year, both online and in-store.

Hand holding up an orange shirt from a rack of clothes

That’s a whole lot of retail therapy!

If you love shopping for new shoes, you’re in even better company.

U.S.-based consumers purchased the most shoes per capita in 2013, according to a report by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). Every person (man, woman, and child) bought 7.5 pairs of shoes on average.

There’s always a reason to grab a new pair of shoes. Perhaps you’re buying a pair of casual flats to complement your yoga pants, or maybe you’re picking out a new set of dress flats for your upcoming gala.

But do you ever stop to think how those shoes ended up in your cart? And do you consider where they go once you’ve worn them out?

Unfortunately, the footwear industry is notoriously wasteful - luckily, there’s a new kind of footwear in town.

Ethical shoes are: stylish, comfortable footwear that you can feel good about wearing.

The key components of ethically-made shoes? Sustainable construction, strategic recycling.  

We believe that cute and comfy shoes don’t have to come at an environmental cost. Rothy’s flats are ethically-made shoes, manufactured with recycled materials and crafted using careful, earth-conscious processes.

Learn more about what goes into an ethical shoe, and use the links below to navigate to any section:


How Can a Shoe Be Ethically Made?

What sets an ethical shoe apart from your average footwear? Five key points.

Spools of brightly colored thread on a shelf

Let’s break these five essential factors down:

  • Crafted from Recycled, Earth-Friendly Materials

Ethical shoes should be constructed from materials that are available in abundance, and materials which don’t have a negative impact on the ecosystem.

  • Vegan Construction

The average shoe likely incorporates something taken from an animal: leather, silk, fur and wool, just for starters.

Vegan shoes are footwear made without any animal ingredients or byproducts, crafted without harming any living creature.

  • Manufactured Without Toxins

Look for shoes made without toxins. Wearing footwear made with toxins can be damaging both to your health and the environment. Shoes made with toxic materials can represent a hazard to the hardworking people crafting them for you.

  • Delivered with Sustainable Packaging

When it comes time to ship out shoes, ethical footwear manufacturers should be focused on delivering the whole sustainable package - literally. Ethical shoes should be packaged and delivered in sustainable packaging materials.

  • Recycling Processes

What happens to your shoes after they’ve worn out?

It’s estimated that 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced annually - with roughly 300 million pairs ending up in landfills after they have been worn.

Once a discarded shoe finds its way to your local dump, it can take up to 50 years to fully compose.

Pile of old shoes of various styles

While your discarded shoes rot and decompose in the landfill, they release toxic chemicals along the way. Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, which usually makes up the midsole of most running shoes, can last for as long as 1,000 years in a landfill.

Ethical shoes are designed to be recycled, and ethical footwear providers offer recycling services that make it easy for consumers to turn their well-loved and well-worn shoes back in to be recycled in an environmentally-safe way.

Americans throw out 14 million tons of clothing per year - that’s an average of 80 pounds per person! According to the EPA, sending these textiles to a dedicated recycling program would have a big (beneficial!) impact. How big? The equivalent of taking 7.3 million cars off the road.

How Rothy’s Shoes Hit the Mark

We set out to change the footwear game, providing an ethical shoe that is comfortable to wear, easy to clean, and most importantly, made with as little impact on the environment as possible.

Learn about how we hit all the marks of sustainable shoe manufacturing;

  • Flats Made of Recycled Water Bottles

All four styles of Rothy’s shoes are crafted using recycled water bottles and carbon-free rubber. That means you can grab The Flat, The Point, The Loafer, or The Sneaker and know you’re doing the world a bit of good - looking great is just an added bonus!

So how does a water bottle go from recycling bin to colorful flat?

We source our water bottles from recyclers around the world. The process begins with a heavy-duty washing, during which we sterilize the water bottles. These bottles are then chipped into flakes, which we are then able to spin into a soft fiber.

The fiber is placed into a 3D knitting machine, designed to minimize waste while crafting a comfortable shoe.

The upper is knit to desired shape inside of the machine, coming out in a one-piece form - no seams here! Traditionally, shoes were crafted by cutting out individual patterns, then stitching them together. This resulted in a great deal of waste. Knitting our ethical shoes allows us to use only the material we need, no waste.

(Pssst: our knit construction provides an added benefit. Rothy’s flats are designed to hug the contour of your foot, offering just the right amount of give for a comfy, cozy fit.)

Once the upper is finished, our dedicated team attaches the newly-knit upper to a sole made of out recyclable, carbon-free rubber.  

  • 100% Vegan
  • Toxin-Free

Rothy’s flats are crafted using non-toxic adhesives, so you don’t have to worry about exposure to dangerous chemicals when you slip on your favorite pair of shoes.

In addition, our shoes are made without using latex - if you or your loved one has a latex allergy, Rothy’s flats are the perfect fit.

  • Sustainable Packaging and Shipping

Our sustainability efforts don’t stop at our shoes - packaging is an important piece of the sustainable puzzle. Rothy’s shoe boxes are made from 85% post-consumer recycled materials. Better yet, the box is resealable so you can return (for free) without using tape.

Rothy's shoes in their box

Our packaging is designed to be lean and light, ultimately lessening cargo loads. We limit our shipping routes, keeping them direct to enhance our carbon-neutral efforts.

We also voluntarily committed to purchase carbon offsets, hoping to cover the portion of our carbon footprint that’s out of our control.

How do we accomplish this?

Using a program called Carbonfree®, our partner Carbon Fund (carbonfund.org) helps us exchange our output for offset credits. These credits are used to reduce the pollution caused by biofuels in the United States, and also put towards the conversion of said biofuels.

The devil’s in the details, and we’ve done our very best to incorporate sustainability in all areas of production and delivery.

Bottom Line: Sustainability Matters

Sustainable fashion is real - the proof is in the Rothy’s products. We’re proud to create shoes that make women feel empowered, and even happier that we are able to manufacture our shoes in the most ethical and sustainable way possible.

Conquer the world with sustainable shoes that will keep your feet comfortable and your conscience clear. Every effort counts, and if you’re looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint and do good for the world, consider buying Rothy’s.

Tags:SUSTAINABILITY