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The art of shoemaking.

It takes a whole lot of love and care to create each pair of Rothy’s. And we really mean a lot. Since we own and operate our sustainable factory in Dongguan, China, only the Rothy’s family—and no other manufacturers—touch our shoes during production. This is a rare accomplishment in the footwear industry, and we’re so proud of the collaboration between our design and production teams in San Francisco and Dongguan. Their dedication to teamwork and innovation is part of what makes every pair so special.

Team members standing in front of our 3D knitting machines.
We combine the best of hand craftsmanship and machine assembly to create the most efficient, environmentally friendly process and product possible. From our San Francisco design headquarters to our manufacturing workshop in China, every shoe goes through dozens of meticulous steps before landing in its recycled cardboard shoebox. Curious how our seamless shoes come to life? Read on for a peek behind the sustainable curtain.
Team members examining prototypes of shoes.
When we begin designing a new style, we first establish a color palette for the collection. This happens in our San Francisco design studio, where our creative director and product team thoughtfully identify a variety of colors, patterns and styles. From there, the SF team develops a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and programming files. When these are complete they’re sent to our China team to guide the construction of each new style.
Our outsole molds.

Once our China workshop receives the programming file from our team in San Francisco, they identify any needs for tooling or lasts (aka, manufacturing mechanisms) then create them at the workshop. After the design is locked in, the team begins to knit the upper. This is where they can really experiment with color, exploring a range of Pantone hues that work best on our unique thread made from recycled plastic water bottles. 

A team member shown sewing the components of a shoe together.

Our innovative knit machines are programmed to precise size levels, which means we dramatically reduce waste on our production line. The upper assembly includes a heel counter, which gives the heels of our shoes structure and flexibility. Since Rothy’s are knit to shape, the final uppers are seamless and therefore extra-comfortable. 

Close up of the outsoles of our sneakers.

When wearing Rothy’s, you may consider the outsoles just the part of the shoe that pounds the pavement. However, they’re impressive in their own right. Firstly, they do not contain any carbon and are made from nontoxic rubber. Secondly, they’re a special way for us to incorporate color into our designs. Depending on the silhouette, we either inject or compress color into the outsole mold, meaning we have full control over the color output. 

A team member shown constructing our shoes by hand.

After the uppers and outsoles are complete, our workshop team quite literally takes things into their own hands. Uppers and outsoles are attached through a strobel construction, which is done by hand. Strobel is a highly technical stitching technique that reduces the amount of adhesive needed in construction. One person does this by hand for each and every shoe, and our strobel team consists of eight talented stitchers. 

Our insoles being sewn on a sewing machine.

The finishing touch, our cushy insoles, come next. Created in the inspiring embroidery room of our China workshop, the insoles are made from recycled materials, including scraps collected during the outsole creation process. Once they’re ready, the insoles are slipped into their perfect match—a corresponding shoe. 

A team member shown putting together our sturdy boxes.

Voilà! After dozens of careful steps in San Francisco and China, our beautifully designed, incredibly comfortable shoes are complete. All that’s left to do is place them into their sturdy shoe boxes that ship directly (no box-in-box packaging waste) right to your door. From our hands to your feet, Rothy’s are crafted with love.

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