They may not look like they are made from items that millions of humans dispose of everyday, but that’s what makes these shoes by Rothy’s so unique. The knitted shoes are breathable and recyclable, since they are made from recycled water bottles taken from landfills.
While the material and idea is unique in itself, the process for developing these ballet flats is extremely cool. Using a 3D knitting process, these shoes are produced without seams and with virtually no waste accumulation in the process. Roth Martin, cofounder and chief creative officer of the startup, explained the idea:
“You have a tremendous amount of scrap waste that’s going into landfills. Our process allows us to knit three-dimensional parts that use the exact amount of material that they need to use in order to create the part. So, like an inkjet printer, it draws just the amount of ink that it needs to complete that task, and then it repeats the task as needed.”
It all started in San Francisco, where Martin and CEO/Cofounder Stephen Hawthornewaite lived and recognized the need for a durable and versatile shoe for women that could weather the streets, offices, and homes. Although the shoe is made from plastic bottles, they feel like socks but keep the feet comfortable all day long. What’s even better is that these shoes, unlike many others at a comparable price, can simply be thrown in the washer and dryer to be cleaned while maintaining their shape.
The majority of the shoe is made from recycled plastic bottles and a foam that is recyclable, but it also has rubber on the sole to ensure sturdiness. The founders say that they cut down immensely on waste by not overproducing and using eco-friendly materials.
Thus far, the shoes are available in 2 styles, Flat and Pointy, that come in dozens of shades. The price may seem a bit high ($125 and $145, respectively), especially for a company that produces its shoes in China, but that’s because the cost-per-use ratio is so low when compared to buying cheap shoes that don’t last long and aren’t comfortable. The cofounders also assure customers that their factory in China also employs sustainable practices, such as solar panels, and treats their employees fairly so that no one has qualms over the country the shoes are made in.
These shoes seem wonderful for those willing to dish out the money for them and are consciously-made, which is something that is becoming more common but is still hard to come by.
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