Rothy's is an American direct-to-consumer fashion company founded in 2012 and launched in 2016 by Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin. It began as a women's shoe company in San Francisco and has since expanded with handbags and a men's line.[2][3] Rothy's has twelve stores in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Scottsdale.[1]

TypeLimited Company
FoundedSan Francisco, California, U.S. (2012 (2012))
  • Roth Martin
  • Stephen Hawthornthwaite
California, U.S.
Number of locations
Area served
United States, China
Key people
Stephen Hawthornthwaite (CEO)
ProductsFootwear, Handbags
Number of employees

Rothy's uses thread made from plastic bottles to knit its items,[4][5] and 3D knits its shoes and handbags to shape, cutting waste.[6] In March 2021, Rothy’s launched a shoe recycling program, achieving LEED certification at its factory and reaching carbon neutrality.[7] As of 2022, over 100 million plastic bottles have been repurposed to make their products.[8] Additionally, Rothy’s has recycled over 20,000 pairs of shoes.[9]

In December 2021, Rothy’s was valued at $1 billion when Alpargatas, the Brazilian owner of Havaianas, took a 49.9% stake in the company.[10]


The company began in 2012 with Stephen Hawthornthwaite, an investment banker, and Roth Martin, a creative and gallerist. Their goal was to create a stylish and comfortable women's flat shoe from single-use plastic, reducing the excess that occurs with a traditional shoe making process.[11] There was a significant delay between the founding of the company and the launch due to the complexity of making the product. Their idea of making shoes from sustainable materials was inspired by companies like Patagonia.[12]

Rothy’s launched in September 2016, offering its first two styles directly from its website.[13] In January 2017, Rothy's opened its own factory in Guangzhou, China, which today spans 300,000 square feet (0.03 square kilometers).[14][15][16] By 2018, the brand had sold a million pairs, generating $140 million in revenue. In 2019, it surpassed 1.4 million customers, a 105% increase from the previous year. In March 2020, the brand began selling handbags[17][15] made with plastic[18] and expanded to a men's category in 2021.[3] The company has entered the children's market,[19] launching a children's version of its loafer silhouette and slip-on sneakers.[20][21] featuring both solids and unisex prints.[22]

Rothy's investors include Goldman Sachs and Lightspeed Venture Partners, who have invested $35 million and $5 million respectively,[23] and $2 million in convertible notes from Finn Capital Partners, M13 and Grace Beauty Capital.[24] In December 2021, Alpargatas, the Brazilian owner of Havaianas, invested $200 million in cash, followed by a purchase of $275 million of shares, acquiring a 49.9% stake in the company and resulting in a valuation of $1 billion.[10]

As of April 2021, the company had pending or recently resolved litigation against Birdies, Steve Madden, OESH Shoes and Giesswein.[25][12]

Design and ProductEdit

Rothy's products are made from recycled plastic water bottles and post-consumer recycled materials.[26] During the manufacturing process, the water bottles are hot washed and sterilized. Chips of plastic are melted down into pellets, stretched into fibers, and given air treatment until they entwine. The uppers are knit and then sewn to the sole by hand, paired with recycled foam and rubber soles.


Some critics have praised the shoes for their sustainability and aesthetic.[27] According to Business of Fashion, Rothy's range caters to women looking for an alternative to sneakers or ballet shoes. Spotting Katie Holmes in Rothy’s Point, Vogue called Rothy’s "the perfect ballet flat".[28] Other celebrity fans include Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington [E!], and Meghan Markle, who wore Rothy's in October 2018 while on a visit to Australia with Prince Harry.[29][30] Robin Hilmantel of Women's Health described the shoes as "comfortable as they are chic".[31] Kavita Varma-White of Today described Rothy's as the "perfect travel shoe".[32]

TIME Magazine named Rothy’s one of the Most Influential Companies of 2021.[33] The company's Men's Category Driving Loafer has been recognized as a TIME 2021 Magazine Best Invention,[34] and its RS01 Sneaker was named Men’s Health Most Innovative Shoe.[35] Rothy’s was included in Fast Company's list of "The 10 most innovative style companies of 2020".[36] Rothy’s has also been recognized as a Best Place to Work by Inc. Magazine.[37]


  1. ^ a b "Stores". Rothy's. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  2. ^ Parija Kavilanz. "Rothy's has new idea for ocean plastic waste: handbags". CNN. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Ray A. (2021-05-19). "Rothy's Goes Toe-to-Toe With Allbirds and Nike With its First-Ever Men's Shoes". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  4. ^ Chen, Connie. "We tried Rothy's flats, the popular shoes made from recycled water bottles — here's what they were like to wear". Insider. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  5. ^ Chen, Connie (12 March 2019). "Women in New York City and San Francisco are obsessed with these comfortable flats made from recycled water bottles — here's what they feel like". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  6. ^ "How Sustainable Startup Rothy's Found Success Turning Recycled Water Bottles into Fashionable Footwear". Fortune. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  7. ^ Johns, Nikara (2021-03-23). "Inside Rothy's Detailed Commitment to Reach Circular Production by 2023". Footwear News. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  8. ^ Faithfull, Mark. "Havaianas Owner Buys Into Rothy's, Valuing Sustainable Shoe Brand At $1 Billion". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  9. ^ Johns, Nikara (2022-04-12). "Rothy's Recycles 20,000 Pairs of Shoes Through Pilot Recycling Program — What It Means for the Shoe Industry". Footwear News. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  10. ^ a b Hirsch, Lauren (2021-12-20). "Rothy's, the recycled-plastic footwear brand, gets a deal valuing it at $1 billion". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  11. ^ "With an Eco-Friendly Sneaker, Rothy's Treads on New Ground". WIRED. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  12. ^ a b "How Two Shoe Outsiders Are Making Rothy's One of the Most Talked-About New Footwear Brands". Footwear News. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  13. ^ Feldman, Amy. "Next Billion-Dollar Startups: Rothy's Makes This Year's 'It' Shoe. But Can It Keep Growing Amid A Flood Of Copy Cats—And A Founder's Departure?". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  14. ^ "Rothy's in deal that values it at $1 billion". Chain Store Age. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  15. ^ a b "The Evolution of Rothy's". WWD. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  16. ^ Segran, Elizabeth (26 July 2018). "Rothy's, the viral Silicon Valley shoe brand, is coming for your kids". Fast Company. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  17. ^ Segran, Elizabeth (2020-03-10). "Behind Rothy's signature flats and totes is a sophisticated—and profitable—direct-to-consumer manufacturing business". Fast Company. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  18. ^ "Sneaker", Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2021, p. 7611, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-19650-3_304850, ISBN 978-3-319-19649-7, S2CID 240645973, retrieved 2022-04-26
  19. ^ "Your Favorite Instagram Cult Flats Brand, Rothy's, Now Has Kids Shoes | Parents". Parents. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  20. ^ Fernandez, Chantal (4 February 2019). "How Shoes Became Venture Capital's Favourite Accessory". Business of Fashion. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  21. ^ "No, shoes for kids don't have to be low-quality crap". Fast Company. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  22. ^ Hubbard, Lauren (12 March 2019). "Meghan Markle's Favorite Shoe Brand, Rothy's, Just Launched a Line of Sneakers for Kids". Town & Country. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Instagram-Popular Shoemaker Rothy's Expected to Post $140 Million in Revenue". 2018-12-17. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  24. ^ "Rothy's just landed $35 million from Goldman Sachs to sell more of its popular ballet flats". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  25. ^ Dobrosielski, Chuck (2021-06-10). "Birdies Responds to Rothy's $2M Patent Infringement Lawsuit". Sourcing Journal. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  26. ^ Chen, Connie (12 March 2019). "Women in New York City and San Francisco are obsessed with these comfortable flats made from recycled water bottles — here's what they feel like". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  27. ^ Yaeger, Lynn (17 August 2016). "The Most Environmentally Friendly Shoes on the Planet Also Happen to Be the Cutest". Vogue. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  28. ^ "Katie Holmes Has Found the Perfect Ballet Flat—And It's Sustainable, Too". Vogue. 2019-10-05. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  29. ^ Hilmantel, Robin (2018-10-16). "Meghan Markle Just Wore The Best Comfy Flats On Her Royal Tour". Women's Health. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  30. ^ October 18, Alex Warner. "Meghan Markle's LBD and Classic Black Flats Are Both Still Available (and Surprisingly Affordable)". Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  31. ^ "OMG Meghan Markle Is A Fan Of Rothy's Just Like Me". Women's Health. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  32. ^ Varma-White, Kavita (18 October 2018). "I've found the perfect travel shoe (and Meghan Markle wears the brand, too)". Today. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  33. ^ "TIME100 Most Influential Companies 2021: Rothy's". Time. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  34. ^ "Rothy's Driving Loafer: The 100 Best Inventions of 2021". Time. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  35. ^ Chong, Dale Arden (2021-10-22). "The 2022 Men's Health Sneaker Awards". Men's Health. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  36. ^ Segran, Elizabeth (2020-03-10). "Behind Rothy's signature flats and totes is a sophisticated—and profitable—direct-to-consumer manufacturing business". Fast Company. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  37. ^ "Rothy's is on Inc.'s 2021 Best in Business". Retrieved 2022-05-03.

External linksEdit