Everything you need to know about those sustainable flats you keep seeing.
I love clothes. I have an obscene amount, and I’m a sucker for a good sale. H&M is my weakness. Every time I’m at the mall I have to stop in; they have the best basics, jeans that actually fit me, and my absolute favorite style of flat.
I wear flats all the time. They’re definitely my preferred shoe since they’re usually pretty cheap, easy to throw on, and go with just about everything. I’d estimate I go through six-seven pairs a year due to wear and the dreaded stank foot.
This is a problem for two reasons:
1) This gets expensive. At around $12-20 a pair, that’s $140 per year on shoes I’m just making gross and throwing away.
2) It’s hard to find styles I like!
As I mentioned earlier, I love H&M’s flats. They’re about the only place I’ve found that doesn’t destroy my feet and are a reasonable price. However, the shoe seems a little different every time I buy a new pair. One is a little stiffer, one has a higher back, one has too much toe-cleavage, and no matter what, my feet sweat like crazy and ruin them.
But, luckily, I’ve found a great solution.
I’m not sure how I found these, but I assume through targeted Facebook advertising as a result of frequent googling for cute flats (shout out to data-mining!). But however it happened, I’m so glad it did, because these things are the lit’ral best.
Now, you guys… They’re expensive. Like, drug money expensive, but they’re totally worth it, and I’m going to tell you why.
So here’s the basics:
- They’re made from recycled water bottles. So these shoes actually reduce waste. (Sustainable shoes that are also cute? Yas.)
- The plastic is turned into fibers that they basically 3D knit or some crazy shit into a f*cking shoe.
- The shoes are SUPER comfortable despite being made of plastic. The weaved knit makes it almost like a thick mesh that’s incredibly breathable. If you have sweaty feet, these shoes are perfect.
- They’re crazy flexible, durable, and MACHINE WASHABLE. Yeah, machine washable ballet flat.
- Vegan, because recycled materials.
- When you do finally wear out your pair, you can send them back to the company (for free) and they’ll recycle them into yoga mats.
So, I was on the fence about these understandably because of the hefty price tag. But, as I sat there at my desk in the Texas summer, I shifted my foot in my flat and felt the damp lining. Crossing my leg, my shoe dropped away from my heel and bounced balanced on the knuckle (?) of my foot. After a few minutes, I could smell my shoe. GROSS.
I realized how often this happened, and how many pairs of flats I have, and how little time it takes until they start getting gross and worn out. Was it worth it?
I reasoned to myself, “Screw it!” and found a Rothy’s $20 discount code online from some girl’s blog.
Three days and free shipping later, I was coming home to my new pair of black pointed flats. I ripped open the box and slipped them on, stood up, and basically haven’t taken them off since.
They didn’t blister or rub my feet at all, and I’m usually carrying around band-aids in my bag the first week of breaking in a new flat. They barely have any toe-cleavage, which I very happy about. The insoles are thick and soft – the whole thing felt like a very sturdy pair of slippers, or something. I immediately wanted to order the black classic ballet flat (round toe), but wanted to make sure I was 100% happy with Rothy’s before ordering a second pricey pair. I decided to wear them for at least a few days and wash them to be sure what I was getting.
I noticed online that some women had an issue with rubbing on their heel due to the slightly higher back, but the material is so flexible and soft that I didn’t have a problem with it. There were also some reviews mentioning cramped toes. I wouldn’t say mine were cramped in this shoe, but I could see how you could feel that based on your preference. Personally, these are perfect for me.
I also can’t comment much on how these would fit wide feet. I can say that the material is super flexible and I could see it easily molding to fit a wider foot, but the sole may be too narrow. If you’re on the fence, jump down to returns for info on their easy size swapping and refunds.
So, I’ve been wearing them for a full week now. I walked through some puddles, in some good old Texas summer heat, and everywhere else I went, every day. My feet stayed dry, comfortable, and clean all day. I usually have a problem with my feet sweating, but the material wicks away moisture to keep ya fresh. The outside hasn’t gotten dirty, but the insoles are starting to show a little wear and slightly smell, but nothing compared to traditional flats. I’ve read on some other blogs that they may be working on selling replacement insoles in the future, as according to the care instructions they are not washable like the rest of the flat. (Update: You can now buy replacement insoles here!)
I’ve only noticed that the very tip of one of the points is wearing down from being a dumbo and kicking a curb the other day, but it’s a shoe, after all, and I’d expect that to happen eventually.
Updated after two weeks: The point is definitely fraying a tiny bit but it’s not very noticeable and isn’t unexpected with normal wear. They don’t feel damp or dirty. I feel like these would be fine to wear with little socks, too, if you’re into that sort of thing – the backs are high and the material has enough friction to hold it from slipping off your foot.
Super easy care instructions. Remove the insoles, wash alone on a cold, gentle wash with a gentle detergent and let air dry. It took a few hours to dry completely.
You aren’t technically supposed to wash the insoles, but you can wash them on a gentle cycle with a little detergent, then dry on very low heat. They come out fluffier and may stretch over time, but it definitely works.
I didn’t notice any change in the shoe after washing – no wear, loose threads, points coming apart, etc – and any smell was completely gone. I don’t understand why more flats aren’t machine washable.
Update: The flats hold up really well over time and don’t even need to be washed much, they continue to look brand new. The part that really gets dirty is the insole, which I emailed Rothy’s customer service about. Their response was awesome – to send me a free pair of replacement insoles! Go, Rothy’s CS! (Still hoping to see these available for purchase in the future.)
So, after I sat down to write this, I realized how much I really do love these shoes… and I ordered a second pair. Eeeep.
I got the…. Classic Navy Flat!
They’re very cute and I had the same amazing fit as the first time around. I’ve decided I would get more wear out of a different color, which means I can’t wear my new Rothy’s for few more days, but also leads us to…
I decided I wanted to return the navy flat for a classic black (I was originally having trouble deciding between black, navy, and the flax round toe, but ended up getting the black round toe because I love the point so much and the navy round was super comfy, but I want to get the petal pink point next and that’ll satisfy my want for a light shoe, so no need for the flax… anyway!)
One thing I was worried about when I went to order my first pair was their customer service and returns, based on some comments I’d seen on their Facebook page. Apparently people were having trouble with sizing and getting their returns processed. I was ready for a little difficulty getting my money back and the shoes I wanted.
But I literally just went to their website, clicked returns, and entered my email.
About three minutes later, I opened a message from Rothy’s returns that took me to a screen with my previous purchases floating there. I selected the Navy Classic Flat, gave them the reason why I wanted a return, printed my shipping label, and that was it.
I asked customer service what the best way to go about an exchange was and was told they have a system set up for easy size-swapping, but if you want to switch for a different color you’ll have to submit it as a return and simply place another order.
The box they send you has an easy-peel strip for returns, so all I had to do was cut the piece of paper in half and tape on the shipping label. I dropped it off in the mailbox outside of my office, and now I wait.
I already went ahead and ordered the new pair (classic black flat ftw), my refund should be processed once my return package is scanned at Rothy’s HQ. 🙂
If you had a different CS experience, tell me about it in the comments!
- True to size – could go up a half-size depending on how you like your fit.
- Easy care
- Easy (free) returns and size-swapping
- No rubbing or “breaking in”
- Some smell, but it’s where your feet go all day, so *hair flip*
- Worth the price
Overall, these are awesome. I’d give them a solid 9.5/10, because I really hope they start selling replacement soles.
They do still develop a smell and carry some wear since, y’know, it’s a shoe. But it’s nothing compared to traditional flats. These are breathable, sustainable, cute, and long-lasting. The price point is a little steep, but once I slipped on my first pair I was hooked. (No more stocking up on $15 flats from H&M! Yay!)
If you’re a flat-wearer willing to invest in something you’ll have forever, be satisfied with, and use every day – get these.
*I’ll keep this post updated along the way to show the wear on my original pair.
Now I’m eyeing the Petal Pink points, or the Grey Birdseye point, or the Orchid point (retiring soon, bummer)… I think I’ve discovered a hidden affinity for pointed shoes, who knew? These just have such a great shape.
If you’re considering getting a pair, here’s a link to $20 off. I’ll also get $20 towards a pair, and you’ll get your own discount code with your purchase to give to a friend!
—> Get $20 off Rothy’s <—
What are you thinking of getting? Let me know in the comments!
XOXO, Gossip Girl
P.S: I caved and bought the orchid solid point and I feel great about it. Buy these shoes now!!! *clapping emoji*
P.P.S: I did not get paid to write this, but that would’ve been sweet. I’m just super stoked on these.
Sneakers review coming soon! 😉 [11/26/18]