When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
- Rothy’s, the footwear startup famous for turning recycled water bottles into colorful, breathable flats, just launched a new style for spring.
- The Mary Jane ($155) is available in five colorways and in sizes 5-13.
- It’s made from Rothy’s signature recycled material and has a vegan, recyclable, carbon-free rubber-and-TPU sole.
- Three women on Business Insider’s Shopping team wore them around New York City to see how they fit. You can find our full reviews below.
Rothy’s first gained attention for recycling plastic water bottles into bright, breathable flats. For much of the summer of 2017, the train platforms of New York City and San Francisco were a collage of vibrant knit footwear.
Rothy’s had created something worth paying attention to: comfortable everyday shoes that blend a unique but versatile aesthetic with sustainable materials, and the low-maintenance upkeep of machine-washability.
Since The Point ($145) and The Flat ($125) debuted, the company has found similar success with three other silhouettes — The Chelsea ($145), The Sneaker ($125), and The Loafer ($165) — and approximately 400 colorways to date. Since its launch in 2016, the company says it has repurposed almost 50 million water bottles.
Just in time for spring, Rothy’s has released its fifth silhouette, The Mary Jane ($155), a flat with the company’s signature pointed toe and a romantic bowtie.
To give you a sense of what they’re like to wear, Rothy’s provided us with a few pairs of Mary Janes to test. You can find our full reviews below.
The Mary Jane is available in sizes 5-13, and comes in five versatile color options: black, wildcat, cinnamon, sapphire, and rosebud. It’s made with Rothy’s classic material — a flexible, breathable knit made from recycled water bottles — and a recyclable, vegan, carbon-free rubber-and-TPU sole.
Like Rothy’s other styles, the Mary Jane shoes are machine-washable. Just remove the insoles before placing them and the Mary Janes inside the washing machine at the same time. Select a delicate cycle with cold water, and avoid any type of heated drying, like putting them in the dryer or leaving them out in the sun.
Rothy’s pointed shoes tend to run narrow, so the company (and Business Insider’s Shopping team) recommends ordering one half-size up if you’re concerned about fit. Rothy’s aren’t meant to stretch, so you’ll want them to be comfortable right out of the box. They shouldn’t require a break-in period — a too-tight Rothy’s shoe is just too small.
Sustainability has become both an increasing challenge and a market opportunity for retailers as it increases in importance to consumers. Some of the most high-profile and agile responses have been in footwear, from Allbirds’ merino wool and carbon-negative EVA foam to Everlane’s climate-neutral sneakers. Rothy’s is another standout example. On top of sustainable materials like repurposed plastic, recycled foam insoles, and merino wool, Rothy’s owns and operates its own production workshop, allowing for better standardization and oversight of rigorous standards. It also uses extra-durable shoe boxes that can be shipped on their own (to avoid box-in-box waste), offsets carbon through the Carbon Fund, and uses 3D knitting technology that prevents excess fabric scraps.
And, since its shoes are machine-washable, Rothy’s hopes you’ll wind up owning them for a long time and need fewer replacements. Learn more about Rothy’s sustainability practices here, and find more brands we like that recycle plastics here.
Our experience wearing Rothy’s Mary Jane ($155):
I’ve had both hits and misses with Rothy’s shoes in the past thanks to sizing issues and large feet, so I ordered a half-size up to the 9.5 (I typically wear a 9) in these and I’m really glad I did. They’re flexible but still snug thanks to the security of a tight bowtie.
The signature knit is breathable, the insole is cushioned enough for daily wear (though probably not enough for a day of touring on your feet), and they’re pretty adorable in person. All of my concerns about these shoes — fit, security, practicality — turned out to be unfounded. However, the soles are very slippery at first, so you’ll want to scuff them up with a few outings before letting your guard down. But overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like them, particularly because of how they look with jeans and sundresses for springtime (or in the fall, for that matter, if you choose a darker color).
However, $155 isn’t cheap even for such a cute pair of shoes, and if you think you’d get more use out of the company’s The Point ($145), you may want to consider those, too. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter
I have a pair of Rothy’s pointed-toe flats that I wear to work all the time, but I have a lot of tightness in my arches that make it hard to walk around in them all day. The stretchy bow on this new pair secures the shoe to my feet really well, which in turn has actually made the flats much comfier for all-day wear. I got the pink pair, a shocking choice among my peers who know me for my Very Neutral Closet, but I love them. They’re fun to wear with light jeans and a white T-shirt, which is how I tamper down their femininity to meet my aesthetic. — Sally Kaplan, senior editor
My first impression of the Rothy’s Mary Janes when I unboxed them was that they are super cute and that I would never be able to re-tie the bow the same way. After putting them on and giving the bow a try, I was actually able to tie them pretty well.
I didn’t love the way my foot fit into them because I have a true disdain for shoes that show my “toe cracks”. After wearing them around the city and office a bit, I noticed I was frequently sliding around, but, to be fair, it’s been a while since I’ve worn flats with no tread. The bow stayed mostly tied throughout the day; I had to re-do each one once.
By the end of the day, I did have a few hot spots on my Achilles, but that went away after one wear. Overall I think if you’re into flats and don’t mind toe cracks these are really cute shoes.— Elisabeth Chambry, strategic partnerships manager
The bottom line
Overall, Rothy’s Mary Jane ($155) is a cute, comfortable, versatile shoe that’s well-suited for transitional wardrobes and the warmer temperatures of spring and summer. Machine-washability makes it low maintenance, and the sustainability factor is another big bonus. The bottom of the soles are slippery, and the style may show a bit of where your toes begin (so beware if you’re not a fan of that), but we think the pros outweigh the cons, and we’ll update this review with more wear over time.
We’d recommend ordering a half-size up if you’re concerned about sizing or have wide feet, but the company also offers free shipping and returns in case you want to order two sizes to try-on at home before committing.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe