Innovation That Matters

Woven, recycled plastic shoes are long-wearing and washable


San Francisco design company Rothy’s produces stylish women’s shoes from woven, recycled plastic that can be washed over and over again.

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Made from recycled plastic bottles, Rothy’s shoes come in two different styles and a variety of colors and designs. Based in San Francisco, the company turns plastic bottles into a strong, soft fiber that is 3D woven, heat set and then hand assembled into stylish shoes that are designed to be worn over and over again. When dirty, the shoes can be washed and air-dried.

3D printing creates minimal waste, as well as additional comfort through lack of seaming in the shoe. The soles are made from carbon free rubber, and when a pair has reached the end of its life, owners are encouraged to send them back to the company’s dedicated recycling facility. Prices per pair range from USD 125 to USD 145, and although international shipping is not yet available, the company plans to make that an available option in the near future.

Plastic is such a ubiquitous problem that products and projects made from recycled waste have popped up nearly everywhere. In Africa, discarded flip flops are being turned into works of art and gifts, and in South America, one country is encouraging recycling by providing public transport credit in exchange for turning in waste. How many more recycled plastic products need to be created before the tipping point is reached in which alternative sustainable materials begin to outweigh the production of waste plastic?




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