About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the HVAC and hydronics industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
If you listen to podcasts, chances are you’ve heard of Rothy’s women’s shoes through their paid sponsorships or advertisements. After hearing about the brand over and over during a murder mystery podcast series, a quick web search revealed that they offer both women’s and men’s shoes. Surprisingly, these shoes are typically knit from threads spun from recycled plastic water bottles and most reviews are overwhelmingly positive. So, I reached out to Joe to see if he would be down for an impromptu review of their men’s sneakers. Obviously he said yes (thanks, Joe!) so today we’re talking about the Rothy’s RS01 men’s sneakers.
Spoiler alert: they’re pretty dang good.
An overall aesthetic that leans heavily into the classic German Army Trainer (GAT) style.
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended.
- 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect.
- 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price.
- 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
- Brand: Rothy’s
- Style: Trainers
- Size: 11 US
- Last: RS01
- Construction: Glued and stitched
- Upper: Knit rPET plastic
- Sole: Corn bio-based TPU
- Details: Flat cotton laces, multi-layer insole
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: China
- Price: $175
Traditional T “wing” design w/ a 21st century recycled knit twist.
My pair was ordered on a Monday, shipped out on Wednesday, and was delivered on Friday of that same week. Not bad! My pair was shipped via USPS Priority 2-day (the free option) and arrived on time, despite the massive backlog of shipments these days.
FYI: Rothy’s has a great 30-day return and exchange policy on all unworn/unwashed items. For the holiday 2021 season, they have extended the return window until January 31, 2022. They’ve also partnered with Happy Returns to offer contactless, sustainable QR-code based returns in stores like Staples, The Paper Source, and FedEx offices near you.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Simple ordering, fast shipping, and creative returns. Love it.
An unconventional unboxing experience.
This pair was shipped in an interesting shoe box that doubles as a shipping box. To open the package, you’ll need to pull the Rothy’s signature color blue ribbon, ripping the box open and breaking the seal to allow you access to the goods inside. Rothy’s says this box is made from 95% post-consumer recycled materials and it looks the part. It’s sturdy, though, so no complaints there. On the inside, the shoes were wrapped once over with a thick piece of paper that features written instructions on washing and/or returning the sneakers, should you be unhappy with them. No accessories were included, which is a bummer at this price point.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Interesting unboxing experience, but I’d appreciate spare laces.
Fresh out of the box, I’m really liking the overall aesthetic that leans heavily into the classic German Army Trainer (GAT) style. The usual minimalist clues are there – the T “wing” on the toe box, a subtle stripe on the side, and a long and low profile “court” shape. Personally, I like this knitted twist that breathes a bit of life into the old Deutschland design.
That blue stripe is part of Rothy’s signature branding.
The upper is a three-piece design that’s knit from rPET, which stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate… aka plastic bottles and food containers. After these containers are used and recycled, a facility sorts, cleans, and transforms the bulk plastic waste into fresh flakes or small pellets to be reused for new products. Rothy’s has this bulk rPET spun into different gauge fibers that can be woven into 3D knit structures. A factory in China then assembles the pieces into wearable shoes, just like any other shoe factory would. My specific pair is made from all white knit material with a fun little stripe of royal blue out back for Rothy’s signature branding.
A white terry-lined tongue and padded ankle collar ensure maximum comfort whether you choose to go sockless or not. The top of the removable insole/footbed feels like suede. This insole is an incredible piece of the comfort puzzle, adding a ton of squish and support underneath your feet. Taking this insole out will show you just how thick and dense the closed-cell foam support system really is. Not to mention, the back half of the footbed unit has a layer of harder plastic for extra arch support. This is like a wider, firmer version of a shank.
Inside the shoe gets just as much attention as the outside.
While that insole is out, peer inside the shoe to see the neon green base layer. This is a strobel board that’s used as the bottom of the stitched “sock” that is the 360° shoe assembly. This particular strobel board is made from a thin, flexible layer of foam that’s partially made from harvested algae. Pretty neat! You can tell that the strobel board is firm, yet soft with little give.
Finally, the outsole is made from a bio-based TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane, which is a sort of bridge between plastics and rubbers. These particular soles are made from a corn-based, renewable material that’s comparable to traditional rubber or polymer soles. This material is both dense and durable while also being flexible enough to be used as an outsole for shoes. You know, bending your foot is pretty important. The outsole tread has a herringbone-like pattern molded into it, which should give plenty of traction in most day to day scenarios. However, I’d be careful on slippery, icy surfaces as the pattern isn’t too deep.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Very interesting mix of eco-friendly components. Overall, high quality.
Who knew plastic bottles could create such comfort?
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying a half-size up from your Brannock measurement. I tried this pair in a U.S. Men’s 11 based on some online reviews and that turned out to be the correct choice. The RS01 last feels, overall, very similar to my Adidas Sambas or Stan Smith’s in that it’s a bit narrow and long. Also note that Rothy’s currently only offers whole sizes, so you’ll need to gauge whether to size up or size down for your best fit.
Comfort is always subjective, but the RS01s are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. The knit upper is stretchy, the collar is lightly padded, and the insole is an absolute dream to walk on with bare feet or socks.
This insole is an incredible piece of the comfort puzzle.
For size reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Converse/Vans and an 11 in most Adidas/Nike/Jordan/Yeezy sneakers. Have a size question? Email us!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Fit is slightly long and narrow, size up a half-size. VERY comfortable!
To keep this short and simple, I highly recommend you try a pair of Rothy’s sneakers. If you set aside the eco-friendly marketing buzzwords and spec sheets, these sneakers are just plain comfortable. The materials feel nice, the insole is amazing, and my feet aren’t fatigued after wearing them around for a while. That’s a win for me no matter what they’re made from. However, when you add on the fact that the materials used here are helping to clean up our environment and they’re using creative manufacturing to get it done, I think that’s worth a look.
If you’re in the market for super comfortable, minimalist sneakers like these, I urge you to give them a try. I’ll be buying a pair for my wife for Christmas and probably another pair for myself. As they say, I’ll put my money where my mouth is. Check them out and let us know what you think. Cheers!
Avg. Score: 4.75/5 – Highly recommended!
More than just white, with limited edition colorways available too.