About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
The World is chock full of minimalist white sneakers and it feels like a handful of new brands hit the market every month with, essentially, a cornucopia of new shoes that are all vying for our attention and hard-earned cash. For most of us, it takes something truly interesting or special to pique our interest. Enter the all-new Rothy’s RS02 sneakers. These are somewhat similar to the RS01 sneakers we reviewed last year, but this new unisex model has a simpler and more classic (basic?) looking design that pairs well with an all-new relaxed and slightly roomy fit.
Knit uppers made from recycled plastic water bottles and food containers.
Available in “bone” (shown,) or navy.
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Outstanding! Very nice and well worth the price of admission. Highly recommended.
- 4 – Very satisfactory. Above average, may have very minor issues but still worth it.
- 3 – Satisfactory. Average at best. May have notable issues, may be OK for some.
- 2 – Unsatisfactory. Below average due to defects, flaws, or other imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price. Avoid!
- Brand: Rothy’s
- Style: Plain toe, athletic sneaker/trainer
- Size: 11 US
- Last: RS02
- 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: $149 USD
Designed with a more classic sneaker aesthetic, focusing on a more streamlined,
versatile low-top design that can go with just about everything.
I purchased my pair directly from the Rothy’s brick and mortar store just outside of Atlanta, GA during a recent trip down South. Their customer service in store was top notch; my wife and I never felt rushed or pushed to purchase anything, even though we tried on several pairs in different styles and had our little one bouncing off the walls thanks to a tummy full of ice cream.
FYI: Rothy’s offers free, easy returns on unworn/unwashed shoes within 30 days from purchase or delivery. Exchanges are handled through a simple return and repurchase system and you can return/exchange online or in one of their (admittedly few and far between) retail locations.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Great! Fantastic customer service and a dead simple return policy.
With Rothy’s focus on eco-friendliness and sustainability,
the unboxing experience is intentionally sparse.
Rothy’s has an interesting box that doubles as both the typical shoe storage box as well as a shipping box. With the brand’s focus on eco-friendliness and sustainability, you won’t find any plastic bags or excessive tissue paper stuffing here. Instead, the shoes are simply enveloped in a layer of recycled paper and tucked away into the box, waiting to be unwrapped and tried on. Unfortunately, Rothy’s does not include any spare laces or extra insoles with their sneakers. That won’t bother most of you, but for me, I’d like to see these included at this price point.
Score: 4/5 Stars – All in all, a decent unboxing experience when you’re eco-conscious.
Fresh out of the box, I’m really loving the off-white shade of this “bone” color. In sunlight, these definitely lean towards a warmer shade of white. In darker lighting, this shade can lean a little more towards a buttery tone. Call it Kerrygold if you want, but I find this creamy white color to be just as versatile as stark white sneakers and it looks to pair well with other Earthy tones like olive greens, navy blues, khaki tans, hummus browns, and those warmer shades of grey.
The Rothy’s “bone” color demonstrated next to Adam’s handsome man gams,
and some adidas in a pale grey, with a bright white stripe for contrast.
Design wise, these lean into a more classic sneaker aesthetic. Unlike the RS01 design that attempts to mimic the old school German Army Trainer style, these RS02s are looking to capitalize on the Converse, Vans, SeaVees, and Superga market segment by focusing on a more streamlined, versatile low-top design that can go with just about everything. For my trip down South, I wore these RS02s with a simple, but ever-so-slightly elevated “athleisure” outfit featuring a navy blue Rhone Delta Pique polo and a pair of sage green Rhone 7″ Commuter shorts. It’s Summertime and while the livin’ is easy, the mercury is jumpin’ and the humidity is too dang high. For these tropical days, I’m looking for maximum comfort and breathability.
The soft and stretchy knit material holds its shape and structure.
The terry lined tongue adds comfort for sockless wear.
The RS02 has a three-piece upper design that is knit from recycled plastic water bottles and food containers. Their factory in Dongguan, China sources this rPET plastic and has it spun into various gauge fibers so that 3D knitting machines can produce the flat fabric pieces needed to craft the shoes. Rothy’s says it takes about 22 plastic bottles to make enough fiber to knit one pair of shoes! This knit material is soft and stretchy but springs back into shape, so don’t expect them to stretch out much over time. They should feel comfortable out of the box.
Padded ankle collar and a bright blue “halo” on the back heel.
You’ll also find a splash of blue on the tongue keeper.
As with the RS01 sneakers, this pair also has a bright pop of color in two places – the tongue keeper loop up front and the “halo” around back are both made in a vivid shade of royal blue. The padded ankle collar out back is stuffed with leftover yarn; this feels much nicer than you expect and is a noticeable layer of comfort as you walk around and go about your day.
The eyelets are simply reinforced holes in the knit upper, but at no point did I feel like I would rip or tear through that knit material when tying my shoes. The laces themselves feel more premium than those that come with your run-of-the-mill sneakers from Converse or Vans.
A suede-like heel cup cuts down on heel slippage, and the THICCC insole is removeable.
(Scroll down for a closer look at that insole.)
Peering inside, you will see the terry-lined tongue that adds another layer of comfort, especially if you tend to go sockless more often than not. The heel cup is lined in a suede-like material to help cut down on heel slippage and this layer is embossed with the shoe size instead of a separate stitched-on plastic tag. The removable insole is made from bio-based PU foam, which utilizes castor oil in the production. These insoles are THICCC with three C’s and feel very supportive underneath your foot. If they made a mattress out of this stuff, I’d be interested.
As a side note, I wore these sneakers for at least 24 hours over the course of two travel days through some touristy, highly walkable cities and never noticed any foot or leg fatigue. Nice!
A grippy texture on the sole helped Adam stay upright on slick restaurant floors and sandy sidewalks.
Finally, the outsole is a new design that features a refined, grippy texture that looks similar to interlocking puzzle pieces tilted out by ~20 degrees. While I haven’t tried these in any truly adverse conditions, they fared well with slick restaurant floors and numerous sandy sidewalks. Durability is yet to be known, but I’ll be sure to post a quick follow up later this year.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Knit uppers are cushy, insoles are comfy, and build quality is great.
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I had the luxury of trying on various sizes in store and, for me, it was a close race between my “true to size” 10.5 and a more comfortable size 11. In the end, I chose the larger of the two as it gave me a bit more room in front of my toes in case I wanted to wear thicker socks. This matches the pair of RS01s that I reviewed two years ago, although those ran a bit narrower. If you typically fall right on a standard size, I’d recommend taking that standard size as these do feel like they fit accurately. However, if you know your heel to toe measurement straddles two different sizes (as mine does), I’d recommend sizing up a half-size for a bit of extra clearance.
Thick insoles made from bio-based PU foam provide a surprising amount of comfort.
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 athletic sneakers from Adidas or Nike. Have a size question? Email us!
Comfort is always subjective, but I find both the RS02 and the original RS01 sneakers to be INCREDIBLY comfortable. These are the most comfortable sneakers I own, far surpassing anything from Nike or Adidas. I literally cannot emphasize how comfortable these are for me. The knit upper is stretchy and conforms well to your foot, the collar around the heel is lightly padded for some extra cushioning, and the insole feels very supportive and forgiving.
Score: 5/5 Stars – The RS02 fits a bit roomier than the RS01. VERY comfortable.
I highly recommend the Rothy’s RS02 sneakers. Setting aside the eco-friendly marketing buzzwords and acronym-laden spec sheets, these sneakers are just plain comfortable. They’re made well, they feel incredibly comfortable on foot, they are stylish in a basic or classic sense of the word, and this design will pair well with just about everything in your closet. If you’re in the market for a pair of minimalist sneakers like these, I urge you to give them a try. Cheers!
Avg. Score: 4.75/5 – HIGHLY recommended. I put my money where my mouth is and bought a pair for my wife and myself. I *will* be purchasing more in the future.