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How to Wash Rothy’s Flats & Sneakers

September 27, 2019

Rothy’s is a direct-to-consumer shoe company that’s based in San Francisco. They offer a variety of footwear for women and children, all of which are made from recycled plastic. In the making of their products, the company has repurposed more than 37 million water bottles to date.

More About Rothy’s

Rothy’s was founded by Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin in 2012. Their goal was to create comfortable flats for women—ones that used sustainable materials. After a long production process, they released a batch of products to the market in 2015. Two years later, they opened their first factory in China.

Fast forward to 2023 and they’ve made more than $140 million in sales. That same year, they opened their first retail store in San Francisco. Allegedly, the company plans on launching nine additional locations in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.

rothys shoe store

A Closer Look at Rothy’s Shoes

The brand offers various types of shoes including flats, sneakers, loafers, and more.  While their products are mainly for women, they do have a line of sneakers for children. As far as materials go, the shoes feature a sole that’s made from vegan, recyclable rubber and TPU. The adhesives used are also created with low environmental impact.

How much do their shoes go for? It depends on the style. For instance, most of their flats are priced at around $125. While they don’t have sales that often, they do have a referral program where you can get $20 by giving someone $20 on their first order.

Taking Care of Rothy’s Shoes 

Their products might be sustainable but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get dirty! At the end of the day, they’re just as vulnerable to dirt and mud as other shoes. Want to keep them in tip-top shape? Then it’s vital that you take proper care of them.

What does this mean? Remove stains as soon as possible. In addition to that, it’s a good idea to wash the shoes every once in a while—that will prevent grime from building up on the fabric, which can otherwise set in. The last thing that you want is to have an unsightly spot on your flats! But wait, how do you wash these eco-friendly shoes? Are they machine washable at all? Should you clean them in the tub instead? These are some of the things that we’ll be addressing below.

Before that though, let’s take a closer look at the sustainability of their shoes

Sustainability of Rothy’s Shoes

We mentioned this earlier but all of their shoes are made from recycled water bottles. The first step of the production process involves chipping them into tiny flakes. From there, they are pressed into pellets with high pressure. These pellets are then made into spools of thread and knit into shoes. For more information, you can visit their official website here

rothys shoe sustainability

Soles: Made from carbon-free, recycle rubber and TPU

Insoles: Consist of recycled foam that contains bio-based castor oil

Adhesives: Vegan and non-toxic; created with low environmental impact

How to Wash Rothy’s Flats (Besides Sneakers)

Remember what we said earlier? It’s important to take care of your shoes. Not only will they look nicer, but they’ll last longer too. Remember, dirt and whatnot can deteriorate the fabric over time. Wouldn’t you want to get your money’s worth out of your flats? Don’t worry, washing them is not difficult at all. There are a couple of methods that you can use—we’ll be outlining them below.

Can You Put Rothy’s Shoes in the Washing Machine?

Yes, you can! As it is, their shoes are entirely machine washable. The first thing that you want to do is to remove the recycled insoles—they’ll be a lot cleaner if you take them out and wash them separately. For the best results, place your shoes in a laundry bag. While you can wash them with your clothes, it’s better that you don’t. Instead, put in a few towels to help even up the load.

Note: Want to wash them with your other clothes no matter what? Consider getting a bag that you can attach to the door—that way, you won’t have to worry about them damaging or dirtying your clothes.

Set the settings once you’ve put the shoes and insoles into the machine. Use a cold, delicate cycle and add in a bit of mild detergent (it’s important that you do not use hot water as heat will cause the shoes to shrink and lose their shape). ACTIVE Detergent works great as it’s designed for synthetic fabrics (yes, fabric made out of water bottles counts- if anything, it’s similar to polyester!). Do not use bleach or fabric softener.

active give

Let the wash cycle finish before removing your shoes. Place them on a flat surface and allow them to air dry. Never place them in the dryer—that’s the quickest way to ruin them.

Washing Rothy’s Shoes by Hand

Hesitant about putting the shoes in the washing machine? Why not wash them by hand instead? It’s not as difficult as it sounds, I promise. Before you start, clap the shoes together—that will help to get rid of any dirt that might be embedded on the bottom. Once you’ve done that, take out the insoles. As with machine washing, you want to wash them separate from the actual shoes.

Fill a tub or sink, whatever you prefer, with cool water (remember, never use warm or hot water). Dissolve some ACTIVE detergent and mix—you should get a soapy solution. Place your shoes in (yes, you want to submerge them fully) and let them sit for at least 30 minutes—this allows the detergent to work at the grime. Take the shoes out and rinse them thoroughly with water afterwards. You do not want there to be any detergent residue.

hand wash rothy shoes

Optional: Dip a sponge or soft-bristled brush into the mixture and use it to clean the outside of the shoe. For the best results, rub the material in circular motions. Pay extra attention to the front and heel of the shoe as those areas tend to accumulate dirt and mud. Rinse the shoes clean with water when you’re finished.

As far as the soles go, you might have to use a scrubbing brush if they are excessively dirty. Dip the bristles into the detergent solution and brush. No need to be gentle as the sole, unlike the upper, is made from a durable material that’s capable of withstanding vigorous brushing. Rinse away the detergent afterwards.

Now you’re probably wondering—“what about the insoles”? Basically, you want to soak it with your shoes. Once they’re soaked, rinse them with water and you’re good to go! You don’t need to brush them or anything.

Washing Instructions for Rothy’s Sneakers

Most of their shoes can be washed the same way—the only exception is their sneakers. The way that they’re designed, they have a midsole that requires a little bit of extra attention. Don’t worry, though, you can still wash them. Here’s how:

Putting Rothy’s Sneakers in the Washing Machine

As with the rest of their shoes, you want to begin by removing the insoles. Next, separate the midsole (the extra black piece that’s underneath) and place it aside; do not put it in the washing machine. Everything else, however, including the knit insole, you can put into the washer. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to use some sort of laundry bag for your shoes. Don’t forget to add in your towels as well.

Wash the sneakers with cold water on a gentle cycle. Do not use hot or warm water for the same reasons mentioned earlier—it can shrink out distort the recycled material. Add in an appropriate amount of Active Detergent (a little will do if you’re just washing the shoes) and let the machine run. Skip the bleach and fabric conditioner.

Take your sneakers and insoles out once the cycle is finished. Place them in a well-ventilated area, where they can dry naturally. Do not apply heat. Once the shoes have dried completely, you can anchor the black midsole piece back in place. Remember to cover it with the insole.

Best Way to Remove Stains From Rothy’s Shoes

removing stains from rothys

Stains should always be treated as soon as possible—it doesn’t matter what kind of shoe you’re dealing with. First things first, you’ll need to mix up a detergent solution. How else will you pre-treat the fabric? Add cold water (never hot water as that will only set in the stain) to a small bowl and dissolve in some Active detergent. Wet a soft-bristled brush with the soapy liquid and use it to saturate the stain on the shoe. Gently rub the area—do not scrub as that can make the stain worse.

Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water until all of the detergent is removed. Allow it to air dry. Or if you want, you can proceed to wash the entire thing by putting it in the washing machine (or you can do it by hand).

Deodorizing Rothy’s Shoes

Have an odor issue with your shoes? There are multiple things that you can do to get rid of the smell:

Add Baking Soda Inside the Shoe

Baking soda is a classic fix for smelly shoes. It’s easy too—all you have to do is sprinkle a tablespoon or two of baking soda into each of the shoe. The compound will not only absorb the pungent odor, but it’ll also draw out moisture, which will prevent bacteria from thriving. Leave the powder in overnight (or for a few hours at least) before shaking it out.

Stuffing With Newspaper 

Don’t want to get powder all over your shoes? Consider using newspaper instead. Yup, that’s right—it can be used to remove smells! Simply bunch them up and put them inside your shoes. Afterwards, you’ll want to leave them somewhere dry to sit for a few days. How it works is that the paper will draw moisture out from inside the shoe—this will leave them smelling fresh. If you want, you can also add a couple of drops of essential oil to the newspaper.

Wipe With Rubbing Alcohol 

White vinegar (not apple cider vinegar) is excellent at eliminating odors. What you want to do is dampen a piece of cloth with vinegar. From there, proceed to wipe the insides of the shoes. Allow them to dry fully before wearing them again.

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Comments (2)

  • Sherry Bianchi-Knod Reply

    Thank-you! This was very thorough.

    April 6, 2023 at 10:58 am
    • ACTIVE Support Reply

      Thanks Sherry! Glad this was helpful 🙂

      May 1, 2023 at 12:29 pm

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