Shima Seiki
Hanson Wade

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New funding for recycled, 3D knitted shoe company

Rothy’s is a shoe company that was founded in 2016 that makes its ballet flats, loafers and sneakers from recycled plastic bottles.

5th February 2019

Knitting Industry
 |  San Francisco, CA

Sports/​Activewear, Knitted Accessories

Rothy’s makes its shoes from recycled plastic bottles using 3D knitting. © Rothy’s

Rothy’s, a shoe company that was founded in 2016 and makes its ballet flats, loafers and sneakers from recycled plastic bottles using a 3D knitting technique, has announced that it raised US$ 35 million in venture capital from Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. This brings the company’s total funding to US$ 42 million, reports.

3D knitting, like 3D printing, wastes far less material than other manufacturing techniques. According to the company, its waste amounts to about 6%, compared to traditional companies that rack up about 37% waste. Its seamless knitting technique eliminates cutting and allows each shoe to be manufactured to exact size, resulting not only in less waste but in better fit.

“A wardrobe staple that goes with pretty much everything. Lightweight comfort. A shoe you’d be happy to keep on all day. In Rothy's style, comfort and versatility coexist in the first sustainable shoe as stylish as it is comfortable; look good in your Rothy's and feel good about your Rothy's. That’s something you don’t see every day in fashion,” the company says.

The combination of sustainability, cool technology and style, these shoes have made Rothy’s a popular brand in its few years of existence. The company projected that its 2018 sales would reach US$ 140 million, and it counts among its customers celebrities including Meghan Markle.

“Rothy’s has achieved the rare combination of attributes we look for in a brand: a production process and product offering with differentiated IP, a passionately supportive and loyal customer base and rapid growth achieved through viral means,” said Ian Friedman, co-head of the Venture Capital and Growth Equity team at Goldman Sachs. “We believe that Rothy’s has the opportunity to eliminate consumers’ historical need to compromise on style, comfort, or sustainability.”

Rothy’s employs 173 people at its factory in Dongguan, China. Since its founding, Rothy’s has recycled about 20 million plastic bottles. The company also uses carbon credits to fund Project Envira, which converts carbon emissions back into oxygen. Its office is powered entirely by wind, and it uses energy-efficient lights and appliances as well as environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.

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