Rothy’s ‘The Flat’ Review (for 2024): Are They Worth the Cost?

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TL;DR: After testing Rothy’s flats for over three years, I recommend Rothy’s The Flat if you’re looking for lightweight, washable, and sustainable flats. If you’re looking for more supportive flats or cheaper options, I’d suggest an alternative.

A pair of red Rothy's flats sitting on the edge of a red oriental rug, with a hardwood floor visible under the rug.


Sizing & Fit


Comfort & Support


Style & Versatility


Design & Function




Price & Value


Beyond the Shoe





  • Incredibly stylish and versatile. Their colors are so pretty and the design lets me wear these flats whether I’m dressing up or down.
  • Very comfortable and the most breathable flats I’ve tested. The Rothy’s immediately fit like a glove, no break-in required. And goodbye smelly feet, these are breathable and easy to wash to boot.
  • On that point above, Rothy’s The Flat is machine washable.
  • Rothy’s flats are as sustainable as any shoe you’ll find. It’s not just greenwashing either, they put in legitimate effort.
  • Easy returns. Like, the easiest ever! This made it much less stressful to try them out without worrying I’d get the wrong size.


  • They’re expensive. Although you can sometimes find deals, they’re generally listed at $129.
  • Stains (particularly dirt/mud stains) can stay visible, especially on the lighter color options for these flats.
  • Some reviews mention that these flats can get smelly if you sweat a lot in them, but I haven’t noticed this. (And, in any event, they’re still machine washable.)


6.0 oz

Manufacturing country

Primary materials
Plastic-based threading (recycled and diverted, as part of Rothy’s sustainability efforts), algae-based foam, rubber and textile soles

Best for
Daily use, going out casually, date nights, looking stylish at work

Rothy’s The Flat Review

honest birdies review
birdies sizing tips

As a longtime flats enthusiast (hello, Tieks, Birdies, and VIVAIA), I was intrigued by a company that produced lightweight flats that were washable and more sustainable than the other brands I owned. It also didn’t hurt that Rothy’s was another brand that kept popping up for me on my Instagram ads. 

So three years ago I gave in to the marketing and since then have tested Rothy’s The Flat through walks, errands, parties, date nights, and more. And I’ve put my pair through a gauntlet of experiments to get some objective data, since sometimes companies say things like “breathable” but you never really know for sure what that means. After all that, I’m here to give you my honest review of my Rothy’s and whether they’re worth the cost.

I’ve written more than you’ll ever want to know, but the short answer as you can see from the rating is that the Rothy’s The Flat are very, very good flats. They’re comfortable, breathable, easily washed, and most of all very stylish. The bright ruby red is true to color (check out the photo in my conclusion for what I consider the most accurate representation of the color of these flats) and works well with so many outfits. Even if Rothy’s has a great return policy, I’m not giving these flats back!

How I Tested My Rothy’s Flats

How I Tested My Birdies Slippers
Weighing Rothy's Flats on a scale

I evaluated my Rothy’s shoes across seven key categories, weighted by what’s most important for a well-rounded and long-lasting shoe.

  • Sizing & Fit [10%]
  • Comfort & Support [22%]
  • Style & Versatility [20%]
  • Design & Function [16%]
  • Durability [15%]
  • Value [12%]
  • Beyond the Shoe [5%]

General Testing vs Controlled Testing

I’ve been testing Rothy’s The Flat since April 2021, so I have three years of first-hand experience that I’ve been building on for this review. 

In addition, I’ve conducted controlled tests to evaluate certain factors. Some controlled experiments I’ve done to test overall comfort and performance include various 1-2-mile walks during a range of temperatures (50-75 F) in California and numerous tests on The Flat’s different features, which I’ll get into below.

A Snapshot of My Feet

A snapshot of my feet

Sorry for the foot pic! I want to show you what my feet are like so you can better anticipate how these shoes might fit you. Here’s what you need to know:

  • My current shoe size is 10.5, normal width feet. My feet have grown since I ordered my size 10 Rothy’s, so they’re a little small on me now but they’re still comfortable. 
  • My left foot is about 0.4 inches longer than my right foot
  • Flat-footed
  • Small bunion on my left foot

One thing I’ll mention before we dive into the scoring is that I rated my Rothy’s based on other flats and dress shoes, which are notoriously more uncomfortable than sneakers. For example, these might score higher in some areas compared to my Allbirds Wool Runners, but these two shoes are in different categories and thus can’t be compared the same way. So, keep that in mind–these scores are based on comparing these Rothy’s to other flats


Sizing & Fit



Break-in Period


Toe Box Room

Sizing and fit Toe Box - Rothy's The Flat

For the sizing and fit category, I scored based on the accuracy of the sizing, the duration and pain level of the break-in period, and the toe box comfort. 

In terms of sizing, Rothy’s are true to size and based on their measurements. Particularly helpful is that they have a good section on how to measure your feet. And they offer half sizes, which is very important for flats!

I can’t ask for much more than that, though the score here isn’t a perfect 10 since I’d like to see sizing and measurements for width, feet with bunions, or other specifics that would be helpful. Additionally, based on other reviews it seems like Rothy’s shoes can run a ½ size too small for a good chunk of customers. 

No break-in period was needed for my Rothy’s flats at all. This was unusual for me but they were very comfortable from my first few wears. With that said, it’s important to make sure your Rothy’s fit right and that they’re not too tight or too loose because that’s when you get blisters. 

The Rothy’s toe box has an average width of 7.9 cm for size 10. This is the highest of all my flats, but I’m a strict grader and docking a couple points just because the material isn’t very stretchy, so these flats can sometimes feel tighter because of the lack of give. That’s why these get the same score as, for example, the Allbirds Tree Breezers flats, which have a smaller toe box (7.2 cm) but are stretchy.


Comfort & Support


Cushioning & Softness

Sole Cushioning


Heel Collar Cushioning


Arch Support


Shoe Upper Comfort

A pair of red Rothy's flats sitting on a hardwood floor with a shoebox behind them.

For the cushioning & softness category, I scored based on insole, midsole, and outsole cushioning, heel collar cushioning, arch support, and shoe upper comfort. 

I find Rothy’s to be incredibly soft and comfortable flats. So what’s with the low score? That’s because while they fit me very well and are comfortable due to that, they don’t actually have a lot of cushioning.

As you can see from the photos, the Rothy’s flats aren’t exactly plush. But because the material is soft (which I’m amazed by, considering that they’re mostly made from plastic bottles) and doesn’t poke at my feet, they feel better than you’d expect. And that’s why I’ve rated the upper highly: it’s soft and it doesn’t dig in. The main drawback to the lack of cushion is in the heel, which I feel more since, these being flats, there’s not much padding from the ground.

While these flats don’t have much sole cushioning and arch support, I have flat and narrow feet and the Rothy’s provide what I’m looking for in flats (which are usually not known for being supportive). 

Overall, I do think the Rothy’s flats are comfortable and they have an above-average score here, but if you’re looking for extra cushioning and support than I’d recommend shoes like Birdies which have very soft and cushioned insoles.



Ball Stability


Midsole Stability


Heel Stability


The three main tests I did to test the stability of my Rothy’s were the following:

  • Ball test – testing where the bend is in the sole of the shoe to make sure it lines up with the ball of your foot as you walk. 


  • Twist test – testing how resistant the shoe is to being twisted from side to side. 


  • Heel test – squeezing the back heel to see how flexible it is. Higher points for this being stiff and not too flexible. 


The Rothy’s flats are comfortable due to their soft and flexible material, but that means they’re less sturdy. As you can see from the videos, the bend at the bottom of the flats isn’t in line with where the ball of the foot is. And the Rothy’s flats don’t offer much resistance to twisting and squeezing, either.

Flats aren’t going to be the strongest of footwear to begin with, though, so the Rothy’s score is just average here.

Are These Shoes Good For Different Foot Issues? High Arches? Wide Feet? Plantar Fasciitis? Bunions?

Are These Shoes Good For Different Foot Issues
Are These Shoes Good For Different Foot Issues

Rothy’s flats are wide enough with a soft and comfortable enough material that I haven’t had any issues with the small bunion on my left foot. However, the material isn’t as flexible as many other flats, so if you have wider feet or a bigger bunion, that might be an issue.

For plantar fasciitis, I’d recommend against flats generally due to the lack of support and cushioning. But you might consider the Birdies Starlings if you are looking for flats with arch support and a cushioned footbed.

Similarly, for high arches, I’d recommend against these flats which are… very flat.

If you have wide feet, they might not be quite as comfortable due to the material not being stretchy. But they do have a wide toe box and the insoles are removable if you need to replace them, so I’d suggest just ordering a ½ size up.


Style & Versatility






Birdies style and versatility
Style and versatility - Birdies The Starling

The first thing that drew me to their shoes is how stylish and versatile they seemed. And after wearing them for three years, my Rothy’s are the sexiest and most stylish pair of flats I own.

The Flat has a curved point, a distinctive blue line at the back heel, and a narrow look despite the wide toe box. The design is sleek, has an upper that covers my toes properly (e.g. none of those toe lines!), and doesn’t come up too high on the heel. The Flat is the perfect balance of coverage without feeling like it’s too much. 

I also found the Bright Red color to be a great addition to my current wardrobe. It’s hard to go wrong with ruby-red flats. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel like Dorothy? And this bold red color goes with a surprising amount of colors.

Overall, the variety, color, style options, and look of these flats are terrific.


Design & Function











Rothys-The-Flat-Design and Performance

For performance, I look at whether the shoe does what it’s meant to do [its function and whether it performs well for its purpose] and what features enhance the experience. I also compare the shoes with older models, if available, to see how they’ve improved.

The Rothy’s fall into the “flats and dress shoes” category, meaning their purpose isn’t necessarily for long walks or active pursuits, but more to provide a stylish, comfortable pair of shoes that can transition easily between casual and more formal outings.

In this objective, the Rothy’s flats succeed. Unlike some shoes that just collect dust, I wear my Rothy’s all the time because they’re so easy to pair with any outfit. Add in that they’re comfortable and don’t make me have to think whether I’m too fancy or not fancy enough, and they’re a no-brainer.

They could stand to be a little more cushioned so they don’t get a perfect score, but overall they get the job done well.



Rothys-The-Flat - Traction

Flats aren’t known to have much traction, so the differences in traction between pairs of flats I’ve tested aren’t all that different. With that said, the Rothy’s do well and are only outranked here by my Allbirds Treebreezers and Tieks.

Rothy’s flats have a rubber and textile sole with a slightly indented pattern, so there’s some grip. But honestly, there’s not much… you wouldn’t want to go hiking in these. Nonetheless, traction has never been an issue for me while wearing my Rothy’s, so they get a pretty good score.



Rothy's The Flat - Breathability

I tested the breathability of my Rothy’s by measuring the concentration and dispersion times of water vapor going in and out of the flats. I found that the Rothy’s were very breathable, responding within seconds to vapor build up.

This aligns with my personal experience, where the knit material feels light and airy. And because the upper covers just the toes but doesn’t go further, it’s hard for these flats to get too toasty. I’ve worn these flats on hot days and never had an issue. Due to the material and design, as well as testing and personal experience, Rothy’s The Flat gets the distinction of being the most breathable shoes I own!



Odor Birdies
Odor Birdies

I haven’t experienced this myself yet but I read a lot of Rothy’s reviews before I purchased a pair and one consistent con that I came across is that the shoes can get smelly. 

Not everyone experiences this with Rothy’s but if you’re prone to smelly or sweaty feet, it seems like the materials of the shoes can sometimes give off a slightly pungent smell. 

Luckily, once you wash them it seems like the smell goes away pretty easily. 

Another way to combat smelly Rothy’s is to wear them with no-show socks for a little extra odor protection. 



Average Product Life


Quality of Materials


Resilience to Weather/Elements


Stain Resistance & Washability



Average Product Life

Average Product Life Before
Average Product Life After

To start this section, let’s establish a baseline for how long shoes should actually last. You might be surprised to learn that podiatrists recommend replacing shoes every 300-500 miles. In general, I think any shoe that lasts over two years is a durable shoe. 

You wouldn’t expect shoes made from plastic water bottles to be all that durable, but from what I’ve read and seen from my own Rothy’s, they’re shoes that seem to last for a long time.

The structure of Rothy’s shoes is sturdy and well-built and they feel like they’re worth the cost in terms of the quality – something that’s hard to come by sometimes with women’s shoes.

I’ve had my Rothy’s for over three years now and they’ve held up very well. From what I’ve read in others’ reviews, it seems like Rothy’s last for at least a few years (if not more) if you wear them 1-3x per week, though of course it depends on how long you wear them each time and how well you take care of them. 


Quality of Materials

Quality of Materials
Quality of Materials

For the quality of materials, I looked at the following for Rothy’s The Flat: 

  1. Sole stitched or glued – up to 2 points for good quality stitching or a glued sole that has held up well and doesn’t show. – 2 
  2. Material of sole – up to 2 points for good quality rubber, leather, or other material – 1.5
  3. Material of outer shoe – up to 2 points for good quality material (considering resistance to scuffing, weather-resistance, durability) – 2
  4. Material of inner lining – up to 2 points for odor resistance, soft, durable – 2
  5. Material of insole – up to 2 points for good cushioning and odor resistance. – 1.5

The Rothy’s receive nearly perfect scores in all categories when testing the quality of materials. They’ve held up very well over three years, with my only qualms being with the sole, which is quite smooth at this point, and the insole, based on others’ reviews of odor. Overall, the material is clearly very good quality, they still look almost new!




For resilience, I score based on how well shoes have held up over the years in terms of scuffing, any holes or rips, or permanent stains from general wear via weather or sweating.

This category goes hand in hand with the quality of materials and average product life, so the Rothy’s flats score well of course. The main issue I’ve had is that permanent stains can show up a little more than I’d like on my Rothy’s (see more on that in the next section).

Other than that, they’re very resilient and don’t show scuffs and scratches. The sole has smoothed out over time, but even that’s expected of all shoes.


Stain Resistance & Washability

Stain Resistance & Washability
Stain Resistance & Washability

For stain resistance, we put the shoes through a “stain” test using mud, grass, ketchup, wine, and coffee–all common things you might accidentally spill or get on your shoes. We do a spot test with each of these elements and then test how easily it washes off and if there’s a stain left behind. We also look at the washability of the shoes and test the brand’s instructions on how to wash them.

Rothy’s can be machine washed so right off the bat, that’s good for washability. But in my stain testing, as you can see, the flats showed evidence of the mud stain quite a bit and even left some indication from the coffee. And after three years of wear, I can see some smudges here and there.

Still, that’s nitpicking, and I hope you’re not regularly going into the mud with flats on! Overall, I’m still happy to wear my Rothy’s flats and any blemishes aren’t too apparent. Additionally, the visibility of stains can vary and the ruby red that I have–while pretty–is a bit susceptible to showing stains.


Price & Value

Price & Value

Rothy’s The Flat costs $129, which is on the high end for flats. Looking at the Rothy’s compared to competitors, the best competitor in terms of value vs. what you get is VIVAIA’s Round-Toe flats, which are $97. However, there are important differences such as materials and sustainability, so it’s not a completely equal comparison.

Overall, I feel like the Rothy’s price is fair when considering the materials, sustainability, style, and comfort.

These shoes are still priced high for a pair of flats and I’d like to see a little more cushioning as this price point, which is why I docked a point.

Rothy’s Competitors

Round-Toe Flat

Urban Wooler Orange Baabuk

Price: $97

A very similar shoe that’s cushioned as well. The main negative I’ve seen in reviews. is that the toe box isn’t as wide and that the shoe is overall for more narrow feet. VIVAIA as a brand does put in effort towards sustainability as well, though based on my research I rate Rothy’s better on this front.

Allbirds Tree Breezers

VIVAIA Samanta Classic Loafers

Price: $80-100

A more affordable alternative to the Rothy’s from a brand that’s great with sustainability as well. As I write in my Tree Breezers review, these are very comfortable and breathable. The biggest downsides are that these flats don’t come in quite as many attractive styles (instead, mostly neutral colors) and the toe box is a little narrow (though the material is stretchy, so that does help a bit).

Birdies –
The Hummingbird

The Woolloomooloo Belmont shoes in black merino wool

Price: $130

These Birdies flats are a similar price, but slightly dressier style. Birdies typically offer more cushioning and support (see my review of the Birdies Starlings for more information), but these Birdies flats don’t appear to be quite as versatile as the Rothy’s. One downside seems to be that their sturdiness means there is less give, so just like with my Starlings you might need to fix a little extra cushion if it digs in anywhere.

Valley Flats


Price: $195

I love my Tieks. The Italian leather (or vegan options) gives them a premium feel and look, they’re very durable and high quality, and comfortable after an initial break-in period. They’re certainly pricier, but I was willing to splurge for these while telling myself that it was at least cheaper than the Margaux Demis!

The Demi

M Gemi The Sacca Donna

Price: $245

These are almost twice as expensive as The Flat by Rothy’s but, I will say, the glossy look, adjustable width, and materials at least provide a reason to go for the premium product. I value versatility a lot and I’d be reluctant to wear these on a daily basis, but it all depends on what you want in your own collection.

Quince Washable Knit Pointed-Toe

Quince Washable Knit Almond-Toe loafer

Price: $60

Quince is much more affordable than any other competitor flat and in general their brand makes nice products. But based on my recent Quince haul, I wouldn’t expect the same quality and durability, and these flats are only offered in three neutral colors as well.


Beyond the Shoe



Labor Practices


Brand Reputation

Rothys The Flat - price and value



For a shoe that’s made out of plastic rather than natural materials (e.g., like Allbirds, which are made primarily using wool), Rothy’s The Flat are remarkably sustainable.

This is because Rothy’s uses recycled plastic bottles as their main material. And not just plastic bottles that would’ve been recycled anyway, but bottles that would’ve ended up in landfills or the ocean.

Rothy’s also has other innovations to reduce waste, which is why they’ve obtained certifications like LEED Gold and TRUE Zero Waste Platinum certification. Side note: The lengthier the name of a certification the sillier it sounds to me, but these are legitimate organizations doing the certifications.

I’ve seen some people claim that because plastics are used, these shoes are eventually going to end up in a landfill as plastic anyway so they’re not helping the environment. Although that’s true, the world as it is has lots of plastic and if it can be reused then that’s much better than doing nothing with it.

Overall, Rothy’s do a great job of not putting new, harmful materials into the environment. They’re not just one more company that’s green washing in order to get more sales. They do still rely on plastic so I’m docking them a point, but they receive a high score for all their environmental efforts.


Labor Practices

Rothy’s shoes are made in China and beyond a few statements where Rothy’s states that it treats its workers well, there aren’t many details on their labor practices. We obviously can’t conduct our own visits so rely on companies to be transparent and promote any practices that are above expectations.

Here, our score is low for Rothy’s but a little higher than we’d ordinarily give because the bulk of their materials collection is certified by Ocean Bound, which includes a component on fair wages and treatment of workers.


Brand Reputation

A pair of red Rothy's flats sitting on a hardwood floor with a shoebox beside them.

Rothy’s has cultivated a brand image as a stylish shoe company that’s also environmentally friendly. But what happens when you look for dirt on them online? In Rothy’s case… nothing. No scandals, no issues. In fact, there were lawsuits by them against other companies for patent infringement on their styles and designs, but nothing against Rothy’s.

On top of this, Rothy’s shoes have terrific reviews, their customer service is excellent, and their return and exchange process is very easy. I’d like to see Rothy’s take part in more philanthropic endeavors but, overall, they receive a high score for brand reputation.

FAQs About Rothy’s The Flat

A light-haired woman wearing a turquoise skirt, a black face mask, and a pair of red Rothy's flats walks on a path through a lushly blooming rose garden with trees in the background.

What are Rothy’s The Flat made of?

Rothy’s The Flat are primarily made from single-use plastic water bottles that are broken down andthen woven into thread that makes up the majority of the shoe. Aside from that, there’s an algae-based foam liner and a rubber, sand, and textile sole.

How Long Do Rothy’s The Flat Take to Break In?

My Rothy’s flats were immediately wearable. No break-in period required!

Where are Rothy’s Made? Are Rothy’s Shoes Made in China?

Rothy’s are designed in California and manufactured in China.

Where Can I Buy Rothy’s?

You can buy Rothy’s at physical locations around the county or on their website. If you buy online, there’s an easy exchange policy that lets you make sure you get the right size, though of course it’s always convenient to go into a store if you’re close to one.

Rothy’s Are So Expensive, Do They Ever Offer Discounts?

Rothy’s occasionally has sales (as I’m writing this, they have a 25%-off sale for Memorial Day) using code ROTHYS25. If you’re like me, you might try it even when it’s not a holiday.

Rothy’s also has discounts for certain professions. You can find more details on that in my general article on Rothy’s.

What is Rothy’s’ Return and Exchange Policy?

Rothy’s lets you return unworn shoes within 30 days for an exchange (for free) or a refund ($5 shipping fee).

Are Rothy’s The Flat Waterproof?

Rothy’s flats can be machine washed, so the shoes themselves are won’t get damaged by water. But they won’t keep your feet dry if that’s what you’re asking.

What is the Difference Between Rothy’s and Birdies?

Although both are trendy shoe brands right now, and they have some overlap in terms of product lines, Rothy’s and Birdies make very different shoes.

Most notably, Rothy’s is known for its environmentally-friendly flats made from plastic bottles, while Birdies is more known for its luxury comfort slipper flats. My full review of both brands is in my guide to Birdies vs. Rothy’s.

Should I Size Up for Rothy’s The Flat?

From my experience, Rothy’s The Flat run true to size. They’re wider than other flats I have, but I might consider going up a half size if you have wide feet.

Is Rothy’s Legit?

Yes! Rothy’s is a legit brand that was started in San Francisco in 2012 and worth over a billion dollars. Even celebrities like Jessica Biel, Mandy Moore, and Meghan Markle have been spotted in Rothy’s Shoes.

What other styles does Rothy’s make?

Rothy’s doesn’t just have The Flat, they have a broad range from sandals and flip flops to loafers and sneakers. Check out my general Rothy’s review for more information.

Conclusion: So, Are Rothy’s The Flat Worth the Price?

Are Birdies Shoes Worth the Price

Yes, as you can probably tell from this honest Rothy’s review, I’ve been impressed with my Rothy’s and would recommend them to anyone who’s looking for a stylish, quality, and comfy pair of flats. 

I’ve had my Rothy’s for over three years now and they’re some of the best flats I’ve owned. When I try other flats with more cushioning like Birdies, I do notice it, but Rothy’s The Flat is still soft and comfortable and that, combined with their style and design make them a pair of shoes that I’ve worn a lot.

While they’re expensive, I do think they’re worth it for the quality and for the fact that they put legitimate efforts into sustainability.

Overall, Rothy’s The Flat scored 8.02 out of 10 from our data-based tests and qualitative experiences, which, when rounded up, is an A score and one of the best scoring flats out of the many we’ve tested so far.


Mimi McFadden Headshot

Mimi McFadden
Founder & Editor-In-Chief

Mimi McFadden grew up in Santa Cruz, California, and founded The Atlas Heart in 2013. Starting in 2020, she began testing new footwear to find that perfect balance of style, comfort, and versatility that’s so important for travel. In just a few years, she has tested over 30 shoe brands as the main footwear tester at The Atlas Heart and is always on the lookout for more trendy new shoes to try out. Mimi knows that no gear’s quite as important as what you wear on your feet, which is why she puts so much time, effort, and methodical testing into her shoe recommendations.

Looking for more shoe recommendations? Check out these related articles below! 

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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