Anyone who’s ever worked in the service industry knows there’s one shoe that virtually everyone who stands on their feet all day — servers, baristas, bartenders, cooks, even nurses and retail professionals — swear by. (Heck, any diner would probably recognize them if they’ve glanced towards the floor of any restaurant, ever.) Those would be Dansko clogs, the chunky, non-slip shoe known for decent arch support and not looking terrible with the typical front-of-house uniform.
But Katy Kindred, co-owner and sommelier/front-of-house wonderwoman of North Carolina’s Kindred and Hello, Sailor, has an alternative preference: Rothy’s, a colorful, eco-friendly line of machine washable flats and sneakers that look like a cross between Nike Flyknit sneakers and ballet flats.
“Rothy’s are amazing. I don’t think they designed them for restaurants, but they might as well have,” Kindred says. “They’re super cute and incredibly comfortable, like a nice little cushioned pad. I have a couple of pairs that I’ve had now for over a year, and they’ve held incredibly well.”
Made from 100% post-consumer plastic, recycled foam, and carbon-free rubber, Rothy’s are knit in three dimensions by a computer program. Currently, they come in four styles starting at $125 — the flat, the point, the loafer, and the recently launched sneaker (which look vaguely like slip-on Vans) — and about a dozen prints and colors.
According to Kindred, they’re worth the investment. They’re lighter than Danskos (her former go-to), which is good news for anyone who has to trudge up and down stairs during the work day. She also appreciates the slightly pointed flat, which look a bit dressier than the other styles. “I used to work in fine dining, and there just really aren’t a whole lot of options in that area.”
Like many happy customers, Kindred found the shoes on social media, where the startup has marketed its line heavily over the past few years (and enjoyed a recent boost thanks to a co-sign from Meghan Markle).
“At first I was into them just because they look nice,” she said. “I found a picture of them on Instagram, these cute little yellow flats. When I realized they were machine washable and had a cushioned insole, I was like, ‘oh, my god, this is perfect.’ So I got one pair, then I got two pairs. And now I’m actually probably going to get my third in a couple weeks because I just love them.”
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