Five years ago, if you told me that super fashionable, comfortable flats made of recycled water bottles existed, I wouldn’t have believed you. Plastic jelly sandals of my youth would have popped into my head. But now, there are two brands that make gorgeous flats from recycled ocean plastic that you should know about: Rothy’s and Giesswein flats are now my radar and I own pairs from both brands. Their shoes look nothing like the plastic water bottles from which they’re made. If you live in Europe where Rothy’s doesn’t ship or are just curious about what other brands are out there, read on for my Rothy’s alternative review of the Austrian brand Giesswein. They make stylish recycled plastic flats and are an alternative to Rothy’s, so let’s compare the two brands of recycled plastic water bottle shoes. Be sure to read until the end for a discount on both brands!
Rothy’s alternative: Giesswein flats made from recycled water bottles
You can find me in flat shoes 99.9% of the time. I rarely wear heels but love to have comfortable options aside from my sneakers. When Rothy’s entered the scene several years back, I fell in love with the environmentally friendly flats in fun colors. They were stylish, comfy, and I felt good about supporting a company making eco-friendly products. A couple of years ago, I learned why buying from brands who prioritize sustainability is important and discovered that Rothy’s isn’t the only brand out there who makes flats from recycled plastic.
I bought my Rothy’s when I was home in the USA for vacation, but what if you live in a place that Rothy’s doesn’t ship to or just want something a little different? Well, Giesswein is a fantastic Rothy’s alternative. In full disclosure, I was gifted the Giesswein shoes you see in this post.
Let me introduce you to Giesswein. They’re an environmentally responsible Austrian brand that started as a family business and is now run by the third generation — Markus and Johannes Giesswein. In addition to two styles of eco-friendly flats, they also make merino wool runners, slippers, and apparel.
As Giesswein explains on their website, their sustainable practices include using up to 90% recycled water in production, 0% scraps, zero oil use, and use only renewable resources. The plastic used in their flats is recycled ocean PET plastic sourced in the South China Sea that started out as trash. The shoes are vegan, have biodegradable soles, and feature 3D Knit technology. The ocean plastic is made into flakes, shaped into pellets that are then made into a yarn that’s woven into a soft knit.
Like Rothy’s, the knit is a tightly woven and the shoes have a sturdy sweater-like weave that looks as good as it feels. Unless someone pointed it out, you’d have no idea the shoes are made from recycled plastic. Both brands make gorgeous styles that are soft and high end.
I feel that both brands’ styles look best without socks of any kind. Flats from both brands are lightweight, easy to clean, and are machine washable. Something I will say about both Rothy’s and Giesswein flats is while the shoes are comfortable, they’re not comfort shoes meant for long days on your feet or hiking. They’re fashionable flats and great travel flats for casual wear, but if you’re going to be on your feet all day or racking up serious mileage, you’ll want a more supportive, cushioned shoe.
Let’s get into the styles.
Giesswein flats come in two style profiles, the Pointed (left above) and the Round (right above). The Round is similar to The Flat style made by Rothy’s. I find the Giesswein toe box area to offer more coverage than Rothy’s. You don’t see any toe cleavage in the Giesswein round toes, where as the Rothy’s round-toe style barely covers the base of your toes. Beyond that, the two brands have a very similar round-toe style.
The other Giesswein style, the Pointy, is a mix of Rothy’s The Point and The Loafer. It fits like a loafer in that it has adequate front foot coverage but has more of a pointed toe than the Rothy’s loafer style. I feel the Pointy looks super fashionable and a bit less casual than the Round style but still great for everyday wear. Out of the two, I find myself wearing the Pointy more often.
Overall, the Rothy’s look a little more delicate and refined with the blue accent stitching and slightly narrower fit.
These are the two Giesswein styles side by side (Round on left and Pointy on right):
Rothy’s vs. Giesswein recycled flats
Rothy’s vs. Giesswein
Rothy’s: The Flat, The Point, The Loafer, The Sneaker plus a couple of sandals and other styles.
Giesswein: Round and Pointy
Rothy’s: Whole & half sizes. I find that all styles run a half size to one full size small. I am a US9 in pretty much every shoe that runs true to size, but in Rothy’s I wear a 9.5 or 10 depending on the style. Rothy’s tend to suit medium or narrow width feet the best.
Giesswein: Whole sizes only (run small as well, so size up to the nearest full size). Giesswein has an insole fit system, also made of PET plastic, that can give you a snugger fit if the shoe is a little too big. You slip the special insole under the main insole to make the shoe a half size smaller. This ensures they receive fewer returns, making a smaller environmental impact. I wear a US9 in shoes that run true to size and in Giesswein flats, I wear a 41 with no extra insole needed. Giesswein flats run slightly wider than Rothy’s and would be great for women with medium/wide feet widths.
Rothy’s: About 15 colors/patterns with new releases and limited editions released regularly. Popular colors/patterns go out of stock quickly. Patterns are more intricate and color selection is a bit more diverse.
Giesswein: About 15 standard colors available including beautiful, bright jewel tones. Just a couple of patterns. Inventory selection stays consistent.
The Flat: US$125
The Point: US$145
The Loafer: US$165
Giesswein: Both Giesswein styles, the Round and Pointy, are US$129.
Rothy’s: Only ships to these countries: United States, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy
Rothy’s has a 30-day window for returns. Free shipping and returns, including international destinations.
Giesswein: Ships to USA, Mexico, Australia, United Kingdom, European Union, India, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Israel
Giesswein has a 14-day window for returns. Free shipping and returns, including international destinations.
Both brands are great if you want a stylish, comfortable, well-designed, eco-friendly flat. The brands offer comparable products at similar price points that are easy to order online. You can’t go wrong with either one.
Giesswein flats are great if:
- You have a medium or medium/wide width foot
- You like standard colors/patterns
- You want a round-toe flat with adequate foot coverage
- You’re looking for a Rothy’s alternative because you live in Europe
- You want to shop in-person in their stores in Austria
Shop GIESSWEIN HERE and get 10% off your first order with my code BBOIF.
Rothy’s flats are great if:
- You have a narrow/medium width foot
- You want more unique colors/patterns
- You want more variety in styles available beyond just round or point
- You want to try them on in a physical brick-and-mortar store in the USA in San Francisco or New York City.
Shop ROTHY’S HERE and get e a $20 discount on your first pair via my referral link.
Both Rothy’s and Giesswein make quality, comfortable flats that are stylish and environmentally conscious. You can’t go wrong either way. Which one you choose comes down to personal preference since they are similar in a lot of areas.
Giesswein flats are beautifully made and may be a better choice if you want a round toe with a little more coverage, have a foot that is medium to medium/wide, live in a part of Europe where Rothy’s doesn’t deliver, or like the Pointy style that resembles a loafer.
Rothy’s may be a better bet if your foot is narrow to medium width, are looking for a specific color or pattern, or want a true pointy toe or loafer, two styles Giesswein doesn’t offer at the moment.
Why not get a pair from each brand and decide which one you like better? After all, shipping and returns are free for both!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate/referral links.
Pin my Rothy’s alternative post about Giesswein here: