If you’re here, you’re already intrigued by the beauty of Vivaia and Rothy’s shoes. Who doesn’t love the thought of insanely comfortable (and stylish) shoes you can toss in the washing machine? Certainly, these two brands have a lot of similarities. We’re going to dig into the pros and cons of each. However, in the battle of Vivaia vs Rothy’s, this style blogger prefers Vivaia — and not just because of the lower price point!
Let’s start with what these two sustainable shoe brands have in common. Obviously, they look quite similar. In fact, some people think there’s no difference at all, asking… Is Vivaia the same as Rothys? The answer to that is no. These are two different companies. Additionally, while some Vivaia reviews have called the company a “dupe” for San-Francisco-based Rothy’s, I don’t necessarily agree with that characterization. Though Rothy’s did come first (launching in 2016 vs Vivaia’s 2020 start), the brands have chosen different areas of focus.
Vivaia caters to fashionistas hungry for a wider range of styles. Think heels, mules, boots, loafers and sneakers. In contrast, Rothy’s is singularly focused on signature products – flats and sneakers. As a petite, I favor shoes with a bit of a heel and greatly appreciate Vivaia’s broader offerings. Forbes does too, as it included Vivaia’s pointed-toe knot mules on its list of “sustainable summer staples perfect for a minimalist wardrobe.” This is the first of several reasons I prefer Vivaia.
In fact, the company seems to add swoon-worthy styles each season. This summer, I fell for the knotted mules (also available in mustard yellow and black) and these super elegant pointed-toe bow loafers pictured below. If you gravitate toward feminine details and classic elegance, you’ll find Vivaia a perfect fit.
Both companies craft their shoes from recycled plastic bottles, spinning the plastic into thread for their signature knit fabrics. Each claims its eco-friendly process helps carve out a new use for single-use plastic, ultimately diverting plastic from our oceans and landfills. In Vivaia’s case, each shoe is made from six water bottles. Rothy’s says its footwear uses 11 bottles each.
I love the idea of making more sustainable, eco-friendly choices and have truly enjoyed the sustainable footwear I’ve purchased. I mean, how gorgeous are these mules?!
However, if your sole focus is the environment, you need take eco-friendly marketing claims with a grain of salt. Are you helping the environment if you buy a durable (and washable) shoe you will keep for years? Certainly! The best way to be eco-friendly is to reduce our consumption and use what we have longer.
But we also need to keep in mind that when a plastic bottle becomes a fashion item it can’t be recycled again. That means if we get rid of it, it ends up in a landfill despite our good intentions and efforts to be sustainable. A blogger friend of mine, Lindsey of Have Clothes Will Travel, recently shared an enlightening article from Harvard Business Review on the “myth of sustainable fashion.” It’s worth a read if you want to develop a deeper understanding of fashion’s impact on the environment.
Vivaia is the clear winner in this category, as its footwear starts at $89 (scratch that I just found a pair for $79). The entry price point for cult-favorite Rothy’s is $125. While I’d consider both worth the investment, Rothy’s is much less accessible to fashionistas on a budget. Moreover, when you consider how similar the shoes are, that added expense just doesn’t make sense to me.
This is a critical one for those comparing Vivaia vs Rothy’s. We’re conditioned to believe that if you pay more for something it must be better or more comfortable. However, after trying both, Vivaia also comes out ahead in this category. Let me preface my thoughts by saying every foot is different. Consequently, what feels amazing on mine might not work for yours. However, I’ll share as much details as possible in the hopes that insight helps you determine which is best for you.
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Both Vivaia and Rothy’s are made with flexible and breathable knit fabric. It’s especially delightful in the summer! I found Rothy’s tougher to break in (i.e. heel blisters) and wanted more arch and heel support. Honestly, they made my feet ache a bit at the end of the day.
In contrast, my Vivaia shoes fit like a second skin the minute slipped my toes inside. They have heel and arch support built into the shoe liner. Additionally, there’s extra padding on the insoles. They are cushiony and provide all the shock-absorbency I need. I wear my Aria’s (a bow-detail flat) while teaching and dashing around campus with photo and video equipment. They stand up to the challenge!
The winner in this category will depend on your feet. Vivaia shoes run true to size and slightly roomy, while Rothy’s lean smaller with less stretch. If you have wider feel, like me, you’ll prefer Vivaia. When I say “wider,” I don’t specifically need to buy wide shoes. However, my feet are not exactly what I’d call slender, so I appreciate a bit of extra room in the toe area. Vivaia also has styles designed with a broader toe box. For example, its knit flats (the Aria 5°) will have you saying “bye bye” to cramped and painful toes! Have tiny and slender feet? Rothy’s is the better bet.
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Rothy’s takes this one. The sustainable shoe brand offers so many vibrant and cheerful colors, patterns too. For instance, its signature style – The Point (a Meghan Markle favorite) – comes in 32 colorways, if you consider seasonal offerings! There are so many bright and cheerful colors. The patterns are super fun too. Vivaia tends to offer each style in 3-10 colorways.
To wrap up this Vivaia shoes review and comparison to Rothy’s, I would encourage you to explore either brand. There’s a reason both are growing in popularity, particularly Vivaia. According to Footwear News, Vivaia was the fastest growing direct to consumer shoe brand in Q3 of 2021, seeing a staggering 138.7% increase in traffic! As a shopper, I’m not surprised. These shoes are beautiful and distinctive. They also hold up to the elements.
I recently took my beautiful ivory Vivaias to the park on a rainy, muddy day (What was I thinking?). They were completely filthy when I got home. I thought they were a lost cause. However, with a bit of dish soap and a quick scrub in the sink, they emerged pristine. That’s why this brand is a good value! It’s practically indestructible.
If you’re itching to try one of these sustainable shoe brands but still on the fence, Vivaia has an Amazon store. This is typically how I try a brand for the first time, since it ensures quick and easy returns – plus free shipping. Many Vivaia styles are available on Prime. Unfortunately, Rothy’s does not offer that option.