Rothy’s vs Tieks: A Review

Tieks vs Rothy's Review

For some time now, I’ve seen Rothys mentioned quite a few times as an equally comfortable alternative to Tieks leather flats. Similar to Tieks, Rothy’s come in a variety of colors and more interestingly are made from recycled plastic bottles. After seeing no less than five girls wearing them on my commute to work one day, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a pair to conduct my own Rothy’s vs Tieks comparison.

Rothy’s Overview

As mentioned above, Rothy’s flats are made from repurposed water bottles. So not only are you getting a stylish flat, but you’re doing good by minimizing environmental impact! Their flats come in a variety of neutral colors and in round-toe and pointed-toe variations, which is great for those who might need a more formal looking flat. Additionally, the insole can be removed and machine-washed separately from the rest of the shoe.

Currently, the round-toe flats retail for $125 and pointed-toe flats retail for $145.

Style

In terms of style, Rothy’s round-toe flats have a similar silhouette to Tieks. You could argue that Rothy’s are more versatile for business formal workplaces, as most of the shoes have a neutral dark sole vs the Tieks signature turquoise soles. Luckily, I work in pretty casual workplaces, so this wasn’t a huge consideration for me.

Grade:

  • Rothys: A+
  • Tieks: A-

Fit

While Tieks only come in whole sizes, Rothys come in both whole and half sizes. I’m normally a 7.5, so I wear Tieks in size 7 (they stretch out over time) and I ordered the Rothys in 7.5. While the Rothys fit well lengthwise, they were loose on my feet overall – something to consider if you have narrow feet like I do. They have more give width-wise than they do length-wise.

Another major difference in fit is the heel rise. The Rothy’s come up much higher on the heel and have a scratchy trim, which gave me significant blisters after wearing them for one day at work. Depending on the shape of your heel – I would advise wearing them around at home for a little bit before taking them out for a full day.

Grade:

  • Rothys: B-
  • Tieks: A

Smell & Sweat

One major benefit of Tieks all-leather flats is the ability to wear them without socks and avoid smelly situations for at least a year, if not more. In my previous Tieks review, I mentioned wearing them in Europe during summertime (read: very hot and sweaty) and my shoes smelled fine after.

I’ve had issues in the past with synthetic shoes smelling up quickly – so I was curious if Rothy’s would be the same. After wearing mine for a day, I did start to notice a slight *ahem* scent. Most reviews I’ve read mention Rothy’s stinking after a week of wearing them consistently. Luckily, the shoes and the insoles are machine washable – however, it would be a bit of a pain to have to wash them so frequently. I’ve read that these Pedag cotton insoles are a great fit for Rothy’s and help reduce sweat – I haven’t tried them out myself, but will update when I do!

Grade:

  • Rothys: C
  • Tieks: A

Durability

I haven’t had the chance to fully test out Rothys yet – but at first glance, the material does seem pretty durable and less prone to surface scratches like leather. So for now, both Tieks and Rothys get the same grade.

Grade:

  • Rothys: A
  • Tieks: A

Customer Support

While this isn’t a feature of the shoe itself, I do think customer support is an important area to consider for any 100% ecommerce brand.

Tieks is well known for its excellent customer support – especially for returns and exchanges. There’s no time limit on returns, as long as the shoes remain unworn. If you order one pair and are unsure about sizing or color/pattern, you can request Tieks to send you another size/color to compare side by side, free of charge. The latter is pretty incredible – I’ve never seen another brand offer this.

I’ve had less exposure to the Rothys team – I did email them about the heel blister issue, and their support team mentioned that I should try stretching out the shoes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite solve the problem of the heel back being too high. After reading through threads on the Rothys Buy, Sell, Trade Facebook group, it sounds like Rothys hasn’t invested as much into their CS team as Tieks has. To be fair, Tieks’ level of customer service is above and beyond the average retailer – almost at the same level as, for example, Nordstroms.

Grade:

  • Rothys: B-
  • Tieks: A+

Overall Grade:

Rothys: B
Tieks: A

 

Overall, Tieks are still my one-true-pair. However, this is just for my particular narrow, flat-footed feet!

For example, if you find Tieks are too narrow, if you have bunions or if you need a more formal flat, Rothys would likely be the superior shoe for you.

If you’re interested in trying out a pair of Rothy’s, you can use my referral link to get $20 off: http://rothys.refr.cc/kristywen

Hope you found this review useful – would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve tried both Rothy’s and Tieks as well!

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How to Prevent the Tieks Toe Bump with Moleskin

Adding Moleskin to Tieks

I’ve now owned my first pair of Tieks for almost two years – I still love them and rotate them regularly into my wardrobe. However, the buttery softness of the leather has resulted in a unique problem – The Tieks Big Toe Bump. I personally don’t mind that the outline of my toes can be seen through the leather (some people do). However, I’m concerned about the durability of the leather that is essentially getting cut by the nail of my big toe.

I recently purchased a beautiful pair of Romantic Blush Tieks that are a perfect balance of neutral and fun. After reading several posts from the Tieks Anonymous Facebook group, I learned that many ladies apply a layer of thin Moleskin padding to the underside of the leather in the toebox. Thereby preventing some of the toe bump from happening. Seeing as Moleskin is relatively inexpensive and any leftovers can be used for multiple purposes, I decided to give this a try on my new pair.

Moleskin on Romantic Blush Tieks

Step 1: Cutting the Moleskin

Whether you buy a roll or package of Moleskin sheets, you’ll essentially be cutting out a piece that fits neatly inside the upper side of the Tieks toe box. Some people choose to cut larger pieces, which will prevent any type of toe shape from showing through the leather. My Romantic Blush Tieks fit a little more on the snug side, so I decided to only cover the area of my big toe.

How to Cut Moleskin for Tieks

Step 2: Applying Moleskin In Your Tieks

I found it a little tricky to place the moleskin far enough into the shoe. It may take a few tries to get it right, but luckily Moleskin can be removed and reapplied a few times without losing its stickiness. I found it easiest to use my fingertip to slide it as far as I could into the shoe on the sole (fuzzy face down), and then lifting it up to adhere to the top.

Tieks After Applying Moleskin

After placing Moleskin in my shoes, I could see a tangible difference in how visible my big toe bump was. The photo below shows a stronger contrast between my original Cardinal Reds without Moleskin and my Romantic Blush with Moleskin.

Comparing Tieks With and Without Moleskin

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How to Remove Scuff Marks from Tieks

How to Repair Tieks

How to Repair Scuff Marks on Tieks

Almost one year ago, I wrote my initial review on my Cardinal Red Tieks. Now, after another year of wearing them multiple days per week, they were still in great shape but were looking much worse for wear on the outside. I don’t baby these at all, and San Francisco’s sidewalks aren’t exactly in great condition!

Rather than spending another $200 on a new pair, I decided to look into less expensive ways of fixing the scuff marks on my Tieks. Behold, the amazing $7 Tarrago shoe cream in the perfect shade of red to match my Cardinal Red Tieks.

Tarrago Shoe Cream 12 Cardinal Red Tieks

Before…

Once again – I don’t baby my Tieks at all. I’m of the belief that shoes (especially flats!) are meant to be worn frequently. As such, I expected a bit of wear and tear, especially on the heel. Below are a few pictures of what my Tieks looked like before I applied the Tarrago cream.

In addition to scuffs on the front toe (I have a tendency to trip on curbs), there were a few random scuff marks on top of the big toe area and also plenty on the sides of my shoes.

Along with this black gunk – no idea what it was.

Lots of heel grime and a significant patch of leather worn off.

Cleaning & Conditioning Tieks

First, I used Apple Brand Leather Cleaner to prep my Tieks. After wiping down (or in circles, rather) my shoes, most of the black grime was gone. The side stains were pretty stubborn, so I spent an extra minute or so trying to get those off. I was slightly concerned about rubbing off the leather color – but the cleaner is gentle and I thankfully saw no color transfer. By the end, I removed about 85% of the black grime – if I had the patience to continue for another few minutes, I likely could have removed 99% of it.

After cleaning, I conditioned the shoes with Apple Care’s Leather Conditioner and then applied the Tarrago Shoe Cream. I found it easiest to use my finger to dab on color and then blend. I let the shoes dry overnight and they looked good as new the next morning!

What Shade of Tarrago Cream Should I Use for my Tieks?

Thanks to the very helpful Facebook group, below is a sampling of suggested color matches:

Confirmed
Black Matte – Tarrago 18
Camel – Tarrago 51
Mustard Yellow – Tarrago 7
Cardinal Red – Tarrago 12
Burgundy – Tarrago 11
Tangerine – Tarrago 28
Fuschia – Tarrago 101
Lilac – Mix of TRG 102 with little bit of Tarrago 22 (this mix is a little darker, not quite a perfect match)
California Navy – Tarrago 16 or 17
Pacific Green – Tarrago 13
Olive – Tarrago 34
Chestnut – Tarrago 9
Metallic Gold – Tarrago 507
Metallic Bronze – Tarrago 107
Metallic Pewter – Tarrago 502
Taupe – Tarrago 143
Ballerina Pink – Tarrago 43 (slightly more mauve) or Tarrago 743 (better color match with shimmer)
Champagne – Tarrago 506

Unconfirmed
Cream – Tarrago 53
Chocolate Brown – Tarrago 39
Tarrago has a full color chart for reference here.

Caveat: This method only applies to the “classic” Tieks in full-grain leather. While there are different approaches to maintaining other Tieks materials, you won’t be able to apply a single shade shoe cream to something like Romantic Blush. I would also proceed with caution for top-grain colors like Clover Green and Poppy.

Hope you find this useful!

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