Blue Steel: A Free WordPress Theme Based on Roots

Roots is a WordPress starter theme that makes use of HTML5 Boilerplate, Bootstrap, and Grunt. Over the years Roots has garnered somewhat of a cult following and is still going strong with the release of version 7.0.0 last week. This release moves some of the theme’s trademark features into a plugin called Soil and adds Bower for front-end package management.

Blue Steel is a new open source theme built to run on top of Roots. It was inspired by the design of The Verge and, of course, the film Zoolander. Dhawal Shah introduced his new theme on the Roots discussion boards under a thread titled: “Is there more to a blog than being really really really ridiculously good looking?”

Blue Steel is the answer to that question. It was originally created for use on Class Central, a website dedicated to helping people discover free online classes (MOOCs) from top universities such as Stanford, MIT, and Harvard.

The theme is responsive and resizes down nicely to use mobile-friendly navigation. The homepage sports a flat, minimalist style with bold colors and features your latest content with room for a sidebar.


Blue Steel blog posts are styled with readable typography and attractive pullquotes.


This is not exactly your average plug-and-play style WordPress theme. In order to use it you must be familiar with both Roots and Composer. You will also be required to modify it to suit your own needs, but it does provide an excellent starting place for creating your own Roots-powered theme.

Blue Steel is released under a GPL-compatible MIT license. Many thanks to the folks at Codelight who decided to make it available on GitHub so anyone can fork it for an easy start.

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