When I was a little girl, shoes were something of an obsession for me. I loved shoes. Looking at shoes, trying on shoes, playing with shoes. I loved everything about them. Except having school shoes fitted. Not because of the experience itself (which obsessive wouldn’t love going to a shop wholly dedicated to their passion?) but because of the shoes that I was invariably made to have. And not because my parents were hell bent on me having strong, supportive shoes (I mean they were, but…) No, I hated the inevitable tears and heartbreak when I couldn’t have a pair I liked because a) my feet were too wide (seriously I was an H fit child) and b) they weren’t supportive enough for my pretty bad pronation. I would have given anything to leave with a pair of Clark’s delicate, single strap Magic Steps. Remember Magic Steps? With the hidden key in the heel? But no. I would come away every time with a face full of tears and a pair of T-Bar, if not double buckle, T-bar shoes. Double Buckle? Oh the shame!
Now I’m a parent I feel for my poor mum, having to dash her little girl’s dreams every shoe shopping trip. And I also feel for her, because as soon as I was old enough to chose my own shoes, all thoughts of supportive footwear, that fit properly, flew out of the window! Most children grow out of their pronation, but not me. Likewise most children’s wide feet slim down as they grow. And once again, not me. It doesn’t mean my love of beautiful shoes has changed. I still struggle to find shoes I like that fit. I usually have to get my boots and shoes either from plus size retailers such as Evans or I buy cheap shoes that I don’t mind painfully stretching, often beyond recognition. It’s been that way for such a long time that I never really considered that there was an alternative.
When I was invited to Hotter Shoes in Guildford to take a look at their AW16 range I was skeptical. I had heard of Hotter. I was pretty sure I knew the kinds of shoes they stocked and was also sure I wouldn’t be interested in the styles they sold. Turns out I was wrong.
Firstly I didn’t realise they were a British company who make all their shoes here in the UK and have been for over 50 years! The family run company began in the slipper game back in 1959 and gradually moved into the comfortable shoe market, selling via mail order and in garden centres, over the next 50 years.
It wasn’t until 2010 when they opened their first shop, that they really started to expand into fashionable styles, without compromising their unique construction and quality. Hotter shoes all have air bubble filled soles and use super soft leathers. They also use a special process to create flexible soles that are molded to the upper, meaning there is no sole unit to come away from the upper. Genius! Waterproof and flexible they also have “special grooves that yield and support your feet as you walk and pillows of cushioning create a slipper like feeling underfoot”. Fancy!
OK, so that sounded lovely and all, but what’s the point of having lovely comfy shoes if they look like the very devil? So the lovely ladies at the Guildford store gave us a chance to explore the shoes for ourselves and I can’t tell you how shocked I was.
Yes Hotter have a core stock of exactly the kind of shoes I was expecting to see.
But they also had a range of the most beautiful boots and dress shoes. I was gob smacked. But the biggest shock for me was the fit. I mentioned to the store manager that I have (and always have had) wide feet and she sympathised. She explained that much of their stock came in three width fittings, but suggested I try on the standard fit, as I might be surprised.
I chose several pairs of boots and honestly expected to have to also ask for the wider fit in all of them. However, turns out Hotter’s standard fit is wider than most high street stores, and is in fact closer to Clark’s Wide Fit. Every single pair that came out, bar one, fitted first time. Shocked Face!
And even better was that I liked every pair. I loved the high leg “Mystery” boots (although I found they fitted my huge man calves better in the wide fit) and was seriously tempted by the gorgeous “Lotty” boots that I’m wearing above. I couldn’t believe how comfy they were, and yet how good they looked. They actually made my feet look narrower, despite not pinching anywhere. It was a revelation in boot shopping. I tried on so many pairs and except for the beautiful brogue Chelsea Boot “County” (which was just a shade too narrow and doesn’t come in the wider fit) they all fitted so nicely.
But when it came down to choosing a pair, I decided to go with the ones that made me happy. The ones I just adored on sight. The cute ones I would never have bought myself. The impractical suede ones, that make me feel a hundred foot tall. The ones that made me smile the most. I chose my grown up version of my Magic Steps, but without compromising on fit. I chose a black pair of “Vanity“.
I love my Vanity boots. They go beautifully with leggings or tights, and just as well with skinny jeans. The heel is probably as high as I can take these days, but it’s chunky and sturdy. That coupled with the cushioned insole, make these some of the most comfortable heeled boots I’ve ever worn. And what with the Christmas season coming up, wear them I will. I tell you now, I’ll be the last one on the dance floor, that’s for sure!
They completely typify the kind of footwear I had no idea Hotter made. They’re comfortable, but they’re also beautiful. Who knew that could even be a combination? Not me.
I’ve had my eyes opened and I’ll definitely be back. Or maybe I could ask someone else to go back for me?
Now listen Santa, I’ve been very very good this year…. 😉
Hotter have very kindly sent me a code for £10 off a pair of shoes or boots, plus FREE delivery. So if you are tempted to try them out then now’s the time to do it!
T&Câ€™s – £10 off plus FREE delivery is for first orders only. You are entitled to £10 off the total order value of any full priced items in the Hotter range (excluding shoe care products) plus FREE delivery. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or on Sale or Factory Clearance items and gift vouchers. Expires 29/1/17
Thank you to Hotter Shoes and the lovely ladies at the Guildford branch for a super evening. I was given a pair of boots for the purpose of this review, but was not paid for this post.
As always all opinions are honest and my own.