My mum has always struggled with shoes. She has wide feet (why does that feel like such an insult and like I should apologise? Sorry mum) and with a couple of other issues does find it difficult to find shoes that fit properly. In the past she has bought shoes and boots in the hope that they will stretch, but they don't. Bad for her but good for me as I then get them! Win!
So I suppose we both went along wanting to challenge Hotter.
For my mum: Did they have any shoes that would fit her comfortably and suit her needs?
For me: Did they have something suitable for my age group and to suit my style?
My question may seem quite harsh, but my initial impression of Hotter was that it is aimed at an older customer and would primarily cater to those.
I was aware of the store and had walked past a number of times but from the shoes I had seen I was convinced that it wasn't a place for me.
However, before we visited and accepted the invitation I looked online to see what they had to offer and was really surprised at the amount of shoes I was able to put on my "must try on" list.
Knowing we would be limited to time we made sure we looked thoroughly through the website a number of times. And we decided to do our lists and stick to them.
As we arrived at the store at 7pm we were greeted by a happy team who offered us a drink (we accepted the Prosecco, obvs) and gave us an approximate run down to the evening.
As we waited for the other bloggers to arrive we had a chat with the staff, who were all really passionate about the store and about the products, and had a look around the store.
I instantly knew that my original thought of the store being aimed at older women was in fact not the case.
I really liked that shoes were all placed within sections that would appeal to a particular person, or age range. So the boots and shoes I would shop for were all on the left hand side, and shoes for an older customer, or maybe someone who was looking for shoes for work for example, were placed on the right hand side.
I really noticed the fact the Hotter have put a lot of thought and research into their current styles. The colours are all on trend with fashion in other stores and have a real Autumnal feel to them, which will also work well into Winter.
I was really drawn to the knee high boots. In fact if it was an option I would have taken them all home. The styles were all wearable, and comfortable. They could be dressed up smart or worn casual. The heel height on all of the boots was really practical and have enough height if you like a boot with a heel, yet are still perfect for someone who is used to wearing flats and wants to treat themselves to some heels.
What impressed me most was that the detail isn't just thought about when it comes to the outside of the shoes and boots. They all have beautiful lining which mostly consists of, again, on trend fabrics such as tweed and tartan.
I also fell in love with the masculine pieces available for women. This again is such a big look at the moment and is something that is all over the high street and I'm glad that this is also a hot look for Hotter too.
Looking around the rest of the store it is clear that comfort is a bit and important aspect when it comes to Hotter.
We found the presentation put on for us by the PR Manager, Mel, really informative. As my mum quite rightly pointed out, it's refreshing to hear a company who is growing at the moment with so many other businesses shutting down.
1959: Thomas and Harnet Houlgrave set up a slipper making business
1990's: Second generation Stewart Houlgrave takes over the business, making and selling footwear
1996: Launch of mail order
2002: 1st retail store opens in Southport, UK
2004: Launch of website
2011: 25th store opens
2014: 71st store opens
And how did we get on? We both left with a pair of shoes kindly given to us by Hotter (as well as bags of our own purchased shoes). My mum was given a pair of Mist shoes. These perfect when it comes to her wide feet but they are also ideal for her job, in which she stands on her feet for 4 and a half hours. And also for dog walking as they are not only comfortable, but are also waterproof so suitable to be taken out in any weather and in any terrain.
I was in need for some new knee high boots and it was a really tough job to choose which to go for as they all suit my style, the ranges of colours were really appealing, and they were all comfortable.
I decided on the Hampshire boots and went for the taupe colour as I felt this was something that not everyone else would be wearing. I felt it would be different to black or brown and would also go with the majority of my dresses.
I really like that half sizes are available as well as wide fit. And the mens section was equally as fantastic as the womens. The mens brogues in particular were rather amazing, and again focused on Autumnal colours.
I suppose the moral of this story is that looks can be deceiving, and just because somewhere looks like it wouldn't be for you, it doesn't mean this is true.
We will definitely purchase from Hotter again, and suggest you pop in for a look (and a sneaky purchase) too.
We were each given a pair of shoes and an invitation to the Hotter shoes event for the purpose if this review.