Tuesday 6 September 2016

Back to School with Hotter Shoes (Review)

Last week just before the kids went back to school we headed into Eastbourne for the dreaded back to school shoe shop. Well I say dreaded but actually on this occasion it wasn't as we knew we were heading for the Hotter shop and as they only sell adult sized shoes we didn't have to worry about coming up against screaming toddlers and too-hot preschoolers who would rather be in the park.

I've been a keen Hotter customer for about five years now. I recall when they first approached me in 2011 and I assumed their shoes were all for the older ladies who couldn't wear heels anymore and yes they do cater for that market but they really are so much more than that. I have trainers, comfy boots and stylish pumps from Hotter, no heels but that is only because I rarely wear them nowadays.

Back in January JJ got his first pair of Venture shoes (with GORE-TEX technology for waterproofing) and he wore them for the rest of the school year. Cross my heart they are the best school shoes he has ever had and whilst they cost a little more than we might have normally paid I truly feel it is worth it for shoes that wear well and polish up perfectly.

This time all my kids are lucky enough to be putting some Hotter shoes to the test. I do seem to grow very big-footed children so my 9 year old twins have size 4.5 and 6 feet and my near 13 year old has size 9. Whilst this means they can all shop in Hotter it is worth noting that I noticed with the pump/ ballerina style shoes that really they were a bit wide for my girls (even the standard fitting) as whilst they have the length of feet they don't yet have fully sized adult feet in width, I suspect that comes as they turn teenagers.

Hotter - The shop and Shoe Selection
I've visited a few Hotter shops now and enjoyed the experience in them all as there are comfy sofas and real chairs, so you can shop in comfort, no perching on a tiny stool in Hotter. There is also plenty of room between the shoe displays and it is comfortable to move around. As I mentioned before they do have many classic styles they stock year after year but I've noticed that they often change colourways or leather finishes and this means that people like me can still buy their favourite shoe but with a modern and updated twist.

My girls were really impressed to see there are some super modern styles available. Miss E has a love of chunky shoes and the patent Stevie's really match this brief with their brogue detailing and cleated tread. Just look at some of the styles below and you'll see, there is so much variety and something to suit every trend conscious teenager shopping for new school shoes.

Ladies Selection

The Men's Selection
There is definitely a smaller selection of shoes for men but I think there is something for most men. I have to be honest and say none of the men/ boys in my family are into high fashion and thus I have no idea if the Hotter men's shoes fit that brief but there are really decent everyday comfy shoes fro them to wear to school, with a suit for work or casual with jeans.

The Kids Final Choices
We were in the Hotter store about 45 minutes in total and that included us having a look around on our own and then each of the children having their feet measured and trying their shoes on and having the fit checked. I knew it had been a good shop as every one of the kids asked Karen, the Deputy Manager if they could carry their old shoes and wear their new ones out for the rest of our day shopping.

I was very happy with this as it meant that they would wear them in before school and if there were to be any blisters we could treat them before school. Oh me of little faith, I really should've known there would not be any issues or blisters. All the kids have now worn their shoes. boots numerous times before starting back at school today and in fact I can hardly get Miss E's off her feet, I think she thinks they are slippers!

From top to bottom -
  • Miss E chose County Chelsea style boots - £85
  • JJ chose the same shoes as last time - Venture style, as he loves the GORE_TEX feature and often gets soaking wet feet - £99
  • Miss M chose the Village lace-up Shoes - £75
You might be thinking that these prices are more than you'd normally pay and you're probably right but just make sure you buy when there is a good deal on. Just last week I received an email (you HAVE to sign up for their newsletter, it has awesome deals) giving me 30% off my first order of all full-priced shoes and free delivery too. So using that code would have saved me £77.

Measuring and Fitting
We had Karen, the Deputy Manager help us during the time we were in the store but I saw all the staff members serving people in the time we were there and truly nothing is too much trouble. There doesn't appear to be any attitude of sort 'em quick and ship them out at Hotter. There was one elderly lady opposite who must have tried on at least 12 different sizes and styles and needed help with getting each of them on and off!

Karen patiently measured each of my children's feet for length and width and then checked the fit of the shoes when they were on. She even re-laced Miss M shoes so they were in a manner that she could tie more easily.

We really are very happy with our shoes from Hotter and shh, don't tell the hubby but I used that 30% off code and bought myself a pair of chocolate Vanity boots in the sale and Abbeyville moccasins (in my signature red) and I can't wait for them to arrive!

Thank you Hotter, you've done it again. Top marks!

Disclosure: We received three pairs of shoes for the purpose of writing this review and putting the shoes through their paces in a real school wear test. I'll report back again in a few months and show pictures of how the shoes are holding up. All words and pictures are my own and I have not been instructed what to write. As always, I remain honest.
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