I wasn't too sure about how well it would work ordering shoes online. After all, even when you're in a shoe shop trying them on, it's hard to find a pair that fit perfectly as some shoes are wider than others and some brands seem to use bigger sizes than others. But when I was given the opportunity of receiving a pair of Hotter Shoes for review, I jumped at the chance. First of all, I had a good look around on their website to choose a pair. When I saw the terms "extra wide fitting" and "comfort concept", I was expecting to find a very limted range of styles that would appeal to me, assuming that they were catering mainly for the sensible little old lady market. But I was amazed at how many lovely styles there are, including funky brightly coloured trainer-type shoes and lovely pastel flat-shoes, heeled-shoes and sandals for the warmer months.
The website is really easy to navigate around, especially using the "quick links" (Women's Shoes, Women's Boots, Gifts & Accessories, Men's Shoes) and "popular searches" (Comfortable Shoes, Women's Sandals, Wide Fitting Shoes, Comfy Men's Shoes) at the bottom of the screen. I eventually opted for the Penny model, which is perfect for work and goes just as well with skirts as jeans or trousers.
Fast forward a few weeks (I'm sure normal service is faster, don't forget this had to go via a PR person, plus on their facebook page, they mention having had a few technical problems that delayed deliveries, but that normal service should have been resumed now) and the postie knocked at the door with a box. I already smiled to myself before I even opened it, seeing the "delivering happy feet" message that made me imagine a hyperactive penguin hiding in the box ! They're very well packaged, with the normal shoebox inside a sturdy cardboard box, and as soon as I took the lid off, I could SMELL the quality - they're definitely real leather !
The shoes look exactly as they do in the picture - no airbrushing here ! They're very well-made and remind me of the high-quality shoes my mum and dad always used to buy me for school at Clark's ! I prodded the squishy cushion insole and realised what they meant when they talked about "walking on air". They looked seriously comfortable but, wincing in advance, I pulled them on with a pair of thin nylon tights to give them a test drive. However comfy shoes are in the long run, I always find I have to go through the painful breaking-in period for the first few days, suffering at worst nasty blisters on my heels and at best painful red welts on the skin. Well, I was amazed - right from the first step, they were as comfortable as a pair of slippers with absolutely no rubbing at all. I even checked my feet at one point on the school run, convinced that I must have forgotten to change out of my slippers ! I think this is the first pair of shoes I've ever worn that haven't needed breaking in.
The comfort is also unlike anything I've ever experienced before. The cushioned insole supports you in all the right places and feels just like when you finally hit on a bra that is exactly the right size, that lifts and supports in all the right places without cutting in or rubbing, and you suddenly realise how uncomfortable you've been up until then ! I haven't taken them off once since I got up this morning, whether indoors or outdoors, and I've been running around with the kids on the way to school, running up and down stairs, sitting aroun in front of the computer ... They're totally versatile and really do suit all occasions. They are also the perfect fit - I didn't even have to touch the buckle to adjust the width - so my fears about buying shoes online without trying them on were totally unfounded. The fact that they offer half-sizes is also a great bonus and is something many high-street shoe shops don't offer.
Hotter Shoes also offer a 100% Happy Guarantee, whereby you can return or exchange shoes that don't fit or that you decide you don't like. As they say on the website, "The first step towards happy feet is having confidence in our service to you and I can assure you that everyone at Hotter is focused on delivering a happy and comfortable shopping experience that will leave you 100% happy – guaranteed! ". That sounds like a lot to live up to, but they really do deliver. The shoes aren't the cheapest that you can buy (£59) but they are absolutely worth every penny (no pun intended !). I don't know how I'll ever bear to wear any of my other shoes ever again now !
star rating : 5/5 (I'd give more if I could !)
RRP : £59, depending on the model
for more information : http://www.hottershoes.com/
Other reviews you may be interested in :