My approach to age-appropriate, office-appropriate dressing is, as I’ve written here before, an eclectic one (“it’s not dress-down day if you’re not wearing a tutu” was, I believe, the summation of it). But the past couple of months, with their higher proportion than usual of both inter-office travel and northerly visits by our senior leadership team have brought home to me the one thing that’s missing from my workwear wardrobe: a good pair of classy, yet comfortable shoes which can live in my locker so I can get away with navigating the wintry Glasgow streets in trainers.
Finding such a thing? A challenge I extended to the staff at Hotter Glasgow, when they invited me in to check out their bigger, brighter store in Buchanan Galleries.
Hotter is a UK-based footwear brand whose focus is on comfort, fit, quality and heritage: they started out selling slippers from their Lancashire base in 1959, but after realising there was a gap in the market for stylish shoes with comfort built in quickly diversified to become the biggest UK-based manufacturer of shoes, with 2.2 million pairs made last year alone. While design-wise, they take inspiration from the latest trends, Hotter shoes are built to last: I’ve almost certainly walked a literal 500 miles in my little pair of GORE-TEX shoes (I even wrote about it!) and they still look as good as the day I got them.
A focus on comfort and premium materials means that the Hotter customer has traditionally, and somewhat unfairly, skewed older (you saw my Christmas party shoes a couple of years ago, right?!). But since moving to their bigger, more central store – it’s on the ground floor of the Galleries, a couple of doors down from Boots – Hotter Glasgow have really benefitted from passing trade with younger customers keen to explore their gorgeous and well-presented ranges of boots, heels, trainers and casual shoes for both men and women, and it’s a trend that store manager Eleanor is keen to see continue.
Of course, the full Hotter range is available on their website, with ample help available from their UK-based call centre – but investment footwear purchases, should be treated as such, and if your feet are anything like mine you really should take advantage of an in-store fitting. Hotter pride themselves on their customer service, and their staff are trained to expert level on both fitting and the full range.
Do you remember when you were a kid and, before going back to school, your parents would take you to have your feet measured before picking out your shoes for the year (Kickers, thanks)? As an adult, I’ve grown so used to being a “size 4” that it took me by surprise when, recently, I started to find that shoes didn’t fit straight out of the box the way that they used to. But, if anything, it would make less sense for my feet to be the only part of my body that didn’t change in size.
Of course, when it comes to shoes, a lot has to do with the style and the material used and not just the size that you measure at, as Christopher explained when I was stunned to discover that my feet were still measuring between a 3 1/2 and a 4. Plus, I’ve always had quite wide feet, so sizing up tends to make sense.
As for finding your perfect fit – well, there’s more chance of that at Hotter than just about anywhere else. As well as their standard fit, Hotter offers two different options for those of us who need a little extra room: wide fit, and extra wide (or ‘EEE’) fit. Most styles are available in both full and half sizes, up to a size 9 in women’s shoes – and some styles also come as “dual fit”, with an additional, removable insole. Are you one of those people with one foot half a size larger than the other, conditioned to a lifetime of compromise? Not with Hotter!
My next step (as it were) was to narrow down my choice of style. I’m too easily distracted by pretty casualwear, t-bar straps and boots – but I’d come to the shop with a task in mind and I was determined to stick to it.
After much deliberation (and not a little heartbreak: it would have been going against everything I’d decided before coming in had I opted for a cute little pair of what I immediately dubbed “Tinkerbell heels” – but look, how cute!) I narrowed my choice down to two: the sturdy Taylor, with its chunky front buckle; and Angelica, a straightforward heel which, to be honest, looked exactly like I expected sensible, adult work shoes to look like. There was just one problem: the Taylor was only available in grey, and for the purposes of this exercise I really wanted a sleek, black, goes-with-everything heel. Not a problem, said Eleanor: if they’re available online, we can order them for free delivery to the store.
So began what I’m sure for the staff was an excruciating 20 minutes in which I paced around the store, alternating my shoes, while I ran an Instagram Stories poll on which pair I should purchase. Angelica proved the winner, at least from the early votes – and yet, still I wasn’t convinced.
In the end… it didn’t actually come down to me, because the Taylor shoes were not only sold out online but also in Hotter’s Edinburgh store, which I know because store manager Eleanor called to check there too. Never let it be said that Hotter isn’t a shop that will go the extra mile for its customers..! Apparently, this is one of the styles that has been selling like hotcakes since Hotter moved to the new premises. Damn that younger-skewing clientele, interfering with that best kept secret footwear stockists of mine!
That said, I’m not really complaining. The Angelica is one of Hotter’s dual fitting styles, making them easy to customise for size (I’m wearing one shoe with the extra insole, and one without) – and you guys, or at least those of you who have me on Instagram, seemed to like them too. They’ve now taken up permanent residence in my locker, all the better to change into easily when I get into the office – although don’t expect those silver faux-snakeskin boots of mine to go into retirement quite yet…
Getting serious for a second, it’s great to see Hotter in their new Glasgow home: they’re a brand who have been really good to me over the years, and the feeling is mutual, so I hope this lovely new shop means loads more people will discover and fall in love with the Hotter Comfort Concept. They’re currently running an online offer for 20% off their Party Collection if you use the code AW420FD – and with a ninety day return policy for online orders, you really have nothing to lose! Do let me know what you pick out though – I’d hate for us to show up for a Christmas do in the same shoes…
I was invited to pick out a pair of shoes at Hotter’s new Glasgow shop, but all views are my own and unbiased.