An entire brand? Well, yes, because more and more of my shoes are from this British company. And they have some commonalities, so they get a group review.
First, a little background. I will not wear shoes I cannot run in. If there is any possibility of it coming off in an emergency, I will not wear it. Second, I prefer a relatively wide heel on dress shoes, for stability. So these are attractive but not high fashion footwear.
So. Seven or eight years ago, a catalogue arrived in the mail from an English shoe company. It offered a goodly number of sensible casual, work, and dress shoes. I’d just decided that I needed to replace a pair of dress shoes (the heel was breaking on one and no one could repair them), and I’d not been able to find anything locally that fit, so I crossed my fingers and ordered. A pair of cream suede Mary-Jane style dress shoes with a moderate, rubber, heel arrived. They fit. They were, and are, comfortable. And they can’t come off without outside intervention. I promptly ordered a second pair, to replace an older black pair that was starting to wear out. Then I ordered a pair of navy blue “court shoes” or what Americans call pumps. They had a smaller but still comfortable heel, and all have lasted very, very well.
Hotter’s specialty is that they are shoes for men and women who walk. I can and have worn their dress shoes on cobblestone streets in Europe without fear of catching a heel or tripping. I can run in them (have once. On cobblestones. Long story.) They tend to be on the wide side, and they offer extra wide, as well as D, E, EE and up. My feet are narrower in the heel than is standard, called having a split-last, and Hotter and SAS both offer shoes that work with that little quirk. All the Hotter shoes have good to excellent arch support. Granted, the arch support on their dress heels is not on par with their dedicated walking shoes, but I’m not tramping pavements or trails for hours in suede heels.
I took a flyer two years ago and ordered two pair of women’s wingtips for Day Job. They are a little tighter in the forefoot. The men I’ve talked to say that’s common with wingtips in general, men’s as well as women’s. I wear a lighter sock and all is well. They look great, take a nice shine, and have enough of a heel that they’d don’t look like a men’s shoe entirely. I can wear them all day, standing on carpet-over-cement, without any discomfort in my feet or legs.
Last year I needed to replace a pair of walking shoes. I struck out at home, in part because it was “past that season.” I did not want hiking boots, which was my other option, or US-style sneakers that scream “Hi, I’m an American! Mug me!!” Instead I got a Hotter GTX style. GTX shoes have Gore-Tex, so they are water-resistant. I love them! Wore them all over Germany, wear them to work, great shoes, excellent arch support, don’t rub in the heel, good laces, and the tread doesn’t collect much mud. They do not look like mini-hiking boots.
I now own eight pair of Hotter-brand shoes. That includes two pair of mid-calf height boots with nice shafts that have a little stretch (black and brown), the wingtips in two colors, the off-road shoes, and the dress shoes. All are durable, well-made, comfortable, attractive, and reasonably priced. I prefer tall riding boots, but my calves are so muscular that I am at risk for thrombophlebitis from the taller styles, unless I went custom-made (several hundred dollars.) These are good-looking, water-resistant, comfortable, and I can run in them.
Down sides: They are English, so if you are trying to Buy American, it could be a problem. They are not high-fashion shoes, if your work requires that. The heel can be a little loose if you have narrow feet, and they don’t make a dedicated narrow in some styles. A lot of their shoes are in a suede finish, so if you want polished leather, you might be out of luck in some styles. They are not cheap, but Hotter does have specials and sales.
I have not tried any of the men’s styles, so I can’t vouch for them.
But if you are a woman who needs or wants good-looking shoes with moderate to low heels, that are comfortable, durable, and sturdy for walking and standing, I highly recommend the brand. http://www.hotter.com/us/en
FTC NOTICE: I purchased these for my own use and received no compensation from the maker.