As mum to a toddler I spend many hours a week pounding hard pavements pushing a buggy. With said buggy loaded with child and shopping, the final push up a steep hill to our home can be something of a challenge at the end of a long day. I welcome anything that makes me feel more comfortable, and footwear that is kind to my feet is a good start.
Through the winter my trusty Hotter ‘Mystery' boots have served me well for many years now; I'm still wearing the same pair I reviewed back in 2013, and they are as comfy as ever. Whilst this year's unseasonably cold UK spring hasn't been especially welcome, my winter boots are by far my favourite item of footwear, and my feet always suffer over the warmer months when I switch to flimsier shoes.
So it was lovely to be asked by Hotter to choose another pair of shoes to review, giving me chance to pick something more appropriate for the summer.
I own several pairs of ‘Hotters' now (I don't think many people stop at just one!) but they are mostly styles for dressier occasions. I don't have anything for more active days and the heavy duty walking which has become my norm.
In other brands I have chunky walking trainers/sneakers which are comfy but quite heavy, hot, and not very stylish. And some light pumps which look funky but make my feet ache. I really wanted something in between: light and comfy, and stylish, and practical and hard-wearing too. Can one shoe tick all these boxes?
The Hotter website has options to browse by product, style or fit, so I had a look at their ‘Active & Trainers' (sneakers) product range. I was torn between ‘Leanne', one of their bestsellers which I've heard good things about, and ‘Brooke'. I chose Brooke, with it being smarter and thus suitable for more occasions.
Brooke is a lace-up full-fitting shoe, made from soft leather uppers with a padded collar and tongue, and cushioned insole. The sole is ridged for grip and flexible. Colours available are Duck Egg (a sage green which I chose), Salmon (a deep rosy pink), Ivory (looks white on the website), and Blue River which is made from nubuck suede rather than leather. There is also a limited edition ‘Royal Wedding' style in red, white and blue.
I've come to expect a great fit with Hotter shoes, plus of course the comfort which is their watchword. I'm yet to return a pair, and I'm someone who really struggles to find shoes that fit my feet.
Maybe due to having such high expectations, I was initially a bit disappointed with Brooke. Holding them they seemed heavier than I expected, and when I first put them on they were quite stiff and tight. I thought sadly they perhaps weren't going to be the comfy casual I'd hoped for.
But, I needn't have worried. After a couple of wears they softened up nicely, and I truly now forget I'm wearing them. I've spent many hours walking on various terrains from concrete to grass to gravel, and they've been up to the job every time.
They look smart, and go equally well with jeans, trousers, skirts or shorts – so very versatile, especially if you are looking to pack just one pair for a trip. I like the full coverage that means I can wear any kind of socks with them, and they're easy to slip on and off.
Brooke would be the perfect shoes for a city break, or any kind of sightseeing. They could easily take you from day to evening, with the exception of formal occasions. For a beach vacation I'd suggest you need to pack a lighter pair of sandals too, but for day trips out or for the journey itself they would be ideal. They would suit cruising very well too; days in port usually involve a lot of walking, they would work nicely for casual evening dining, and I think they'd make a great non-slip deck shoe as well.
I look forward to wearing Brooke more over the summer, and packing them for my travels too.
Posted by Emma – WhatToWearOnHoliday.com
Disclaimer: Our Brooke Shoes were supplied to us by Hotter for the purposes of review. There were no conditions attached and the above is a true account of our experience.