Hotter Shoes - Summer Sandals
I have wide feet, very wide, so wide that Clark's only stocked one pair of sandals in my width and they were pretty gruesome (to be honest). So what does a girl with feet so wide they look like flippers do in the summer? In the past I have worn ugly men's sandals, nothing feminine those chunky strappy ones that rub when you walk (because they are slightly too big being designed for men).
Last year we went to Egypt, I wore my chunky nasty men's sandals (£2.99 from the sports shop) and even when I had tightened every strap they rubbed my big toe so much the skin wore away. I then 'stupidly' went for a body scrub and massage session and the little Egyptian man rubbed salt scrub into the cuts on my toes ... I nearly hit the roof it stung so much. I ended up walking bare foot everywhere for a fortnight, the soles of my feet were burnt and encrusted with dust and dirt ... not the best look or feeling.
Anyway .... Hotter Shoes have an EXTRA WIDE section on their website which has styles for all ages/fashions etc.. they stock shoes, sandals, boots and even heels :)
I chose a pair of 'Vista Extra Wide' to try, I went for red as they looked pretty cool in the photo online in a size 8.
Well when they arrived I was instantly impressed, the leather is soft (I mean really really soft) and every single surface, strap, area is padded. The sandals are really really light which surprised me as I am used to clompy nasty plasticy sandals.
The strap at the front where your toes stick out is one section, not two pieces held together with a strap, the padding goes all the way round and just adjusts tighter or looser as you need it. This is a god-send for me as there is NO edges to rub my toes, its a soft band and feels fantastic!
I am also impressed with the side detail on the design. It looks as if there is a hole on the pattern, but there isn't :) this section is a whole piece of padding which protects your little toe and toe nail. So many pairs before has my little toes been rubbed by the detail of the design or fallen out of the gap as I have been walking along. Remember wide feet peoples toes spread out a lot and easily waggle about and fall out of shoes, so this detail is brilliant and obviously well thought out by Hotter Shoes designers.
The centre ankle strap is again padded but does have a join where the buckle is. For my ankle size this is fine and the shoe meets both sides so I have total padding, but for someone with (shall we say) 'puffy' ankles they may find the padding doesn't reach all the way over the front of their foot.
However the underside of the strap is very soft suede and so they will still be comfortable even on the largest setting that the Velcro will extend too.
The back strap is the same as the front (you can see what I mean better from this angle), the material padding goes all the way round, no gaps or rough bits to rub your heel. The back is one big loop with the strap on the outside for adjustment, I found the 'factory setting' great for my feet and I haven't had to change this or adjust it at all, maybe when I wear them in a bit and they stretch I may have to nip them in a bit then but the option is there when I need it.
The final 'super-dooper' part of the sandals is that the sole is velcro'd in .. this means you can remove it. Why you would want to? baffles me a little so I have thought up a few reasons why you might want to ... your feet smell really bad and you want to give the insoles a bit of a rinse (handwash), you have worn out the sandals from so much wear and wish to replace the insole only, they have got wet from paddling in the sea and you need to dry them on the line. Good suggestions I think .. but I am still a bit unsure why they are removable. The insoles are very padded and comfortable, they are also non-slip as they are made from suede. I find these very comfortable as they soak up the sweat instead of letting my feel slip and slide about inside the sandal.
There are a couple of bad points to the sandals but nothing major ... my first point is that the sole isn't very grippy, yes it is thick black rubber (and so won't wear out) but these are labeled as a 'sporty sandal', I personally wouldn't want to use these for sport as they give no support to your ankles or any grip while running about. Also on the subject of support the insoles are very comfortable but they offer no support to the arches of your feet, having wide feet normally means you are also pretty heavy (or 'big boned') and us bigger girls need arch support to carry out weight effectively.
Apart from that I love the style, the colour, the fabrics the sandals are made from ... basically everything about them apart from a few support issues.
A top style of sandal from Hotter Shoes and well worth a look through their range whatever the size and shape of your feet.