What do Budgens & Hotter Shoes have in common?

The simple answer is… Nothing!

One is oozing customer service and the other has none!

Caring for people in their 80’s often means a trip to Budgens ( a small supermarket chain) and helping them on with their Hotter shoes.

My most recent interaction with both of these resulted in two things.

One: A phone call from me on behalf of my client to thank them for their consistently caring customer service  and Two: Yet another email of frustration.

To say Hotter Shoes gave me the cold shoulder is an understatement.

Here is what I was complaining about.

Not such hot shoesCrumbling hotterThe soles of these shoes are crumbling/disintegrating/falling apart.

Hard to be clearer than that.

Of course all shoes, over time, suffer from wear and tear but these soles were just…well…see for yourselves.

A local shop, selling Hotter shoes, told me this…Wait for it…

‘Has she worn them much?’

‘Probably not by the look of them’

‘Ah well, that’s the problem. They will disintegrate if you DON’T WEAR THEM.’

I have to tell you I wasn’t feeling particularly down that day but this totally lifted my spirits. I started to laugh so hard I got stitch.

Then I looked at the assistant. She was serious.

‘Really?’ I asked.

‘Oh yes. You will have to speak to Hotter if you have a problem.’

If I have a problem…

Customer service? Zero. Unless you consider a good laugh…

So I emailed Hotter shoes explaining that their shoes had been purchased by mail order and they needed to be replaced.



Here are some extracts from emails from HOTTER.

Customer Service – Hotter Comfort Concept ([email protected])
Dear Ms Ducal
Thank you for your recent email to Hotter on behalf of ******
There is more than one black pair on record, 
but from the pictures I cannot identify the style. 
If you have any more information as to the style 
and size of the black shoes, it would be helpful to us.
If you would like to return the shoes for inspection as faulty,
 we would be happy to look at them.

They offered to send a pre paid postage label.
It never arrived.
Oh and they can't identify their own products?!

So I emailed again.

(My client said not to bother. I said, No, that’s exactly what they want us to do)
Customer Service – Hotter Comfort Concept ([email protected])

Dear Ms Ducal

Thank you for your recent email.

Please accept my apologies that a returns label has not yet been received.

I have arranged for another returns label to be sent out today, this will be delivered shortly.

With regards to the Black and Beige (there were 2 more pairs with same problem) pair that have experienced a similar problem, if an item develops a potential fault, in the first instance, we would advise to return it to the point of purchase for inspection and further advice.

If the shoes were purchased directly from our mail order department, we will hold a record of the purchase on ***** account. In order for us to check our records, we would be grateful if you could provide the name of these shoes, the style name should be printed inside. (Yes. I already told them they were purchased from mail order)

Once we have been able to establish a  record of purchase for these shoes, we will be able to advise further.

If the shoes were purchased from an independent retailer, they would need to be returned to that retailer as the record of purchase would be held with them. (Stop stalling!)

I trust the above information is helpful to you.


So, I don’t know if Hotter ever got their act together but just know this.

One her favourite dresses she couldn’t wear because the shoes she wore with it were not longer wearable.

Budgens staff however could not have been nicer. They greeted my client like a long lost friend/royalty every time she went in.

They made her daily trip to the local shop a real pleasure.






Since the lady in question passed away last month I rang the shop to say thank you for their unstinting customer service.

Hotter? Well, let’s see what they have to say for themselves now!

P.S. Since writing this I have discovered that Hotter have indeed sent a refund for the faulty shoes. I still wonder if anyone else has had this experience or was this lady just incredibly unlucky? Meanwhile someone should speak to that shop assistant. 😉

27 Responses to “What do Budgens & Hotter Shoes have in common?”

  1. NewForestGal

    Yep, I’m having the same problem with disintegrating soles with my Hotter shoes. The uppers are fine but I recently had an awful experience of the soles literally melting away from beneath me when out walking with friends.

  2. HelenDucal

    NewForestGal Hmm. Not so hot eh? Take photos & demand refund. Let me know how it goes….feel a newspaper article coming on…

  3. Suelee

    I purchased a pair of hotter cloud shoes from a charity shop on Monday for £7.99! As they were unworn I was delighted to have found such a “bargain” However, on wearing them for work today I was gutted when they disintegrated before lunch! Not such a bargain after all! ?

  4. StewartWould

    Hello Helen.

    My wife has experienced a whole series of failures of the soles of Hotter shoes.  The soles simply crumble and turn to a black powder.  We’ve  had to regularly contact the company and ask for compensation as one pair after another go the same way.  

    Of course, they’ll refund only the price at the time the shoes were bought and replacement cost has typically been double that. Other makes in her shoe cupboard do not exhibit the same problem.

    We have often been given the same reason – that *not* wearing them causes the breakdown as the air cannot circulate.

    Strangely, they told us the opposite in reply to a complaint in August 2013.  They wrote: “However, if the
    sandals have seen a large amount of use, the problem may
    be down to the general wear and tear of the sandals.”  That was after we had provided the attached pictures.  As you can tell, they had seen hardly any use.  The sandals appeared fine when packed for a holiday but disintegrated when my wife wore them on the first day

    Today, I need to write yet again as four more pairs are looking unhealthy.

    Thank you for your interest in this.

  5. HelenDucal

    StewartWould Appalling isn’t it! With your permission I could share this link on facebook and twitter. See if #hotter respond?

  6. ann

    same thing happened to me just the other day! Shoes disintergrated as i was wearing them! only worn them a couple of times. I’m returning them to Hotter

  7. Suerosemary

    Yes same thing happen too me today. Only worn once, and my shoes fell apart. Like in the pictures but worse. Post back to hotter, so waiting for a replacement.

  8. Suerosemary

    Hotter shoes phoned me to tell me, they are not going to replace the shoes as the shoes are a few years old and I should have worn them, that’s why the soles crumbled.rubbish I payed over £85 for these shoes approx 2 years ago. And forgot I had them. Rubbish customer care service.not going to buy any more hotter shoes. I thought they were supposed to be good quality shoes.

  9. Suerosemary

    I had the same problem,I sent the shoes back to hotters, but had a phone call. To say they are not going to replace the shoes. Hard luck. I won’t be buying any more hotters shoes .ps they were new,only worn once.

  10. Suerosemary

    I am very angry.as I my shoes crumbled. I felt so embarrassed as I only worn the shoes the first time. Yes it is appalling.

  11. Suerosemary

    bad it’s it, you won’t get any pair. I had a awful phone call. I felt I was being told off.

  12. Suerosemary

    Had the same problem. Hotter won’t do anything about it if you think about posting the shoes back.

  13. Suerosemary

    Hi, I wished I took pictures of the shoes I sent back, but hotters have kept them. So I’ve lost out.

  14. David

    There is clearly a big problem with Hotter shoes. A chemical reaction in the rubber is causing them to crumble especially when stored. I wore a pair for the first time today and found myself half an inch shorter within 10 minutes of walking.
    This has happened with several pairs of Hotter shoes at different periods of time.
    A great shame as these shoes are so comfortable. Its about time the company came
    clean and looked into this problem instead of fobbing off the very people keeping them in business.

  15. rosemorley

    I’m dismayed at reading this. I’ve been a devoted Hotters customer. I’ve bought loads of shoes from them, and from their stores across the land, and the local outlet store. I’ve come to realise in recent years that they will fall apart – and not just after a long period of disuse. I think it is irresponsible of the company to offer 3 for 2 offers regularly if they know there is a likelihood their shoes could fall apart if not compressed (ie used) regularly. How many of us buy and save shoes for special occasions or certain outfits. Is it fair to expect those shoes to fall apart the minute we pair them together for such? My daughter and I sent back seven pairs of shoes in October on the advice of c/service who arranged collection. They were addressed to the lady concerned who had intervened and come to our aid. More than a month on they still haven’t received them … have we got the receipts for the collection they arranged? I’m 80, in failing health, was packing for a surprise hol the day they were collected and worried about a gully drain repair as the man concerned had vanished for five hours without repairing it. Is it any wonder I can’t find the receipt from Hermes? However, the collection service must have a matching record linked to the two parcels concerned? Both of which were not only addressed to the lady to whom we spoke but had our names and addresses inside and some background from me. My daughter, a former journalist, has kept pictures. She’s taken the company to task because she points out there is no info in the shoe care section of their website on – these shoes may fall apart at the sole if not worn regularly. Some of our shoes had been worn regularly, others looked immaculate on the inner sole and upper exterior but still they crumbled. We’ve read of people buying on online auction sites and trying to return otherwise beautiful looking shoes because the soles have collapsed. This is a real very issue to an award British company and there should be enough word of mouth, online, for the bosses to address what is potentially a huge issue for them. We have stopped buying Hotters. We love the product, while it works, but some of these shoes are unfit for purpose. Thank you for providing a forum to bring it to light.

  16. Richard Preston

    Yet another Hotter Sole disaster. What are they doing?
    Surely something more than individual complaints needed.

  17. N Ashley

    I have had this happen to several pairs of Hotter shoes now. Yesterday I went out shopping in a pair of Hotter shoes that I wear infrequently, but which looked fine, and within 10 minutes of leaving the car most of the soles had disintegrated and I had to go straight home. I have been a Hotter fan for about 20 years and have about 10 pairs in the wardrobe, some of which were bought for a particular occasion and worn only once. I am now frightened to wear them in case they crumble while I am out. I tried returning one pair for an explanation about 2 years and was sent a £10 voucher and no written reply or explanation.
    Perhaps You and Yours (Radio 4) should investigate? That might shake Hotter up.

  18. Bob Atherton

    Today a 10 year old pair of Hotter shoes that I occasionally wear, which should fit nicely between hardly ever wearing and wearing too much, just fell apart as I was walking, leaving half a heel on the pavement.

    OK, these are 10 year old shoes but the uppers are in very good condition. I don’t think I will be returning these to Hotter as no-one else seems to have had any joy in that department. What I will be doing is NEVER buying another pair of Hotter shoes and putting the word out that Hotter are rubbish.

    Merry Christmas to you all and I hope, for your sake, that Father Christmas does not leave you a pair of Hotter shoes under the tree; or for that matter wear Hotter shoes himself as I don’t think he will get too far on his delivery round.

  19. Stephanie Jenkins

    Hotter shoes should have a “Use by” date. I had a brand-new pair (well wrapped up and dry) stored at the bottom of my wardrobe for some time (maybe five years). I thought I would start wearing them today on a short practice walk up to our local Waitrose. Bits were dropping off them all the time everywhere I went. NEVER BUY HOTTER SHOES is my advice


    My boots about 6 years old and hardly any wear disintergrated today Boxing Day 26/12/16. I have a newer pair and concerned they might go the same way.

  21. Joyce hardy

    What can anyone do ,had to return home in a taxi in my stocking feet as boots just fell to pieces ,I have 2new pairs upstairs and I am now frighten to wear them ,will hotter please help

  22. Sue beck

    Today I bought a new pair of hotter shoes from eBay. I wore for 20 minutes and the soles simply crumbled.unable to wear.

  23. Mary Lincoln

    Another sad story … I have a pair of brown nubuck Hotter shoes which I wear only in winter, and then only with brown pants, so they show very little sign of wear both on the upper and on the sole. I have had them at least 5 years and they are very comfortable so I was sorry this winter to find the rubber crumbling on both shoes at the heel between the sole and the upper. Sent an email to Hotter which they apparently did not take the trouble to read since their obviously standard reply included “this is an uncommon problem” and “caused by general wear and tear on the shoes”. It seems their idea of customer service is “we don’t want to know”. I used to recommend Hotter shoes to friends but never again.

  24. Lynne Cooper

    Have a pair worn regularly for 18 months,then soles just crumbled away and disintegrated.Uppers still like New.So disappointing,but cannot face the hassle of a fight with Hotter.

  25. Helen

    This company needs sorting out!! Hmm. Who best to tackle this? I will put some feelers out and report back. They really can’t keep getting away with such poor quality goods and customer service. Watch this space… and thank you to all who have commented.


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