The origins of Hotter’s emergence dates back to when Clarks were the major players in the comfort footwear market in the UK. Following Clarks’ acquisition of K Shoes in 1981 they tried to operate two separate Clarks and K Shoes as separate entities, with each having their own factories and their own shops.
Subsequently, Clarks decided to close down UK manufacturing and this meant that the K Shoes factories in Cumbria had to close as well. Arguably the mistake Clarks made was they sold several of K Shoes’ best lasts (remember a “last” is the mould that is used to shape a shoe) and moulds for their PU injection machines to the newly former Hotter Shoes. In many ways, Hotter Shoes are a “spin off” of K Shoes – many people will still remember the K Shoes brand fondly. Remember Springer Shoes and Sandals? How about Aquaskips? (they were the 1st guaranteed waterproof shoes made by appointment to the Queen!). The loss of K Shoes to the British footwear market was a big one but all was not lost as Hotter have no doubt used Clarks’ loss to their gain.
The next step for Hotter was to make some of their own versions of the best-fitting comfort shoes which hit the shoe market with a great deal of controversy. Hotter would no doubt argue they used “inspiration” from brands like Ecco, Clarks and K Shoes, this is common in the shoe trade but causes friction as competitors will call this copying. Nevertheless, it has worked to great effect and Hotter have several top-selling styles in the UK market and have used their knowledge of what UK customers want to great effect by producing colour ranges that are often superior to competitors.