It doesn’t happen very often, but last week I had one of those chance encounters in a shoe shop – a fabulous, independent shoe shop (a rare breed these days) called Hetre in Alresford, Hampshire – where I happened upon two pairs of Summer shoes that I had been on the lookout for, for what seems like years…

Mr SITS swears that I have, in his words, ‘lots of silly Summer shoes that all look the same and that [I] don’t seem to be able to walk very far in’. Oh, just how wrong can a man be, at least in terms of the number or similar style of my Summer shoe collection. I do have a couple of pairs of sparkly flat shoes, but neither are comfortable nor practical. I also have a couple (okay, maybe four) pairs of wedges – but they are of a style which now looks a little dated. The only reason I still have them at all I tell him is because I look after my shoes so well that they often go out of fashion before looking sufficiently worn out to throw away.

The first pair I had been wanting for ages were a replacement for a pair of much loved but worn out flat beach/pool/easy slip on shoes that went with everything. The replacement needed to be (1) just as versatile and comfortable to wear (no toe posts for me unless I want sore blistered feet); (2) able to be worn day and night (for times when light packing is essential); and (3) stylish!

The second pair that I needed, were a wedge shoe in a ‘go with anything’ colour that I could comfortably wear all day and which could be smart or casual, not least because I shall be attending a family wedding where narrow heels are not permitted due to potential damage of the venue floor. I had been coveting some rather lovely Jimmy Choo wedges, but just could not justify the price tag on either a cost per wear basis or, er, at all really.

In the past, I would have headed to Russell & Bromley for shoes, and this is somewhere that I still like to browse. My only issue is that the price of their shoes seems to have risen steeply over the last few years, getting too near the Choo mark for me, such that I might as well buy a pair of Choos. The same goes for L K Bennett. And this is why I love Hetre – they stock a gorgeously curated range of shoes from brands not usually seen for miles in my neck of the woods, with a price range of anything from £70 to £500, all beautifully presented irrespective of their price tag. I often come away with a stylish purchase that I won’t see anyone else wearing for a price that is half that for something similar in the upper end stores on the High Street. And that again proved to be the case when I visited last week.

Hetre, Alresford
Hetre, Alresford

First of all the beach/pool/easy slip-on shoes – after dismissing anything with toe posts or buckles, I bought these gold sliders from Pretty Ballerinas, a very reasonably priced brand that are always stylish, and importantly, comfortable. I was shopping with a friend and did question whether they looked a little ‘brassy’, but she insisted not and so I was persuaded.

Flats by Pretty Ballerinas
Flats by Pretty Ballerinas

Secondly, the wedge shoe – I am not usually a fan of the Ugg brand other than a pair of trademark sheepskin boots used as slippers. However, I made an exception in this case. While not quite the Choos that I had seen, they came a close second – I particularly liked the dull gold leather wrapped around the back of the heel, which smartened them up sufficiently for wedding wear and the fact that they are so comfortable due to the give in the sole (I find so many wedges punishing after a couple of hours’ wear due to the hardness of the heel).

Wedges by Ugg
Wedges by Ugg

Both pairs together came to a fraction over £200.

The fly in the ointment? The day after visiting I received an email advertising 25% off everything in the shop *sob*.

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