A SHOEMAKER has reported sales of casual shoes have nearly doubled during the pandemic.

According to Lancashire firm Hotter Shoes, the sale of active and outdoor shoes jumped up by 65 per cent in July 2021 compared to July 2019, a category which now accounts for 20 per cent of its total sales, up from 11 per cent in July 2019.

The Skelmersdale company, which sells its shoes across the county, believes that this trend is not likely to slow down, even as lockdown eases.

Hotter Shoes CEO Ian Watson said: "There’s been an ongoing shift in footwear trends and corresponding sales during recent years which have been amplified by the pandemic as outdoor leisure and staycations surged and office working, which typically fuels the formal wear market, declined.

"We anticipate this demand for active footwear will only continue.

"Our strategy was focussed on these categories, however our teams responded and accelerated our product range expertly at the start of the first lockdown, adding 32 new styles to the brand’s comfort and casual lines further driving purchases and giving us the capability to sell the types of footwear our customers needed throughout."

Alongside this surge in interest in casual shoes, Hotter has also invested in Footprint technology in its 17 stores, providing a 3D foot scanning facility to measure foot width and size.

The company has also launched Augmented Reality in its app for customers to try on products virtually from anywhere in the world.

Hotter Shoes chief commercial officer Victoria Betts said: "While the last 18 months have been challenging for so many reasons in the retail sector, we’ve been sure to focus on what will secure future growth and longevity for the Hotter brand.

"We’ve harnessed leading technology alongside developing fantastic, relevant products and brilliant in-store and online experiences to provide excellent customer service.

"The future of the retail sector depends on a hybrid of all of these elements.

"We believe we’re leading the way in our category, ensuring that our customers can purchase the products they need to suit their lives in a bespoke and convenient way."