While quality has improved this season, the store experience remains a letdown.
- Level One, Thames Walk
H&M’s footwear offer has often lost points in previous seasons for not covering all the trends or doing them badly. However, this season there is more of an on-trend focus and the quality has mostly improved. New versions of key styles, such as a chunky-heeled boot with metal-panelled heel and a velvet Dr Martens-inspired boot are strong move-ons not seen elsewhere, while zip- and buckle-detail grunge boots and the key pointed court are spotted in several variations alongside more casual canvas flatform hi-tops and plimsolls. Men’s is not as fashion forward, but must-haves are all accounted for, including desert boots in various colours, real leather Chelsea boots, chunky thick-soled smart shoes and more than 10 types of casual plimsolls.
While H&M is consistent with its low prices, it lost marks in previous seasons for low quality. But again, this season there is a marked improvement. Basic women’s Chelsea boots are £24.99 and a leather version is £59.99, which is cheaper than the likes of Topshop but close on quality. Zip-detail grungy boots are available at £29.99, but the quality is compromised. Men’s desert boots are a satisfying £29.99, balancing an acceptable standard of make and materials with a competitive price. Basic plimsolls are a step up again in terms of construction and are good value at £12.99.
Eye-catching windows highlight hero pieces but are missing prices. Inside, the store is generally tidy although displays are cramped and some areas messy where customers have discarded product. Some areas appear to be forgotten about and a section of women’s plimsolls on a low shelf is covered in dust. Staff don’t offer any help.