New ‘comfort focused’ shoe shop opens in Portchester

Solent Shoes in Castle Street, Portchester, is officially opened. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Solent Shoes in Castle Street, Portchester, is officially opened. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

A NEW shoe shop has opened in Portchester with the emphasis on selling comfortable yet stylish footwear.

Solent Shoes is the culmination of change of career direction for owner Amanda Kent who gave up her job in finance to undertake a course with the Society of Shoe Fitters.

 Amanda said: ‘With today’s shop launch it feels quite surreal at the moment. I gave up my job a year ago to follow my dream and now it has come to fruition.’  

In addition to providing a wide range of high quality shoes Amanda is also hoping to help educate customers on the importance of correctly fitted footwear.

‘Footwear is the only aspect of clothing which can potentially damage your health. It has been proven that incorrect footwear can lead to long term health conditions. Ill fitting shoes can lead to problems such as corns, callouses, blisters and bunions. Ensuring people have the right footwear is also particularly important for people suffering from arthritis or diabetes,’ explained Amanda. 

Since the previous shoe shop, Spencer and Penn, closed down there has been no outlet in Portchester for customers to purchase shoes.

‘The key focus of Solent Shoes is to provide footwear which is fashionable yet a comfortable fit. All the shoes we sell are made from good quality breathable material,’ explained Amanda.

Opening the shop was chairperson of the Portchester Community Association, Hazel Powlesland, who believes the shop will particularly appeal to the older demographic in the area.

‘There is definitely a market here where there are a lot of people from an older generation and I will certainly be shopping here. As you get older you can get all sorts of foot problems, some of which I have suffered from myself. It is important to purchase good quality fitted shoes,’ explained Ms Powlesland.

Whilst the shop is not exclusively aimed at older generations, Amanda believes this represents a gap in the market which needs to be addressed and so far the ‘public response has been very positive’.

Customer, Sue Whitworth, said: ‘I certainly now prefer comfort over style. Poorly fitting footwear which I used to wear can cause both feet and back problems. There is definitely a demand for this type of shop.’

Fellow customer, Kirstin Robb, added: ‘The days of going out in high heels is no longer quite so appealing, certainly not for my generation. I have teenage daughters who also tend to wear more comfortable shoes when going out.’