The acceleration and radiative processes active in low-power radio hotspots are investigated by means of new deep near-infrared (NIR) and optical Very Large Telescope (VLT) observations, complemented with archival, high-sensitivity VLT, radio Very Large Array (VLA), and X-ray Chandra data. For the three studied radio galaxies (3C 105, 3C 195, and 3C 227), we confirm the detection of NIR/optical counterparts of the observed radio hotspots. We resolve multiple components in 3C 227 West and in 3C 105 South and characterize the diffuse NIR/optical emission of the latter. We show that the linear size of this component (≳4 kpc) makes 3C 105 South a compelling case for particles' re-acceleration in the post-shock region. Modelling of the radio-to-X-ray spectral energy distribution (SED) of 3C 195 South and 3C 227 W1 gives clues on the origin of the detected X-ray emission. In the context of inverse Compton models, the peculiarly steep synchrotron curve of 3C 195 South sets constraints on the shape of the radiating particles' spectrum that are testable with better knowledge of the SED shape at low (≲GHz) radio frequencies and in X-rays. The X-ray emission of 3C 227 W1 can be explained with an additional synchrotron component originating in compact (<100 pc) regions, such those revealed by radio observations at 22 GHz, provided that efficient particle acceleration (γ ≳ 107) is ongoing. The emerging picture is that of systems in which different acceleration and radiative processes co-exist.