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I’ll never forget sitting under the fluorescent lights in Myer, putting my right foot into a cute black leather boot and then not being able to get the zip up any further than my ankle. A rush of embarrassment washed over me and I tried to get it off as quickly as possible so no one else would see my feeble attempt.
Looking back, it’s absurd that I was embarrassed. But what's even more absurd is that only straight-sized people have been offered the opportunity to wear these kinds of boots. Sure, it seems like a tiny thing, this one singular style of shoe. But after years of being unable to shop for clothes in brick-and-mortar stores, it felt like death by a thousand cuts.
So when I got the opportunity to review a pair of DuoBoots, I jumped at it. If you’re not familiar with the brand, it pioneered and drove the concept of boots with multiple calf sizes for a more inclusive size offering. Ahead, I run through the process of finding my size and review what a pair of DuoBoots is actually like. Read on for my honest thoughts.
How does DuoBoots sizing work?
I started off by completing the ‘Find Your Fit’ quiz on the DuoBoots website. DuoBoots carries a wide range of sizes, from a shoe size US 5 to a US 10, and in calf widths from 30 cm to 50 cm. Naturally, you start with your shoe size, but then you get into the specifics — the size of your calf, your height and the length from the back of your knee to the floor. I found it quite hard to measure my own calf, so had to rope my housemate in to help.
You also have to answer a bunch of questions about where you wear boots, if you prefer pants under or over boots, and whether you like them roomy or not. Then, at the end of the little questionnaire, you get an assessment with your shoe size, calf width and boot width. I was a US size 10 and a 45 cm calf size, which meant I needed a wide boot. I found the whole process to be pretty straightforward.
My first thought was: these boots are sexy. The package arrived at the office and as soon as I opened the box, it was like all the women around me could sense their presence. I had colleagues walking over, gasping at the boots. One of my friends even (jokingly) asked me to step on her.
The boots I got are called Freya — a knee-high, stiletto-heeled, leather pair. They looked sleek, but I was nervous about the heel. As I took the giant box home, I was racking my brain for the last time I’d actually worn heels this dainty. Probably pre-covid? Or back in my clubbing days? I’m more of a mule girl these days.
I chucked on some Sheertex tights, a skirt and a leather jacket before popping on these boots. They fit like a glove, and the zip glided up the length of the boot with ease. They were roomy enough around the lower legs and the leather was nice and soft compared to other rigid boots I’ve worn in the past.
After the build-up in my head about how hard it would be to wear 'proper' heels again, I was immediately surprised at how comfortable these ones were. My ankles wobbled a touch on the first step but then I took them for a spin down the hallway and felt totally fine. Like riding a bike!
These boots are a dream — they’re comfy and make me feel so fancy and put together. In winter, I tend to feel a bit dull and dowdy, opting for oversized knits or denim jackets with jeans and Doc Martens most days, but these boots elevate absolutely anything I’m wearing. I’ve since tried them with wide-leg pants and maxi dresses and they look just as good, even when hidden under longer, flowy pieces. They're a touch slouchier than I'd like, but still make my legs look longer, which was one of my main goals.
In saying that, I can't wear my Freya boots every day. While the heels are surprisingly comfortable, I can't spend hours in them without getting sore feet. I’ve been keeping them reserved for more special occasions like dinner or drinks, rather than wearing them to the office. To me, that works though because they feel like an evening boot. Having said that, DuoBoot offers plenty of chunkier heel styles (like the equestrian-inspired Easton or the classic Dalia) and flat knee-high boots like the Haltham. So if you're not a high-heel girlie, you're probably better off opting for one of those styles.
The price is a little higher than what I’d normally spend on boots (I’d usually pay $100 - $300). However, the quality reflects that price (they're handmade in Portugal and are real leather). But more than anything, the fact that these fit me, unlike any other knee-high boots I’ve come across, makes them well worth the price.