On TikTok, the hashtag #widecalfboots has 41.6 million views. If you scroll through, you’ll find creators talking about the struggle of finding a knee-high boot that fits or sharing the name of brands offering extended sizing. Among them are Torrid, Eloquii and Vince Camuto. Many videos show success stories of “wide calf girlies” showing off new boots they can wear, but there are also posts showing shoppers who are discouraged about brands’ limited sizing.
DuoBoots, a U.K.-based brand that is currently growing its U.S. presence, is aiming to be their go-to footwear brand. The brand first launched in the U.K. in 1974 before shuttering. In 2020, six months after the brand became unavailable to customers, Mary Alice Malone purchased the rights to the brand and soft re-launched it. Malone is also the founder of luxury footwear brand Malone Souliers. DuoBoots more officially re-launched in August, with refreshed marketing. Its price points range from $230-$385.
DuoBoots is a “need-based” business, as opposed to being “trend-based,” Malone said. She added that the brand also caters to women with very thin calves, below the industry standard of 38 centimeters. DuoBoots offers eight calf sizes within the 30- to 50-centimeter range. Its shoe sizes range from 5-12.
According to Malone, the brand has no plans to further extend its sizing, as there’s no need to. “Our largest sizes and smallest sizes taper off, as far as demand goes,” she said. “And we have many years of data around what [sizes are popular].”
What’s more, she said, “Almost all of our boots have a bit of elastic in them, because calves don’t perfectly fit into a size. And you may have one calf that’s larger than the other calf. So we try to account for everything.”
Going into 2023, DuoBoots’ has a couple’s key objectives are around building brand awareness, said Katy Smith, DuoBoots head of marketing. Along with getting in front of U.S. customers, it will focus on communicating that most boot brands only offer a 38-centimeter calf size.
To do so, Smith has worked to make the brand’s visual identity more inclusive. “Historically, our brand imagery has just featured one model,” she said, specifying that they wore U.K. clothing size 8-10. “But we’ve introduced two models for e-commerce, and we can use that content [across] our channels.” The second model wears U.K. clothing size 16-18.
DuoBoots is also leveraging TikTok, including by seeding product to content creators. It’s focused on creators who’d previously spoken about their struggles to find boots that fit their calves. “We DM’ed them, and we sent them the product. From there, [awareness] really took off for us,” Smith said. The hashtag #duoboots has 46,000 views. Brand awareness via TikTok creators will remain a priority for the brand as it grows its U.S. presence.
In a post with over 109,000 views made by TikToker @hotpinkandglitter (633,000+ followers on TikTok), the creator states, “I’m Callie, I’m fat, and this year on TikTok I’m reviewing all of the wide-calf boots I can get my chubby little hands on to tell you guys how they really fit.” She notes that a ton of her followers had recommended DuoBoots to her and that the brand had reached out to send her a pair. However, she was not paid to create the content, she says.
Ultimately, she offers her verdict: “Besties, I will be very likely purchasing additional pair of this brand of boots. The fit: impeccable. The quality: perfect. And the comfort as soon as you put them on … These are our first 10 out of 10.”