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I am always on the look for a pair of boots that fit my large calves, yet still have great style. Like plus-sized clothing, this combination is hard to find. Seems that all boots for larger calves are boring styles or totally tacky and/or dated.
A reader told me about Duo, a UK-based company that prides themselves on having an extensive selection of boots for almost every size calf. I headed over to their site and was utterly amazed at the selection. Yes, like other companies they have the standard tall boot in black and brown and a few selections I wouldn't get caught dead wearing, but so many choices that were current and stylish, I had a hard time choosing which style to try.
I ended up choosing the Bern in caramel brown (photo from site), which I felt most closely replicated the classic Frye Harness boot that I covet but can't pull up over my ankle. With the ability to size the boot shaft in centimeters, I was able to get a more custom fit than with inches. Converted into American fundage, the boots ended up being $238 with shipping – not cheap but equivalent to high-quality brands in the states that do not cater to my leg shape (and cheaper than Frye!). If these boots were as great as I had read, the price will be nothing for years and years of happy wear.
The boots arrived in less than two weeks, but were sent registered post and required a signature from me (not the husband) to pick up. Since the post office is open only when I am at work, it took a bit longer to get my purchase. No worries, better than leaving them out in the rain on my front porch.
Do note – the return policy is only ten days from receiving and the shoes need to be in mint condition if you do plan to send back. Be sure to wear them on carpeting to try them out at first.
The packaging is excellent – heavy plastic shipping bag that can easily be reused for returns. The box was sturdy and the boots carefully wrapped and protected. And the leather… these are GORGEOUS boots. The color was called Caramel Brown, but the shade is more of a tan – almost the same color as my legs (photo taken by moi). At first I feared this color would look strange and not match anything, but I think the lighter color was actually more flattering with large calves – not drawing attention to the size of the leg but the style of the boot. Like the Frye Harness boot, these boots look cool out of the box, and will look awesome in a couple years after some wear and tear.
The shaft is fleece-lined, and the footbed is leather. The stitching is well-done and high quality. The zipper is sturdy and has an elegant zipper pull. There are elasticized gussets at the back of the shaft for flexibility – if I had recalled this feature, I could have gone a centimeter or two smaller (one should already go a centimeter or two smaller than your measurement as that leather does stretch over time). However, I wanted a casual look and the looser fit seems to work.
Friday night I wore the boots around the house for movies and pizza and unlike previous “wide-calf” boots, these didn't dig into my legs, leaving track marks from the zippers cutting into flesh. Not only that, they were comfy on the feet – good support and decent cushioning. I gave the boots the true test the rest of the weekend – wore them to tailgate for my college homecoming football game (five hours on my feet on concrete) and then Sunday at a luncheon and then a general-admission concert (five more hours standing on concrete). After all that, my feet felt great, my calves were happy and the boots still looked beautiful. The only problem was that the insole/footbed had pulled up a bit and the adhesive stuck to itself, making it lump under my heel. I was planning on replacing the insoles with more supportive ones anyway, so I just unstuck, put back in place and was fine. This happens often with me and boots – I will not judge the quality on this one teeny snafu.
Final verdict? I am a Duo fan and plan on shopping from them again in the future. The international shopping, high ticket price and the strict return policy may seem daunting but the quality and fit make it all worthwhile!
I can’t rave enough. If you go to my other blog http://mywardrobetoday.com you will see I wear them to this day at least once a week. I have worn them to two music festivals and other muddy places, have waterproofed them, worn them to death.
The leather has held up great, has gotten softer with time so they have gotten slouchy, but the color is still true. Still stitched great and the zippers are sturdy. I replace the insoles each fall with new ones from Target – nothing fancy but that keeps them comfy.
With wear the sherling inside has worn a bit at the heels, but it hasn’t affected comfort or appearance.
I am JUST to the point where I should get them reheeled, I have worn down a bit of the back of the heels with all my trekking. But the heels and soles are still in good condition.
Three years later, these are still boots I choose from my closet when I know I will be on my feet all day or doing a lot of walking.
I can’t rave enough about the quality of DUO boots. Feel free to email if you have any specific questions.
The only downside I see to DUO is that they are not in the US – the shipping (and return shipping if they don’t fit) is pretty steep. Use the search feature on this blog and search for DUO, I have written a couple other posts about their boots.
Great review. I’m curious – it being 3 years since you reviewed these, how long have they held up? Are they still in good condition? I haven’t been able to find out about the long term quality of these boots. I plan to do a lot of walking and would hate to spend so much money on them to have the heel crack or the leather come up from the sole… problems I’ve had with boots in my past.
I stumbled across you blog and by the end it had me so reassured! I am currently waiting on my first order from Duo—very excited!—and am so anxious about the fit! It’ll be amazing to have boots that fit my ginormous calves. I, too, am in the US, and I was so worried, but mostly the ordering process went smoothly. The only snafu has been that they accidentally mailed to my billing address which cannot receive mail, so I’ve had to try to arrange with the USPS to hold the package at the Post Office, so that it won’t be returned as undeliverable (that’s cost a fortune). Anyway, I figure that even if I have to pay customs or anything, they’ll still ultimately be cheaper than a pair of Fryes…which I love, but can’t fit into!
DUO are doing a half price shipping offer to the US and Canada at the moment (but not for much longer!)
Allie has mentioned it on this site here:
All you have to do is put the code AMSHIP07 into the checkout when you buy from their website.
I can’t recommend their boots highly enough – I go back season after season and they always surprise me with the range of styles.
They look great.
Wow, fab boots! And you did well to get them so quickly, Royal Mail were on strike last week.
I think 10 days is pretty standard for mail order returns in the UK. Of course when shipping back to the UK from the US it probably seems a short amount of time…
Great review! I’d heard about Duo and had been tempted to try them. I think I’ll take another look at their site ….
Those boots are awesome. I, too, love those Frye boots but have never even tried them on for fear that A) they’ll fit, and B) I’ll fall even more in love with them and blow my shopping budget for the year. (Sometimes it’s a bummer being a student…) But I have largish calves myself, so I’ll keep Duo in mind for that happy day when I can afford to treat myself. 🙂
Duo is set up to sell to the US so it was just as simple as ordering from Zappos.
I knew the price would be in American dollars about double the UK number so I wasn’t concerned about conversion.
They say they send it I believe Royal Post – it was delivered USPS and was a registered package so you had to sign for it in person and at the post office not only did I had to sign, but enter my street address and print my name into the computer to get the parcel.
Payment went onto my Visa debt card as usual – no waiting period, nothing strange like I have seen when traveling overseas. Quite effortless!
Someone in the States who has ordered from Overseas! Yippee! I would like to purchase a pair of shoes from Shoe-Shop.com. They are a UK retailer. I am a little leary because of the money conversion and things like that. Did you have to pay customs? Any information would be very helpful!
I live a half hour’s drive from a big Duo in the UK and spent a happy afternoon there trying on boots this weekend. Their shoes are also beautiful – so colourful.
I didn’t end up purchasing, but my Mum has a pair of knee high flat black suede boots from them that are now on their third year and still look gorgeous. Definitely worth the money! Enjoy them!
Laura V says
Glad to see someone reviewing this. I’ve heard so much about them but never found a review from anyone who tried them.
Re: the Fryes – I have 18″ calves and had my cobbler put an elastic gusset into my Frye Campus boots. I’m sure the Harness boots can be altered the same way. It cost about $30.
Sandy C says
Why is it when you leave it to your guy to do the ordering, problems come up? HMMMM! Okay, Off to call Duo and see what it is, hehe. Thanks Allie, enjoy reading your sites! Sandy-
Nope, didn’t enounter any issues at all. Hope it works out for you! 🙂
Sandy C says
I am so glad to hear this. I just ordered those exact boots!! However they called yesterday with some problem on ordering? Did you have this happen? Any problems on the ordering process? I cannot wait to get them. Thanks for your input!