Worth The Money – My Love Affair with Duo Boots

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duo logoAs I mentioned in a previous post, I would soon be providing you with a review of my newest boots from Duo – a company that specializes in all sizes of calf boots. I had purchased from them in the past and was highly impressed with the customer service and the quality of the product (as I type this I am wearing my Bern boots from them!).

Last season I decided with a work bonus to splurge on another pair of boots made for my wide calves. I wanted a sleek and classic tall black leather pair that would look great with dresses and skirts. As with my order of the Berns, I entered my foot size (39) and my calf size (45 – yeah, I am so past the point of department store’s ideas of what an extended calf boot should be) and the style that seemed to fit my personal style.

Less than two week later, a gorgeous pink-wrapped box was waiting for me at the post office (do note that orders to the US require signature – if you are not home it will go to your local post office. And from the post office you must be there with ID to sign – not your mom, your roommate, your husband. I have learned now to send the boots to my job where a receptionist is always available to sign). I opened it to find glossy, elegant, fabulous boots… that wouldn’t zip up past my ankle bone. What the heck? I held the boots closed and could see that they would fit around my calf bone, but just not from ankle bone to that point. I contacted Duo by email and received a response in less than 48 hours.

The super helpful customer service agent was sorry the boots did not work, and suggested some styles that may be more flattering and fit better on my petite yet chunky legs. I had asked about two styles in my original email, she openly admitted one style would not fit my frame, the second would probably be good, but a third and different style (the Ravenna) is one of the most popular styles for women built like me.

At the time, I decided to return the ill-fitting boots and wait until fall to get a pair. By then, they hay have other styles I like better, trends, may change, my calves may shrink overnight…

A few weeks ago, I received the email that Duo was having free international shipping and I saw that as a sign and ordered the Ravenna boots.

They arrived to my office… they were gorgeous, a classic look, well made. They zipped up past my ankle bone, but not much farther. Holding the leather closed, I could see that they would be plenty roomy in the calf muscle, but the rest of the leg was at least a full inch too thick. Frustrated, I send another email to Duo. Not even two hours later I receive a response:

Thank you for your email. I have had a look at your blog and seen how pleased you were with your Bern boots, so I’m very sorry that you have had these sizing problems since.

We have had feedback in previous seasons about needing more styles with more room in the lower calf area and mid-August we changed to our new 2008-2009 range. I have been trying on boots this afternoon to gauge the fit and there are 3 styles that I would recommend.

The Macerata boots are a straight cut riding style in gorgeous quality leather which do not taper in too much at the ankle and might be a good fit for you in your calf size as they are generous all the way up the leg.

The Potenza boots in black are more of a western style but they are coming up larger in the lower leg according to the feedback that we have had over the past month or so.

Finally, the most generous boots that we have in the lower leg are the Imperia boots as there is lots of room above the ankle in these; even with the 1940s detailing they are still classic with a small heel and very wearable.

If you still have concerns about the sizing, if you can provide me with the measurement of the lower calf area that is causing the problem as well as your upper calf measurement I would be happy to go and measure any other styles that you might be interested in.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Um, how often do you encounter such personalized, caring and detailed customer service from a company? The letter was longer, and mentioned that she visited my blog, saw the Bern boots on me and agreed they were a good fit, looked up the size of the Berns that I kept to ensure I re-ordered the right calf size, and even offered free shipping on the next pair that I ordered.

This is why I return to Duo. I am so impressed with their dedication to their clients, the quality of their product, the variety of styles, and that they seem to really care about me, and not just my money.

I haven’t chosen a replacement pair, but do know when I do… you will all get a full review of them!

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  1. I have bought DUO boots in the UK and still DO NOT recommend them as I had very poor customer service.  Mine fitted very well and I loved them but less than a year since I paid 160 pounds, one of the zips broke and I sent them back.  I was told I had to pay for repair and postage as it was wear and tear.  Difficult to understand when only one zip broke, I work full time and I am unable to wear them to work, they were in the closet for the few summer months and I took good care of them.  I cerntainly would not pay that price again for boots to last less than a year before I need to pay for repair and postage both ways! 

  2. Hi, I have to share my very poor experience with duo boots. I feel EVERYONE should know what it will really cost you if you order from Duo. unless you live in the UK the costs of duties, processing fee, taxes, shipping and then your countries tax on all of those fees +taxes add up to and astronomical number. it is not worth the cost and the hassle especially when often they don’t fit.

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  4. I have not bought any DUO boots since the new rules about duty and processing fees. In fact, the last pair of boots I purchased from them do NOT fit, they fit in the calf but not in the shin/ankle and are sitting in my office at work. I don’t know what to do with them because it didn’t seem worth it to return them. I have seen DUO boots sell on eBay and only go for like $40 and that seems worthless as well. I would rather take them somewhere to be stretched in the ankle or make them into a clutch than waste ALL of my money in that manner.

    Since this posting I found a pair of wide-calf boots at http://www.widewidths.com/ by Ros Homerson that fit and are a classic style (the Maryland). They don’t look as expensive or elegant as the DUO boots, but I can still pay my mortgage after receiving them.

  5. I wish I had known about those additional fees that would be included with duty! They were equal to the price I paid for shipping to Duo Boots! That made the total price for shipping $62.74, in addition to the duty charge. The additional shipping and duty charges were not explained by Duo or TNT shipping at the time I placed my order. Unfortunately, the boots did not fit well and I had to return them. Add on another $32.74 to return the boots through Duo. That’s $95.58 for shipping both ways, plus $11.40 for duty. In all I spent $106.98 to TRY ON these boots! Next time I’ll just buy quality boots and have a cobbler stretch them.

  6. I recently purchased a pair of boots from Duo and have to say that I was pleased with the boots but not happy with the fact receiving a bill for $54 in duty that was not explained to me when I placed the order. In total I ended up paying close to $400 for my Duo boots. The leather does is not very stiff and I don’t think the boots will hold up very well to justify the excessive price of the boots and the unexpected extra fees

  7. I love my Duo boots as well, however they have implemented a new policy when shipping to the states charging duty (which is acceptable) but also charging the processing fees associated with the duty. I purchased a pair of boots while in London, but had to have them shipped because they do not carry them in the fitting room. The boots cost about $150 and I just got a bill to pay an additional $50 for duty. This was my second pair of Duo boots and will be my last as well. These charges were not explained to me at the time of purchase and customer service has not been helpful in explaining the charges since receiving the bill.

  8. I’m also a fan of Duo. I ordered the Imola boots a few months ago and absolutely LOVE them! In the past, I’ve never had sexy boots I could wear with boots, since the boots always gaped around the top and looked ridiculous. These ones fit perfectly and are incredibly comfortable for high heeled boots. I just ordered the Potenza so I could have something low-heeled for walking.

    I’ve also found Duo’s customer service to be excellent. My one (small) complaint is that if you have to return boots and order another paid, the shipping costs can really add up. I wish they’d do free shipping like Zappos. Then they’d be absolutely perfect. 🙂

  9. I got my first pair of Ravenna’s this week. I have narrow (30cm) calves and these boots fit amazing!! They are actually tight on me! I’m in Canada and had to pay $48 in tax/duty. Totally worth it though! I am very happy with the fit and quality!

  10. I adore Duo – they have the best boots – I’m up to 3 pairs and thinking of a fourth – I have the Navias, the Navarro’s in brown, a cute pair of suede ones w/ bottom trim (cannot think of the name) and love them all especially the Navias!

  11. I have been a customer of DUO for many years and can’t fault what they do.

    I really love the styles this year especially the Contemporary range and I have just treated myself to a pair of the Genova.

    Whets more I travel a lot and no they seem to deliver to just about anywhere.

    Thanks DUO keep up the good work.

  12. I ordered a pair of the Ravenna’s last week and unfortunately there is a 4 to 6 week backlog. 🙁 The only reason I’ve even heard of these boots is because of your blog…so thank you!! The worst part is in Canada, anything over $20 is subject to duties and taxes. I figure I’m looking at at least another $50 on top of the price for the boots. Oh well, I know I will love them once I get them.

  13. The original boots were purchased pre-pregnancy, and large calves are something I have had all my life. 🙂

    They are rich, but I can see myself still wearing these same Duo boots years from now… far more than I can say for most boots and shoes I buy on a regular basis. I care for them – polish and clean and waterproof and replace the insoles; boots are like really nice handbags that if are from a classic style can offer even decades of excellent wear!

  14. Is it possible that pregnancy has made your calves a bit bigger and thus the problem with the new styles? It is remarkable to find a company with such good service and what seems to be real concern for a customer. I’ve been tempted, but they’re a bit rich for my blood, considering I don’t really live in a boot climate most of the time!

  15. Another vote for the Imperia boots! Very cute! I also ordered a boot from DUO during their free int’l shipping special and it also didn’t work out in sizing. DUO was as helpful as possible. My only problem with international orders is that it cost $40 to return the boots! 🙁 With no shippng specials, the shipping costs is painful.

  16. I have to confess a strong preference for the Imperia out of the boots Duo recommended. They’re so unique! You see riding boots all the time, but the button detail on the Imperia boots is totally fun yet elegant.

    I almost ordered a pair from Duo last winter, but chickened out and was hoping the U.S. $ would strengthen to bring the price down a bit. I’ve been eying the Lilli and Imola, but from your experience, it sounds like taking the time to get a professional opinion would be best (I have a skinny little foot and ankle, and a fat old calf!).

  17. Wow, that’s amazing. I looked at Duo before when you raved about them, but I didn’t see any boots in my super large size then. However, the Imperia do come in a 43…I am seriously tempted. They’re gorgeous.

  18. I love your first pair. You really get a lot of great use out of them and I have been inspired all the boot outfits you have created. I get the expanded calf boots from Jcrew and I have never had a problem. I have no idea what my calf is–I only know it will not fit in a Stuart Weitzman boot. I also love the Colee Haan stretch boots with Nikes soles. Best boots ever, in my opinion.

    I look forward to seeing what boots you get next.

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