John Lewis’ fall It boots are designed to fit all calves
Another fall fashion season, another batch of ‘must have’ boots are hitting stores. Yet for many women in the UK, including myself, it’s usually easy to instantly eliminate around half of the choices on offer due to a specific design factor.
Buying knee-high (or higher) boots has a common fit issue – it’s a Cinderella story, except the problem isn’t with the size of our feet, but rather our calves.
The average calf circumference on a pair of boots sold on UK shopping streets is 38cm, according to specialists at DuoBoots. Still, the average woman in the UK wears size 16 clothes – my own size 12-14 calves, for example, are 40cm at most.
It doesn’t add up. There are no industry-wide standards when it comes to measuring boot uppers, and multiple variables for designers to consider as foot and calf sizes do not. are not correlated. That said, brands aren’t helping their customers – most fail to specify a calf circumference in their online product descriptions, the same way they would for a heel height. All of this leads to some uncomfortable tugging, followed by disappointment and, ultimately, feedback from disgruntled buyers.
Enter Erica Davies, former fashion editor turned influencer and author, with 178,000 Instagram followers. Last fall, after trying on and returning several pairs of boots, she posed the dilemma to her audience; “I can’t be the only one with this problem, can I?” “
“I had a very specific idea of what fashion-forward boots I wanted, but I just couldn’t get something that suited me,” she says of the riddle. “There were 1970s-looking Arket that were amazing, but I could literally put them halfway up my leg. I’m a size 14 and thought if I struggled it would completely cut off anyone who wears a size 16 and up.
Davies was inundated with messages.
“I don’t think I ever had an answer like that,” she said. “A lot of the responses were really moving, with people saying it was depressing and embarrassing not being able to put on boots in a store, or being humiliated by salespeople telling them to look in specialty stores. Some contacted to say they always had bigger calves because of dancing, swimming and other sports, others would say I’m a size 12 or 18, and I just accepted that high boots are not for me. I thought, there is a huge gap in the market here; people who really want boots, but currently feel bad about themselves.