How the Helsinki queer community inspired Zalando to diversify its footwear sizes
The German e-tailer teams up with seven designer brands to offer shoes in a more diverse range of sizes, making statement footwear more available.
9 May 2023

Together with seven international fashion brands, the German e-tailer, Zalando, is launching a new collection of size-inclusive shoes. By offering shoes in sizes ranging between 35 to 46, customers are able to choose footwear without any boundaries or pre-defined labels.

The idea for the collection came from a conversation Zalando had with the Helsinki Pride community. Together they outlined an issue that people within the queer community are facing, the difficulties related to finding shoes in the correct sizing, especially when it comes to statement footwear. 

Producing footwear in sizes outside of the most common women’s sizes, 36-41, could often be challenging and related to a lot of extra costs. With the collection, Zalando has helped the brands to invest in shoe moulds that give them the possibility to continue producing footwear in a wider range of sizes. 

The collection is made up of seven international fashion brands; Eckhaus Latta, Elleme, Filling Pieces, GCDS, Holzweiler, MISBHV, and Rejina Pyo — each brand has contributed with their take on an inclusive shoe. The Norwegian fashion house, Holzweiler, has launched a boot in their popular model, Mimmi, and a pair of mules. 

— It’s exciting to engage with like-minded brands and new audiences to work towards a truly inclusive fashion industry, where we can find more inspiration through extending our community, explains Andreas Holzweiler, Susanne Holzweiler, founders, and Maria Skappel Holzweiler, Creative Director.

The collection is accompanied by a campaign named Walk a mile, which alludes to the fact of walking a mile in someone else shoes. The campaign features gender-diverse advocates and well-known names from the queer community, such as models Reece King, Raya Martigny, Maggie Mauer, and Slim Soledad, Brazilian DJ and member of the creative queer collective Chernobyl.

— The path to inclusivity starts with walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. The inclusive footwear collection and the aptly named ‘Walk a Mile’ campaign accompanying it represent our effort to do just that. The collection is another step forward in our journey towards being a truly inclusive destination. This collection wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration of the seven designer brands, which have been incredible to work with to achieve this vision. This type of teamwork is essential across the industry, and we hope this is one of many collections of this nature we will work on to help make fashion inclusive for all, explains Lena-Sophie Röper, Director of Designer & Luxury at Zalando.