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Midcalf Boots for Thin Legs

Updated on September 22, 2014

20 Great Midcalf Boots for Thin Calves

Midcalf boots are not for everyone, but they can be cool & flattering on thin legs. Often hitting--by design--at or near the calf's widest point, they are ideal for those who aren't super focused on making their legs look thinner.

My closet holds knee-high, ankle & mid-height boots, all serving a different purpose. What I like about midcalf boots is their versatility. I can wear them with skirts, dresses, or skinny jeans or cords, and they always deliver. As you can see below, they come in wildly different flavors, from classic riding & moto styles to nouveau boho to megahot heels.

The key is to avoid floppy or baggy. My calves are just shy of 12 inches around at their widest point, so to look good, midcalf boots need to measure no more than 13.5 inches around. If you're in a similar boat, you're in luck. I've tracked down 20 great styles with circumferences under 14 inches.

How tall is "midcalf"? That depends on your height, and how much of it you carry in your legs. Tall or long-legged ladies will probably want to look at boot shafts in the 12 to 13 inch height range, while the shorter or shorter-limbed will do better with a 9 to 11 inch height. Right in the middle? Go for 11 to 12 inches tall.

Most of these boots are offered in black & brown, with some in a number of other hues too. So have a look :)

(photo: xenia)

Frye is perhaps the most renowned bootmaker around--justifiably--and carries several midcalf styles for slim legs. Besides the classic, gently Western inspired one shown below, check out the Elena (13.5 inches tall, 13.5 circumference), the Cavalry 12R (11.5, 13.25), and the Veronica Short (9 inches tall and 12.5 around).

Another brand known for durability is ECCO, and its Hobart Harness is a perfect fit for many slim-legged boot lovers, measuring in at 13 inches both for height and circumference.

Looking for something triendier? Try the multi-buckled Shannon boot, or check out the biker-chick Harley Davidson Lindsey (10" tall, 13.5 around), the Cobb Hill Lily (11, 13), or -- for a hippie vibe -- the Minnetonka Calf Hi Double Fringe (9.25" tall and 12" circumference), which is a wedge, or the high-heeled Chinese Laundry Kipp fringed style (10 tall, 13.25 around).

I prefer a boot heel of 2.5" or less, but styles like the Kipp are a boon to some very petite women looking for extra height. Another taller look to try is the Mia Bianka (11.25" tall shaft and 12 inches around) or Jessica Simpson's towering Fram (9.5" tall, 11.5" circumference).


To tuck or not to tuck?

There's some debate about whether midcalf boots are better worn over skinny pants or under pants (e.g., bootlegs). I personally love wearing them over skinny jeans or cords and would only consider wearing them under pants if they were very very fitted to my calf, to avoid a "bumpy" look.

Below is my rainboot, the Heidi. I wear it most of the year, including the frigid winter months here in Chicago -- with fleece boot liners. This is a popular style that, fortunately, has restocked in a number of great colors, including a vivid coral and violet. I'm boring about rainwear and chose the basic black, of course!

How snug should they be?

midcalf boots fit tip
midcalf boots fit tip

Here's a shot of my calves (11.9 inches at their widest point) in skinny cords + the Frye Taylor Pull On boot, which has a 13-inch circumference. The 1 inch of space looks just right to me; I wouldn't want the boots too much smaller around. They don't look baggy over bare legs, either, though for that purpose I could get away with a 12.5 inch boot circumference if need be. So depending on how you plan to wear your midcalf boots, I would say your ideal boot would have a circumference that is 1/2 to 1 inch bigger than your calves at their widest point (be sure to measure both calves! and go with the larger measurement, if there's a difference), or no more than 1.5 inches, even if you plan to wear them over thicker pants like heavyweight denim.

What about skirts?

Again, there's some debate, but I love these boots with skirts & dresses. In fact, midcalf boots have saved a few of my more basic dresses from the giveaway pile, by freshening them up with an instant shot of style that made me want to wear those old dresses again. What you don't want, though, is a hemline that just grazes the top of your boots, weirdly leaves a tiny space between, or (worst of all) gets repeatedly caught in your boots...so wear with knee-length or shorter skirts/dresses.

~~ My New "Babies" ~~

I recently picked up some classic Durangos to wear over the summer -- something I don't mind getting dusty & dirty, as the price point is much lower than with my Fryes. The brand's RD4100s are 11 inches tall, which is flattering, and list a 13 inch calf circumference. It seems a bit bigger than that on my leg, but not crazy floppy (partly 'cause the leather is fairly stiff). I don't usually go full-on Western, but they created a cute tough-and-tender look with sundresses.

For dressier occasions I might go for something like this...

Do you wear midcalf boots? Do you want to? Describe your fave pair (or dream pair) and what you rock 'em with.

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    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      I don't have any mid calf boots but I love boots and I do have really skinny calves. I really like the Frye Cavalry boot you have shown.