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Narrow Calf Boots ~ Riding Boots
Narrow calf riding boots fit slim calves to a T
For four and a half years I've been geeking out over narrow calf boots--sifting through the fine print on boot sizing and dimensions, publishing results at Cute Boots for Skinny Calves in an attempt to help my slim-calved sisters find their dream tall boots.
How did it start? As a longtime boot fanatic and collector (we all have our vices), I was frustrated at the lack of consolidated info on styles for calf circumferences under 14 inches.The quest for narrow calf riding boots is especially tough, as many riding boots are cut wide for pull-on sans zipper. A 14 to 16 inch circumference works for average calves, but thin legs need 12 to 13.75 inch styles like these 20 fab finds.
(photo: my latest fave is the Sesto Meucci Boyle boot, pictured here on my just-under-12" calves ~ see info below)
From venerated riding labels (Frye, Ariat) to high-end luxury (Weitzman, Elizabeth & James), there's a narrow shaft option for everyone. There have been a ton of promo codes flying around lately, from 20 to 50 percent off (I was trying to keep up with those in my descriptions here, but it's futile), so check each boot's page for one you might be able to plug in.
Glad to see the E & J boot not only restocked at Amazon but on sale too!
Can dozens of ecstatic reviewers be wrong? Nah. I checked out this boot personally -- the Aquatalia Orso -- and can confirm it's a dream. I measured it at 13.75 up top, and it stays sleek & slim all the way down through the ankle. Waterproof leather is icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, the Orso is sold out almost everywhere, but do check ebay! You might get very lucky.
I love the Orso...Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here's the Frye Chelsea on me. You can see there's little space around the leg, even over very thin stockings. With jeans, there's definitely enough room, but you'll get a nice fitted look unless your calves are well under my 12". This one is hard enough to find that I suspect it's been discontinued :( -- and, if history is any indication, whatever replaces it will probably be wider rather than slimmer.
This is best for average height to taller women; if you're shorter, you might find the Riding Chelsea a bit too tall.
13" advertised, but please note: I grabbed these on sale in antiqued black but found that in my size (8), the opening was wider than advertised (see photo below). Having said that, the high-quality leather & standup shaft (no ankle slouch) gave me legs for days. Tough call...
To find calf size, wrap a cloth tape measure arouund the widest part of your calf, or use this paper one. Add 1/2" to 1" to your measurement for riding boot styles. (Gorgeousness won't mean much if you can't pull them on!)
I've warmed up to gold accents and am loving this Kors boot, 13.5 around, which looks much pricier than it is, especially at the sale price. The Arley has the most fitted ankle I've found so far in a riding style, after trying on many narrow calf boots.
Update: You can click the photo to read Nordie's reviews (very helpful), but sadly they don't appear to be restocking this style. It is, however, on offer in several sizes via ebay, so give that a look.
~ here's the 2013 Arley on me ~ - It really was 13.5 around at the top, in my shoe size (8) anyway, and 12.5 around where my calf is widest!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Solemani Slim Calf
The SoleMani brand is the first I've seen to develop an explicitly "slim calf boot" line. Below are some photos of the original Gabi riding style on my scrawny calves. And this new Amazon listing is for this year's version of the Gabi.
This is the 2014 Gabi -- and if it fits like the 2013 version, you can count on it being a truly slim option.
Aquatalia waterproof narrow calf boots
I love the timeless style of this boot, from a brand that is perhaps the number-one friend to thin legged boot lovers. Every year Aquatalia produces not one but several narrow calf styles, and they're always gorgeous. I especially like the artful "wavy goring" approach on the back of this one.
~~ Narrower than advertised? ~~
I have a new theory: Just as some boots listed with a small circumference end up, sadly, being wider than advertised, there must be some listed at 14+ around that are actually narrower than advertised. I tested this out while shopping at a department store, trying on 4 boots with average calf measurements listed but some "too skinny"/"too tight" complaints floating around online. Of the 4, only one would work for thin calves, I think -- this terrific weatherproof-but-soft-and-smooth riding style from La Canadienne. The fit on my 8 1/4 inch ankles was excellent; over tights only, there was some space up top, but not much more than a winter sock & skinnies would fill. For 13-13.5 inch calves with slenderish ankles, this could be your dream boot.
Have you come across boots that are actually **narrower** than advertised? Please share in the comments!
This was the last boot I was brought during a department store visit, and the only one that remotely hugged my calves! Very pretty.
ECCO=comfort and style
The Hobart Tall Strap is a taller sister to the petite-friendly Hobart Harness by ECCO, very popular last year, with a bit wider circumference than the Harness but a promising strap system for custom-fitting. Note: Some reviewers say that the circumference is also smaller than advertised -- by a half-inch, says one who found the shaft too snug.
~~ how much extra space is too much? ~~
My feeling on this is that 2 inches extra is about the maximum that looks okay, unless you're purposely going for a baggy of slouchy look. Here are my 11.9 inch calves in Frye boots that have a circumference of about 13.5 at their widest point, to give you an idea of what 1 1/2 inches of extra space looks like. The space distributes, so it's not bad at all. I find anything from 12.5 to 13.75 around is ideal, especially over tights or skinnies.
Want to snow-, ice- and even salt-proof your new leather boots?
Those in the know swear by SnoSeal leather protector for safeguarding them through the ickiest months.
What do you think? Any of these narrow calf boots strike your fancy? Do you own one of these, or another narrow calf riding boot? Please share your impressions to help others with this sizing challenge.