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Skinny Calf Boots: Top 10 Brands
Here are the labels to hunt for if you've got thin calves
Are there certain manufacturers that specialize in skinny calf boots? Mostly, the answer is no. Many fabulous brands carry a style or two with a calf circumference under 14 inches but cut most of their boots 15 inches around the calf. However, if you research this as much as I have over the past three years, some makers do emerge as specialists of sorts in the thin calf boot arena. Luckily, they make gorgeous boots in all sorts of styles.
Here, my top dozen boot heroes for slim-legged shoppers who need boots with a calf circumference of 13.75 inches or smaller.
(Pictured at right: Aquatalia almost always has at least a few styles--like the Oralie, shown here on my 12-inch calves--available with smaller than average calf circumferences. And, happily, the brand weatherproofs most of its styles too.)
Perhaps the most diverse brand on the list, Aquatalia runs the gamut from sleek heels to sweater-topped snowboots but is best known for combining fashion & function through its waterproofing/weatherproofing process. PS - Dutchess of Cambridge Kate wears this label, so you know it's slim-calf-friendly!
This style features a 13.5 inch calf circumference and a pretty quilted look at the heel.
Founded in 1863, Frye is a deservedly prestigious brand. The dream boots of many a stylish woman, known for just getting better with age. People collect Fryes, and that includes the slim-calved. Besides these styles, check out the Carson for streamlined urban cowgirl appeal and the Sabrina Stitch Inside Zip with its sexy but wearable 2 1/2 inch heel. For extra-thin legs, look for the Frye Melissa tall laceup boot, which is only 13 inches around and can be tightened even more, of course, through the laces.
Another Frye supposedly featuring a 13 circumference is the Philip Tall Harness. I actually ordered that one and was sent the extended-calf version by mistake. It did match its posted measurements perfectly, so that gives me hope that the normal-calf Phillip really is around 13".
This boot lists a 13 inch circumference, which was the midcalf measurement I got when I tried it on. The top opening in my size (7 1/2) was 14, allowing room for jeans. A great, classic option for those with thin legs.
Another excellent pick is the Frye Melissa Tall Riding, shown below on me. The "camel" color is particularly gorgeous.
Known for high-quality weatherproof leather and suede, this brand is like a more affordable (albeit not cheap) version of Aquatalia. Most Blondo boots are on the slim side of average -- 14 to 14.5 inches around -- but every year there are a few treasures in the under-14 range.
This may be the most promising Blondo style for 2014, with a calf circumference of 13 3/4 inches (per the company) and some excellent reviews from skinny-calved women.
Desert roses bloom in Ariat's bee-yo-ti-ful Western collection, including narrow calf styles. This is the label to watch if you want slim-calf cowboy boots. Styles from romantic to whimsical to supersleek.
This stunning, intricate western style lists a 13 inch circumference.
Like Aquatalia, this label specializes in fashionable but functional weatherproof boots -- and cuts them small in the calf. I tried the gorgeous Sandra riding boot on and found it soft but durable on the outside and super cozy inside due to the fleecy lining. Other La Canadiennes to look for: the Jenny and the Stefanie.
This timeless style features a 13.75 inch circumference.
3 Key Measurements
When you see "circumference," that's often for boot opening up top. But 2 other figures affect how fitted it will look: The midcalf measurement, 10-12 inches from bottom of foot, which is the widest part of the calf for most women. And the ankle measurement--11" is reportedly average for this, but many of us thinner-legged gals have 8-inch or smaller ankles, and that matters for boot fit. Unfortunately, retailers almost never give us all 3 figures, so some trial-and-error is inevitable.
A fourth-generation French shoemaker pairs inspiration from nature with city-girl chic. The Ramona has one of the smallest calf circumferences I've ever been able to find. You can also search for the Seaghan and Ramona by Coclico, possibly available in very limited sizes.
I think this is my most coveted boot for fall/winter 2014, though I would need to waterproof-spray the heck out of it to survive Chicago weather. Lists a 13.5" circumference, and so chic.
I've just discovered this Florence, Italy, label within the past couple of years and recently had the opportunity to try on two of its these boots. Gorgeous! Both are slimmer than their listed measurements indicate, because they both have adjustable features. The Boyle can be tightened significantly at the ankle with its leather lacing, while the Boomer (at this point, you'll need to check ebay for this popular style) can be tightened in the midcalf through top opening area through it's double buckle feature in back, though if your legs are as thin as mine, it will require that an extra hole be punched in the leather straps. Luckily, a cobbler can do this cheaply and easily.
From what I've seen, this upscale label makes slimmer calf boots than Prada & other 4-figure products.
Cult classic, adored by celebs and everyday women alike. Some reviewers have said it can be folded down to serve as a knee-high boot, but when I contacted the company directly, they said they don't recommend it. Better to celebrate the full, glorious height of this sexy but understated style.
The king of sportswear? of "jet set style"? As a longtime Project Runway viewer, I think Kors is above all the king of hilarious zingers. "And p.s." (as he would say) -- he builds a mean boot.
Another slim calf Kors to check out on ebay: the Ailee flat riding style, with cute buttons running up the outer shaft.
While still not cheap, this high(ish)-end designer seems to be easing into slightly gentler prices lately, thank goodness, and I have been very impressed by recent slim Pliner riding styles -- two of which (the Nellie, pictured at right, and the Boxer) I've tried on.I ended up purchasing the Boxer in a dark brown croc pattern, but the plain leather is probably more versatile.
I can't believe there are still some Nellies left! It's really a fab boot, and very long and lean.
To Boot New York
What happens when a sophisticated men's shoe label known for topnotch quality breaks into women's boots? Timeless beauty & style, combined with a sleekly slim calf. Also worth a look, from this label: the shorter-shafted Bianca, a good pick for petites.
Small calf styles: The Andig, the Avery, the Devon
Here's a brand I learned about only through researching slim calf boots. I like how they tweak the classics while keeping mindful of comfort & durability.
Small calf styles: The Rian, the Jaiden, the Gabbey & the Radon (at left, on me)
~ poll! ~
Let's say you win $1K for skinny calf boots. What's the first brand you buy?
Do you have a skinny calf boots brand that can bump one of my top 10 off the list? Game on! Share your tips here.