Stylish Boots for Large Calves: Yes it Can Be Done!

Boots for large calvesHave you been struggling to find boots for large calves?  Yesterday I posted a question to my fans on my Facebook Page.  I asked them what they wish they had in their wardrobe but couldn’t seem to find.  The number one answer I received was boots, in particular boots for large calves.  So, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.    But what can you do?

It is with empathy that I write this post because I too suffer greatly from this problem.  In fact, the most inspired chapter in my book Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want was the one on this topic.  I am a tall woman at 5’7” with a freakishly small 6 ½ foot and large calves.  When I go the shoe store it can be so incredibly embarrassing.  The shoe salesman brings me a pair to try on.  I start to pull the zipper over my calves and usually at about mid-zip I know it isn’t going to happen.  At that point I either give up or really try.   Determined, I start pulling on the zipper and notice that the skin on my index finger is starting to become raw from pulling and the fat in my calf is starting to spill out over the top of the boot.  I start to sweat because I realize that I am sitting in a public shoe department vs. the privacy of a dressing room and the shoe salesperson, determined to make the sale, is cheering me on like I’m running a marathon, convincing me that I can do it….while maybe handing me some Gatorade to keep me hydrated.   I keep pulling and if the zipper does manage to go up, I find I can Boots for large calvesbarely stand.   I sit there out of breath, in pain, noticing that I may have gotten the boots on but they look like I just tried to shove 10 lbs. of monkey poop into a 5lb. sack.  I eye the other women whose calves aren’t close to being large enough to fill out the shaft of a boot and I feel discouraged.  I unzip the boot and as I do my calf looks like a can of Pillsbury dough after it’s been tapped open.

Does that sound at all familiar?

Well, if you can relate, here is what I have learned from my years of fat calves and sore index fingers.

Grab Your Tape Measure

Boots for large calvesFirst, grab your tape measure and have with you at all times.  You want to look for two measurements—  the shaft height and the shaft circumference of a boot.  Both measurements are important because depending on the height the boot’s shaft your own calf circumference will be a different size.  When you read the shaft height on the description of a boot, with a tape measure, measure that height amount from the heel of your foot up your calf.  From that point measure your calf circumference.

Now if the difference is a half of an inch, that amount is negligible.  Boots stretch over time and a half of an inch stretch can be increased after one or two wears.  Don’t avoid buying a pair of boots for that small of a difference.

Stretching Your Boots

Your other option is stretching.  Think it can’t be done?  Think again.  I have personal experience on this to know that it can be done.  I bought this amazing pair of booties about six years ago.  There was literally two inches keeping me from getting the boot zipped up.  The salesman at the shoe store told me that I could take the boots to my shoemaker and that he could add a panel to the boots to make them fit.  Excited, I bought them and brought them to my shoe guy…who basically laughed at me and told me that it wasn’t true.  However, he wanted to help me and asked if he could keep my boots a week and stretch them.  I came back a week later and, voila, they zipped right up!  That’s right, he managed to stretch the closure two whole inches without damaging or affecting the color of the boots.  If you have a shoemaker who you think might take the time to patiently stretch your boots a little each day it may be something to consider.

Boots With Wide Shaft Widths

However, for many, these aren’t even close to being an option.  So, what do you do?  Well, It seems that more and more boot-makers are aware of the fact that there are some women out there who just can’t wear boots because of their calves.   Thank God for that!  So, who are they?  How do you find them?

If you’re looking for a pricier boot, J. Crew is now doing Extended Calf Boots.   Most of these styles have a 15 ½” shaft height and a 16” shaft circumference compared to their regular boots that have a 15” shaft circumference.  The price of their boots start at around $300.

A less expensive option is Naturalizer boots that have shaft widths starting at 16”.   The prices of these boots start at around $120 for tall boots.

You can also search for wide shaft widths on Zappos.com and get plenty of options at all different price points and widths.

If this doesn’t work for you and you want more variety, try WideWidths.com where I’ve seen boots of all price ranges with calf circumferences of up to 24″, the widest, the largest calf sizes available anywhere!!!

If you’re still struggling, another option is to shop at plus size stores like Lane Bryant who sells reasonably priced boots in wide calf circumferences of up to 20”.

Rain Boots for Large Calves

Rain boots are also quite popular right now, in particular Hunter Rain Boots.  For some (myself included) the shaft circumference can be really narrow.  Few people know that Hunter makes Huntress boots that have a shaft width that is one inch larger than their classic style.

Shop for wide calf boots

You can find wide calf boots at all price points.  Check out some of these select styles, all available in wide calf sizes.

  • http://DatingDivaSites.com Liz

    You are a saint!!! I have LARGE calf legs even though I’m not a big person and can never find cute boots. I’m going shoppin! Thanks Bridette ..;)

  • Roberta

    J Crew has had extended calf sizes for years, and their boots are usually very well made, and worth the price, IMHO, especially for something that will fit, and last for years. I am 5’3″, a size 6 otherwise, and have calves that appear normal but are apparently too large for the average boot.

  • Ashley

    Thanks so much for this blog post! Im always on the lookout for Wide Calf Boots! I actually bought a bunch of pairs on WideWidths.com back in October and was THRILLED with them! I was blessed with 19 calves and they had ones that were even bigger than that!

    • http://Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      So glad to hear this Ashley!

  • meg

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been searching for boots for years! I hace checked out most of your suggestions and am still having difficulty :( I wear a size 7 but have 18.5in calves. I’m not a big girl just got ‘blessed’ with muscular legs. If anyone finds boots that would fit me, I’d love you forever. Most I see for size 7 are 16-17in. :(

    Thanks again for this post. It bigs hope back that I may just find a pair and comfort knowing I’m not the only one that struggles with this!

    • http://www.bridgetteraes.com Bridgette

      Hi Meg,
      Take comfort in the fact that you are definitely not alone! I am 5’7″ with a 6 1/2 foot. I have large calves myself but am not a large woman. I find that the shaft of a boot is affected by the size of a foot so having feet on the smaller size it’s a double whammy for us. Have you considered going to the plus size stores for boots? I know it may sound crazy if you’re not a plus size woman but the calf widths are much wider. I believe I made that suggestion in the blog. I haven’t needed to go that route myself yet, but it is something to think about if you’re still struggling.
      When I wrote my book large calves was seriously the easiest chapter for me to write about. Trust me I encounter more clients with our problem than those who don’t! I will be sure to keep you in mind on my shopping journeys! Thanks for your comment and good luck!

  • Kim Nguyen

    Those boots that you have the beige ones with buckles at the top of this pages what type of boots are those? I would love to have those they look so cute.

    • http://www.bridgetteraes.com Bridgette

      I wish I could remember who they were by. This post is from last year so it has been a while. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

    • http://Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      Hi Jessica! I’m sorry to hear this. What is your problem that you’re finding? Is the shaft still too tight or is a foot size issue?

  • http://twitter.com/Nick_Johnsn Nick Johnson

    Stylish and attractive wide calf dress boots are very much possible in this fashionable era. People are loving these boots.

  • Lil Licia

    Hi, I have a size 2 1/2 foot & 15 1/2 calf! I’m 4’8 and I need boots asap for a Wedding!! Help!!

    • James

      Boots are not made for beautiful strong legs like yours hon but only for week and skinny legs.

  • Reg Vass

    I have a huge calf and have found boots for wide calves, however…I would like to tap into the bootie/shootie trend and don’t know how to wear those. Any suggestions? show leg, don’t show leg, wear with skirts or dresses or don’t?? Ugh.. I hate my legs!!!

    • http://Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      I have the same problem! If you are showing leg, I like to use a little bronzer or leg makeup to make my legs look more even. I particularly like Sally Hansen’s Leg Makeup. However, to create a longer, slimmer line I’d suggest the booties with opaque tights that closely match the color of the shoes, especially if you are wearing skirts or dresses.

      • Reg Vass

        thank you! What do you think about the rolled up jeans and some skin showing? I look at those models and just wish I could pull that off…lol

        • http://Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

          It could work, as lomg as the jeans aren’t rolled to the wider part of your calves.

          • Reg Vass

            great!!! thank you again

  • Jansi

    Look up Boot Bands… I just got my pair… They are spendy but really I love them

    • http://www.facebook.com/exotiquemua Twilisha

      OMG i didn’t even know this was a thing! ^_^

  • Susan Harwood

    To make the challenge even greater, try finding an 11 Narrow boot for wide calves! Wide calves do not necessarily mean Medium, Wide or Extra Wide feet. Even a source like Maryland Square (which has a number of options for wide calves) excludes the wide calf option for AAA and AA foot sizes! So frustrating!

    • http://Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      I have a similar problem because my feet are so small but my calves are much larger. Shoe manufactures assume that if you have a 6 1/2 foot that you have small calves. Very frustrating. Have you ever checked out Marmi Shoes? http://shop.marmishoes.com/index.htm I know they cater to special sizes and definitely carry your size and shoe width. Let us know how you make out!

  • Christina

    Hi! Okay, seriously, I can’t find anyone else with this problem. I’m 140 pounds. I have a very athletic body; my left calf is about 15 1/2″. I don’t need some HUGE boot, I am NOT plus size. I just need a boot that is maybe a LITTLE loose on my calves. The problem is that my RIGHT calf is a little bigger than my left calf because I had a serious surgery a couple years ago that involved my leg needing to make a large amount of scar tissue. I obviously can’t get two different sizes, and they aren’t THAT noticeably different. I think my right calf is 16″. Anyways, I still need a pair that fits to my right leg, you know?. Any ideas? Thank you.

    • http://Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      Hi! I have one calf that is slightly larger than the other. Have you tried Widewidths.com? Also, I recently bought a pair of Sam Edelman boots that are generously roomy if you want to check them out. It’s the Penny style. I see them sold at most retailers online. Another suggestion is to have one boot shaft stretched slightly by your shoemaker. I hope that helps!

  • Sisim

    Hi, I have problem with my calfs. I’m a soccer player, so my ankles and four inches of my leg are very small. However, go any further and I have 17 inch bulge that shrinks down to 14 inches just before my knee. What on earth can I do? Normals boots are too small for my bulge and plus size boots are too big for the skinny parts of me.

    • http://Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      Hi! As a previous poster commented, have you checked out Boot Band? http://www.bootband.com

    • James

      There is nothing you can do just accept it.

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  • Kristin

    I just purchased a pair of Julian rain boots. I had originally bought the Huntress Hunter one’s but little too tight at the top.. Try out the Julian’s

  • Alexandra Maas

    to be honest – there can be panels made into the bootshafts. I have it done all the time. Every pair I buy goes right away to the shoemaker, and he makes either elastic darts to the side of the zippers, or several darts with leather or elastic along the upperside of the shaft. I buy boots, go out to the leathershop, find me some in the same or a goodlooking colour (often just a slivver of something, it costs about 5 euro’s max) and have them poot in. For long shafts he asks 25 euro’s a pair, for ancle boots only 5 euro’s. I mean – really!! :)

  • Brenda

    Like Bridgette, I am also 5’7″ with a 6 1/2 foot. No we do not have fat calves! Think about it – most people with a 6 1/2 foot are pre-teen girls or very short women – so of course their calves are smaller than the legs of a tallish woman! Thank you for the article and let’s hope more companies start offering beautiful high quality boots to fit all kinds of sizes.

    • http://www.Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      Ha! We’re leg twins!!! I agree with you. Much of the problem with women like us is that the shaft is just narrower because the shoe size is smaller. I still have somewhat large calves (particularly large ankles) and when I find a shoe company that doesn’t assume all people with 6 1/2 size feet are under the age of 12 I am thrilled! Thanks for your comment!

  • IG:uptsugar504

    I actually have the boots from Target…I bought them last year and they dont cover my calves all of the way :(

    • http://www.Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      Thanks for sharing! I am sure helpful for those considering!

  • IG:uptsugar504

    How much does it cost to get them stretched?

    • http://www.Bridgetteraes.com/ Bridgette Raes

      Hi! I wish I could remember. It was so long ago. I don’t remember it being over $50.

  • James

    Hello, I would like to know where I can purchase the beige boots (first boots pictured) as a gift for my wife? A link? Any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/exotiquemua Twilisha

    It makes me so sad to go shoe shopping sometimes. I wear a size 11 shoe, and my feet are wide AND flat, and I have a 19 inch calf…and one of my calves is bigger than the other. When I find a boot that i can zip up my sausage legs…it’s like i throw caution to the wind and BUY BUY BUY!

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