With scrawny 11.9-inch calves, I've been on a mission for years (decades!) to find the very best, most beautiful slim calf boots. There have been successes, but for whatever reason, what remain most elusive are the perfect riding boots for thin calves. Heels and wedges are challenging to find with a narrow shaft, but equestrian inspired? The toughest of all. In this blog I'll review riding boots with calf circumferences published, or reported anecdotally, at under 14 inches around. If your legs are like mine, maybe you'll find your dream boot here :)

Please note: Except where otherwise stated in the captions, all photos & text are copyright this "Howdy Slim" blog and cannot be used elsewhere without permission.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Aquatalia Orso

Speaking of Aquatalia ... meet the Aquatalia Orso. This is one beautiful boot, and a true thin calf design, though it will stretch to accommodate average-sized legs as well. I measured its top circumference at 13.75 inches in a size 8, and the shaft stays slim all the way down.

I tried the Orso on with flimsy stockings, knit tights, and skinny cords. It worked with each. Truth be told, its stretch panels were never really "activated" -- not even over my cords -- but the material is not so soft that the boot slouched. (Riding boots should be sleek & streamlined in my book, or maybe rugged & rustic, but not slouchy. That's a whole other style.)

There is an interesting "arching" detail on the heel that might put some off, but I found it pretty and flattering. Not really a selling point, but not a negative either. What is a selling point is the high-quality look, feel and (yes, I'll go there) smell of these boots.

I have two Aquatalias, but they're both more obvious winter-looking styles. The Orso would handle snow, rain & ice just as well but without the outerwear look. A winner.

Beauty: *****/5
Value: **/5
Calf slimness: *****/5

In black or brown.
Find it at: (as of Feb. 2016) it looks like ebay is the only option left

***fall 2014 update***

Based on some positive reviews from those with thin legs and ankles, the Obsession style may be heir apparent to the Orso -- check out the photo on a model leg that looks not skinny, but at least slim -- though its stretch panel has a more textured look. (Winter update: Looks like this style can only be found on ebay at this point...)

Another promising Aquatalia pick is the Odina, which has a listed circumference of 14" but, in the video clip, looks pretty sleek on a relatively slim-seeming pair of legs.

photo: amazon.com
Finally, another sleek style -- though adorned with slim buckles at top -- is the deeply discounted (as of fall 2014) Deliver (under $200 in some color/size combos as I write -- very rare for this brand). Interestingly, I'm not seeing any stretch panels in the photos, even hidden ones -- a daring move, as it would presumably limit this 13.5" circumference boot to only thin calved ladies.


  1. Have you tried the Naturalizer Jersey riding boots? I'm in the same boat as you wtih thinner calves (12 inches) so it is hard finding boots that fit well. I saw those today and ordered them - hoping they fit well. If not, then I'll spend another $200+ on the Clarks Mullen Spice boots.

  2. I haven't tried that Naturalizer style but just did a little research. It's tricky .... circumference seems to be 14 to 15 inches, depending on who you ask (different shops/sites list it differently, which unfortunately is often how these things go). The Jersey is modeled in an hsn.com video & looks just a bit roomy on a thin-seeming leg -- not snug, but not too gappy either. Then I saw a review on themombuzz.com from someone with, reportedly. 11.75" calves, and though she gave this style a favorable writeup, I thought from the photos that it looked enormous around her calves. My hunch is that these will be a bit roomy on your 12" calves, but I'd love to get your impressions once you've tried them, if you're able to pop back in & comment again. Just curious, though -- why would the Mullen Spice be $200 more? On Amazon, at least, the Jersey is running $100-200 in most sizes right now, while the Mullen Spice is going for about 200...