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 :)

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

La Canadienne Sandra

The lovely Italian-leather, Canada-made Sandra was just what I needed to counteract the disappointment of that way-too-wide Ecote back lacing boot. This is one for the ages, and if your calves are 13-13.5 around, you may find it the ultimate riding boot. Even if they're 12-13 inches, the Sandra may be worth your time to try on.

I measured the boot opening at 14.5 inches in my size, 8 (remember, smaller shoe sizes will likely come with an incrementally slimmer calf), which gave me some space even around skinny cords. Not enough to look sloppy, though, possibly thanks to the texture of the leather. It's quite soft to the touch but firm enough to stand up on its own in the closet--no flopping.

The Sandra sits smack in the middle of the rustic-to-dressy riding boot spectrum and will work in just about any context. So for sheer versatility, these are some of the best riding boots for small calves I've found.

For a narrowish boot, this one also stands out for its lack of obvious stretch panels. There are some small stretch insets, but they're nicely hidden, if that matters to you. All you see is that lovely leather and a subtle silvertone buckle at the ankle, which measures 10.25 inches around. I'd prefer an inch smaller there, but again, the boot looks pretty darned good.

At the widest point of my calf, about 11.5" up the shaft, the Sandra measured 13.75. Take that plus the top-opening and ankle measurements and you've got a boot that's about an inch wider than the Kors Arley, top to bottom.
with knit tights
(Or top to ankle, at least, though the Sandra is roomier in the foot & toe too -- something I liked, as it made it super comfortable straight out of the box.)

A real bonus: Like the Orso, this is waterproof.I don't know how La Canadienne and Aquatalia pull off these gorgeous leathers that can handle rain and snow, but somehow they do, and we all get to reap the benefits.   

with thin stockings

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

Find it at: Amazon

Note: I suspect the La Canadienne Paige (if you can find it somewhere -- I can't, as of late Feb. '16) may be cut a bit slimmer than the Sandra, though it does have a stretch section in back, as do most skinny leg options. Worth a look, especially if the Sandra's ankle buckle (which I rather like) doesn't float your boat.

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