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.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Solemani Gabi


November 2016 update: Solemani has three new riding styles for very narrow calves, pictured below: the Timeless (at bottom) the Trendy & the Naz (top). All made from leather and priced under $200. Enjoy! 

photo c amazon



photo c amazon
photo c amazon

Original review on the Gabi:
While it's awesome that "wide calf" designated boots are becoming more common & diverse, rare indeed are explictly labeled slim riding boots. The Solemani Gabi "Slim Collection" boot (shown at right on my legs -- wisely restocked as of October 2015!) is a very nice step toward balancing out the equation. Bonus: It's leather, and (surprise!) well under $200.

The best thing about the Gabi is that its midcalf circumference -- arguably the key stat for a snug fit -- came in at only 12.25 in shoe size 8, which ties the somewhat dressier looking Arley boot and provides about a quarter inch of wiggle room around my just-under-12" calves. The Gabi fit easily over skinny cords, as you can see from the photo, but without any gapping. There is a small stretch panel in the back (more on that in a bit), but I'm not sure how much expansion it offers and would say this might not be the boot for calves over about 13 inches.

I measured the top opening at 13.5, and the ankle at a nice slim 9.5 inches. 9" on the dot would have been even better for my 8" ankles, but that's almost impossible to find in a riding boot, and even with the 9.5", I definitely needed to unzip the boot all the way down to put these on.

The Gabi's versatile, classic, easy to dress up or down, with subtle silver hardware. The stretch panel in back is only 1.5" wide, which means the boots look all-leather from most angles. Shaft heights are not specifically listed on the measurement chart provided with the Amazon description, but for reference, the height in size 8 measured 15 7/8" from the instep, 16 3/4 from the floor -- pretty much ideal for me (5'4" with longish legs for my height).
Rating:
Beauty: ****/5
Value: *****/5
Calf slimness: *****/5

In black and brown.
Find it at:
Amazon

12 comments:

  1. Hi Mary,
    We are the Manufacture of Solemani Boots. This is our special line of boots for SlimCalfboot.com for Our slim customers.
    We are really happy that our products meets our special customer expectations. We are working on our next year line of boots and we will be pleased if you share your expectation with us. Please contact us info@slimcalfboot.com

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    1. THANK YOU for making slim boots!! When will you have more styles available?

      Thanks!

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    2. November 10th 2014 our new selection would be available in our website as well as Amazon. You could preview and purchase in advance from our website now.
      Styles : Gabi, Gabi2, Paradise, Ronit, Asal, Chastity, motor and Hangout.
      Asal and Motor are over the knee boots.
      Thanks for your interest

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  2. Thanks! You did a good job with this one, and I would say be sure to make another classic riding style, as that's what most people seem to be looking for in a knee-high boot. Maybe also look at Aquatalia and other made-in-Italy boots as inspiration for foot shape -- the Italian brands often seem to make even larger sized feet look sleek and pretty, and I think it's just in their design. I think you'll also want to keep the ankle at 9.5" or smaller for an overall fitted look. Best wishes.

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    1. Are these boots true to size, or do they run big or small? Thanks!

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    2. They are on the roomier side of true-to-size. I am between 7.5 & 8, got the 8 and felt I should have gotten the 7.5. Best of luck :)

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    3. Cool thanks so much for the info!

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  3. Hi Mary!

    Thank you so much for this blog!! I've been struggling for YEARS to find a decent set of boots that doesn't make it look like I'm playing in my dad's work boots (size 8, 7.5" ankle 13" calf).
    I recently bought the La Canadienne Jenny boots, and while I like their style and construction, there's still at least a good 1.5" gap around the top. How would you compare the style and leather quality of the Gabi's to the La Canadienne Jenny? Also, do the Gabi's make your feet look long? That's the other problem with skinny legs and long skinny feet... sometimes it looks like boats with cue tips sticking out of them... so, any help in deciding between these shoes would be great!!

    Thanks!
    Libby

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  4. Hi there Libby --
    I haven't tried the Jenny per se; the only La Canadienne styles I've tried so far are the Stefanie and the Sandra -- both very nice but did leave a little space around my 12" calf. You can search the blog for "La Canadienne" & the info on these should pull up.

    The Jenny has a square toe, right? I find that a little less classic than, say, an almond toe or more rounded one. The Gabi has that rounded toe, but yes, it did indeed make my feet look kind of big. I have noticed that when I do find a truly slim shaft boot, there's a pretty decent chance it will make my feet look long & skinny too. Just one of those factors you have to weigh when comparing the different boot styles. But often the skintight look (if you can find it) ends up not quite being as ideal as one might imagine.

    In terms of practicality, La Canadienne weatherproofs its boots (most of them, at least), so that would be a vote for the Jenny or another one from this label, if you live in a rainy/snowy place like I do.

    I believe the Jenny has a slightly shorter shaft than the Gabi, so depending on your height and leg length, that could be a plus or minus.

    Unless you've found a secret source ;) for the Gabi, though, I don't think it's an option at present, as it's sold out in size 8 as of fall 2014. Maybe restocking is on the horizon...

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    1. ps Libby -- 7.5" ankles are pretty tiny, so I think for you the baggy ankle issue could be a major challenge. Some Michael Kors boots have really small ankles, so maybe look into that brand.

      It's not uncommon for otherwise narrow calf boots to have 10 or 11 inch ankle circumferences or even larger. This can work on a very structured, non-floppy equestrian boot a la Tory Burch or some Fryes. On the softer styles it risks looking super wrinkly and baggy on a tiny ankle.

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  5. I love the new SoleMani boots, especially the Chastity! Wishing that they came in solid black or solid banana bread though. I like that they don't have an elastic back, just not a huge fan of the two-tone look.

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