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, December 14, 2013

Tory Burch Christy

Researching riding boots for small calves that have worked well for others, I read some raves about Tory Burch. It seems this preppy mogul can cut a nice boot for us slimmer women. The smallest-circumference style I found was the Christy, pictured here with my usual assortment of legwear to give you an idea of the fit on 12 inch calves.

Contacting the company, I was told the Christy had a 13-inch circumference in my shoe size, and that turned out to be true...sort of. The crucial midcalf measurement is in fact 13 inches on the dot -- yea! However, the opening up top is 15", which is wider than ideal for me, especially over thin stockings, though with pants it doesn't have nearly as much of that "kid trying on mom's boots" look. At 11 inches around, the ankle is also roomier than desired. But 11, 13, 15 -- in their mathematical beauty, those 3 measurements do kind of express the graceful, even expansion of this boot shaft from bottom to top.

With its pretty pebbled texture and rich espresso color (also available in black), this is the classic run-through-lush-green-fields-like-you're-in-a-Ralph-Lauren-photo-shoot boot that non-WASPs like me may feel slightly ashamed to covet so fiercely ;)  It also gets high marks from my better half, who didn't seem to mind the roominess through the calf. Its elegant simplicity reminds me somewhat of the Frye Chelsea, except that the Christy has a full zipper in back, while the Chelsea has none, and the Chelsea is actually slimmer at both the top and ankle.

In fact, the zipper is one of my favorite features, and something that will appeal to fellow logophobes: There's a subtle double "T" on the zipper pull -- and nowhere else. It's a cute logo, but I've never enjoyed being a walking billboard, so this approach is perfect.

The Christy is a luxury boot, offered right now at a semi-luxury price, so it probably won't last long. (Some sizes are already sold out.) Here's to more slim styles in the future from a brand that clearly knows how to do "riding" right.

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

In brown or black.
Sold out everywhere, for a while now -- but check the ebay listings - you might get lucky.

***fall 2014 update***

photo: amazon.com
I think the Tory Burch Marlene may be the best Christy replacement for fall, with a similarly rich color (if you love brown for classic equestrian style boots, as I do -- but the style comes in black as well), shape, and leather texture. The embossed logo at the cuff up top is more pronounced than the Christy's cute little zipper pull, but its placement is clever enough to overrule my logophobe tendencies.

Also new for fall, the gorgeous new Grace (right) impressed me with its beauty and construction, but less so with its slimness.

Thanks in advance for posting feedback if you try the Marlene or another new style from this label...


  1. can you please tell me what size boot your ordered in this pic? my calf is 12" as well and i want to know if these will be the same measurements for a size 7.

  2. Sure -- I got the size 8. So for a size 7, the opening, midshaft & ankle measurements will be either the same or a bit smaller (probably 1/2 inch at most).

  3. My calves are 12" also...and I struggle to find slim boots.
    I like the style of these except for the look of the front part just at/above ankle height. It gets somewhat crumpled-looking. Know of any slim boots with details or stitching/patchwork that help to take away your eye from that part?