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.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Donald Pliner Prize

These are the first two-tone slim calf tall boots I've ever tried. I was worried that the brown on this Donald Pliner Prize boot would be closer to a caramel or butterscotch, yielding too much contrast with the black, but in person it's more of a milk chocolate. (Sorry for all the candy descriptors...I'm late on lunch!) 

One reviewer had said the Prize, which also comes in all black, is "preshaped" for a larger calf, and I didn't really get what she meant until I tried it on. It's a structured, non-floppy boot with a curved shaft that, I would say, is not proportioned for a large calf but more for an average to moderately slim one. I don't know from horses, but for some reason this shape strikes me as particularly equestrian inspired.

On my legs, the Prize looks terrific from the front, but from the side there's a bit of space inside where it curves out, even over thickish J Crew stretch pants (left). My calves have zero curve, so this illusion isn't necessarily a bad thing. Bottom line, if you want a decent fit and the appearance of a bit curvier calf, this look may be for you.

Measurements? The opening is 14.5", midcalf where I'm fullest is 13.5, and ankle is 10.5. These are for a size 7.5 boot -- remember that the dimensions will almost always increase gradually as sizes go up, decrease as they go down.
If stretch panels are your nemesis, you might not do much better than the Prize, which is all about long, lean leather (at, happily, a  lean price to match, as of early Feb.), with just a touch of covered goring at the top.
The shaft is tall, but not as tall as on the Nellie. No problems with it hitting my knee uncomfortably, but if you're much shorter than I (5'4"), it may be too tall for you.

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

In black or brown/black. 

Jan. 2015 update: I think this one's gone! As in, gone everywhere. If you like it & find it somewhere, do share in the comments...

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