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, April 12, 2014

Clarks Mullen Spice

In nearly five years of writing about riding boots for thin calves, I don't think I've seen a style that attracted more fans than this boot (heads up: this is heavily discounted in some sizes as of late winter 2015) -- the Clarks Mullen Spice ... sometimes confusingly listed as the Mullin Spice, but the same style regardless of spelling.

Almost everyone seems to love this one. I think the soft but not slouchy leather has a lot to do with that. The padded footbed and cozy lining help, too. The burnished effect adds a rusticity to the color, but not so much that these narrow calf boots can't be dressed up for date night. Overall, just a really solid choice, though -- based on the measurements -- not among the very skinniest I've found.

The two buckles on this boot are most definitely functional, accommodating legs from the thinner to fuller edges of average quite well. In size 8, with buckles tightened to their smallest setting, I measured the midcalf circumference at a nice, lean 13.5 inches. The (nonadjustable) ankle isn't bad either, at 10.5". I do wish the top opening (14.75") was a bit smaller. 

The midcalf buckle could be tightened even further than 13.5 with the punching of an additional hole (try this tool) on the lower of the two straps. The higher strap, unfortunately, doesn't appear to have space for an additional hole to be added -- a strategy which could have narrowed the opening circumference a little. 

Based on others' reviews, the good looks and major-league comfort of this boot, combined with the Clarks reputation (frankly, it's tough to find high-quality walking-oriented brands with narrower than average shafts), are clearly enough to offset the Mullen's slim but not skinny dimensions. 
Given the warm, fuzzy-soft lining, this is the perfect fall boot, but the advantage to grabbing it now, in spring, is that it's priced well under retail, which may not be the case come fall -- if it's even around then, given the popularity of this boot-fan favorite.

One caveat: As you can see from the photos, the "tan" shade is a misnomer. In reality it's a more versatile mid to dark brown.

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

Find it at:
Amazon (30-70% off as of early Aug. 2015!)


  1. Nyclady - so sorry, I think yr comment got accidentally deleted :(

    Comment was that these Clarks boots are still around this year & fit her 11.6 calves over jeans (she has an old Munro pair for that), plus the soft leather is a selling point.

    I agree - these are probably in the top 3 most comfortable styles I've reviewed here...

    Question re the Munros -- are they the Ann style by chance? Or do you know the style name? Maybe it would turn up on eBay, if other readers are interested. Thx!

    1. Ugh, sorry, rushing too much - meant the skinny Munros fit our commenter nyclady w/ skirts.