The fact that the Chelsea Riding is extinct at other shoe sites suggests that it's been discontinued, though Frye has a more reasonably priced version out now, the Lindsay Gore (70% off in some color/sizes as of April '15!)-- a bit shorter in shaft, which may help average to shorter in stature boot lovers.
But back to the Chelsea ....
I could tell as soon as I opened the box that this would be a winner, and my tape measure bore that out. At the top opening and in a size 7 1/2, they measure 14 inches around, at midcalf they're 13", and around the ankle they're 10.5. Overall a very slim profile -- yes! I'm not sure we'll see a slimmer Frye than this ever, actually, so this is a huge deal in my book.
The Riding Chelsea should appeal to fans of last year's Tory Burch Christy, which had essentially the same style but in a pebbled leather. Good news: The ankle on these Fryes is a half-inch slimmer than on the Christy, and up top we're talking a whole inch slimmer. As cute as Tory's "T" logo is, I think the Frye one signifies just as much (if not more) style & durability, and based on personal experience, I'd pick this brand over pretty much any other for a timeless boot to wear for years, possibly decades.
Fave touches for me, besides the overall fit and quality, are the subtle top-of-shaft button detail...
The lovely wood heel, and (of course) that irresistible Frye logo >>
P.S. For a different take on knee-high Frye, check out the also-gorgeous (though slightly wider-calved) Frye Melissa Riding.
Rating for the Riding Chelsea:
Calf slimness: ****/5
Find it at:
(Update: Appears this stunner was reintroduced/restocked sometime in 2015, based on more sizes now available...yippee!)
Amazon (in cognac, black & my fave: espresso)
First up, I first saw the stretch riding boot at left -- the Frye Molly Gore -- looking great on some lean legs in the Nordstrom anniversary sale catalog and eventually got them onto my own. Happily, I spoke too soon about the Chelsea being the slimmest Frye we'll ever get!
Besides the Molly, a Nordstrom anniversary sale boot that got major blog love was the Phillip Riding (pictured at right). Amazon seems to have, as of early spring 2016, a better range of sizes and colors for this one than Nordstrom ever did, and -- in many size/color combos -- is offering even kinder pricing than that exciting Nordies sale rate. It's a half-inch wider in listed circumference than the Molly, but that's still pretty slim for this brand.
Please do post a comment if you try either of these (or the Chelsea, for that matter) on your narrow calves!
Finally .... if you're looking for non-trendy Frye short boots for skinny ankles, I'm loving my new Jackie Gores. They're not as hip as all the moto styles out now, which I do like, but unlike those they'll still be in style next year, and many years after that, until they finally succumb to "overuse injuries" ;) The small ankle circumference leaves space for jeans and cords but doesn't look ridiculous with just socks or tights.