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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stuart Weitzman Equine

How does Stuart Weitzman charge $500+ for its wares year after year, almost never resort to sale pricing, and still sell out its narrow shaft riding boots with ease in all but the very ends of the shoe-size spectrum? Behold the Equine.

Truthfully, I only go horseback riding once every year or two, on family trips to North Carolina. I don't know much about what the hallmarks are, exactly, of a "real" equestrian boot. But I've come to develop a pretty good sense of what so many of us love about equestrian-inspired styles that get it right, and I think the word is "grace." They're sporty but not sexless; strong but not severe; simple but not boring; luxurious but not showy. You put them on and start moving around a bit more fluidly. At least that's how this sleek, Spanish-made boot feels to me.

Enough rhapsodizing & on to the stats. True to its listings, the Equine comes in at only 13.5 inches for the top opening -- small! But here's where things get interesting. The midcalf measurement is actually a little larger, at 14", thanks to a very gentle curved design through the shaft.

At 12", the ankle measurement is definitely not small, but because this is quite structured leather -- a stand up in the closet type, not flop down -- the roomy area doesn't have that elephant-skin effect sometimes seen in lesser boots. 

Speaking of ankles, there's an ingeniously designed, small elastic inset at the inside ankle that felt pretty important for getting the boot on easily. But that's the only elastic you'll find, and it's hard to spot unless you're looking, so if you aren't into the stretch panel look, you're in luck with this one.

You can go to the movies in this boot, or you can defend your dissertation in it. It's what you'd want to be wearing should you bump into a prince at St. Andrew's ;)  It would probably not have been a great choice for that time when I got booze spilled on me twice in one week -- wine at the theatre and beer at an indie rock show -- although a clerk at the Stuart Weitzman shop assured me that yes, you can stainproof/waterproof-spray even their most buttery leathers. (Phew!)

The topline is classified as "asymmetrical," but there's only about a 2/3" difference between the shaft heights for inner (about 16 1/3 inches tall in a shoe size 7.5) and outer (17" tall) leg. At 5'4" tall, I found the shaft height just right, but if you're much shorter, the Equine may be too tall for you.

The color shown here is "walnut," a rich, dark brown that could almost pass for black in certain lights -- though black is also available. The boot comes in a chic croc-embossed leather, too, but I think this smooth, gleaming finish is what the label is most known for -- and a big part of why folks with the budget for it pay the big bucks.

Beauty: *****/5
Value: ***/5
Calf slimness: ***/5
Find it at:
Alas, ebay looks like the sole source as of fall 2016
photo: stuartweitzman.com

Note: The Equine is a real riding look. But if you're after a more fitted ankle and "legging boot" style shaft, you'd probably be happier with the Mezzamezza (right), a knee-high version of Weitzman's cult-classic 5050 but with an inch more heel to flatter the leg.

photo: nordstrom.com
Or -- a great deal (for this brand) popped up last summer through the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: the Stuart Weitzman narrow calf Mixitup knee high boot, at left. Almost identical to the Mezzamezza, no? But at a much friendlier price. After bouncing around on & off sale pricing for months, these unfortunately are available only on ebay as of spring 2016. They were a mammoth hit with narrow calf boot seekers, though, so worth checking out if you can find a NIB or gently used pair.


  1. That's amazing to find you blog for someone with the same problem. I have thin calves and have been looking for perfect riding boots for ages. I'm based in Russia and can't try on Stuart Weitzman equine boots and need to buy it on,one only. I have the same measurements as you do and would really appreciate if you could post more photos of these boots, I mean how they look on the leg. Thanks a lot in advance.

  2. Hi there -- I had one more more photo, where I'm wearing the boots over tights, so I put that up in the post for you. Hope it helps, Sorry the shipping/returning issue is so challenging for overseas. Do you have your heart set on a Weitzman boot, or would you be willing to consider less expensive options? You might want to browse the blog a little more for sale-priced styles, since you're taking such a risk with the overseas order. Best of luck with your search.

  3. If I'm a size 38 in Europe, would a 7.5 fit me perfectly with some space for a thick sock?

  4. Hi! If I'm a EU size 38, would a 7.5 fit me with some allowance for a thick sock?

  5. Hi Liz -- all I can do to advise on this is check the size conversion charts, and based on those, it does look like a size 7.5 would be your best bet -- thanks