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, November 22, 2014

Ugg Darcie

Full disclosure: I have been a critic of classic Ugg boots for years. To me, their clunky, lumpen shape that truncates all but tall model legs is not worth what I understand is an incredible level of comfort. Also, I've seen too many elementary-age students in Uggs, and it just seems too much to pay for girls' boots that will be quickly outgrown.

Having said all that, I have to admit that over the past couple of years, Ugg has introduced some very cute alternatives to its original look. One of those is pictured here: the Darcie boots for skinny calves.

This cutie comes in black and the pretty "chestnut" color shown here, in a hand-painted "distressed" finish for a nice rusticity that gives it a hip look, as far as equestrian styles go -- rather like some of the coolest Fryes.

There are two suede straps -- a fixed one at the ankle, and a functional one near the top that can be tightened for thin calves. For the skinniest legs, there actually is a ton of room on that top strap for extra holes to be punched, but I'm not sure the resulting fold along the shaft would be worth it.

Luckily, these are pretty darned slim at just the smallest existing strap setting. The midcalf is a fabulous 13 inches in a size 7.5, and the top is 14" at the smallest setting. The ankle is 11.5 inches.

I had thought, based on information listed online, that this would be a shorter-shaft boot than the typical knee-high riding style, but in fact it measured 15.5 inches tall in shoe size 7.5. That should work for somewhat petite-in-stature boot lovers but may be too high for those 5 feet tall and under. 

I love the Darcie's cozy, plush footbed and leather + cotton fabric lining. And I like its two-toned, sporty overall look. A great cool-weather choice that, with proper care, should age nicely.

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

In chestnut & black.
Find it at:
As of June 2018, the source for this one is ebay!


  1. Hello, I'm also a gal with slim legs. Like you and many others, I struggle to find boots that will fit my legs attractively. I'm glad I came across your blog. I just ordered my first pair of Ugg Darcie and I can't wait to wear them and feel great in them. Also, whatever happened to the Darcies in the Bordeaux color? Are they discontinued?

  2. Hmm, good question about the bordeaux. They may just be sold out, like I seem to remember last year with the chestnut color. Checked Amazon, Nordstrom etc. & no bordeaux in stock. Maybe Zappos will restock?

    Do you have the Darcies in hand yet? If so, how do they fit? They're so cozy -- hope you'll enjoy.

  3. Hi, I just got the Darcie boot. I'm in between an 8 and an 8.5, I got the 8.5 and they are a bit snug. Would you happen to know if they stretch in the toe area with wear?

  4. Hmm, I would say expect a little bit of stretch but not a ton. Are you planning to wear thick socks with the boots for winter? If so, it might be worth it to size up by 1/2 size.

  5. Even with my normal socks they are snug. I don't think thick socks would be an option. Do you have any experience will cobblers stretching the toe area of shoes?

  6. I don't personally, but I bet a cobbler could do this. What I've done with a couple of past footwear challenges is just bring the shoes/boots in to my local cobbler before wearing them on a hard surface (so they'll still be return/exchangeable) and ask if they can fix the issue. If not, I go for the return/exchange. One thing I've learned, though, from a very nice pair of ankle boots sitting practically untouched in my closet for the past year, is that if they pinch your toes, no matter how much you tell yourself you'll wear them anyway, you'll end up always reaching for something else. Comfort does matter, especially with something you'll want to wear all day, not just a couple hours for a holiday party or whatever :)

  7. That is so true. Thank you for the advice. How long is the break in period for the Darcie boot? I find myself not wearing shoes in general if they don't break in quickly, i.e. after a week or so of wear, maybe less if they are really stiff.

    1. I'm not sure about break-in time; sorry! I tend to be hard on my shoes (walk a lot & not a real "delicate" walker), so break-in usually happens quickly if the fit is ok. To speed up the process I'll also sometimes "massage" shoes/boots while watching TV. (Is that weird? Probably yes :} But it helps! I did it for a custom guitar strap, too, that I bought as a gift -- and it was amazing how soft and pliable that got over a week's worth of massage sessions. Plus I got to veg out to a nice long movie without feeling guilty :-)

    2. ps Re the toebox issue -- I was looking the other day at something called the FootFitter shoe stretcher, made from wood. It runs about $25 on Amazon and (per reviews) can widen shoes without damaging them. I'm not sure if it's possible to widen just the toe and not the whole foot, though. Would need to do more research...

    3. Thank you for all your input. I definitely appreciate it. The "massaging" part if funny when you think about it, but I don't think it's weird. It actually makes a lot of sense. Again thank you. One last question... The black Darcie boots are in an 8.5 and are the snug ones, I got a pair of chestnut in size 9 and they feel much better. The only thing is the straps that go along the ankle look really loose. Especially compared to the black ones. I cant tell in your pictures very well, but are yours loose and look stretched out. Maybe I just got a defective pair. The only problem is I cant find another pair in that color and size :(

    4. Ankle straps not too loose, no. Maybe the ones you bought were tried on (and returned) by one or more other customers before you bought them, and they stretched out the straps somehow? Not sure...