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.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Frye Molly Gore Tall

Ahh, the sweet fragrance of a pair of Frye boots straight from the box. I'm so glad my favorite label's 2014 Molly Gore boots for skinny calves eased on down in price enough these past few weeks for me to road-test them now, with months of boot-friendly chilly temps still ahead for most of us.

In a nutshell, I think this a terrific pair of slim calf riding boots, especially at the sale price. I understand how full retail could rub some the wrong way for a shaft that prominently features stretch fabric, though if you're desperate enough, the fit alone could be worth it. The big news is that these are the skinniest Fryes I've tried so far, with top-midcalf-ankle circumferences sneaking it at 0.2 inches smaller, total, than the label's older-model Chelsea Riding. The top (opening) is a half-inch bigger on the Molly than on the Chelsea, but the Molly's midcalf is 0.8" smaller around, and the ankle measurement is the same for these two sleek, unfussy designs that -- it's safe to say -- are not going out of style anytime soon.

In a size 7.5, the Molly measures 14.6 inches up top, an impressively small 12.2" at the midcalf, and 10.5" at the ankle. The shaft is taller in front than back by a half-inch or so, with the front measuring 16.4" high -- ideal for a "tall short person" like myself who carries most height in the legs or a straight-up taller person, but possibly too high for a decidedly petite or shorter-limbed woman who hopes to avoid the dreaded hits-right-on-the-kneecap look.

The soft, pliable leather has been described by some reviewers as lightly pebbled, but it's really more "weathered" through the shaft. The foot appears smoother, but the slight contrast between the two textures doesn't look odd to me at all.

In the soft brown "whiskey" color I'm wearing in these photos, the Molly is most definitely two-toned, but in the darker brown and black options it's more of an all-one-color look. Whatever hue you choose, a 0.7"-wide strip of leather running up the back pulls the two textures together.

The stretch fabric itself is stiffer and sturdier than that employed by similar half-and-half type boots, while still conforming nicely to the calf. It does take a moment longer to pull the Molly on than it would a zippered boot, but this shouldn't be a huge issue for those of us with very thin legs. If it is, try folding the shaft down a bit before pulling on -- in my experience, Frye leather can tolerate some extra handling :)

If you're between half-sizes, I'd recommend going with the larger. I usually take a 7.5 but occasionally an 8, and though good leather will stretch somewhat, I think in the Molly I'd be better off with an 8. With free shipping sites, of course, you can always get both sizes and send one back.

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

Find it at:
Amazon (four colors; as of mid October 2015, over 60% off in some size/color combos)

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