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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Skinnycalf Rider

We're on fire, ladies! Two 5-out-of-5-for-slimness boots already for 2015, less than two months into the year.

The latest is the Rider from Skinnycalf Boots, a just-launched NYC-based line aiming to bring "young and current but also timeless" designs to women with smaller than average calf circumferences. These Italian-made beauties were kindly loaned to me for review, and I'm happy to report they are among the slenderest riding boots I've tried.

In size 7.5, the Rider measures 13.5" up top, a wonderful 12.5 at the midcalf & 10.25" at the ankle for a chic, streamlined fit. The shaft is slightly curved -- sadly, the calf definition you see above is the boot, not  my leg -- but nowhere near as dramatically as some of the other styles I've reviewed here. So I think these flatter my plank-like legs.

The cognac color is stunning, and the Italian leather rich & glowing. The soft leather lining is a nice touch. 

I would say these run just on the snug side of true-to-size, so if you are between half sizes, go with the larger of the two, especially if you plan to wear with a thicker sock -- though the leather feels like it will stretch nicely to conform to the foot.

A couple of caveats: The shaft in a size 7.5 is 15.5 inches tall, which should please boot lovers who are around average range in stature or a bit shorter (but not too short), whereas those much taller than average may wish for another inch or so in shaft height. And the sole is rubber for a nice grip but doesn't feature much in the way of treads or grooves, so you might not want to take these out in the iciest of weather, even if you've weatherproof-treated them.

FYI: Skinnycalf carries a sexy heeled style, too (at right), that is even slimmer than the Rider (Early 2018 update: I'm not sure whether this small business plans to produce more styles in the future, but I see that the Grady high-heeled style I modeled for the photo at right is on final sale -- i.e., nonreturnable, I presume -- now for only $90, which is an excellent deal for Italian-made leather boots with a truly narrow shaft.)

Also in the initial rollout was/is a cozy, shearling-lined wedge boot for the chilly months.

Rating for the Rider:
Beauty: *****/5
Value: ***/5
Calf slimness: *****/5

In cognac & black.
Find it at:
Skinnycalf.com (20% off as of October '15, with code SKINNY20)


  1. Hit there :) i didnt know where else to write this... but have you found any western style riding boots? My legs are the same measurements as yours and I cannot find a well fitting western boot to ride in.

  2. Thanks for the query! The few western style boots I've tried on have been disappointments, fit wise, except for my beloved Frye Taylor Pull-Ons, which are only 13" around and fit pretty well plus are very cute and versatile. Not sure those are an authentic enough western style for you, though. Ariat styles are sometimes known for narrow circumference, but I don't have the firsthand scoop on that. Best of luck!

  3. thanks for getting back to me :) i'll look into them.
    Ive written to Ariat but they weren't very helpful... neither was Justin boots for that matter.
    Thank you

  4. Hi, I feel like we have identical measurements, so I was wondering if you tried these in a 7.5 or 8. I'm looking into these boots and I almost always wear a 7.5 - would you suggest sticking with a 7.5 or bumping up to an 8? Thanks!

    1. Hi there - I am somewhat more of a 7.5 than an 8 normally and tried these in a 7.5. They were tight enough on my foot to be unworkable for any serious walking, so size 8 would absolutely be the right call for me in this boot. I would suggest you try the 8 too, even though you're almost always a 7.5 -- but am very much hoping I'm right about that! The Skinnycalf website says free shipping & returns, so there should be no risk in trying the 8 first and then (if needed) exchanging for a 7.5. Once you've tried them, please come back & share re the fit!

  5. Hi, I feel like we have identical measurements :) Did you try these on in a 7.5 or an 8 and would you suggest sticking with one or the other? I typically wear a 7.5. Thanks!