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, April 11, 2015

Maxstudio Draping

If your ideal narrow calf riding boots are super literal, as in "I'm ready to saddle up," the oddly named but sleek, chic Maxstudio Draping boot may not be your cup of tea. This is a modernized, slightly mod riding silhouette that can definitely go to work as well as play :)

The burnished leather -- in black or the brown hue I tried, mocha colored with pretty gray undertones -- is soft and smooth, more on the elegant than rustic side. A seam down the front center and capped toes and heels add an arty flair. (Though I'd never before tried Maxstudio footwear, I've owned a few outfits from the clothing arm of this brand and would say this is par for their course -- streamlined but with small touches of visual interest through layering, draping or architectural details.)

The boot's shaft is leather-lined -- always a nice touch. The small interior wedge is a selling point for me too, as I don't always find super-flat boots super comfy to walk in, or flattering to the leg. The 3/4-inch heel listed for the Draping is actually this hidden inner wedge -- look closely & you'll see it at left -- and from the outside this appears a flat boot (certainly the flattest I've tried for this blog).

Okay, the measurements: This one runs 14.5" around the top, 12.5 at the midcalf, and 10.5 at the ankle. Pretty slim! Need it slimmer, as I do? The interior wedge isn't the only secret feature of these tall slim boots (shaft height: 16.5" in a size 7.5). There's actually a Velcro patch underneath the cute partial cuff up top that allows you to tighten about 1/2" more -- narrowing the top circumference to 14" -- without blatant folding or wrinkling through the shaft.

I was worried that such a sleek boot would have a sleek, slippery sole, but happily, no. There's a nice pebbled-rubber section, running from toes through balls of the foot, that should forestall sliding around.

Warning: These boots run small. Small enough that for a moment I was afraid I wasn't even going to be able to get the 7.5 onto my foot to show you! Definitely size up if you're between half sizes, or maybe even if you're not. Also, my heel felt rubbed in an uncomfortable way, but that might just have been because my feet were crammed in so snugly. Finally, the toe is quite rounded, which visually shortens the foot, for what that's worth.

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

In brown and black
Find it at:
Shoot - I think this one is gone now...please post if you find it somewhere!

**Spring 2018 update**

Non-extinct options from Maxstudio --

 Gilly (below) is another of the brand's streamlined slim calf boot styles, and great news -- it's heavily discounted, especially with the additional discount code listed last time I checked. Let's hope the listed circumference of 13 inches is accurate, as that's a rarity! (Update: Comments by the first, petite reviewer suggest that hooray, it is accurate :)
photo: maxstudio.com

photo: maxstudio.com
And the circumference of the cute, comfy looking Depart (left, over 50% off as of mid-March 2016) -- a sportier take on equestrian style -- has a 13.5" circumference in size 8.5, according to Nordstrom, and, per the brand's own site, features "adjustable velcro at the calf." Based on the photos, that looks to be nicely hidden. Intriguing...


  1. Replies
    1. Sorry, I'm not sure. If forced to guess, I'd say Asia -?

  2. May I ask where you read the review for the Gilly boot? I looked at the maxstudio website and couldn't find the circumference or shaft height listed. I'm also interested in knowing the shaft height. Also, have you ordered from their website before? I'm skeptical because I've never heard of maxstudio.

    1. Hi there - sorry I've been out of pocket these last couple days. I read the Gilly reviews on the Nordstrom website - see https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/maxstudiogilly-tall-boot-women/4056808 - they are still readable there, though the boot itself is sold out at Nordies, which lists the shaft height as 16.5" for size 8.5. It will likely be a bit shorter for smaller shoe sizes, but not dramatically shorter. The Maxstudio brand has been around for a long time, and the checkout link on their website appears to be secure, so I wouldn't worry about ordering from there. It looks like you can actually use your Amazon login info to check out at Maxstudio, which is nice. One caveat is that if you return the item, you pay the return shipping. They ship the boot to you for free, though, looks like. That's all I've got. Best of luck!