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.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Clarks Pita Dakota

Of the dozens of slim calf riding boots featured here these past two years, the Clarks Mullen Spice is an all-time reader favorite, combining adjustable circumference (via functional buckles) with comfort, versatility and a fair price. It's been ages since I reviewed that one, so I was eager to take what looked to be a new Clarks contender, the interestingly named Pita Dakota (update: priced at an insanely low 60 bucks as of April 2018) for a spin.

Good news first? The leather upper is sturdy but soft, a little dressier/less rugged than the burnished-looking Mullen Spice but still unfussy and wearable for play as well as many work environments. For comfort, a lightly padded footbed is paired with a cozy faux suede lining that runs through the entire inside shaft and foot except for the stretch panel in back (which we'll get to in a moment). A full inside zip makes on & off a snap. And the price is, as with the Mullen Spice, reasonable for a tall leather boot.

Unfortunately, there's some not-as-good news in terms of measurements. I can never figure out why boots with stretch panels can't have a smaller base circumference. There's a need, and market, for both average-circumference boots that stretch to fit wide calves and narrow-circumference boots that stretch to fit average calves. Probably both markets are underserved, but the latter especially so, it seems (though I could certainly be biased...).

In size 7.5, the Pita Dakota has a midcalf circumference of 13.75" (not bad), but it's 15" at the top and, even with the buckle on its smallest setting, 12" at the ankle. I like the boot but can't help but wonder how much better it would look with a good inch or so knocked off each of these measurements.

Sizing tips: the 7.5 felt true-to-size, though not overly roomy, with a shaft height of 17" -- a true knee-high boot for me and possibly too tall for those of shorter than average stature or proportionally short legs.

For what it's worth, while the upper is leather, the stretch panel on this boot is a textured synthetic of some sort. I personally don't mind the texture, which like the upper is sturdy but pliable. (Apologies for the upside-down photo above that I can't seem to fix! It's gonna have to do for now...)

There's some texture, too, on the rubber sole, but for slippery environs it could leave something to be desired. The low wood heel is pretty & walkable.

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

In black or brown.
Find it at:



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Posting for Priya:
    Love your blog too! Always on the lookout for cute boots to fit my skinny calves (I actually ended up finding the MK Arley Stretch boots on shoes.com last year, such a find!), but thought you might consider reviewing the MK Hamilton 50/50 boots that are out this year. They look similar in construction to Arley, but less hardware, and it's silver instead of gold. :)

    1. Thanks Priya! I aim to keep links to a minimum here, so pasted in your comment sans link (I still haven't figured out how to remove a link but publish the rest of someone's original post, sorry! :).
      So glad you stopped by, and SO glad for your reco on the new Hamilton. My one beef with the Arley was too much hardware, so I'll check this style out right away -- thanks!

    2. ps the Kors Bryce looks like a thin calf option too! Gotta get back into the MK game...

  3. You fall between a 7.5 and 8 like me. Which would you order in this boot?

  4. I tried the 7.5. It fit TTS but did not give me, personally, enough room in the foot for a thick winter sock. So I would say consider what type of tights/socks you plan to wear with your boots, and choose size accordingly. Or if you order from Amazon and are in the USA, they generally provide free shipping and returns, so you can get both 7.5 & 8 and return whichever doesn't work. GL & happy holidays :)