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.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Narrow Calf Riding Boots ~ 2015 All-Stars

Artwork copyright 2015 KKG
Not since 2013 have we had the material for a year-end "greatest hits" post featuring riding boots for skinny calves that will work for even the slimmest-legged among us. Despite my hopes, 2015 did not yield an abundance of 5-out-of-5-star boots for calf slimness -- but there were two standouts.

The Vaneli Vesper is, happily, still available at Amazon and for discounts (as I type) of 30 to 70 percent (!). It's a cute style that will be most at home in casual environments but, for some, may work at work too :) Most importantly, it hugs even scrawny calves nicely. So check that one out, if you haven't already.

The Skinnycalf Rider is a luxurious made-in-Italy boot that offers a good value for the price, especially if you use the code SKINNY20 at checkout. Drawbacks: It may not be quite as tall as more statuesque boot lovers would prefer; it runs a little small in the foot, as far as I could tell from my try-on; and (the biggie) it's mostly out of stock now. But there appear to be a few color/size combos available, so worth a peek.

photo: amazon.com
Note: I am 99% sure the reissued Solemani Gabi boots (at right) would rate a 5/5 for calf slimness, though I haven't tried on this year's model. Based on reviews, I'm guessing these are identical, or nearly so, to the Gabis I tried back in 2013. (The new quilted-leather Martina from this same reliably slim-friendly label looks pretty sharp, too, especially in black.)


2015 honorable mentions: The Frye Molly Gore Tall, Frye Phillip Harness Tall, Aquatalia Gina and Via Spiga Bufu all rated 4 out of 5 in my book for both beauty/style and calf slimness. See if one of those strikes your fancy.

photo: 6pm.com
Last-minute tip if you're gift-hunting for a tall girl: The Ugg Danae is pretty elegant for a cold-weather (sheepskin-lined) boot and has a functional buckle for calf adjustment. Caveats: Based on reviews around the web, it sounds like this one runs narrow in foot as well as calf, so maybe go up 1/2 size from normal. And the shaft--somewhere between 18 & 20" tall, depending on which store you want to believe--may hit the knee awkwardly for shorter or even average-height folks.

Happy, healthy holidays to all ... and special thanks to everyone who has made this page more fun, useful, lively & engaging by posting a comment. May 2016 bring more laughter than tears, and -- just maybe, if it's not pushing our luck -- a few new skinny boot styles :-)


  1. Thank you for this awesome list! I just ordered a pair of Solemani in black, last pair too! This was meant to be :)

  2. Glad you snagged that last pair! Happy New Year!!

    1. Hi Mary! Love your blog. When I read your note about the Ugg Danae above, I got super excited and ordered them. For the size 8 1/2, the calf circumference was a massive 15 inches!!! So they are going back. Just thought I could save others the pain of disappointment.

    2. Hi Mary! I LOVE your blog. Just a note about the Ugg Danae that you mentioned above. I got excited when I read what you wrote and ordered them. For the size 8 1/2, the calf circumference was a massive 15 inches!!!! I could fit another half a leg in there! Just wanted to pass this on to spare others the disappointment ...

    3. Oh no! So sorry they were not as slim as hoped. But thanks so much for the warning!

  3. Hey, but happy ending. I ordered the Frye Jenna Inside Zip you mentioned, and they are without a doubt the slimmest boot without stretch panels I've ever managed to find. They are keepers! They are about 13.5 inches at the top for an 8 1/2. My only complaint is that they don't narrow much as they drop to the ankle for a kind of straight look. But for boots that don't gape at the top, I can make peace with that. THANK YOU for pointing me in that direction. Happy to share a picture, but I don't know how to attach it here?

  4. Excellent news! Would love to see a pic but yeah, am not sure how to paste one in (I just tried doing one here & no dice). Will explore that more when time permits. So glad to hear the Jenna's a go, though. 13.5" at the TOP, esp for a non-tiny shoe size, is pretty rare. And Fryes are so gorgeous & tough - still my fave brand. Enjoy your new pair!