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, April 13, 2016

Frye Jenna Inside Zip

It's funny: These gorgeous boots, the Frye Jenna Inside Zip, have the exact same measurements in size 7.5 as the equally gorgeous Frye Tabitha, but to me they look a little slimmer on the leg.

I think it must be because the leather on this one is a firm type that will stand up straight in the closet, vs. the Tabitha's softer shaft. Whatever the reason, these rustic but sleek, ultra-versatile boots are a terrific find for Frye fans, especially those who a) hate stretch panels (there are none on the Jenna!) and b) love incredible deals (under $125 -- if you know Frye, you know how outrageous that is -- in some size/color combos as of April 2016!).

This is an older Frye riding style that for some reason I thought had gone extinct. So imagine my delight to find these small calf boots not only alive and kicking but priced kindly enough to bring this coveted brand into the range of many lower-end labels that don't carry anywhere near Frye quality.

On to the stats...

In size 7.5, the Jenna's circumference is 14.5 inches up top, 13" at midcalf, and 12" at the ankle. I wish an inch could be shaved off that last measurement, but because the leather is not slouchy, I don't think the style looks too baggy around my knobby ankles, do you?

Height: The shaft is 15.5" tall, which is reasonably petite friendly but will look great on an average to slightly longer leg too. The super-statuesque may want to look elsewhere.

The foot fits TTS, and I'd actually probably do better with a size 8 in this one (I wear between 7.5 & 8 in general) to accommodate thick socks in the colder months.

All the colors on offer are great, but I'm particularly a sucker for this rich dark brown that, with a little help from some Frye Conditioning Cream  (note: I realized this stuff is great for all my leather shoes and have gone through an entire tin at this point), will only get better with age.

Beauty: *****/5
Value:  *****/5 at current sale prices
Calf slimness: ***/5

Find it at:

photo c Amazon

P.S.: One other heavily discounted Frye riding boot to check out quickly, while prices are low, is the Jamie Ring style (at left), which features a bit more detailing, avoids stretch panels just like the Jenna, and has earned some of those "bad" reviews we so love to see, complaining of a too-tight calf! As you know, one woman's "ouch!" is another's "hey, these don't look like leather galoshes!" :}


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  2. Thank you so much for your skinny calf reviews. Do you think these boots would work with dresses, or are they too rustic/casual? I'm not sure if at a 9 1/2, my feet look too clunky, like I should wear them in a barn.
    I've bought a pair on Amazon, and it's the skinniest calf I've found so far. And the leather is beautiful.

  3. Hi Joyce - the fit & quality are really nice, aren't they? Re dresses, I think it depends on your personal style. I have always liked to juxtapose girly & more rugged things -- not uncommon to see me in a floral sundress with even my super tough-looking Frye harness 12Rs -- so the Jenna + dress combo works fine for me. I wouldn't wear them with a cocktail or very corporate looking dress, but the more casual stuff I would. The Jenna foot isn't dainty; you're right. I think it's just a matter of whether you enjoy that rugged/feminine contrast or not, and what kind of environments & wardrobe you're primarily working with. Best wishes & thanks for reading :)