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, July 8, 2017

Bed Stu Manchester

From the first two photos, this probably looks like a happy slim calf story, right? Indeed, from the front and back this beautiful Bed Stu boot -- the Manchester -- is a narrow calf dream come true. The catch is the side view, sigh. Scroll down and you'll see what I mean.

First let's accentuate the positive, as the old song goes. The Manchester is a style I've been wanting to try for years, almost since the start of my skinny calf boot reviews. I thought it had been discontinued and was pleasantly surprised to see it restocked recently. Even better, the color options have expanded to satisfy both both edgier and more classic tastes.

Like the Bed Stu Glaye, the Manchester rewards you with a heady leather fragrance the second you open the box. Ahhhh. And it's got that artisanal, non-mass-produced feel that is this label's stock in trade. I'm a fan.

Finally, this style uses a super clever back-lacing system with an inside panel that allows a truly custom fit at the top. I tightened the boots up easily to a top circumference of around 13" -- if not a bit smaller. Those of you who have been stopping by this blog for a while know how rare that is.

The ankle circumference is pretty good, too. At 11" it's not a record breaker, but we've seen much baggier. We can work with this.

If only the rest of the shaft were cut narrower, or the lacing system continued farther down the shaft. The fit, for me, got weird at midcalf, where the circumference of 14" in shoe size 8 couldn't be shrunk. Perhaps a consistent 14" up top (if I loosened the laces and lived with a gap up there -- what's new, right?) and 14" midway down would look okay, but my customizing to 13" at the opening made the boots bulge out awkwardly midway down. 'Cause no, I didn't get calf implants since my last post ;) -- those midcalf curves you see are just empty leather where these otherwise long, lean, lovely boots puff out.

For shorter folks, the shaft height might also cause problems. At 18" it's tall, especially if you've got proportionally short legs. I'm not sure why, but most narrow shaft Bed Stu boots seem best suited to the statuesque. You can see in the top photo that the Manchester borders on too tall for me, and I've got long limbs for my 5-foot-4 height.

To circle back to the Manchester's assets before I wrap this up, here are a couple closeups to show the super-pretty "Dark Scarlett Rustic" color, which happens to be half off as of early July, along with at least one other shade.

Enjoy the summer boot steals before they blow away with the first leaves of fall!  

Beauty/style: ****/5
Value: ****/5 at sale price
Calf slimness:****/5 with laces tightened up top

In numerous cool finishes. Find it at:
(tip: check the reviewer pix to see how fetching these boots are on many different legs :-)

See also:

The Burnley is a new offering from Bed Stu, with a longer lacing setup -- yea! -- for full-calf customization, plus a shaft height that is kinder to us non-models :) Find this one at Nordstrom (which is advising us to order up, as this boot runs small). 

No comments:

Post a Comment