Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

December 16, 2007

You Asked for It: Wide-Calf Snow Boots for the Poor Girl

Filed under: Books — Francesca @ 12:24 pm

Our internet friend Sara writes:

Help me!

I live in upstate New York and I was not prepared for the winter weather they have here! It snowed over a foot in only a day, and I have to walk to and from classes and work in it! I need to find comfortable, wide-calf snowboots that can handle a foot or more of snow, and I need them affordable (preferably under 70$) because I’m on a tight budget. Do you have any recommendations at all?


At Manolo for the Big Girl, we do not recommend boots for under the $70, because such boots are likely to fall apart in 3 minutes, especially under the abuse of heavy snow from the outside and sweat on the inside! However, Francesca understands that this is perhaps your first snow-boot purchase and you are a student and therefore you must do the best you can with what you have.

Here are a few wide-calf boots which are either waterproof or can be made so (bring them to any local shoe store and ask them to treat the boot with waterproofing material), and which have low or sturdy heels (since stiletto heels in snow and ice is dangerous and ridiculous). They are not under $70, but they will not break your bank either, and they will help keep you warm and dry until you can afford boots which will last for a lifetime.

The “Sharona” by Fitzwell (best if your feet are not too wide)

The “Gateway” by David Tate

And here is the cozy warm Hush Puppies Corvina, which have a narrower calf than the boots above but are worth a look for the Sara.

Best of luck!




  1. Sara might want to consider looking for boots at a consignment store. I got some fun Ralph Lauren wellies for $8 at a Chicago store. I got gorgeous tan leather flat boots for $20 at a store here in Memphis.

    There are rich ladies who wear clothes for only one season somewhere near where she lives. Once they are done, they send those shoes and clothes to the Junior League thrift shop or, if they think their used clothes hold their value the way diamonds and bearer bonds do, to a consignment store.

    It may be more of a challenge to find the wide calf boots, but it’s surely worth a look.

    Comment by class-factotum — December 16, 2007 @ 1:41 pm

  2. As a former Colorado resident who went through a lot of cheap boots before wising up, I heartily agree with Francesca — if you live in a cold, snowy area, this is not the time to scrimp on shoes! Cheaply made boots will probably leak like crazy and you’ll feel like the icy winds are battering your bare feet. You don’t have to spend $500, but the quality difference between $60 boots and $120 boots is more than worth the extra money. You’ll keep your socks dry and your toes warm, and they’ll last through multiple winters.

    Comment by Melissa B. — December 16, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  3. Sara can also try LL Bean’s Women’s Insulated Comfort Boots. They’re $44.95 and come in multiple colors. They aren’t wide calf, but they don’t look like they come up that high on the leg either.

    Comment by Angel — December 16, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

  4. If you are taking shoes with you for when you arrive, then you can likely go with a sturdier (albeit uglier) snow boot. Kamik is a pretty reliable brand, as is Sorel. They’re not pretty, but your feet will be warm and dry.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — December 16, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  5. Also, try Sierra Trading Post for shorter — so no calf issues — utilitarian snow boots on sale, including Kamik and Sorel.

    Those Hush Puppies with the 14″ shaft circ are going to be hopeless if you’re even fairly sure you need a wide-calf boot. (Most proper wide-calf boots are too big for me but there’s still no way I can pack my calves into a 14″ boot; I’m an inbetweenie who walks a lot.)

    Comment by Violet — December 16, 2007 @ 11:56 pm

  6. As a former upstate NYer (and a Buffalo college student), I have to respectfully disagree with Francesca on this one. You can get a very good sturdy pair of boots for much less than $70. I agree with Angel that L.L. Bean is a good source and I would also look at Landsend. I had a great pair of winter boots from them when I lived in Buffalo and they kept my feet toasty warm and dry for multiple seasons and only came up to just above my ankle so no wide calf issues. Their Chalet boots are quite cute and are marked down from $54.00 to $39.00 and the Weatherfield boots come in cute colors and are only $49.00. You don’t really need higher boots unless you’re going to be walking in unshoveled snow a lot and then heck you just need snowpants, the finding of which are a whole nother ball of wax for the plus sized gal! Otherwise, time to get out that shovel and shovel your path to the car. Can’t say I miss that here in LA!

    Also, invest in some good wool socks (preferrably knee socks) and/or tights (there’s a great tight discussion on Shapely Prose this weekend). Layer them when it gets really cold and carry your cute shoes for wearing inside once you take your boots off.

    Good luck Sara!

    Comment by Kimocean — December 17, 2007 @ 6:35 am

  7. I have to add my enthusiastic support for LL Bean. In particular, the side zip Winter Ridge Boot. It is more than the OP wanted to spend ($129), but I have had my pair for two winters now, and they are amazing. Remarkably warm, totally waterproof (even when tromping through disgusting 6-inch-deep icy slush, as I did this weekend), resistant to salt stains, and ever-so-stylish. I basically live in these all winter, and they don’t look a thing like winter boots. As a large-calfed girl, these fit spectacularly well. Another plus: if ever they begin to fall apart, LL Bean will repair or replace them for free. I was lucky, I managed to pick mine up at the end of a winter season, so they were on sale, but even so, for this kind of service and product, $129 seems very fair.

    You can check them out here:

    Comment by litgirl — December 17, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  8. I would also like to respectfully disagree about the pricing of the boots. I have not bothered to say this to the Manolo (whom I must say I find enormously charming) because he seems rather, well, set in his ways. But I think the ladies here are eminently sensible, and so I offer this comment. (1) $70 is in fact a great deal of money, and when I was in college (not that long ago), my limit for boots was nearer $17 (since I was living in Europe I found trendy, waterproof boots for that money, too!). Even now, when I’m actually working as an attorney and paying BACK my loans, I would probably refuse to spend so much on boots (though I have higher-priority items on which I’d splurge more), because I know for a fact that fabulous ones can be had for less. (2) It seems to me – and I may be mistaken – that shoe recommendations both here and from Manolo make the incomprehensible assumption that zappos’s price is THE PRICE. It isn’t even approximately THE PRICE. The person who is looking on a budget and nevertheless for quality should not be told to ignore the budget (which is irresponsible. Perhaps the intervening $50 should be spent on a ticket home for Christmas, or textbooks, or FOOD). She should be told where to find A DISCOUNT. So, I know nothing whatever about wide-calf boots, but this one illustration (and the 60 seconds it took to find it) should prove my point. The Kimel “Lust” real leather camel ankle boot, with a high but stably wide heel (which I would not buy for myself, preferring other boots, but would not reject if it were given me) retails for $100. Gotham City Online, an ebay store that sells BRAND NEW brand-name women’s shoes (also try grapevinehill, which is similar), is currently selling ir for $40 (BIN), plus $10 s/h: In other words, half the original price. Generally, the stuff they have is a little while (sometimes a whole season) behind its major-market release, but this has never bothered me. Other options for deep discounts on name-brand shoes are and (and I am confident there are more), but gco and gvh are the most impressive in terms of stock and discounts that I’ve seen. If you want brick-and-mortar, of course TJ Maxx and Marshall’s (and apparently Ross’s for those in the DC area). I’ve gotten all my work shoes either at TJ Maxx, or in thrift stores, or on ebay (all pretty and trendy and reputably made and I’m very happy with them, and none more than $25, though an average of $80 full-price). I can’t tell you what fits a wide calf, but I would recommend you spend a charming day at Macy’s – or, OK, if you’re in Eastview Mall territory, probably the BonTon – window-shopping for shoes you can’t afford. Figure out what fits, then take your information to these online stores and laugh all the way to the bank. The OTHER, unspoken-of secret to dressing stylishly is that you can dress, not merely well, but in THE EXACT SAME CLOTHES on a tight budget, if you put in the time and effort. That’s my rather exteded $.02, and I appreciate everyone’s graciousness in listening.

    Comment by again — December 17, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

  9. I would suggest muck jobber boots. They are 6″ talls and they don’t come up to the ankles. They are waterproof and you can wear them in different weather.

    Comment by jo — May 28, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  10. Greetings

    Comment by Angel Boot — November 17, 2008 @ 10:00 am

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