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

January 31, 2008

Boots for the Big Calves

Filed under: Boots — Francesca @ 8:20 pm

Lookie! The New York Times’ “T Magazine” has advice for those of the Fatted Calf:

Question: I’m looking for women’s boots that can fit my calves. A lot of tall boots are too narrow for me. Help!

Answered by: Karla M. Martinez, women’s fashion market director

Your problem is something that I have heard so many ladies complain about — it is a real issue, and I wish more shoe companies were sensitive to it. One common solution is buying boots with a stretchy panel sewn into the upper. But that isn’t always the most attractive style, and sometimes the elastic does not provide enough stretch to fit. A great solution I’ve found is J.Crew’s boots, which are made for different calf sizes. I love the Sinclair boot in espresso brown. Equestrian boots also tend to have wider widths and always look so chic with dresses, pants or skirts. You have good options available at A.P.C.  . . . and Madewell. The best riding boots are made by Ralph Lauren and Church’s, which told me its uppers are roomier than average. When Spring shipments arrive in stores in February and March, Ralph Lauren will have an abundance of riding boots, which certainly have room for bigger calves.

I called Florinka Pesenti, who works for Tod’s, the luxury shoe company. She suggested the option of having your boots stretched. Shoe Service Plus (212-262-4823), which has many fashionable customers, can stretch boots as much as two inches at the calf. Erich Lutz, the manager at the Christian Louboutin boutique on the Upper East Side, also suggested the stretching at Shoe Service Plus, where the procedure costs about $30. I also recommend Top Service, a small shop at 845 Seventh Avenue (212-765-3190) — there, a stretch costs about $10. If money is no object in your quest, Manolo Blahnik can custom make its signature boots to perfectly fit your calves.

One final bit of advice: Judging by the pre-fall shows I saw a few weeks ago, fantastic slouchy boots that fall slightly below the calf are on their way back. Arrivederci calf-squeezing boots! My favorite designs of this new style come from Balenciaga and Chloé. Keep your eye out for those in June. And let us know what you end up doing.


Francesca is fascinated to know that one can have one’s boots professionally stretched. If you do not live in New York, a few calls to to the shoe stores may help you find a local place to do this.

However, she is wary of this idea of the “slouchy” boots that “fall slightly below the calf.”

She warns the Big Girls that cutting off one’s leg at that point might make one’s legs look stumpy.  Obviously, each girl must try the fashions for herself; much depends on the shape and length of one’s legs, the exact style and height of the boot, and the other clothes one plans to wear with it.

All Francesca is saying is to be careful. (And to give peace a chance.)


  1. I took a look at some of her suggestions. The JCrew boots for example only come in one calf width per size and it’s about 13-15 inches. Not much help for me. The last time I measured my calves, they were too wide for even the extra wide widths (about 16 inches). And for those easily frustrated, don’t go to the original post, many of the commenters there are complaining that they have problmes finding boots that are too wide.

    Comment by dr nic — January 31, 2008 @ 9:02 pm

  2. “Give peace a chance” — ha! good one.

    Thanks for the article. I’ve been craving knee-high, preferably cowboy, boots.

    Comment by Patia — January 31, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

  3. Try – I have two pairs of boots from them! The shipping is ridiculously expensive, from what I remember, and the return policy is a bit goofy, but I’ve never found other boots to fit my calves.

    Comment by count sassy — January 31, 2008 @ 11:30 pm

  4. Or spelled correctly…

    Comment by count sassy — January 31, 2008 @ 11:32 pm

  5. I have asked several shoe repair shops about boot stretching and all of them have told me they don’t recommend it to get a plus-size calf in a boot, and that it rarely makes a boot fit properly.

    Another boot retailer I would recommend is Duo Boots, a London-based retailer that makes books specifically for wide calves. They have an excellent selection of styles and colors, and go up to 50cm widths, sometimes more. They’re NOT cheap, but they are well-made and comfortable; these are definitely “investment piece” boots. If you’re in the US, shipping is pricy but there is no VAT tax. They frequently have sales or free shipping, and also carry narrow-calf boots and nice shoes. I’ve just ordered my second pair from them and am eager to see how they fit when they arrive; I already have a pair of the Malmo style. Several of my friends also like their boots.

    Comment by Hel — February 1, 2008 @ 1:28 am

  6. Sudini (carried at Nordstrom) have lovely wide calf boots. In fact, way too wide for my calves. I was sad, because they were lovely.

    Comment by dowdydiva — February 1, 2008 @ 8:59 am

  7. I recommend DUOboots as well. I’ve bought 3 pairs from them during the last few years, and it’s a great feeling to be able to zip up boots that are tailored to your legs!

    Comment by Midnattsol — February 1, 2008 @ 11:15 am

  8. Duo boots is having a clearance sale as we speak! They’re still expensive, but less so.

    You can also search for wide calf boots at Zappos. A lot of them only go to 15″ or so, but I have a pair from Ros Hommerson that are 17″ and gorgeous… I think that designer has boots for 18″ and 19″ calves too.

    Comment by Becky — February 1, 2008 @ 11:51 am

  9. Although the link to jcrew in the article takes you to boots that only come in 1 width, other boots on the site do have “extended calf” sizes. Because we’re coming to the end of the winter season, they are in the sale section only at this point. I have two pairs of beautiful extended calf boots from the jcrew site, and the fit me perfectly! It really was an amazing find, because normal tall boots don’t fit me at all.

    Comment by Chiken — February 1, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  10. Eddie Bauer offers several of their boot styles in wide calf sizes. They’re at the for 50% off some styles. I love their riding boots.

    Comment by rosarita — February 1, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

  11. Just a comment on DUO boots – My experience with them has been extremely frustrating. Yes, their boots will fit your calf. But, their boots have huge variation in the size of the toebox, so much so that I am a 38 in some and a 40 in others. Guess how much sending shoes back and forth from England costs and how much time it takes. Combined with multiple errors from DUO, it turns out to be a huge pain.

    Also, after spending about $350 getting the perfect fit on a boot from them, the freaking sole is now cracked and crumbling after only 6 months of irregular wear. I am completely DONE with this company.

    Comment by daniela — February 7, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  12. nordstroms will also stretch your boots for you as a complimentary service if you ask them too.

    Comment by endamames are tasty — February 14, 2008 @ 3:07 am

  13. My thing with Duo is that their leather boots usually have this really hideous (and rarely pictured) elastic stretch panel. Yeah, so that’s how they can “fit” wider calves, you say… but I have 2 pairs of J. Crew wide calf boots– and yes, it’s really unfair that their “wide calf” widths is like an inch wider than their normal widths, usually around 15″ or so, negating anyone else whose calves are larger than 15″– but they don’t have the ugly panel extension part.

    Comment by Audrey — February 14, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

  14. I found the greatest boots at since they sell the largest wide calf boots of anyone online! I just got my THIRD pair of boots with an extra wide calf circumference from them and I have NEVER been able to find a pair of boots before in my entire life! They have nice fashionable styles – all the stuff that the skinny calf women are wearing! Their customer service department is great too since they answer you within a few hours and they are very nice and helpful. Duo Boots are MUCH more expensive and they ship from the UK so it is prohibitive to buy from them.

    Someone here wrote that their shipping is expensive but it isn’t at all – it’s just that some of the other sites offer free shipping and this company doesn’t. But what’s the big deal if you get free shipping if you can’t find boots to fit you on the other sites?? Every single boot on the site comes only for wide calves so you don’t waste your time looking through sites to find out that nothing will fit you. The other sites tell you it’s a wide calf but they are just 16″ and I never thought I’d be able to find a pair of boots for my big legs. I also wear a wide width too (thanks Grandma!) as if one thing wasn’t enough. What a great place to shop – you’ll love their stuff.

    Comment by Erica — August 20, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

  15. For really real, Erica? Could you post a picture of you wearing the boots you got?

    If you’re a PR intern, yay you, but you might want to be a little quicker on the uptake since this post is wicked old and most “real” folks have some qualm with a place. But mostly pretty good.

    If you’re really real…. damn, you should go into PR. ;-)

    Comment by Leah — August 20, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

  16. Have a look at its a new range of designer womens boots that fit the wider calf. They are an Aussie company. Bennetts Boots

    Comment by Ajae — August 25, 2008 @ 5:03 am

  17. For those of you who have the JCrew boots, what width is your calf? I have ordered some from other sites that I found to be bigger than they listed. I am in love with a pair at JCrew that are 15.5 inches and my calfs are 16 inches, but they are on clearance with no returns! They have a small elastic notch at the top. Do you think the JCrew boots are true to size? Maybe they would fit with stretching? Do I buy them???? HELP.

    Comment by K girl — September 29, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

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