How to Measure Your Calves
Look, I know you're not stupid. Measuring your calves is pretty simple. Bust out that measuring tape and measure around the widest part of your calf. But here's something you may not know: If you're 5'3" or shorter, you need to add another inch to this measurement. Why? Because, generally speaking, boots get wider closer to the top of the boot. If you're short, the widest part of your calf is going to be down lower than someone who is tall. So you're going to have to get a wider boot than someone who is 5'8", even if you have the exact calf circumference as that person. I will turn 28 this year and this is the first time this bit of information was ever shared with all 5'3" of me. Also, be sure to measure both calves. One of my calves is a whole unfortunate inch larger than the other. Keep in mind: In most cases, the bigger the boot size, the wider the calf will be.
I have one 16" calf and one 17" calf. I am 5'3". I usually wear a size 7 or 7.5 in shoes. I generally buy boots a size larger to accommodate winter wear. My hair is naturally turquoise.
Kayleigh Wide-Calf Side-Buckle Boot by Comfortview
I ordered these 2 years ago from Jessica London and wore them about to death. They are still available for $59.99-$64.99 (depending on size) and will fit calves 17" (for size 7) up to 20" (for size 12). I got them in a size 8.
They are still wearable and I love the look and color of them. They go with everything. They are comfortable and a perfect height and width for me. They do have a side zip, but I can get them off and on without unzipping them.
Because they are faux leather, bits of the fake leather have come off in places. The toes are beat up and I've had to use Shoe Goo to re-apply the soles several times. I like the look of the buckles down the sides but they've snagged things while I was sitting or walking in close proximity on more than one occasion.
Stevie Wide-Calf Boot by Comfortview
I bought these last year from Jessica London and wore them constantly. If they'd been real leather and therefore held up slightly better, I'd probably still be wearing them. They are still available for $69.99-$74.99 (depending on size) and will fit calves 17" (for size 7) up to 20" (for size 12). I got them in a size 8.
I like the buckle around the ankle and I LOVE the red zipper up the back of these. It is reminiscent of the Frye boots I so desperately want but, at around $400 and with no guarantee of them fitting my ginormous calves, I just can't pull the trigger. When I found these for $70 instead I was pretty sure I had tricked the system. The calves on these are huge. I'm putting that in the "pro" section, but depending on your calf size this could easily be a "con." The website lists the same measurements for these boots as for the Kayleigh, but these are definitely wider. They are also very warm.
I don't love the color and wish they were a bit browner like the Kayleigh boots. The leather looks very fake and did not hold up well, particularly on the toes which are almost entirely rubbed down to the lining. For my short height they could have been ever so slightly shorter, but I don't hate the height. There is a flap at the back of the boots (I guess to provide more room) but in my case I didn't need the extra room and found the extra flap to be an annoyance, as it is constantly popping out.
Lumiani International Collection Laila Extra Wide Calf
This year I decided to only buy real leather boots and save myself the heartache of getting attached to the perfect boots but seeing them destroyed within weeks. I purchased these from 6pm.com for $67.60, but they're now on sale for $50.70. They come in four colors. I got them in a size 8 and the website lists the calf circumference as 19".
They're real leather and they fit!
I don't know--I just didn't love these. I was able to get them on, but because there's no zipper it wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done--even though according to the website I should have had plenty of room in these. They came up slightly too high on me. The leather seemed to be good quality but I didn't really like the look of it after I saw them in person. They had sort of a cobble-stone look to them rather than the smooth look I realized then that I preferred. I was going to return these but ended up selling them to a co-worker instead, who, for what it's worth, really enjoys them.
Lumiani International Collection Laila Extra Wide Calf
Fitzwell Sante Fe Extra Wide Calf Boot
I'd heard a lot of good things about the Fitzwell brand for wide calf boots so I decided to try them out. I purchased for $69.99 from 6pm.com but they're now on sale for $59.99. They come in two colors. I got them in a size 8. The website says the circumference on these is 17" but I found them to be MUCH wider than the Lumiani boots which were listed at 19".
These are SUPER wide. They're actually a bit too wide for me...enough so that I considered returning them, but then my crazy kicked in and I started thinking about how I might want to have super wide boots in case of pregnancy and swollen legs. So I decided to keep them. I like the smooth look of the leather and they are a good height on me.
They aren't my favorite color. The picture above shows them as more of a brown/tan color, but that's because there's a filter on that puppy. The pictures below are a more accurate reflection of the color. I'm not really sure I can properly explain it, but the heels are weird to me. They're too...sharp...or something. I'd kind of prefer there was no heel at all. My least favorite part is the elastic part on the insides. I understand it's there for more stretch but I just don't think it's attractively done and these are wide enough that I didn't need it there anyway.
Fitzwell Sante Fe Extra Wide Calf Boot
My Favorites: Jessica Simpson 'Elmont' Boot (Wide Calf)
By the time I purchased these, I'd already bought three other pairs this season and it's not even really cold yet. I'd tried to find a pair of genuine leather, wide-calf boots for under $100 that I loved but they'd all been just "meh" at best. Finally I broke down and paid a bit more money for these. I ordered them from Nordstrom.com for $168.49 (including tax) in a size 8. The circumference is listed online as 15" but says it stretches to fit. I was nervous to buy them (that's kind of a lot of stretching to fit there) but I know Nordstrom is great about returns so I went ahead and did it.
These are the perfect color to go with everything. Not too brown, not too gray, but a rich brownish tan. The color paired with the subtle buckle accents were exactly what I was looking for. The leather is perfect and soft. The back has elastic goring panels that I had originally ruled out in my boot search beacuse I think it's tacky...but I think these are really tastefully done and it certainly helps them fit a variety of calf sizes (including, thankfully, mine). The other good part about the elastic goring is that it allows the boots to fit without looking huge at the top, like other boots that are fully fashioned in leather. (See the last picture of the Fitzwells to see what I mean.)
I'd had these for less than two weeks when I broke the front of the zipper pull off. The actual zipping mechanism was still there so I was still able to zip them up and down, but it defintely sucked having them break so early--especially considering these were my comparatively expensive boots. I returned them in-store at Nordstrom and got a new pair sent to me in a couple days (they don't sell these in-store). So far, so good on the zipper front but I am much more careful with them now. They could be a half inch to an inch shorter on me to really be perfect, but other than that, no complaints.
Jessica Simpson 'Elmont' Boot (Wide Calf)
UPDATE: I returned the original pair of these because the zipper broke. Within days the zipper broke on the second pair too, so I returned them as well. Nordstrom is great with returns so I didn't even need my receipt. I normally wear a size 7-7.5 and had sized up in these to an 8. They kind of hurt my feet and clearly the zipper was working too hard on the one calf. For the third pair I sized up to a size 9 and now they are PERFECT. My feet feel fabulous and the zipper is no longer struggling. I would definitely suggest sizing up. Be sure to read the comments below to see where other readers have found these for cheaper (and in black).
And One That Didn't Work At All: Franco Sarto Crane Wide-Calf
These were my first purchase this year, but unfortunately they did not work out. I loved the color, the genuine leather, the back zipper, and the clean lines and thought that they would fit based upon the online sizing guide--but I made the rookie mistake of not adding the extra circumference inch for short humans. I was able to barely get them on, with a struggle, on my "skinny" calf but couldn't even zip them up on the other. If you have 16" calves or smaller they may work great for you. I paid $82.49 (with a discount code) for them from Shoes.com. I returned them and found the return process for Shoes.com to be pretty pain free. They have since sold out, but can still be purchased for $104.99 from 6pm.com.