Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wide Calf Boots Buying Guide

Finding wide calf boots that look nice sucks. And if you're on a budget? Might as well go barefoot and freeze to death. Sure, it can be done--if you sit and read descriptions online and read reviews and go to stores and try things on and place online orders and return things...but who has time for that? I am certainly not one of those humans who has time for all of that...but I'm also not one of those humans who will let a pair of wide calves get in the way of having awesome boots. So--I did it anyway. And now, hopefully, you won't have to.



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. 


For Reference

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. 

Pros
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.

Cons
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.
Pros
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.

Cons
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".


Pros
They're real leather and they fit! 

Cons
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". 

Pros
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.

Cons
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. 


Pros
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.) 

Cons
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.




26 comments:

  1. I was looking at the JS Elmont the other day but was super skeptical about the calf size. This might go back on the wish list.

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    1. There is a wide calf and "regular" calf for the Elmonts so if you're worried make sure you get the wide calf version

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  2. You are absolutely adorable!! Thank you for sharing this post!!

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  3. I have a question that is not boot related. Lol I was wondering where you purchased your beige heart sweater in the Jessica Simpson 'Elmont' Boot post. I've looked on several different sites, but the only one I found was from Forever 21.

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    1. the heart sweater was from Kohl's. I got it a while back on clearance so I don't think they have it anymore, but this one is pretty similar: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1577112/lc-lauren-conrad-heart-lurex-sweater.jsp?crosssell=true

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  4. This article helped me a lot!!! Tired of trying to find wide calf boots, cute ones at that... Let a lone ridding boot!!!!

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  5. your heart sweater is SOOO cute! whered you get it?

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    1. It's from Kohl's. Pretty sure it's no longer available but here's a similar one: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1577112/lc-lauren-conrad-heart-lurex-sweater.jsp?crosssell=true

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  6. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm definitely going to check a couple of these out, its nice to see some wide-calf boots actually on a real person! Also, where did you get the cardigan you're wearing in the Fitzwell section? Its beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Markelle! The sweater is from Old Navy a couple years back. It's no longer available but if you search for tribal or aztec cardigans you'll find them everywhere this season.

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  7. I am so glad I stumbled upon this post! I had been debating for weeks whether or not to get the JS Elmont boot, like I kept adding and removing it from my shopping bag online at Nordstrom. Today, I went to Nordstrom and saw the Elmont boot, but I was still pretty iffy. I was thinking exactly what you thought about them fitting and I was weary about the goring panels. Anyway, after reading your post I think I'm going to finally pull the trigger! I do have a quick question though - would you purchase the black pair if you already had a cognac pair of boots? I kinda like the cognac color better, but I just got the Sam Edelman "Penny" boots in cognac last week, so I don't know which color to get in JS Elmont... Thanks again for this wonderful post about wide calf boots :)

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    1. Well I am either blind or they were not out when I was searching--because I was not aware a black version existed. I love them in the black as well so if you already have cognac boots you love, go black. But if they're not the right color brown (how are there so many different colors of 'brown' boots?!) then go with the Elmont in tan because it's the perfect tan.

      PS The zipper pull on these broke AGAIN. They're from Nordstrom so I'm just going to return them once again and maybe try sizing up another size. Still love them, and they still zip--but annoying.

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  8. Its me again! Well, I ordered the Elmont boots and just got them today!! I absolutely love them! I'm 5'7 with 17" calves and wear a size 10 and these fit wonderfully. You are right, they are the perfect cognac color. Best part, I got them for a steal on Amazon for $90 on sale and with a coupon (sadly, they aren't on sale anymore. But for anyone reading this, the black pair is going for $119 on Piperlime, just FYI) Anyways, I just want to thank you again for doing a review on these, if it hadn't been for this post I might have given up all together on finding boots! :)

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    1. So glad to hear it Markelle! Jealous I did not find them on super sale. Let me know how that zipper holds up for you.

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  9. I love this post. I am a 5 foot midget and also have wide calves, so it is virtually impossible to find boots that fit. I really like the Jessica Simpson ones (who knew she would make good stuff?). Thank you for doing this!

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    1. I know, I was so judgey about buying Jessica Simpson boots--but they're gorgeous. You're welcome :)

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  10. Hi Lola ;)
    I just discovered your blog and is very informative... FINALLY! THANKYOU!
    Have you heard of Mee Too Marley boots?... any opinion?

    Thanks againa
    Fatima Medina

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    1. I haven't heard anything about them but I'm too lazy to wear boots with heels when it's cold ;)

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  11. Hi, so I'm joining the fray a little late. I found your blog link when I was perusing pinterest for wide calf boots. How come you didn't try the JS in an 8.5? I'm 5'1 3/4 and have a really similar calf circumference. Would you say the 9's are about the same height as the 8's? I love your style.

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    1. The 8s were pretty tight (even though I normally wear a 7 or 7.5) so I decided to just step it up to a 9 and they feel perfect. They are a bit taller than the 8s...I'd suggest buying them from somewhere where you can return them in case they're too tall.

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    2. Thanks Lola! I ordered them off Amazon in a 9 and just got them today. Walking around feeling out the height. :)

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    3. Let me know how you like them! (And if one of your zipper pulls breaks or if that's just me. I've now broken the zipper on 3 pairs but the 3rd pair is loose enough on the calves that I just slip them on and off without unzipping them so I still wear them every day...)

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  12. I read your blog a few months ago when I was in search of boots, I LOVE the steve wide calf boot by comfortview. Unfortunately I have not been able to find them ANYWHERE in the tan color. It's so sad :[ But I love your blog, extremely informative. Thanks!

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  13. This seemed crazy to me because when I bought them they only came in that tan color...but sure enough I just searched and could only find them in gray/black. If you want a more or less destroyed pair I'll sell you mine ;)

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