It's my favorite time of year: boot time!
As someone who has always had large calves, fall usually brought fashion frustration as I constantly tried on boots that wouldn't come close to zipping. This started my annual ritual to find the best wide calf boots around.
This wide calf boot guide is very long, but I'm sharing EVERYTHING I know from trying on an uncountable number of boots. Every year I spend hours combing through the web to put this information together so everyone can enjoy that bliss of zipping up a boot that fits.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I earn a small commission. You pay the same price regardless. These links help me pay costs associated with maintaining this blog.
Contents – Click to jump to that section:
- Wide Calf Boot Sizing and Shopping Tips
- Favorite Wide Calf Boots for 2016 by Style
- Favorite Sources for Wide Calf Boots – List of stores
Since the majority of wide calf boots are found online, these are important considerations to finding the perfect pair.
- Know your calf circumference: Sit in a chair with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Measure around the widest part of the calf with a measuring tape. Don't have one? Grab a piece of string and then measure it against a yard stick, ruler, or tape measure in the garage. Make sure to measure both calves and use the larger one when considering size (we’re all a little lopsided!) When you look at boot descriptions, check for the calf circumference: most all descriptions include this. Keep in mind that the calf circumference is often measured in a medium size shoe – say a 7 or 8. When you have a larger foot, the circumference will be bigger. For instance, I’ve bought boots with an 18″ label that when ordered in my size 11 came in at 19”
- Exception: Cowboy Boots – When looking at western style boots, always note how tall the shaft is and measure at that point. They are usually much lower than knee-high boots, and the circumference will therefore be smaller. Example: even though I'm a 19-20″ calf for knee high boots, I have been able to do a 16″ in cowboy boots.
- Note the return policy: Ordering online may be convenient and offer more options than shopping in-store, but return shipping charges can add up quickly. Before ordering, check what the return policy is, and how much the return shipping is. Some retailers offer free return shipping while others can charge a flat fee per return or a weight-based fee. If you're unsure about return policies, reach out to the customer service departments of each place you're ordering from.
- Keep trying: Don’t get discouraged if the first pair you try doesn’t fit. There is a pair out there for you (and likely LOTS of pairs out there for you), you just may need to try a lot out (kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince!)
- Consider quality/price: Listen – I know we don't all have buckets of money to throw at a pair of shoes. Even still, as someone who has tried on and bought a lot of boots, I think considering the quality and a possible higher price for that quality is important. Genuine leather boots stretch over time for a perfect fit, and don't have that “sweaty” feeling inside them when you wear them with bare legs. There are MANY great quality synthetic options as well, but when shopping, consider the quality of the heel, sole, and zipper. If you spend $40 on a pair of boots that are THE.CUTEST.EVER but whose heel stop breaks off after 2 weeks, was it really worth it? Or if you step in snow and the sole is so thin you instantly feel the coldness, do they really help? Or if you're walking down the halls at work and the zipper busts – how awesome would you look hobbling around? And as always, consider the comfort. It's nice to have a hot pair of over-the-knee boots with a 4″ stiletto heel, but if you can't walk in them more than 5 minutes (I can't), they aren't serving much purpose. My favorite boots have taken me through 3 fall/winter seasons so far, so I don't have to spend more money on replacing them.
Shop: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Note: My favorite boots right now are the Simply Be ones (2) above. I have them in a tan leather versus this color, and will feature them in a blog post soon. They have a higher block heel, but it's stable and very comfortable.
Shop: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Note: I previously reviewed Jileon rain boots – the widest rain boots available – here. Still wear them today! Even though these are listed at 22″, I believe they would accommodate at least a 24″
This list is in alphabetical order. I've bolded those I've had personal experience with and would recommend. This doesn't mean I don't recommend the others – just means I haven't tried them!
- 6pm.com: The sister sale site to Zappos, they have a good selection of wide calf boots up to 20″, though sizes tend to be limited. If you're willing to dig through the site you can usually find some killer deals! As the season goes on, selection does become extremely limited. For best selection, I'd suggest searching this site early in the season: September-October, then again at end of season March-April.
- Ashley Stewart: This is a new addition to my list for 2016 as they upped their game and added some fun and very trendy options. If you like statement shoes or high heels, this is the place to look. The selections seem to range from 18-20″ calf.
- Avenue: As with last year, Avenue seems to have expanded their selections again. The average listed calf circumferences are between 17-18″, however remember that if you have a larger foot, the calf is likely to be a little larger than average.
- Eloquii: This is the second year Eloquii has wide calf tall boots, and they're beautiful. They currently hold the spot for my favorite pair of booties. Calf widths are 19.5
- Evans: Evans has a really nice selection of extended calf boots that appear to all be in the 17-18″ range. Check out their size guide and measure in millimeters to get the proper fit.
- Footsmart: They specialize in comfort shoes, but that doesn’t mean they’re not cute! They carry brands like Naturalizer, David Tate, Aerosoles, and more.
- Jileon Rain Boots at Amazon: If you need a rain boot that is over 18″ – Jileon's are for you. Their extra wides are listed at 21″ but as the owner of these, I know they can go even above that – I'd estimate 24″.
- Lane Bryant: Lane Bryant has stepped up their game this year with a variety of wide calf boot options.
- Nordstrom: Nordstrom has about 100 options (as of publishing) that they call “wide calf” but they seem to cap out at 16.5.” The good news is that if you're in the 16″ range, they have some stunning designer boots options.
- Simply Be: Simply Be has one of the largest selections of wide calf boots anywhere. They come in 5 different calf sizes and 3 different foot widths. Their largest size calf, Extra Curvy Plus, goes past a 22.5″ circumference. View the size guide here. I personally wear their EEE width Curvy Calf Plus fit. If you order from them, make sure to pay attention to both the calf size and foot width. Not everyone has an extra wide foot, so double check so you’re not loving the calf width but swimming in the feet. They have nearly all the widths in all the boots, you just have to look at each item carefully by name.
- Target: I know people who have had luck with Target boots fitting wide calves as some options go to 16″. I haven’t had luck with their knee-high boots, but my 4 year old cowboy boots are from there and fit great and are super inexpensive.
- Torrid: Torrid added more selection this year and has a good range of boots from combat to dressy and everything in-between. They also list the calf circumference of each shoe size on each product page – between 18-24″
- Ted & Muffy (formerly Duo Boots): This is the mecca for super high-quality boots of all sizes. They sell boots by the foot size and then calf measurement in centimeters. The result is as close to a custom fit boot as possible. Their styles are gorgeous and the quality is impeccable. Downside? They cost a pretty penny, but last forever – think of them as the Bentley of boots. Up to 50cm, which is just over 19.5″.
- WideWidths.com: Feel like none of the other boots are wide enough? This site has a great selection of super wide calf boots, up to 24″.Don’t let the prices scare you – these are usually 100% genuine leather and will last YEARS versus the synthetics some of the less expensive boots are made of. Before you order, review their sizing tips here. Just make sure to check the return terms as some items are final sale.
- Zappos: 2 of my favorite pairs of boots ever came from Zappos. They have a good selection of wide and extra wide calf boots, plus FREE SHIPPING AND FREE RETURNS. This is a site where I usually buy #althethings and then return anything I don't love. Favorite brands on this site are David Tate, Blondo, Naturalizer. Prices too steep? Try their sister site 6pm.
Questions? Leave them in the comments and I'll see if I can help!