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How to Find Wide Calf Boots + Top Picks

Dear Budget Fashionista,

I really need your help. Even though I wear a clothing size 12, I have VERY wide calves (plus size—about the size of someone who wears a size 16 to 18). I would love to be able to find a stylish pair of wide calf boots to wear this winter. Help!

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Shopping for wide calf boots

Tracking down the perfect pair of boots to fit wider calves is a common problem that affects women of all sizes — whether your legs are curvy or ultra muscular. The key is patience. Set aside shopping time so you can find the perfect fit. That way, you don’t end up in a pair that feels too tight after a single wear.

Try these tips for finding comfortable and stylish wide-calf boots.

1. Get professionally sized

The problem with many boots that are touted as “wide calf” is that they just plain aren’t! The shaft typically feels a little too snug for comfort, leading you to wonder what wide calf means in the first place.

You can resolve this by having your feet and calves professionally sized. Once you’re armed with precise measurements, you can more confidently purchase boots both in person and online — just be sure to shop specifically for shafts that measure 15 inches or more.

2. Chummy up with a cobbler

Cobblers aren’t just characters in classic books from yesteryear. Many women count them as their secret weapon for flawless-fit footwear.

Once you find a reliable and experienced professional, you can trust her to stretch out the leather on those new wide-calf boots if need be. Use this strategy only on boots that are already cut wide, but still feel a smidge too tight.

Don’t expect your cobbler to work magic — even the most skilled pro can’t transform the actual size of a boot.

3. Look for added stretch

While it’s tempting to look for those sleek, stiff boots that have a runway-ready look, it’s in your best interests to seek out styles that incorporate stretchy fabric in the mix. This increases your comfort exponentially and makes them a little easier to pull on, too.

Many modern boot brands carry extensive options with stretchy accents. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a style that fits nicely into your wardrobe.

Wide calf boots: Top picks

Ready to shop? Try these eye-catching options.

1. The tall lug boot

boots 1

Get set for fall and start planning those cool-weather ensembles now. These boots by Lifestride ($99.94) feature a pull tab at the opening, making them easy to pull right on. Constructed with faux leather, they’re ideal for complementing your go-to skinny jeans and a cozy tunic. Find Zappos coupons here.

2. Chic but affordable

Brown leather tall boots with wide calves.

This tall brown boot has classic and elegant styling. The straps over ankle with two side buckles are all the embellishment you need. With that low heel, you can wear these boots to sip wine by the lake or to shop all day in the city.

The best part, though, is the price tag. Find them at for $38.25. No kidding! That’s the sale price, which probably isn’t going to last long. Find them here.

3. Slouch boot

boots 2

Slouch boots should have a relaxed fit through the calf, but you may have trouble achieving that look if you have thicker legs. This pair by LifeStride are specifically for wide calves, so the slouch shouldn’t get pulled too tight.

The sweater knit accent adds warmth and coziness to a boot that’s otherwise pretty tough. Pair this boot with leggings or jeans and your favorite oversized sweater.

The boot is available at Famous Footwear for $70.

4. Wide riding boot

boots 3

The riding boot style can also be problematic for curvy lower legs, since it’s naturally a slimmer fit. This pair from Sam Edelman does adjust for the wider calf — you can see the way the leg of the boot opens up above the ankle.

Thanks to this boot’s simple styling, you can easily dress it up or down as you need to. The slight darkening at the toe and heel adds a western flair that would be fun to play up with a fringe-accented bag.

Shop this boot at Zappos for $105.

wide shaft

Thursday 29th of October 2009

Very helpful tips


Friday 16th of October 2009

Here is another tip that includes a lot of different kind of wide calf boots styles:


Wednesday 19th of November 2008

Thanks for these tips!  I have been looking for another pair of wide leg boots for 3 years and couldn’t find a pair in the store.  I purchased the Shyloh Brown Pleather Wide Leg Boots from Zappos that you recommended.  I ordered them yesterday morning, didn’t have to pay shipping or tax, and they arrived this evening.  I definitely think this was a good deal.


Monday 7th of January 2008

I just ordered the Ayla Mayfair style in 17” calf size.  They fit great and zip up with no problem!  The only issue is that I’m hard on shoes, so the toe is already wearing out.  I think it is the way I walk though.  The leather is soft!!!


Wednesday 28th of November 2007

In addition to all of the suggestions above (Zappos, Duo, etc.), J. Crew has several very nice boot styles that they offer in regular and “extended calf” sizes.

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