Thankfully, boot manufacturers have woken up to the fact that legs, like feet, come in all shapes and sizes. If you have well-developed or wider calves, you can find a stylish pair, or a dozen of them, to top off your carefully assembled wardrobe. Riding boots are sharp city style, casual country style and polished anytime-style for a day at the office, a weekend getaway or even a couple of blissful hours perfecting your Airs Above the Ground in the ring.
Do the Math
Leg height, as well as calf width, is a factor in fit. Where the shaft hits your calf means some boots will fit you and some won’t flatter. Boot length is measured from your heel — your foot’s, not the boot’s heel — to the top of the shaft. Circumference is the widest part of the shaft and the widest point of your calf. Many, but not all, wide calf riding boots are wider all the way down the shaft, so where a particular boot hits on your leg can make a difference. Wide widths are not standard and numbers will matter in finding the perfect fit. Generally, wide widths start at 13.5 inches circumference but may be 14 inches, 15 inches or even wider. Elastic panels at the wide part of the calf and top of the shaft can give you extra room and a snug but not constricting fit.
Put your best foot forward with some shiny brass hardware to focus the eye. Riding boots often come with a buckled strap around the ankle or a metal bit and leather strap at the shaft. These details break up a wide expanse of leather, at the same time unmistakably identifying the equestrian style. Lacing detail, in either the front or the back, is another great decorative option. Also, lace-up boots have the bonus of additional functionality, allowing for an easy way to get the perfect custom fit for your calves.
Stretch Your Options
Adapt a favorite pair of boots to fit comfortably over a wider calf by adding a zip-in insert to a side zipper in a matching fabric, faux leather or even exotic animal print. Have a trusted cobbler stretch your boots — you can get up to 10 percent more room with careful stretching. Look for adjustable boots with buckled calves that allow you to custom-fit expandable gussets. Compensate for a wider shaft all the way to the shoe with a pair of thick socks to pad skinny ankles. Consider lace-ups, as long as the tongue or expandable gusset is wide enough to cover your leg when the laces are eased. Skip teeny heels that will make your leg look bigger and unbalanced — go for a slight lift or medium-height stacked or chunky heel instead.
Keep it Neutral
Nude, beige, khaki or taupe. These are all versatile and flattering additions to your closet. Neutral tones easily transcend seasons, allowing you to wear them all year long. But don’t forget, you can’t go wrong with a black, dark brown or grey riding boot. Neutrals are a staple in any wardrobe.