It’s All About the Boots

Tall boots have been in style for years, but this season they seem to be a must-have, be they paired with tiny dresses, pencil skirts, or pulled up over skinny jeans. Daily I check the stats of this blog and what keywords are used on Google and other search engines to arrive at Wardrobe Oxygen. Half the time, the question on the search engine user's mind is “Where can I find boots for wide calves?”

I wrote a detailed review of Duo boots here. Duo is known for having one of the most extensive lists of calf sizes and their quality cannot be beat. In this post, I wrote about many companies including my experience with Wide Widths, a company that has a collection of several brands of wide-calf boots. And here, I also mentioned wide-calf boots.

Well this weekend I had two more experiences I wished to share with you.

wide calf boot tall suede SilhouettesFirst, I received a pair of tall boots from Silhouettes. Silhouettes is a company that sells clothing for women in sizes 12W and up, and shoes as well that have wide calves and wide widths. They seem to have a few of their own styles, and also offer a few brands that are known for selling quality wide-width tall boots (Naturalizer, David Tate, Ros Hommerson). Many of Silhouette's style of boots are far more budget-friendly than Duo or Wide Widths, but I was wondering about the quality. Often times cheaper brands are such because they scrimp – the seams are not as strong, the fit is strange, the heel is flimsy, the fabric is obviously man-made and why is it that cheaper brands add so many details and flourishes? Don't they know that cheesy gold-tone buckle and the purple zipper details make the item look obviously cheap?

The boots I received are not currently available on Silhouette's site, they are a suede boot with man-made lining; the heel is also suede-covered. They scrunch a bit up the shaft like their pleated ankle boot, but are tall like their microsuede boot. The color I received is a gray-tinged chocolate brown. Though I usually wear a 7.5, these boots are an 8W (it often is a good idea to go up a half a size for boots). The heel is about 1″ (you can see them being worn here).

These boots are quite comfortable. Though I couldn't pick my calf size a la Wide Widths or Duo, these boots fit my monstrous (we're talking wide calf styles from J. Crew and Ann Taylor just don't cut it) calves. No zipper marks embedded into my legs after wearing, no pinched toes and no leg pouring out of the top as though my calves are stuffed sausage. I wore these boots shopping and to dinner (about four hours) without any pain or issues. I did purchase a pair of comfort insoles to slip in, as these boots have no support or cushioning (very flexible yet thin sole), but that is pretty common in lower-priced shoes and fashion boots. The suede looks just as expensive as higher-end boots and didn't scuff too easily. The man-made lining is a bit spongy which helped the boots stay up and not cut into the skin, but did cause my leg to get a touch sweaty. The zipper is sturdy, same color as the boot so not too obvious. I like that the boot is free of adornment so it compliments your outfit and doesn't draw attention to the width of your leg or the price of the footwear.

wide calf boot tall leather SilhouettesSilhouettes has a great return policy for the boots, though they only give 90 days for returns, your return during that time period is 100% guaranteed. This means you can actually wear the boots and see if they are comfortable and sturdy. No tip toeing on your carpet, these shoes can prove their worth. If they are like this pair I received, I doubt they will be heading back to the returns department. These are not boots you will own for decades, but if you are looking for stylish wide-calf boots at a very reasonable price, Silhouettes is a great place to check out.

As for my second experience… eBay! We all know eBay as a place to find a great vintage piece, a designer purse at a good price and a goldmine for finding random things you didn't know you even wanted or needed. Well there is a great selection of wide-calf boots as well. Naturalizer has a boot called the Kiersten that is sold most everywhere. It is a classic tall boot in brown or black leather and when I searched for this boot on eBay, I found dozens in my size, most never worn with the tags still attached. These boots are found around $99 on most sites, but saw these same boots for $35 at eBay. If you know your calf size or have experienced a certain brand of boot, it is worth your time to check out eBay for quality leather boots at a great price.

As I learn about more wide calf boot companies and experience their product and service, I will be sure to report back here. Seeing so much traffic for just my blog on this subject, I hope more companies see this need and adjust their calf widths to be as varied as their shoe widths (also consider smaller calf widths, Dear Companies – there are many slender-legged women out there also wishing to wear tall boot but cannot find a good fit).

Boots shown: Microsuede Boot (on sale for $59), Emily's Closet Platform Boot (on sale for $89); both available at Silhouettes.

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13 Comments

  1. Audrey
    December 18, 2007 / 2:14 am

    I think I’m the only one who did not like Duo. I went there in ’05 and ’06 and found the leather to be rather cheap; also, I dislike the disastrous-looking stretch panel (which is on most, if not al, of their leather boots, but on the angle that you never see on the website). I wanted to like them so much that I did buy a pair, but ended up selling it on eBay as new.

    The hunt for the perfect pair of boots is on. My calves are 15-16″ inches, muscular, and I have long legs, so boots that end “mid-calf” or “high-calf” are no-nos, as they tend to accentuate the thickest part.

  2. December 11, 2007 / 1:37 pm

    Honestly, I don’t even think Iggs are trendy any more. Once fake versions can be found at Payless and Wal Mart, a trend has died. Unless you have a lifestyle where these boots are appropriate, I personally do not like them. I see them all over the city paired with jeans, with skirts, with sweats and I think it looks ridiculous.

    Yesterday I was on the subway with a woman who was wearing a formal dress suit, black hose, a burgundy wool coat that hit right at her knees and she had on winter boots. They were black vinyl and fabric/gortex but free of metallic adornments, over bulky design. They zipped up the side and tied int he front and hit just above her ankle bone. You just knew a classic pair of black pumps were in her bag to change into once at work. But these boots were proof positive that there are sturdy, warm yet simple boots out on the market. She could tromp through mud puddles and across icy streets with ease and without looking like a marshmallow.

    My sister and I were discussing it – when it comes to surviving the ice and snow, it’s best to stick to the classics so people know you are wearing gum boots out of necessity, not in an attempt to be chic. Uggs may be warm, but many other less fashion-victim styles are as well… styles that once could wear year after year without looking dated.

  3. Anonymous
    December 11, 2007 / 1:31 pm

    Since were all about boots. Have a question for you Allie. What is your take on the whole Ugg boot trend? I see women wearing tan Uggs with sweatpants and a hoodie sweatshirt, and also with jeans, with the jeans cuffed right above the Uggs. What’s your view on this? Looks trendy not classic to me but I could be wrong.
    Thanks~ Renee

  4. Adrienne
    December 11, 2007 / 12:40 pm

    Amen on so many of your points. I own Kiersten in black and brown, and although they are man-made boots, I still receive many compliments when I wear them. Duo sent me an email promo — free postage this week on their boots! I might try a pair I’ve been eyeing on their site, although the mercury here in FL has been holding at 80 for a week or more now, so there has been no wearing of the boots as of late. 🙁

    I, too, would like to find a company that offers taller boots. I’m 5’8″ and most boots seem short on my calves, which makes my leg appear wider!!!

  5. December 11, 2007 / 11:19 am

    The insoles I put in heels are from Footpetals – they never move, add just a hint of cushioning and make the shoe a bit more comfy. For boots, I either use the athletic ones by Kiwi that can be found in Target or I use Superfeet insoles, which can be found at R.E.I. and even now at Nordstrom online!

  6. December 11, 2007 / 12:54 am

    you have mentioned using insoles a few times. which ones do you use? do you put them in your high heels or just your boots? what about your peep toe heels? i have bought some before but they always bunch up and annoy me. it would be great if you could recommend some.

  7. December 10, 2007 / 7:02 pm

    You are correct, the Kiersten IS man-made. I was thinking of a different boot I saw on eBay. Thanks for the heads up! 🙂

  8. December 10, 2007 / 5:37 pm

    Thanks for this post! I drop in here so often but always, your style is like mine and I love seeing what you buy. Your style lately seems to be just so pulled together and chic.
    When I get the $, I plan on ordering a pair of DUO boots because you so highly recommended them.

  9. December 10, 2007 / 5:18 pm

    Great boots on you! The Naturalizer Kiersten boots are great but are man-made – great for us Vegans but maybe not for everyone. I think that all or almost all Naturalizer boots are faux leather.

  10. December 10, 2007 / 5:03 pm

    I recently got a pair of widecalf boots from Fitzwell (via Zappos).

    These:
    http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/19945919/c/20686.html

    I disrecommend the leather version, but the suede version is very nice. My calves are about 18″ around, and the 17″ calf of the suede boot stretched nicely around it.

  11. December 10, 2007 / 11:56 am

    Do you know of anywhere that make boot in varying leg length – ie. longer than usual? I have no problem with calf widths but knee high boots on my don’t really come anywhere near my knees as I have long legs!

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