The Best Stylish Wide Calf Boots

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stylish wide calf boots

If you're like me, you can't go into any old shoe department and grab a pair of tall boots because they just won't fit.  Even when I was a single-digit clothing size I wore wide calf boots, and I have always struggled to find stylish wide calf boots that are made of good quality.  Just like plus-size clothing, I don't understand why so many wide calf boots are ugly: over-embellished, cheap fabrics, weird heels, and just plain awful.  Below I share my picks of stylish wide calf boots, all are a minimum of a 16″ shaft circumference.  For each style I will share the price as well as the shaft circumference so you can find the wide calf boot that is right for you!

What Makes a Wide Calf Boot Stylish?

When shopping for wide calf boots, keep embellishments to a minimum.  Steer clear of styles that are buckle overload, have superfluous straps or lacing, studs, and other embellishments.  Over-embellishment is a sign of a cheap shoe and it makes the boot look dated more quickly.  A style that is simple will be more timeless and read more expensive.

Right now so many different shapes of toeboxes are in style.  Bulbous round toes are often found on wide calf boots but they are a trend that went away a decade ago.  For boots that are more timeless, look for a sleeker toebox.  If in doubt, go with an almond toe which is slim without being pointy and has plenty of room for your toes.  This is a toe that can dress up nicely while still looking great on the weekend with skinny jeans and a fleece.

Heels are a detail that alter the style of a boot.  Like over-embellishment, the heel is a place where boot companies will try to be creative but often end up cheapening the look.  Stubby cone heels, rubbery wedges, and laminated heels (ones with some sort of coating or sticker to look metallic, snakesekin, wood, etc.) are all looks I regularly see with wide calf boots.  I prefer a heel that is not fabric covered  or laminated so it is easier to patch if it gets damaged (look for a heel the same leather as the boot), and unless it's a statement you adore, steer clear of statement heels and go for one the same color or a natural pairing (like brown wood with black boots or black heels with white boots).

For a boot that will be stylish and versatile now and for many years to come, look for real leather or a non-leather fabric that is high quality and durable (a low-shine faux leather or microsuede, a tightly-woven heavyweight knit, etc.).  If the boot has stretch panels, consider ones where they are the same color as the rest of the boot.  

How to Measure For Wide Calf Boots

When measuring your legs for boots, it's important to do it correctly to get an accurate measurement that matches what the boot makers are following.  You'll need a flexible measuring tape; they're not pricey and you can find them on Amazon (this one is less than $3 and has free Prime shipping).

  • To measure calf circumference: Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the ground, your legs straight.  Use the measuring to measure the widest part of your calf.  Be sure to measure both legs; most people have one leg that is wider than the other.  Use the largest measurement for shopping.  Do not pull the measuring tape tight; it's better to have it a bit loose so you have room in your boots for hosiery, leggings, or jeans.  If you are under 5'4″ you may wish to add an inch to your measurement as the widest part of the boot's shaft may be higher than where your calf's widest point may be.
  • To measure shaft height: When tall or short, the height of the boot shaft is imperative.  Too short and it can look awkward; too tall and it can bow out like a pirate boot or even hit the back of your knees, making it hard to walk.  Again, sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground, your legs at a 90-degree angle. Place the measuring tape end on the ground right behind the bottom of your heel. Measure up to the place you would like your boot to end.  For this measurement, you may want assistance to get the most accurate number.

When it comes to wide calf boots, it is better to go larger than smaller.  When you factor in what you may wear under the boots you often need more space.  Also, a cobbler has an easier time slimming down the shaft of a pair of tall boots than adding gussets or more material to enlarge them.  And yes, if you didn't know, most cobblers can narrow the shaft of a boot; some even will adjust the shape for a custom fit! And always be sure to get heel caps replaced and boots resoled as they wear down to extend the life of your boots.

Related: Stylish Wide Calf Snow and Rain Boots

Related: My Favorite Places to Shop for Wide Calf Boots

My Picks for Stylish Wide Calf Boots

My picks for truly wide calf boots that are at least 16″ wide in the shaft.  I will share both the shaft circumference and price for each boot below so you can better narrow down to find the best stylish wide calf boots for your body and personal style.

Stylish Flat Knee-High Boots

This style of boot is a wardrobe workhorse.  It is equestrian chic with skinny jeans and a sweater, boho chic with a midi-length skirt or dress, and practical for long days on your feet.  Use a waterproofer (this is a good one) on them and they can trudge through pumpkin patches and slushy walks to the office.  Since this is a classic boot, it's one worth spending a little more on when buying and also with protecting at the start of the season (waterproofing, taking to the cobbler to reheel and resole, store properly with boot trees or even rolled magazines so the shafts don't crease). Steering clear of too much embellishment will make this a boot you can wear for years, even decades.

Stylish Heeled Wide Calf Boots

I have a harder time finding stylish heeled wide calf boots than I do flat ones.  Very often for this category, wide calf boots are over-embellished, made of cheap materials, or have some wonky detail that makes them look weird or dated.  Don't worry, every single one of my selections is not only a true wide calf boot, but also has classic styling making this boot a good purchase now and several seasons from now.

Stylish Wide Calf Over the Knee Boots

The over the knee boot trend went from being a hot trend to a winter classic thanks to the extra warmth they provide. While some over the knee boots are very trend-specific, I have focused on wide calf over the knee styles that are chic, classic, and will still be stylish next year. Wear with a sweater dress and fleece tights for stylish warmth, slip over jeans on the weekends, and make your athleisure off the shoulder knit top or turtleneck and leggings look downright chic.

Stylish Trendy Wide Calf Boots

While I am not big on spending big money on boots that are trend-dependant I do think some “trendy” boots can be part of a person's signature style and transcend trends and become a lasting favorite. These are all wide-calf boots I think are high enough quality and stylish enough to have fun with fashion beyond a single season and not worry about being out of style.

If you have any wide calf boots that you adore, do share them in the comments!

Shop My Picks for Wide Calf Boots:

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  1. Hi Alison,

    You may have discussed this in a previous post that I missed. You’ve recommended some great orthotic / support in-soles before. I’m wondering, which insoles work well with a more refined boot (slim-seeming profile, and slim or narrow toe). I’ve gotten a few new pairs of boots (including 1 pair of wide-foot Chelseas from ASOS — https://www.asos.com/us/asos-design/asos-design-wide-fit-april-leather-chelsea-boots-in-black/prd/12368196. I tried ASOS wide sizing again after your recommendations, with success this round.). What kind of slim, low-profile inserts or in-soles would work for a dressy-ish, flat pair of Chelseas or a pair of 1″ heel minimal-looking Western booties from Madewell in camel — https://www.madewell.com/the-myles-ankle-boot-in-leather-L0675.html? Esp. with the 1″ heels and low back, I don’t want an additional lift in the back like I would get with Superfeet insoles.

    What kind would you use with the refined, minimal-looking brogues and loafers you featured in this great post? I feel like those inserts would work with the type of boots I’m working with.

    1. Hi Jax, sorry for the delay in replying your comment went into moderation because of the links. Whoops! I now have the Walk-Hero insoles in my slim La Canadienne lace-up boots, my engineer boots, and a Chelsea boot similar to the ones you have from ASOS. They’re slim enough to work in all of these plus my sneakers! https://amzn.to/2E9yhr7

  2. I have not been able to find a pair of knee-high boots in a decade, but will keep trying! In the meantime, and I know you love Talbots, I recommend these mid-calf boots — they fit comfortably on wider calves, yet look slim and trim. Further, I love that Talbots offers 10.5, which is such a hard size to find in shoes, much less boots. The black version is gorgeous!


  3. Thanks for a great post again! I just got the pair from Simply Be, in tan. They’re so beautiful 😀 The quality is really nice for the price, and they’re quite comfortable. It’s my first pair of tall boots since 2003! Mostly because I refuse to wear anything but leather, and because I take EEE width and an 18 inch calf – which narrows the field considerably! So, YES to the Simply Be boots 🙂

  4. Thank you for this! I struggle as someone with wide calves but not wide feet which makes the more affordable options at places like Torrid problematic for me because the foot area is so wide I have to wear very thick socks to make them wearable at all. My calves are about 16.5- 17.5 depending on my weight at the time and I have had consistent luck over the years with wide calf options from Marc Fisher, as well as recently with the wide calf option of the Nine West boots currently available at Kohls. Currently I’m looking for over the knee boots that don’t have the string at the top to keep them tight at the top but instead have elastic/other means to keep them up. If anyone has recommendations please let me know 🙂 thanks!!

    1. I tried over the knee boots from ASOS and they didn’t have the string, instead they had elastic and some also had silicone. They fit my calves and thighs but I just had too short of legs – they almost went up to my crotch!
      High heel: http://bit.ly/2KMk7zQ
      Lower block heel: http://bit.ly/2rkMwpK (these were super snug on my shins and my legs were clearly too short both above and below the knee but okay everywhere else)
      Flat heel: http://bit.ly/2OyMSRK (these looked a bit fake but it worked in more of a tough/Mad Max sort of way)

  5. Ugh, on the gripe side…what happened to Naturalizers?!?!? I have two pair that are both over 5 years old that I have beat up and in the past two years I have purchased several pairs and returned the both. I ordered a 9.5W, wide calf and the foot and shaft were both narrow! Not to mention the leather looks really low quality these days. I am really bummed because I was a pretty loyal customer for many years. This is a great list! I’ll give some of these a try. Thanks!

      1. I can relate to the passionate typing! 🙂 I’ve noticed the same with Naturalizer and didn’t know if it was just me. their shoes and boots always fit me great and now I’m finding them more narrow, not as roomy for my high volume feet, and the quality isn’t what it used to be. It’s sad because they were always my go-to shoe brand!

  6. Clarks always has one tall boot style that’s at least 16″ wide with an elastic gusset, very simple, classic design, good quality leather, incredibly comfortable & durable. I have a pair that are at least 10 years old now & are just barely due for resoling now. I’ve put them through *a lot* in terms of walking & weather, & they’re champs! Plus, as beautiful unadorned black boots, they go with everything. Highly recommended.

  7. Thank you for the info! I purchased a pair of Duo boots several years ago when you first recommended them. I have always enjoyed them but they tend to slouch down after just a small amount of time wearing them. I often wondered if I should have gotten a larger circumference size? (They are definitely NOT too loose-if anything, perhaps a bit snug) Any thoughts? It tends to create a messier look than I’d like. I am in the market for a new pair for the season and I don’t want to make the same mistake! Thanks again for always providing great content!

    1. A lot of times that is not because the calf is the wrong size, but the shins/below the calf muscle is too loose. A cobbler can sometimes nip in the shaft so it’s a more custom fit, preventing that. Another solution are boot straps; they go on your leg and connect to your boot to keep them up. Hollywood Fashion Secrets has a version that’s under $10 and free shipping at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pA5I2p

      1. Thank you so much for the response. This makes total sense. I am going to try the boot straps first and go from there. I really appreciate your help with this!

        1. I have and use the Hollywood Solutions straps linked. The will not keep your boots up. That is not what they are for. They keep your pants tucked in so you get a smoother pant line. They don’t work as well as the clip on stirrups but I think they are more comfortable. If you find something that keeps your boots up that actually works, let me know, because I haven’t found it. At least slouchy boots are in this season 😉

  8. I have a pair of Duo boots, bought from their shop in Bath. I don’t have particularly large calves, but the range of sizes means that you end up with boots that feel made to measure. The staff are really helpful, so you can choose the style that best fits you – some are better on slim ankles, other on chunkier ankles. And of course these will also work for women who struggle with boots because their calves are very small. If any of you in the US are contemplating a visit to the UK, Bath is a beautiful, historic city – so perhaps you should make a pilgrimage to Duo. They aren’t even expensive.

    1. Duo really impresses me. I’m sad that they rebranded for a bit and came back with a more limited collection that is far slimmer and taller than the past, but there are still some great options.

  9. I am a 5’0″ woman with big legs so I am difficult fit in tall boots in both width & height. I just received the Charles by Charles David Patrol boot after looking all season for a tall boot in a lighter brown or tan. The calf circ is 16″ so they won’t work for every larger leg but the slouchy look worked beautifully for me. I love how they pair with midi skirts and dresses and the western style is very on-trend. I wore them all day teaching school so I can vouch for their comfort as well.


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