The Best Boots for Big Calves

Yes, yes, I know it's still August, but boot season is nearly upon us. You'll thank me in eight weeks or so.
Publish date:
August 22, 2012
shoppables, FATshion, boots

It has recently been brought to my attention that it is almost September. Here in the Northern hemisphere, this means winter FALL IS COMING, and that represents one thing in my world: It’s OK to start buying boots again.

It’s no secret that I love boots. My collection of Dr. Martens is pretty epic. I wear them pretty much year-round anyway, but it’s nice when the weather cooperates, and living in New England it’s only about six weeks out of the year that I look like a dope tromping around in boots in summer heat.

ANYWAY, fall is coming, and so the time to think about boots is nigh. As a lady with extremely substantial calves -- those suckers were 19.5 inches at last check -- boot shopping can be very depressing for me, as it’s tough to find boots that will accommodate the shaft-shattering magnitude of my lower legs. I know I am not alone in this boot pain, so I’m sharing some of my recent finds with you, dear readers, just because I love you. And your calves. No matter what size they are.

Riding boots are apparently a thing this year. I didn’t know that when I started putting this list together, so I’m just going to put my current riding-boot obsession down to my being a fashion savant.

The black boot on the left is Ros Hommerson’s “Alyssa,” an over-knee boot that comes in three calf widths, so odds are good that one of them is going to fit you. The magnificent chestnut boots are the "Giles" from DUO, custom UK bootmakers of fat-calf legend. I love them because they look like something Lord Grantham would wear to ride a horse around Downton Abbey and look awesome. I have kind of a thing for Hugh Bonneville. Don’t judge me.

Want something more modern? But still stable enough that they won’t entice you into a sidewalk faceplant at the first frost? WEDGES ARE THE ANSWER. Avenue’s black “Wendy” boot looks like something out of a 1990s sci-fi B-movie, but I think that’s a good thing. Torrid, on the other hand, is offering up these “Luna” boots, which would totally work if you were devising costumes for go-go dancers on Endor. Like with little Ewok-fur bra tops and skirts? Oh wow, I am so going to hell.

I am not a big fan of heeled boots; as a person who falls down pretty much constantly all I see when I look at a heeled boot is a piece of bait for a twisted ankle hanging from a mean-looking hook. However, these heels are mostly reasonable, and super vintage looking as well, without any of that weirdness of knowing some long-dead person’s feet were once inside your boots.

The “Steeple” Victorian boot is basically a historical reproduction -- although not technically a wide-calf boot, the laces leave room for a variety of leg widths. Alternatively, DUO’s slightly more contemporary take in the “Coralie” boot looks so freaking delicious you could eat it off a plate. What, am I the only one who uses food metaphors with fine leather?

Short boots are an obvious solution to big-calf blues; they remove the difficulty by not even pretending to care about the rest of your leg. LIBERATION! Also, they’re cheaper, and short boots are basically the only reason I can get into Fryes, ever, like these gorgeous rustic ankle-strapping “Shirley” boots. The little Western boots are Ariat Fatbabies, and I actually own this particular pair already -- they are my longtime favorites not just because of the name (FATBABIES! It’s so fun to say!) but because they are ridiculously comfortable AND cute AND grippy on snow and ice. (Although, the finish shows literally every bump and scuff, so unless you’re into boots that look worn, these might not do it for you.)

I want a pair of studded boots like mad right now. Is this me being a fashion savant again? Regardless, a big part of what I love about boots in general is their overall toughness, and nothing is tougher than a pair of boots with studs all over them. The Frye “Jenna” boot in greige looks like it might be worn by members of a motorcycle gang into exploring neutrals beyond black. On the other hand, Dr. Martens (DID YOU THINK I WOULD GET THROUGH THIS WHOLE THING WITH NO DOCS?) all-over studded “Spike” boot is way punk.

What do you guys think? Am I jumping the gun with boot shopping in August? I’m just excited, is all.