Girl Talk

Boots Are the Worst

It’s December, and since I live in a city in the Northern Hemisphere that has a climate, that means the conditions outside are increasingly snowman friendly. Thus, in order to protect my delicate lady legs from the bitter cold, I went in search of a pair of warm, pretty, standard winter boots.

That was back in early November. Now, a month later, I lay in a shriveled heap of failed hopes and abandoned dreams, waving my white flag in the fetal position. Because apparently there is a one-size fits all policy when it comes to boots, and I’m over it by a whole inch.

F*ck you, boot makers of everywhere. Isn’t it enough that my tiny feet mean I fall over a lot, now they also mean I couldn’t possibly zip up anything on my calves that isn’t 3 sizes too big? Who decided 16″ was the average calf circumference? If I can fit into a size 6 dress, then I can fit into a pair of boots. And even if I was four sizes bigger, whether because I was a foot taller (dreams!) or because I was just bigger, I shouldn’t be denied boots.

You know who had calves like mine? My grandmother. My grandmother had “big” calves. She also could never find boots to fit her. So as far as I’m concerned, bootmakers, you hate my grandmother. What’s up with that?

My choices now are shopping online, after spending over a month going from store to store, failing zip after zip. Because of one measley inch and the inflexibility of bootmakers everywhere, I am left out in the cold, peering in through the windows of stores at all the happy girls who were born with skinny-calf-genes and don’t jog. There they sit, warmed by the glow of their footwear choices, trying on everything their little hearts desire, while I let the last match burn down to my fingers and quietly die in my summer flats.

Image via Shutterstock

  • Hillary Leigh Richardson

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  • Hillary Leigh Richardson

    I have that same problem! I have big calves, made all the more huge b/c I’m a runner. UGH! Curse you boot-makers!

  • Caroline Marin

    What?! Where are you shopping that 16″ is the average?! I can’t find anything above 14.5″…and I need 16″. Boot shopping is worse than jeans shopping.

    • Julia Gazdag

      Every department store ever — also, the internet. Most boots that aren’t “wide calves” (which, lolz at that bullshit) are 16″

  • Anna Gribova

    Hi! Thank you! I spent endless months trying on boots! Don’t even get me started on rain boots!
    Luckily, I found few, FEW, pairs on DSW that have models with wide calf. As for snow boots, I’m happily wearing a pair of SOREL.

  • Chrissy Smith

    Try Bearpaw. I got a pair of winter boots last year that were zip up but had cute laces and you could adjust them tighter if you needed too. If you want snow friendly not super hideous boots I’d check them out. Maybe you won’t find any you like but I enjoyed that I could customize the fit around my cavs depending on what sort of pants I had on and were tucked inside the boot.

  • Erica Bauwens

    Girl PREACH. I am 5’2 with short legs and big calves and all I can wear is the short UGGs. It’s so frustrating! Then I see girls out and about with tall, thin, model legs and that gap between the boot and their calves and I’m so jealous it makes me crazy! There has to be a boot out there for the normal person!

  • Leah Angela Avena

    I’ve dealt with this problem for years! It sucks. Just go for shorter length boots, ones that cut mid-calf.

  • Chrissy Smith

    Oops, typo, I meant to not too. Lol.

  • Steffane M. Wells

    Boots are the worst! Try having a 13 inch calf!! Impossible!!! Utterly Impossible! It’s just as hard to find narrow calf boots as it is to find wide calf widths!! I swear, I have to spend a bazillion dollars on a pair just so I don’t look like I am a four year old playing dress up in mom
    s closet!

    • Charlotte Doolaege

      I have the exact same problem, I too have very narrow calves and it always looks like the wind could blow me out of my boots any second.

  • Eileen Hogan

    Try searching “extra wide calf” that gave me some options, albeit not as cute.

  • Sarah Rose Gies

    Agreed. I finally impulse-bought a pair of Bear Traps from QVC. Yes they are “Wide Calf”, but they fit great and I don’t feel like my leg is going to explode, so, bonus.

  • Jennifer Olesky

    OMG! this is me! I just so happen to have short legs… which equals thicker calves! I can NEVER fit into boots that zip up! I have really ended up with just slip on Ugg style boots for comfort or slip on ankle style, alas none of them satisfy my tall boot fix!

  • Makea King

    I have 16in calves and I could never find any knee high boots. I finally found a pair of black leather Naturalizer extended calf boots at DSW and I also purchased my first pair of FRYE boots this year. I took to the shoe repair place at the mall and they stretched out the calf of each boot for 2 days and it only cost me $15. Now they even fit over jeans.

  • Jessica Sato

    I will never have a healthy relationship with boots. They gawk at me when I walk by and we both know why.

  • Jennifer Saurage

    Amen. And I flatly REFUSE to wear boots with spandex faux leather around the calf that every Kohls & JCPenney sell! Ugly!

  • Carra D

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  • Jessica Robin

    Same. I also have proportionately small feet as compared to my calves. I haven’t given up hope yet. My aunt found me some stretch suede boots and I also found a cute pair of 17″ timberlands with an elastic panel. We will prevail.

  • Carra D

    Im on the other side of this… All I want is a fitted boot and everything is big around my calf plus it doesn’t help I have a size 11 shoe =/

  • Ashley Petrylak

    I’ve never purchased from here, but have heard amazing things. DUO ( is a UK based ocmpany that sells high quality boots made to measure for your calf circumference! They are pricey, but I think they could be worth it considering how much time us “non standard calf sizes” spend looking for boots that fit!

  • Hanna Renae Scott

    oh god do i EVER feel your pain…I buy my boots from a plus-size website (I am a size 6!!!) because I have large calves. They’re comfy and made well and still really stylish and I have room for thick socks and jeans to be tucked in. If you can get past the concept of buying something plus-size (which, who cares really?) it’s a good option!

    • Julia Gazdag

      Couldn’t care less about the plus size label — I hate that I can’t see a design I like and just WEAR it.

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