Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Boot Roundup

Thanks so much to all of you who've submitted suggestions recently. I hope this post helps some of you out there. This post is no guarantee that these boots are actually good for small calves. I have not tried on these boots and chose them based on their product descriptions and reviews. I'd love to hear from those of you that have had firsthand experience with any of the boots listed below. And of course, suggestions are always welcome! Apologies if this page looks messy with the links and product pictures-- I'm still figuring out how to clean up my posts. If any of you can point me to a starter guide, that would be much appreciated as well!

Unlisted, Chip N Dip ($71)
Zappos lists these as having a 13” circumference and the shaft looks adjustable. Both reviews indicate that the shaft is narrow, but I couldn’t find any other reviews online. They are also on Macy'sEndless, and, where they are described as having a 14.5” circumference.
Boots by Unlisted at ShopStyle

La Canadienne, Dorinna ($305)
There are tons of good reviews of this boot, which Zappos lists as having a 12.5” calf. An anonymous commenter said these fit her 12.5” calves perfectly. They're not cheap but multiple reviewers felt they were well worth the steep price tag. They look amazing!
Boots by La Canadienne at ShopStyle

Cole Haan, Air Rosalyn Stretch Boot ($358)
Zappos lists these with a 12” circumference and one reviewer said these were good for her narrow calves, but there aren’t enough reviews to know this for sure. I really wish Zappos would discuss the calf circumference in their product videos. I could find any other online listings or reviews. 

Etienne Aigner, Captain ($100-$130)
Zappos lists these with a 12.5” calf circumference, but the reviews appear mixed. They’re sold out on Zappos, but are available on a bunch of other sites, including Amazon (on sale), Macy’s, Famous Footwear, and

Trouve, Skylar Boot ($180)
These boots seem to have very positive reviews at Nordstrom but unfortunately, only a few sizes remain. I couldn't find them anywhere else online but hopefully more will pop up soon.

La Canadienne, Galaxy Boot ($300-$315)
There were a couple of reviews on Zappos and Nordstrom about these boots being good for small calves. The calf circumference is listed at 13-13.5". I've never had a pair of La Canadienne boots but the reviews for them seem overwhelmingly positive with respect to quality and comfort. They are currently on sale at Amazon.

Kickers, Seventy 2 Boots ($180-$260)
The reviews on Nordstrom (on sale for $180) are pretty positive, with a couple of reviewers saying the boots were either good for their skinny calves or too narrow for their average sized calves. They are on sale at Zappos and are also available for full price at EndlessPlanet Shoes, and Amazon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: Simple Brrlin Boot

Thank you to the commenter who suggested I try Simple's Brrlin boot! I recently retired my only pair of casual, “daily-wear” knee-high boots after they I pretty much wore them down to their metaphorical bone. I got the Simple boots in the mail yesterday and am thrilled! The rear buckle allowed me to adjust the boot snugly to my 12” calf and I think it could certainly work for smaller calves as well, but may have a little bit of gaping in the back. I like that the entire shaft is narrow so there isn't too much of a difference between the width at the top and at the ankles. The upper is thin suede and so perhaps it could stretch with a lot of wear? I'm not sure so others who own the boot will have to weigh in. The suede is soft and malleable, so I can roll the boots up and tuck them into my big purse. This will come in handy in the winter, since I usually use a comfy pair of shoes for walking and change into heels or heeled boots when I actually get to where I’m going (e.g., work, dinner).

Fit & function–
I am usually between a 6-6.5 and selected the latter because quite a few reviewers said the boot ran small. The fit is comfortable, although I’m not completely convinced that I couldn’t fit into a size 6. The 6.5 is a little loose so my foot slides a bit when I walk, but it will be fine with thick socks. If it annoys me, I’ll put in an insert. I guess it’s better than being too tight. As you can see in the picture above, the top of the shaft hit several inches below my knee. Despite being a slouchy boot, it stayed up nicely when I wore it today, probably because the buckle keeps the fit snug. The boots are very comfortable but seem to have little to no arch support if that’s something that matters to you.

Ordering tips– These boots seem to be available on a bunch of sites including Endless,, and Planet Shoes (get 20% off for a limited time with code extra20). The grey and chocolate are on sale at Zappos and Amazon, and I chose Zappos because of their free shipping/returns and frankly, their awesome customer service. Amazon also lists a bunch of other retailers who are selling the boots. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review: Anthropologie Brass Tacks Boots

Disappointing. As I'd feared, the Brass Tacks boots (now $98) didn't quite live up to my expectations. Reviews on Anthro's website pointed to a narrow shaft, and one reviewer said the boots looked good on her 12" calf. I received the boots today and the calf circumference is about 13.75 inches. It looked pretty ridiculous on my 12 inch calf. I'm having some camera issues but will try to post a pic soon. The leather is stiff and good quality, but seems like it will scuff easily, so some sort of protective spray may be a good idea. The shaft is unlined. The fit is true to size. My usual size 6 fit well, with room for socks. 

For those of you with 13.5 inch calves, this is a nice boot.
 It may also work with leg warmers or thick socks, if you have 13 inch calves. I haven't experimented much with this but saw a pair of leg warmers at Athleta that seem like they could work. 

Ordering info: Anthro is currently having a promotion of 25% off sale items through Sunday. 
On Black Friday, from 6am to 11am, they're offering 50% off sale items. The discount is reflected once you add the item to your cart. According to the site, all sizes are still available. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boot Roundup

I apologize for the long lag time since my last entry. It’s been a bit challenging to find boots to write about recently (I’m hoping that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be better). Here are some that recently caught my eye, as well as one that I want to caution you all about. 

Anthropologie, Brass Tacks Boots (now $130 $98) 
**Anthro is having a 25% off sale promo so these boots are now $98! But free shipping only kicks in for orders over $100. Add the boots to your cart to see the discount.)
I usually glaze over Anthro’s boots because of their gigantic calves but for some reason these boots caught my eye. The description says the calf circumference is 14” and one of the reviewers said it looked good on her 12” calves! Anthro is offering free shipping on purchases over $100 through Nov. 30, so I quickly ordered them to review. I'm supposed to get them tomorrow so I'll try and post my review as quickly as possible. If you want to take advantage of the free shipping and can't wait for the review, you'll have to order by next Wednesday. If you live near an Anthro store, you can always return them to the store if they doesn't fit. Last time I checked, all sizes were still available. I’m trying not to get my hopes up for reasons you’ll understand as soon as you read about the next pair of boots on the list. 
Anthropologie, Brass Tacks boots ($130 $98)

Aerosoles, Mezzotint (now $100)
Let me just cut to the chase-- do not buy these boots. The description (on both Piperlime and the Aerosoles website) says the calf circumference is 12” with the side zipper closed and 14” with it open (if correctly executed, this is a great idea!). I got so excited that I immediately ordered them to review for this blog. Not a smart move! After ordering, I read through the reviews and realized that the shaft width is way wider than 12”. I even stopped by an Aerosoles store hoping that the reviews were talking about a wide-shaft version of the boot, but was bitterly disappointed to see that the regular shaft is at least 14” with the zipper closed.  I felt deceived and very annoyed. Why not put just the expected level of effort to ensure accurate product descriptions?
Aerosoles, Mezzotint boots ($100)

Very Volatile, Hazel (now $90)
Given my previous experience with questionable product descriptions, I’m hesitant to believe Piperlime’s claim that these boots have an 11” circumference. I’m not sure if it’s worth ordering it to review, because it seems so unlikely. I decided to post about it in case any of you have tried it out and can share your experience. 
Very Volatile, Hazel boots ($90)

Vince Camuto, Braden (now $125)
The description lists a calf circumference of 13” and suggests ordering a half-size larger since the shoe runs small. The reviews seem mostly positive and I like that it’s offered in both a slouchy slade as well as a leather option that seems stiffer. Some reviewers say that the boot was more slouchy than they expected and a couple said the shaft was better suited for tall women.
Vince Camuto, Braden boots (multiple colors) ($125)

Steve Madden, Natalee ($190)
I’m surprised to have a Steve Madden boot on this list because theirs are usually very large in the calf. However, Piperlime claims that this pair of boots have a 13.5” circumference. No reviews yet but I’ll see if I can find these at a Madden store and snap a pic.

Steve Madden, Natalee boots ($190)

Follow-up on a previous boot roundup - Thanks so much to Danielle for commenting about her experience with Diba’s Hear Me Now boot! She said that the boot circumference fit her 12.75” calves well, with a little bit of room for leggings or jeans. I’m so glad she found boots that fit and I hope this will help some of you out there as well!

(P.S. - I added the "follow by email" option, which sends new posts directly to you via email, for those of you who don't want to keep checking the blog to see what's new).

Little Contessa

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: Kamik Ellie Rain Boot

Finding rain boots that fit slim calves can be incredibly frustrating. I always end up feeling like a little kid wearing grown ups’ boots. The reviews on Endless for Kamik’s Ellie rain boot ($80) alluded to its slim shaft so I decided to give it a try.

The Result – I found that they fit better than any other rain boot I’ve tried, but there’s still about an inch of empty space. Surprisingly, you can’t really tell when looking at them from the front and they still don’t look too bad from a side view on my 12-inch calves (compared with others I’ve tried on). The picture below is from a friend of mine, M, who has 13-inch calves. The boots fit her really nicely, with just enough room for skinny pants or socks. I think this is a great option for those with 12 ½ to 13 ½ inch calves, but unfortunately might be too loose for those with smaller calves. Although I thought they looked passable on me, I’m not sure everyone with 12-inch calves would agree.

Fit & Function – I tried on the yellow when it was on sale (that color is no longer available) and thought it was very pretty. The picture above shows the eggplant, which is also quite lovely. The boots seem sturdy, good quality and—most importantly—comfortable. They are also machine washable (!) and recyclable, which I thought was pretty cool. A bonus is the soft polartec lining, which I’m sure will be useful in the winter. I haven’t yet tried them on snow/ice but found the grip sufficient in the rain. The reviews said the boots run small. I wanted to be able to accommodate thick socks in the winter so I ordered a 7--a size larger than my usual since they don't offer half sizes. They were roomy but still wearable and comfortable. In the picture above, M is wearing her true size and suggested sizing up because they could be snug with socks.

Ordering Tips – The price of these boots are a little steep for rain boots, but I do think it’s justified by their quality. I ordered from Endless, but the boots are also on other sites that offer free shipping and returns, including Nordstrom and ZapposOnline Shoes offers free shipping and exchanges (no free returns though), and currently has a promotion (through 11/15/2011) for $20 off purchases of $90 or more with promo code 1FALLDEAL. Amazon currently has them on sale. They're also at and Planet Shoes, which offer free shipping. 

Have any of you had luck finding rain boots that fit narrow calves? Leave a comment—I’d love to hear about your experiences. Thanks to all those who have submitted comments thus far! I know I've yet to write about boots that work well for calves that are less than 12.5 inches, but don't think I'm not looking! I'll keep hunting for boots that work for you girls!

Little Contessa 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Franco Sarto Whitney Boot

I was excited to try on the Whitney boot ($130) because several reviewers on its DSW product page alluded to a narrow calf. It looks like a pretty nice, standard boot-- the kind that doesn't make an outfit, but complements it. I ordered the dark grey and found the color pretty versatile. The boot is made of a thick, good quality soft suede, with a full zip up the side. The material is stiff enough so it doesn't sag, and I didn't spot any obvious gaping at the ankles. There doesn't seem to be much cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot, but it still seems comfortable, despite the high heel. My true size 6 fit well. 

As you can see in the picture below, the shaft is quite tall-- way too tall for me. Unfortunately, it's also way too wide for my calves. The description lists a circumference of 15" but I measured approximately 13.5" and assume that it could potentially stretch to slightly larger than that. I think it's a good option for 13.5"-14" calves, but not a viable option for skinnier calves. 

Franco Sarto Whitney wedge boot ($130)

So far, I've only seen these boots at DSW, which has regular shipping / promo codes. Remember to look up if any are available if you plan on ordering. Their website also allows you to check the boots' availability at your closest DSW store. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Boot Roundup

In addition to product reviews, I plan on posting when I spot potential narrow calf boots online or in stores. I won’t be able to get to all of these boots personally and write reviews, so think of this as a heads-up to all of you about promising options for us small calf gals. If any of you have feedback about the boots mentioned here, your comments are very much appreciated. Of course, general questions and suggestions are also always welcome!

Recently, the following 3 boots caught my eye:

Corso Como Radar Boot ($199)
Although it doesn’t look like much on the product page, I first spotted this boot at Garnet Hill, where you can see a lovely model shot (see below). I fell for its slouchy style and attached cozy-looking sock. In Garnet Hill’s Q&A page, I asked about shaft size and was told it would be great for calves less than 14” (although I think it may still be loose for me). The reviews say the shaft is quite long (20") so it may work for those of you who are taller. One reviewer complained about a narrow calf—always a good sign for us! The boots are also at Zappos, where you can see a product video. It seems that they’re also available at department store websites, such as Nordstrom
Diba Hear Me Now Boot (currently $99)
This seems like a nice option under $100. The product description lists the circumference as 13.5” but there are no reviews yet to verify. (Update- Thanks so much to Danielle for commenting about her experience with these boots! She said that the shaft circumference fit her 12.75” calves well, with a little bit of room for leggings or jeans.)

Joseph Griffin Taigo20115 Boot ($206-$217)
A bit more expensive, this rugged-looking option is available in a variety of colors and has a calf circumference of 13.75”. It has laces up the back so it may be adjustable. The review on  Endless indicates that the shaft is for narrow calves. Another review on  Amazon said the boot might run small because of European sizing. 

I feel like this last boot is right out of "Journey to the Center of the Earth"!



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review: Naturalizer Naya Quail Boot

Although I generally avoid Naturalizer boots because they favor wider calves, I took notice of their Naya Quail boot a few weeks ago. Naya is Naturalizer’s eco-friendly line and is quite a bit more expensive than regular Naturalizer shoes. The Naya Quail boot stood out to me because the expandable partial zipper in the back looked like it would accommodate smaller calves as well as bigger ones. They probably expect that most women will wear the boot unzipped to expose the sweater lining, but I wondered whether zipping it up completely could mean a more snug fit on the calf. One aspect of Naturalizer’s website that I really appreciate is the Q&A option, where you can ask about topics that aren’t mentioned in the product description. They state that the circumference for a size 6 is 14.5”, with an additional 3/16” for each additional half-size up. I hoped that this referred to the unzipped circumference and tried my luck.

The result - I’m very happy! Although the fit isn’t perfect, it’s pretty good, and certainly the best fit I’ve experienced in a long time given that I have a 12” calf. I think this boot would be wonderful for those of you with 13-14” calves. My one major annoyance is that there is quite a bit of gaping for me in the ankle. Of course, I have very slim ankles (6”circumference) so I hope this isn’t an issue for most of you. But honestly, I do wish that companies would realize that women with slim calves probably also have slim ankles, and craft their boots to accommodate that. I might consider taking the boots to a cobbler if I can find a trustworthy one, to explore whether the ankles can be taken in.

Fit and function - I ordered the Bordo color, which is a lovely dark red-brown much like the picture on the Naturalizer website. My true size 6 fit best. A 6.5 was too roomy even with socks. Plus, I doubt I’ll have to wear thick socks with these since their entirely leather shaft means they’ll be pretty warm. I’m 5’2” (hence the blog’s title!) and the shoes hit about 2” below my knee. The leather is very soft but the boots do stay up pretty well, aside from the unfortunate wrinkling around my ankle. They’re also very comfortable, which is pretty great given the 3” heel. The shoe is a little noisy because of the buckle, but I suspect that will be less of a problem for those with slightly bigger calves, since the buckle doesn’t rest snugly on mine.

In addition to Naturalizer, the boots are also available at 
EndlessAmazon, Zappos, Planet Shoes, Shoebuy, and Piperlime

I hope this helps! Feel free to add your comments if you have this boot or if you have any questions for me!

Little Contessa

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Cozy winter boots by Timberland

Given that it's only October, perhaps a post about cozy winter boots is a bit premature. But it's never too early to plan! Last year, I tried on the Timberland Earthkeepers Granby boot, and was pretty excited about it. It's a knee-high lace-up boot that I think would be great for walking around. I sometimes walk to work and envision these being good for the 30-minute walk each way when I wear skirts or skinny jeans/pants. Because of the laces, I was able to tighten them snugly around my 12-inch calf. I liked that added just enough bulk to the lower half of my leg to make my calves look nicely filled out. I also liked that they were a bit rugged, yet still feminine. They do run small, so order at least a half size up. I wear a 6 (sometimes a 6.5) and a size 7 fit best. The 6.5 was still way too snug because the inside is entirely lined with fleece. 

They're currently at Endless. I tried out Endless for the first time this year and liked it. The free 2-day shipping and returns were great. Plus, I had to call customer service for some help with my order and found the rep very helpful. The boots are also at Zappos (limited sizes) and Piperlime, and probably a bunch of other sites including Shoebuy and Planet Shoes, which offer free shipping and regular promotions. The comments sections on all of these sites might help with questions you have regarding fit and quality. For example, one person felt the boot was best suited for very slim calves because its natural thickness could make even average size calves seem overly bulky. 

Update - I was able to try on a pair in black (pictured above) and they're not exactly how I remember them. I still think they're cute but the beige-colored fleece is much more drab/dull looking than it initially seemed. I also read some reviews that say the traction on these is bad on ice.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Welcome to Little Contessa's blog on boots!

Hello! Welcome to Little Contessa's blog, a site devoted to searching for boots suitable for girls with narrow calves. I've always loved the Fall season, with its crisp and clear days, beautiful colors, and great fashion! Fall catalogs are generally filled with pictures of women in an assortment of great outfits, all with perfectly fitting boots. And I feel like every year, I fruitlessly search for boots to wear with sweater dresses, skinny jeans, and cute skirts. But my 12-inch calves obviously make this very difficult! I’m hoping to use this blog to share information about boots that I come across during my search, and help others find boots that fit and avoid ones that don’t.

I will be spending some time tweaking the setup and will begin posting soon.


Little Contessa