Sunday, September 30, 2012

Narrowing a Boot Calf

It's been quite awhile since my last post! This was mostly because it didn't seem fitting to write about boots during the summer months and because I assumed there would be few boots to write about during that time. But now that Fall is approaching, I'm hoping there will be lots of new options for us to consider. I've been looking around and have been underwhelmed with the selection thus far. But I was re-energized by all the nice comments and emails I received from you ladies! Thanks to all of you who sent me nice notes about the blog. I really appreciate them and will try hard to continue to make this blog worthwhile for my readers. I really hope our message will be heard, and one day narrow-calved women will have a much nicer selection of boots! I just ordered my first pair of boots to review for the season and hope to have that post up next week.

For my first post of the season, I thought I'd discuss my recent experience with getting boot calves tailored or taken in. It's something I'd thought about getting done for quite awhile but although I came across quite a few posts on getting boot calves stretched, I couldn't find any decent reviews from people who had their boot calves narrowed. Searching on Yelp led me to Philip's Shoe Repair in Petworth (a neighborhood in DC). I had a beautiful pair of Dani Black leather cowboy-inspired boots that I picked up on sale over three years ago for a ridiculous markdown (I think they were originally $200+ and I got them for under $40), but hadn't been able to wear because of their wide shaft. After having looked at them longingly for years, I was  excited to potentially be able to wear them soon.

Philip and his wife were nice, although initially skeptical of whether the boot shaft could be tailored. He informed me that since they were pull-ons, he would need to insert a zipper, which would take extra time and money. Additionally, if I wanted the zipper to be the same color as the boot, the process would take longer because he had to order a zipper in a specific color. I was okay with the wait, so he measured my calves and I left. When I went back a couple of weeks later, I was delighted to see that the boots fit quite well! The zipper looked like it had always been part of the boot because it matched the color of the leather perfectly. Philip mentioned that the piping down the front of the boot might not line up perfectly down the front center since he was taking literally inches off the width, but I don't think it's too noticeable. The final cost was about $120, which is pretty steep, but I feel it was worth it because (a) the boots were a steal at the price I purchased them, and (b) it would be like owning a new pair of shoes, since I'd never really worn them before. However, it seems out of reach for most new boots that cost over $100.

My only regret is that he tailored the boot to my exact calf measurement and I should have asked for about an 1/8th inch gap. Now the shafts are too tight to fit over jeans. Perhaps I can try l/jeggings. Also, my left calf must be slightly larger than the right because left boot feels a bit too tight around the calf. Had I known this, I'd have had him measure each leg separately. However, I was happy with the product overall and ecstatic to be able to finally wear them. A stranger complimented them the first time I wore them! 

Here is an "after" pic. Unfortunately, I lost the camera on which I took the "before" pic, but I'm pretty sure the initial size of the shaft was around 14". Let me know if there are other views of the boots that would be helpful, and I can take additional pics. 

This is what the boots looked like after  getting the calves tailored.
I'd love to hear from any of you that have done something similar or considered it. Would you recommend it? Any tips that I missed? For others, how likely would you be to consider getting your boots tailored? 
Until next time!

Little Contessa   


  1. Oh, I'm so glad you're back! I'm still waiting on your riding boot roundup your promised last year ;)

    I'm glad to hear about your successes with the cobbler narrowing a boot calf. Your boots looks like they fit pretty well, and even better with some skinny jeans, I bet. I was researching this online too and some ladies have horror stories that wrecked their boots, so YMMV. If I had a pair of cheap boots then I'd be open to trying? But if they are $$$ then I'd think twice about taking them to potentially get ruined.

    1. I'm definitely trying to work on a riding boot round-up! They are especially difficult to find, but I just ordered a pair that I'm hoping to review this week. Re: narrowing boots, I totally agree that I wouldn't be comfortable doing that for an expensive boot and I probably wouldn't invest in something that was super expensive if it didn't fit well. It does seem like designer boots (e.g., Prada) come with narrower shafts but I haven't ordered any to try on b/c they're just too $$$ and I feel badly about recommending boots that are out of reach for most of us.

  2. I just came across your blog and will check back often to see if you come up with any suggestions. I have a size 9 foot with a 12.5" calf and it's nearly impossible to find a nice boot that doesn't look like I'm wearing galoshes! About 4 years ago, Aerosoles had a stretch boot that was absolutely perfect, but I guess they quit making it. Good luck, can't wait to see what you find!

  3. I am so thrilled to have just found your blog!!! I love wearing boots in the fall/winter but I have such skinny legs (13" calf and size 10 foot), I can never find any boots narrow enough that I could wear with a skirt. Sometimes they are too wide even with jeans tucked in! I would love to finally find a sharp pair of boots that I can wear this winter! Please keep the posts coming and THANK YOU!!!

  4. I'm the same way, size 9.5-10 and a 13" calf, I've ordered three pair from DUO boots but their heels are just too short, I need a 3.5" heel to make my large feet not look so long :( Glad to have come across your blog and look forward to searching around. Oh, and I got a pair of cute boots from Aldo but the shoe guy said he couldn't take them in because the sipper was on the side, lame. I think I need to try another place since yours were able to be taken in with a side zip....

  5. Your boots look great! I'm glad you had success with taking them to a cobbler. I took a pair of boots in to my local cobbler to have the shaft size reduced, but was told that he could not adjust that particular pair. He said not all boots can be properly take in, because really depends on the construction of the boot, specifically the location of the seam. I was glad he told me this instead of destroying my boots.

  6. If you are in Toronto you could also try going to see Leon. His website is