Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Frye Jenna Inside Zip

A helpful reader alerted me to a pair of Frye boots she recently ordered that fit her slim calves perfectly, so of course I ordered them right away to review for this blog. I got the pair of Frye Jenna Inside Zip boots in "smoke" color this week and was pretty impressed with how they fit. The reviews said the boots ran big so I sized down from my usual 6 (or small 6.5) to a 5.5, which seems to be the smallest size for these boots, and it was the correct fit. 

Although there was a little bit of gaping around the top, it is definitely less than any other riding boot I've encountered. I'm wearing leggings in the pictures below, so you can imagine that the fit was even better with jeans. The zipper is only a partial zipper (I'm not crazy about these), but I was able to tug at my jeans through the zipper opening to smooth out most of the inevitable "bunching" of my jeans around the knee. One characteristic about these boots that I like is that the stiff leather seems to prevent gaping around the ankles, although I'm not sure whether that will change with wear. 

Looking at the pictures makes me realize how well these fit. However, the leather was thick (seemed to be good quality) and a bit too stiff for me to comfortably move around in. I felt like they were a bit heavy for my feet and overpowered my petite 5'2" frame, but I don't think that others who are even a couple of inches taller than me would have the same issue. I think I'd be amenable to keeping these boots if they were slightly less expensive but I think they're a pass for me because I'd truly want to love a pair of boots to buy them at this price point. I tell myself I could reconsider, but they seem to be selling out quite fast on Zappos, Amazon (formerly Endless), and the Frye website! The upside is that I recently returned a 5.5 to Amazon, so they should be available soon (Amazon shows only 1 left in stock in this size/color combo). I hope that the realization that these are selling so quickly will help retailers understand that there is a strong market for narrow-calf boots!

Note: I measured the calf circumference for these boots at almost 13" (12 7/8 exact).

Until next time!


  1. Yep, I have trouble with ankle gaping, too, even when a boot fits my calf. Where do shoe designers learn their craft that they don't even realize that small calved ladies also have small ankles? Thanks for the review!

  2. I completely agree with you both. @ Priya, if you really like the boots, it might be worthwhile to get a quote from a boot tailor and see if it's possible to narrow the ankle. If it's possible, I doubt it would be as $$ as my experience narrowing the entire calf. I also wonder if it's possible to "stuff" the ankle, for example with a sock or other fabric wrapped around your ankle. I think I heard from another reader once who did this. I sometimes with someone would invent ankle or calf "padding" that we could use!

  3. Hey there LC--
    After looking for boots that would fit my 12.5" calf for about a decade (!), I decided to buy a pair of these for myself for Christmas. They are exactly what I wanted. I'm a 7.5 in most shoes, so I ordered the 7 and it fit very well. The toe bed was initially very tight, but feels perfect after breaking in for about a week. There is a bit of heel slippage (but this happens with almost all shoes for me), which makes them fit better over a wool sock. They are pretty chunky, so they look great over skinny jeans or with a super casual dress. The smoke color is a distressed medium-dark brown. The leather is distressed enough to not worry about minor scratches, but it doesn't look super rugged. The only downside is that they take a while to put on over jeans, since you do have to reach inside and yank down the pant leg, as you mentioned. They smell amazing and my girlfriends are super jealous of them. :)
    Now I'm on the lookout for a moderately dressy pair of black boots for work... thanks for your reviews!

    1. Hi Corky - I'm so glad these worked for you! They're very pretty and sturdy so I do think they're a good investment. Once, when I was trying on a pair of boots without a side zip, I pulled my knee-high sock over most of the leg of my skinny jeans so the jeans would stay in place while I slid the boots over them. That seemed to work okay so it might be worth trying with these.