Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review: Franco Sarto Candy

Franco Sarto's Candy ($100) boots may work for those of you who have calves that are on the fuller side of the "skinny calf" scale, but I don't think they will work for the majority of us who have very skinny calves. The calf circumference of a size 6 measured approximately 12.75". The shaft height was 15". Although the top of the boots isn't very wide, the rest of the shaft is slightly wider and felt too wide for my 12" calves. The last two pictures below give you a more accurate picture of what they looked like when I wore them. I'm wearing thin tights in the pictures below and didn't try them on with jeans. Although I think the top of the boots would be a more snug fit with jeans, I'm not sure jeans would solve the shaft issue sufficiently for me. These boots are available at DSW and all sizes are in stock currently. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Corso Como Radar

I have a soft spot for boots with a built in knit sock, and that's what stood out to me about Corso Como's "Radar" ($80-$200) boots. I featured them in my very first boot roundup and was excited when I saw that they were still in stock and on sale. The sock hugged my 12" calf comfortably. I didn't have a problem with the shaft height (16"-16.5"), although some reviewers complained that these boots were too tall for shorter women. I do think they may be more flattering if you're taller because the shaft tends to sag, and I'm not too crazy about how the top of the sock hit me at mid-knee in the pictures below. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: Aquatalia Unity (perfection!)

I became curious about Aquatalia's Unity boots (now $316-$400) after receiving multiple messages from readers who claimed success with these boots. When my size became available, I took the bait quickly. As soon as I tried them on, I understood the hype. They are the best narrow-calf riding boots I've come across and they may be the best narrow calf boots I've tried on, period. 

My size 6 had a 12.5" calf circumference (approximately). This seems to be the perfect size for my 12" calves and I think that anything smaller would be uncomfortably snug. The shaft height was 14.75". The boots are lined with a soft plaid fabric and have a sturdy and comfortable rubber sole. They fit true to size and are mostly leather, with two panels of fabric at the back. One thing I really like is that the fabric panels are very stiff and are rounded so they create the illusion of a fuller and more proportional calf. You can see this in the first two pictures below. I'm wearing tights in the pictures and did not try on the boots with jeans. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Preview of upcoming reviews

A quick heads up that I ordered the following boots and hope to have reviews up within 2 weeks. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm not sure I'll have them before the end of next week but I'll try to get the reviews up as soon as I can. 

I featured these in my very first boot roundup because I loved a picture of them from a Garnet Hill catalog. I recently received an email from a helpful reader who said that a size 5.5 fit her just under 12" calf. She was very happy with her purchase so I decided to pull the plug. I have a soft spot for boots with a built in sock. They are available at Amazon, ShoebaccaShoes, Heels, and Online Shoes. Please note that returns on outlet items at Shoebacca are not free. I paid about $15 for return shipping on a pair of boots. 
Corso Como "Radar"
A couple of readers said these fit their narrow calves well and were well-suited to shorter/petite women. One noted that a size 9.5 had a 13.75" circumference and 14.75" shaft (so helpful!). Available at DSW
Franco Sarto "Candy"
After hearing so much positive buzz, I caved into curiosity and ordered Aquatalia's Unity boots (review), despite the hefty price tag, when an Espresso pair in my size reappeared on Amazon. 

I really want to review Minnetonka's front-lace knee-hi boots ($86) but will probably order them once I put up the other reviews. I've seen pictures online and although I can't be sure they're good for narrow calves (a few of the reviews on Zappos focus on how they can be adjusted to accommodate wide calves), I'm hopeful. Also at Online Shoes
Minnetonka "front lace knee-hi" boots
I can't promise the reviews will be very timely, but I hope to have them up by the end of the first week of December. Happy Thanksgiving and a big thanks to all of you for supporting this blog!

~ Little Contessa

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Enzo Angiolini Deanja Boots

So I ordered the Enzo Angiolini Deanja boots with the hope that they would be comfortable, with clean lines and enough of a heel to be dressy / skirt-friendly, but not too much of a heel to make walking difficult. The calf circumference on my size 6 was approximately 12.75" and the shaft height is between 14"-15"

For the price ($100-$170) and the fact that these are leather boots, I expected the quality to be more substantial. The leather has a "crackled" look to it, which is fine but the material itself is quite thin. The shaft circumference was a good fit to the top of my calf when viewed from the side (I'm wearing very thin stockings in the pictures below so the fit would be better with jeans). However, I don't like the front view. The outer side of each boot has a small elastic/fabric panel at the top and I think this caused the boots to "fall out" at the side. Also, the boot shape is almost cylindrical, so the shaft seems like it's almost the same circumference throughout when viewed from the side. I would have liked it more if it was a bit more tapered throughout the leg. The ankle wrinkles very easily, especially when viewed from the front (although I can't be sure if this is more pronounced because of my thin ankles).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A list of narrow calf boot successes

A reader suggested that I compile a list of all the boots featured on this blog that worked well and could be options for skinny calf ladies. She said that having all the boots in one place would mean that she didn't have to scroll through every single post to figure out which reviews were good ones. That was really helpful feedback and I totally agreed. I put together the following list based on boots that I reviewed as well as ones from boot round-ups that received positive feedback from readers. I can't decide if I'll keep adding to this list or write these lists periodically (assuming that we find many more boots that work!). 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Boot Roundup

In trying to find the next pair of boots to review, I came across the following options for a boot roundup. As always, I haven't tried these on, but base my selections on descriptions, reviews, and tips from fellow skinny calf Contessa's :)

* Thanks to all of you who friended / liked me on Facebook! It's so great to see how many other skinny calf ladies are out there and rockin it! Hopefully the page will make it easier for us to share quick and timely tips. 
** Unrelated, but I realized that Amazon is having a sale - 30% off $100 on select boots/shoes. Good deal!

Friday, November 1, 2013

New Facebook page and a giveaway (for a different blog)

I decided to create a Facebook for this blog since it may be an easier way to share posts and it would allow me to post quick updates. This would be helpful if I get a good tip and want to share it quickly or--to use a recent example--to notify readers if I return boots that were out of stock. Right now, I update each post and it's probably a pain for readers to keep checking them. So feel free to "friend" me! But I made all the posts public so you can still see the posts and comments if you prefer not to.

Also --and I apologize for the digression since this isn't related to boots-- I found out about a contest recently and thought it was pretty exciting. I don't read a lot of fashion blogs but I do enjoy Effortless Anthropologie and I suspect that some of you are fellow Anthropologie fans. EA is holding a pretty great contest to celebrate that blog's 5 year anniversary. I wanted to share it because I suspect some of you might be interested (and because it allowed me to get another entry into the contest :). More info about the contest after the jump.

Don't worry, I'm still searching for boots!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A few tips about DUO boots

A few readers have written to me when they're considering ordering from DUO boots to ask about my experience with the company. Although I can't write a review since I haven't ordered from DUO myself, I can share some tips from a friend of mine -- M -- who ordered from them about a year or so ago. 

A quick overview -- DUO allows women to purchase boots that are custom tailored to their leg measurements. They have a pretty wide selection of heeled boots, riding boots and ankle boots, and all appear to be leather. Prices  for ankle boots start right under $200, and tall boots range from $260 to over $400. I counted about thirty pairs that were $300 or under. I haven't spent a lot of time of their site but it seems to have a much larger selection of styles compared to just a couple of years ago. I found myself coveting quite a few pairs. My friend, M, said that the leather on her pair seemed high quality. I can't remember which style she ordered. 

There are a bunch of reviews of DUO floating around on the web and I'm not sure if the tips below add anything new, but here's some advice that M shared.

1) When ordering, send DUO an email asking if they can adjust ankle size, not just the calf size. In the return form that DUO sent her, they asked for many other dimensions aside from just her calf size. If she had seen that form initially, she could have made a much better decision. Her only complaint about the boots was that the ankle fit too loose. The calf fit perfectly. 

2) DUO has great customer service. M received immediate responses to her emails. When she returned the boots, she also received a very detailed message confirming that the boots were received. They offered to issue a refund unless she preferred to adjust any other dimensions on the boots.

3) Her main complaint about the order process was return shipping. She did USPS and paid $30. Shipping from the UK to the US (or other destinations worldwide) is free.

4) Items delivered to non-EU locations are subject to import taxes. A note from DUO about import taxes-- "Customs taxes are charged on goods shipped outside the EU, and unfortunately there is no way of avoiding these charges. Sometimes a parcel may slip through the net and not be charged but this would be lucky and not to be expected. The charges are usually about 10% of the cost of the product, plus an admin fee- it might be worth checking with your local customs office for more information." I’m not sure about the time frame to receive the notice about the tax, but it might take a month or more. I think hers was about 10% ($30) for her $300 pair of boots. 

If you have experience with DUO, please share in the comments. I look forward to reading them and I'm sure other readers do as well!

~ Little Contessa

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: Fitzwell Finley Narrow Calf (believe the hype!)

*Updated with pictures.
**The size 6 I returned has been snatched up by someone--hopefully one of you!

Finally! Boots that are actually made for narrow calves! Not ones that we have to tighten, tailor, stuff, or practically maim to get them to fit correctly. The calf circumference on a size 6 is actually 12 inches!! I couldn't get a good ankle circumference measurement but they fit my 7.5" ankles pretty well. The shaft height is 15". I measured from the arch of the foot to the top of the boot. 

The heel is 3" and although it's not a stiletto, it is a skinny heel that probably won't be great for standing or walking a lot. The description says there's a "gel comfort heel pad" but I didn't notice any extra cushioning. The sole felt a bit hard, although I wouldn't say the boots are uncomfortable. Perhaps readers who own these can weigh in about the level of comfort. 

I imagine these boots will be great with skirts and dresses. I don't think the narrow shaft will accommodate jeans unless your calves are much slimmer than my 12" calves, although tights and jeggings may work. I like that the leather isn't super shiny. The sheen on my Blondo Louna boots can be a bit much at times (I reviewed the Louna last year in this post). The Finley boots definitely seem like a better / slimmer fit on my legs than the Louna, although the Louna is very comfortable.  

I'm happy to be able to spread the word about these boots, which I hope will work for many of you. Currently, it looks like they're only sold at Zappos ($139). It looks like sizes 6 and 6.5 are sold out at the moment. I couldn't find any other online retailers that sell these boots but I'll keep an eye out for them. I plan to return my size 6 this week. I considered keeping them but frankly, I've been so fortunate to have found a few pairs of well-fitting boots over the past couple of years (many thanks to you all!) that there's just no reason for me to keep these to myself. I hope one of you is able to pick up the pair that I return.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: GeeWaWa Blair

A helpful reader shared her experience with GeeWaWa's Blair boots (see her comment at the bottom of this earlier post) and I'm so thankful that she did! I think these affordable boots are a strong flat boot / riding boot contender for slim-calved ladies. I apologize in advance for the graininess of some of the photos. (I removed some of the original photos and added new ones that hopefully are better).  

Altogether, I'm very happy with how these boots fit. The calf circumference of my size 6 measures between 12.5"-13" fully laced up, although it may be possible to shave off another quarter inch by replacing the leather laces with thinner ones. The shaft height is 13.5"I measured from the arch of the foot to the top of the boot--basically the full length of the side zip. The shaft hits at the widest part of my calf, so the boots look proportional to my height (I'm 5'2"). The ankle was a bit saggy. It was tough to get an accurate measurement but the ankle circumference is between 9"-10". As a reference, my ankle circumference is 7.5", although something in the 8"-8.5" range would probably look best on me. 

The boots are a soft leather and will need some type of protective treatment. The underside has no grip so these are definitely not for extreme winter weather. They lace up the back and have a "tongue" for a better fit (see the third picture). I laced them up as tightly as I could, which made the laces super long. I'd trim the laces to keep them from looking ridiculous. The toe is a bit pointy and I'm uncertain about whether they make my feet look gigantic, or whether it's not too noticeable. Our tipster said these run a bit large, but I think I can work with my true size 6. There's a bit of room in the foot but not so much that my foot will slip. I think this size would work for those of you who are a size 6-6.5 and maybe even a size 7. I'm planning to keep the brown pair. The black pair felt a teeny bit looser around my ankles. I'm still torn on whether these boots would work with skirts or dresses? I have a tough time gauging this. I still feel like a novice when it comes to wearing knee-high boots with skirts/dresses, so any input is appreciated!

Now for the bad news. I couldn't find these boots anywhere other than Shoebacca ($88), which has them in extremely limited sizes since they are on clearance. I'm planning to return the black pair tomorrow (via mail) so those of you who are a 6-6.5 can keep an eye out for them. Hopefully they'll be back up in a week or so.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any similar options by GeeWaWa (pronounced like chihuahua-- their logo is a little chihuahua :) I'd never heard of this brand but I plan to email them this review. Hopefully that will prompt them to make similar styles in the future!

GeeWaWa Blair (now $88)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Another Boot Roundup (**updated**)

After writing the previous boot roundup, I came across the following boots that I wanted to mention quickly. Once again, I haven't tried these on but based my notes on the descriptions and reviews. (New boot added-- A helpful reader submitted a promising tip about Nine West's Noureen boots so I added it to the list as #8)

1) BCBG Erinn ($64 - $200)
These have a lace-up back--a nice alternative to the lace-up front. One reviewer sent a pic of how nicely these fit her narrow calves. Thanks :) Available at Amazon, Macy's, 6pm and in very limited sizes at Sears

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Boot Roundup

I'm traveling this week and since I cannot do any reviews, I thought I'd share some boots that I'm considering ordering for reviews. Surprisingly, I hadn't heard of most of these brands previously. Let's hope that means there will be lots more slim calf options in the future!
(Note-- See this boot roundup for information about Nine West's Noureen boots, a promising suggestion from a helpful reader!)

1) GeeWaWa Blair ($88, review)
A helpful reader shared her success with these boots (see her comment to this previous post). Personally, I'm thrilled to see an option that's less than $100. It makes me sad that most boots featured on this blog are so much more expensive. Although I've never been a fan of boots that lace up the front because they don't really work with my person style, I really like a lot of the new boots this year that lace up the back. Why don't more brands do this and why didn't they do this sooner?? I ordered size 6's in the chocolate and black to review and it appears there was only one each in stock, so now that size is showing as sold out. Our tipster said these run a full size too large so I'll probably return mine after the review. I'll add an addendum to this post once they're returned so those of you who are interested can keep an eye out for them. Unfortunately, it seems like they're only available at Shoebacca currently.

2) Arcopedio L31D ($175)
These are another pair of lace-up boots that I'm excited about. Unfortunately, Zappos seems to have sold out of them in black but still has a few left in brown. There's a few left on Amazon and Planet Shoes as well. Lots and lots of positive reviews from the small calf community! They're not real leather so there's a risk of them looking cheap. Personally, I get excited about vegan/vegetarian shoe options, but I just wish they weren't so expensive. I feel like an additional benefit of getting non-leather shoes should be that I shouldn't have to pay the same price as I would pay for leather. I'm hoping to order a pair soon to review. 
3) AIGLE Start M ($167)
There are very few of these left at Zappos and I couldn't find them elsewhere. Shoebuy used to carry them but they are out of stock. AIGLE appears to be a UK brand and hopefully they will soon be available on Amazon. A reviewer said a size 8.5-9 fit her 13" calves perfectly. I really like how these look but since they're not real leather, they might not appeal to everyone. 

It's exciting to see a boot that's marketed as "narrow calf" and that is reasonably priced! I just ordered the last size 6 so I hope to have a review up next week. According to Zappos, a size 9 has a 13.5 circumference. There's only one review so far and it is promising. Unfortunately, I haven't found these anywhere else.
Fitzwell Finley Narrow Calf ($139)

Happy searching! 
I hope to have reviews to share next week. 

~ Little Contessa

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Has anyone heard of Gabor boots?

I came across Gabor brand boots on Amazon the other day and realized I've never heard of this brand. Many of their boots have buckles that make the calves adjustable, but I'm not sure how slim their shafts really are even when fully buckled. There are no reviews currently. I'm thinking about ordering a pair to review but wanted to ask the community first in case some of you have advice to share. Here are a few that stood out to me on Amazon. 

Gabor Tall Adjustable Calf boot 75.789 ($325)

Gabor 36.596 boot ($270-$355)

Gabor Fashion Basic Tall boot ($300)

Gabor 31.503 Boot ($150-$345)

There's also a different pair on Zappos that is listed as having a 13.75" calf for a size 8, but still no reviews.

I'd love to hear from anyone with insight to share!

~ Little Contessa

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Mercanti Fiorentini Lazio Riding Boots

Although the positive reviews and listed calf circumference of 13" were encouraging, these boots did not live up to their hype. My true size 6 felt a half-size too large. The circumference was about 14" and the buckles were not useful in adjusting the calf size significantly. Perhaps a size 5 would be a better fit, but I'm not crazy enough about the style to order it again. At this price point, I expect a great fit. Sorry for the terrible photo! I will try to find a spot with better light.

Mercanti Fiorentini Lazio ($200) with leggings

Review: Unisa Terena Riding Boot

I ordered Unisa's Terena riding boots ($60) because they received so much "skinny calf" praise from reviewers. I hoped they'd be an affordable option that would work with skirts. Sadly, they were not a great fit for me. The calf circumference of a size 6 was closer to 14" and there was quite a bit of gaping throughout the shaft. The boots are not leather, which is to be expected at this price point. The shaft is a bit high and hit the bottom of my knee. 
The search continues....

~ Little Contessa

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review: Aldo Floria

A good flat boot that works for slim calves is a very difficult find. The last one that worked well for me was the Simple Brrlin boot, and I bought two pairs. I'm happy to say that Aldo's Floria boot may also be a pretty good option. The boots come with a built-in knit sock "collar," so although the outer circumference is around 13.5", the inner sock wrapped around my 12" calves nicely. At 15" in length, the boots fell comfortably below my knee. The leather is a soft, slouchy suede and although the arch support seems minimal, I think they'll be decently comfortable for walking. One thing that confused me was that the boots arrived with the zipper sewn shut. Since I wasn't sure if I'd keep the boots and since I could pull them over my slim calf (even with jeans) pretty easily, I didn't try to break the thread and unzip the boots. I just assumed this would be possible, since the descriptions of the boots say it has a pull tab zipper. However, one reviewer on Zappos said she wasn't able to unzip the boots. I'm not sure I believe that the zipper is non-functional, but if any of you have experience with it, feel free to chime in. 

I ordered a size 6 (black) and the sizing felt right. I'm really looking for flat / riding boots that I can wear with skirts and I'm not sure how I'd feel about wearing these with skirts because of their slouchy-ness. However, I do think these are a nice, slightly dressier option than my Simple boots so I'm still considering keeping them. Aldo Floria are available at Zappos, Amazon, Aldo, and Asos

With jeans

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Boot season is back!

Thanks to all of you who sent emails asking me to continue the blog this year-- your messages were sweet and much appreciated :) I wish I hadn't stopped blogging during the summer, because it seems like boots were being released throughout the year. I'm trying to catch up quickly and recently ordered 3 boots that I hope to receive and review in the next week (more on them below). 

One of the first stops in my boot research was, which until recently, allowed for searching by calf circumference (like Zappos and Nordstrom). However, it seems like they got rid of this option :( I wrote to customer service asking them to reinstate it and I hope some of you readers will too. I also suggested that they define a narrow calf as less than 14" (their previous option was <15"). I haven't seen the narrow calf search option reappear but maybe (hopefully) they'll take it more seriously if some of you write as well.

Another stop was this narrow calf boot page on Squidoo, which I think I mentioned last year. It seems to be a pretty active site, with lots of readers leaving suggestions and reviews in the comments. What frustrates me is that it seems like there are tons of great options on this page, so I get excited. But when I click on the boots, read the reviews, and spend a little more time on Google, I realize that most actually aren't suitable for narrow calves. So I'm thinking of keeping a running list of boots that are advertised incorrectly as having narrow calves. I'm hoping that will prevent all of us from ordering and returning the same pairs of boots, which can waste both time and money. I'm not sure what the best way is to do this, but maybe I'll do it in a series of posts for now.

After my own searching, I ordered the following 3 boots that seemed promising based on their descriptions and reviews. I hope to review the first within the next week.

Unisa "Terena" Riding Boot ($60, review)
One reviewer said these fit her 13" calf perfectly but didn't provide her shoe size. Many, many other reviewers also recommended these for skinny calves. The downside is that they aren't leather and may look a bit cheap. Only sizes 5.5-6.5 remain at DSW. I didn't see them anywhere else. 

Aldo "Floria" ($100, review)
The listed circumference of 12" seems unlikely but I'm hoping the built in sock will make calves look smaller. These remind me of a Corso Como style I coveted a couple of years ago.

Mercanti Fiorentini "Lazio" Riding Boot ($200, review
I don't usually like boots with lots of straps, but reviews were positive and the buckles appear to be adjustable. I only saw these at DSW.

Here's to hoping that this boot season will be a successful one for skinny calves! (Especially the highly coveted but elusive narrow calf riding boots :)

~ Little Contessa