Footwear Friday: Flat boots that fit!

Thank-you again to TheDailyObsession and their small Monday piece on Flat Boots for reminding me how much I want a pair of Coach boots…or just a pair of cute boots in general.  See I find myself in quite the predicament when it comes to attempting to find a pair of the aforementioned cute flat boots, as more than a few years of dance quickly built up some rather muscular calves.

Ah yes…the usual search, undertaken by many a fashionable individual for tall boots for the Autumn and Winter seasons…and the well documented undertaking of those with wide calves.  Sure, there are the boots with the “elasticized panel” that’s supposed to help them widen out, there’s the currently chic ankle boot {which I forewarn those with large calves, these may look a little odd}, and then there’s the “I swear I can get this over my calves!” moment that we all have on the fitting room floor where we attempt to do up the zip or pull up the leather only in advance of the inevitable sigh that comes when we realize that there is no way they’re going to fit.  This does not mean that we are too large everywhere else…it just means that we don’t have “standard issue sized” lower portions of our legs.

But what is that I see in the distance…a glimmer of hope for those with wide calves?  Why by George it is!  Hello brands who make boots with a little extra room up top, or ones that custom fit, or even an entire section on Zappos.com exclusively for wide-calf boots.  And, of course we can’t forget Dear Oprah.  In her current issue, as well as in her online world, has a bit of a Q&A for solutions to said dilemma – courtesy of Creative Director Adam Glassman – although there’s more in the old-school paperback edition than the online tidbit.  The O Magazine article aside, here are a few of my recommendations for where to look.

{Image from DUOBoots.com}

DUO Boots ~ A brand that I discovered in the UK about 5 or 6 years ago, DUO boots is committed to making shoes and boots for every size…the custom fit without actually having to shell out the insane price tags that normally come with a custom boot.  Plug in your shoe size {make sure you’re in the right measurement system!}, as well as your calf measurement and it will narrow down all the boots on the site to the ones that fit your specifications.  Prices range from $200-$400 + shipping and handling…but considering the headache you’re going to save {and the fact that this is what you probably would have paid for good boots anyways}, these seem to be my primary suggestion.  My choice this season is going to be a classic black riding boot…or perhaps something in the varietal of high-heeled taupe suede…granted that chocolate brown over the knee version also makes me a little weak at the knees.

{Image from JCrew.com}

J.Crew ~ Disclaimer – I spend too much time on this site already.  I did not need them to make wide-calfed boots to add to my adoration.  Simply click “extended calf” on a variety of their styles on your selection and you’re off to the races.  The styles offered by J.Crew are primarily leaning towards the casual boot, and offered in some fantastic colours {fossil grey anyone?}.  There is one dressier boot offered by the site that has a great pointed toe and a subtle kitten heel though…and I’m thinking it’s going on my work wishlist.  Extended calf sizes are an additional $20 to the listed price {as noted when you’re choosing sizes, etc.}, but let’s be realistic…we do need the extra leather.

Zappos ~ As I mentioned, Zappos has an option where you can click “Wide Calf Boots” and it will filter down to all of the boots that are listed as “Wide Calf” on their website.  They offer a wide variety of brands, and are even just a great place to find brands that make these extended calf sizes.  For customers in Canada though, be forewarned that you have to order off the Canadian site…which offers a smaller variety, but is still available.

{Image from EddieBauer.com}

Eddie Bauer ~ Alright, so perhaps not your primary destination when shopping or looking for shoes, but with their classic woodsy vibe they certainly have their fair share of boots in regular stock.  I have a pair of the extended calf boots, and I was pleasantly surprised with the fit.  Although there are a limited number of styles that I would dive into ordering,

If you’re a little wary of ordering online my strong suggestion is to frequent some of the high-end department stores or shoe shops and inquire as to whether or not they have a boot stretcher.  Places such as Holt Renfrew, Ogilvy, Saks, and Arnold Churgin have be known to have boot stretchers in their back rooms which means that they have incremental capacity to make the boots fit around your calves.  It’s all dependent on the boot, the kind of leather, and other such considerations, but more often than not there’s a little room to groove.  I won’t guarantee that they’ll all have boot stretchers, but it’s worth quick phone call or pop by in order to investigate!

As for me?  Considering that a large portion of my boot collection currently needs to be tossed out after more than a few seasons of serious salt damage, my choice destination will have to be J.Crew first…surprise surprise.  But that shopping trip is going to have to wait until the next time a free shipping coupon comes through my inbox.

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