How to Find the Best-Fitting Boots for Your Leg Shape

If you haven’t done your boot shopping yet this season, there are some fit tips worth considering before you begin your search. While the styling options go on and on — from Chelsea and ankle styles to over-the-knee and sleek riding versions — there are just as many fit options to take note of.

While many women know the size and width of their feet, few know the width of the calves — the area of their leg from the ankle to the knee. Some women have sleek, narrow calves; others have curvy, athletic calves that may require a wider boot.

Boots that are too tight around the calf and cause some spillover are just as unattractive as boots that are too wide and flop around the leg.

Below are some easy-to-follow guidelines in order to find a boot with a customized fit.

Measure Your Calf Width

It’s essential to accurately measure your calf width. Simply take a tape measure and check the widest part of the calf. Wider calves usually fall in the 16-inch-and-over range. Remember, your body shape and size has little bearing on the size of your calf.

Determine the Shape of Your Calf

Stand in front of mirror sideways and check the outline of your calf. Does it go straight up and down or is it more shapely? Like your calves, boot shafts — the part of the boot from the ankle to the knee — come in many shapes. For example, riding boots typically feature a straight shaft, suitable for those with similar leg shapes. However, many boot brands offer shafts with a bit more shape, ideal for those with curvier silhouettes.

Give Yourself Wiggle Room

Now that you know your calf width and shape, you can find a more precise fit. When shopping online, many brands will call out the width of the calf in the product description. It is always better to have a little wiggle room in case you decide to tuck in a pair of leggings or skinny jeans.

Look for Elastic Inserts

Lots of manufacturers incorporate fit features into a boot’s design. Elastic inserts at the top of the boot or all the way down the back allow for some extra give. But remember, elastic can stretch just so far. When pulled too much, it detracts from the styling of the boot. It can also cause discomfort if your leg is crammed into a boot that’s too narrow.

Seek Out a Shorter Style

Still not sure about the fit? Go for a shorter ankle silhouette that will eliminate the need to find a precise fit. Shorter styles such as Chelsea boots are one of the biggest trends today, so take the drama out of boot shopping.

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