For women with curvy legs or athletic calves, this time of year usually means footwear frustration. "I can never find tall boots to fit," says Heather Watterworth, a public relations rep for cosmetics company Mary Kay. "They're always too tight." Sure, Watterworth and others like her could go for below-the-calf heights, or uninspired shiny stretch vinyl, but in this season of knee-high chic, those options just don't measure up.
Happily, according to Town Shoes PR director Crissi Giamos, "This is a fabulous season for fitting different calf widths."
Knee-highs with generous stretch panels are certainly more and more common, and lace-ups -- as long as they lace-up for real -- offer adjustable comfort (Rockport, Timberland and Cole Haan all have handsome lace-up styles this season). Giamos recommends giving the popular slouchy boot a try, the type that allows the wearer to pull the boot leg up or push it down. They tend to have a roomier fit; some also have stretch, she says. In terms of brands, Giamos points to David Dixon, Kate and Mel, and the Town Shoes private label.
In fact, an encouraging number of companies now make boots with curvy-calf appeal. Toronto boutique Trove offers Bos & Co., a Canadian label which offers styles with a more generous leg fit. Ron White carries an impressive variety of suitables by Cole Haan, La Canadienne, Mephisto, Stuart Weitzman and Frye, as well as the Ron White signature line (RonWhite.ca ships across Canada and internationally). Ecco boutiques may also yield a find; the brand prides itself on its forgiving cut that fits a range of calf sizes. And for the online-savvy, US-based WideWidths.com offers wide, extra-wide and super-wide calf sizes from companies such as Blondo and Naturalizer.
A good shoe-repair shop may also be able to supply a better fit, either by stretching the boot shaft or putting in an insert. Such shops are not always easy to find, but the best ones are usually known to local shoe-store staff.
From top, Cole Haan Lyric tall boot, $398; Lacoste Tobie slouch boot, $275; Ecco Hancock boot, $275.
Got super-slender calves? Click here for skinny-fit suggestions.