The 2021 Wide Calf Boot Guide for Plus Size and True Wide Calves
As someone with thick thighs and solid calves, shopping for tall boots has always been something of an ordeal for me. In the last few years though, through lots of trial and error, I’ve been able to narrow down my list of where to shop to a few favorites that I KNOW will work for plus size legs. If you’ve ever ordered so-called “wide calf” boots from a department store and they still didn’t fit comfortably, this guide is for you: These boots are true wide calf offerings, but without the dated silhouettes that still plague many extended calf options.
While shopping, keep in mind a few key points for boot trends this season:
- For leather boots, sleek shafts rule the day, and knee-high is the trend
- Lug soles are trending heavily, and will likely continue through at least 2022
- Cowboy boots and Cuban heels (the slanted-in block heel often found on western boots) are both having a moment
- If you are looking for a fashion-forward option, knee-high boots in statement finishes (metallics, rich colors, or all-over prints) are a great choice
- For some on-trend added height, platform boots are the move
- And as far as what to avoid: Anything overly slouchy or with built-in wrinkles!
Now for the practical part: These are the boots that have worked on my 18+” calves. (If you find something you love here, I’d really appreciate it if you’d use my link to purchase – it supports the blog and helps me to be able to spend time writing in-depth guides like this one!)
Lane Bryant: As the originator of modern plus size clothing, it is no surprise that Lane Bryant is also a good resource for wide-width and wide calf boots. They’ve been my number one boot go-to for years, because their shoes are made with true wide widths, and all the tall boots are designed specifically for plus size legs (and what a difference that makes!) My old pairs of tall suede boots are a constant source of questions, so I’m happy they have a new version this year. Their boots also LAST – I have pairs from years ago that I still wear regularly and love (including this lug sole Chelsea boot that they brought back this year – it was my most worn pair of 2020, and will likely be one of my go-tos this year as well).
I just got a couple of new pairs from this season, including these on-trend lug sole knee-high boots, and once again, the fit is spot on. They are a true wide width, but with a good shape so I don’t lose my ankle definition. They also have a subtle elastic panel on the inside of the calf, which offers more flexibility on calf size. The combination of a sleek calf, knee-high height, and the lug sole is THE boot of the season, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a good wide calf option, so LB really came through with this design. I am wearing these right now as I type, and have to say they are super comfortable too – expect to see a lot of this pair on me this fall and winter!
If you are looking for a more timeless style, these riding boots are a classic that you can wear for years to come. They come in black too, but this rich brown is so in this season, and a color I didn’t have in a riding boot, so I had to go for it. I wore these for a day at the orchard and picnicking at a waterfall park upstate, and they are comfortable and well-fitting.
Eloquii: Another plus-specific brand that excels at true wide calf boot options, Eloquii is a great place to start if you are looking for more statement boots. My snake print boots from a couple of years ago are still in rotation for me, but I am also eying these incredible forest green cowboy boots. I love that they have fun prints and colors that are hard to find in wide calf boots.
ASOS: One of my top go-tos for wide-width shoes in general, ASOS also delivers when it comes to wide fit boots. I haven’t tried their tall boots yet, but I have this white pair of lug sole boots on my list after seeing them on plus influencer babes @alexstagram3000 and @reztothecity. They both wear and love this style (and Alex noted that they work on her 17.7″ calves too). ASOS does carry a bunch of different brands though, so watch out for calf sizes on non-ASOS label wide calf boots. Simply Be, a British plus brand, is the exception – their boots are true wide width and calf, and since they don’t ship directly to the US anymore, ASOS is the best place to get them. Whatever brand you order, ASOS does have a good return policy, so if you find a pair you love, it is worth a shot.
JustFab: This is the newest addition to my recommendation list – I literally got the package right as I was about to head out the door to my coworking space for the day! I took a few minutes to get this boot out of the box and try it on though – I was too curious not to. I obviously haven’t had a chance to do a full wear test on these yet, but my initial thoughts are positive, especially for the very affordable introductory offer (I got this pair for $10!). This pair looks very modern and on-trend, and it just fit my calf at an 18.5″ circumference, with a tiny bit of spillover at the top (which I am guessing will lessen with wear). This style does not have a zipper, so getting them on was something of a challenge, but once I did, I felt HOT in them. The only similar pair I was able to find in the wide calf market is $200+, so I’m glad I gave JustFab a shot. One note: These are not as wide in the toe bed as my true wide-width boots from Lane Bryant and Eloquii, so I anticipate a breaking in period, but for this style, I’m willing to commit.
Matisse: This is one with a very small selection, but if clean western boots are what you’re looking for, these are great. This trend is going strong, and Matisse made of my favorite pair of cream cowboy booties that have been in major rotation ever since I got them in 2019. The exact style I have is sold out, but I can wholeheartedly recommend this Matisse style in wide – the same shape was workable for me in standard width with a little breaking in, so the wide width option should definitely be good.
Places on my list to try:
Fashion to Figure: This trendy plus size spot just dropped this season’s selection of boots, and there are some great styles. Their over-the-knee boots are made with thick thighs in mind, which can make all the difference. I haven’t yet tried their boots myself, but a lot of my plus blogger friends rave about them. And because the specific calf size of each shoe size offered is listed in the Details section (something I wish more companies would do), this is one company I feel confident about recommending for boots without trying them on (but they are definitely on my want list). With calf sizes up to 21+ inches, these are made for plus size legs. They also carry larger shoe sizes – up to 14W!
Jeffrey Campbell: Their wide calf boot collection is still fairly small (there are only 6 styles in stock on their site right now), but the styles they do have make an impact. I’m currently trying to figure out how to justify a pair of thigh-high gold for myself, and if I didn’t already have a beloved pair of statement cowboy boots (one of this season’s big shoe trends), I would be very tempted by their fashionable white pair. The price point on these is higher though, so I’d love to hear from any readers who’ve tried them!
Torrid: I know their wide-width shoes and boots are true wide-width through the footbed, but I haven’t yet tried their tall boots. They also have the specific calf widths by size for both wide calf and extra wide calf boots (up to 22.2″ for the latter), so their range is a good one.
Boohoo: This fast-fashion site can be hit or miss with quality, but I have a couple of pairs of their wide-width boots from 3+ years ago that still hold up. I haven’t yet tried their tall boot options, so I can’t personally speak to their calf widths, but I think they’d be a good bet for lace-up combat styles in wide fit.
Roaman’s: This is a very mixed bag, style-wise, with some good options and some very outdated ones (aka all the boots that look like wrinkly shar-peis). But if you can find a style you love, it is more likely to be a true wide calf than department store “wide” offerings that stop at 16″ – Roaman’s specifically says that the boots in their wide calf section are made to fit calf sizes 17-19″ in circumference. Make sure you check the details on the specific boot’s product page though: One chic Franco Sarto style that I was eyeing turned out to have a 15.2″ calf circumference, despite having “wide calf” in the product name!
Nine West: Full credit for this recommendation goes to blogger babe Alissa Wilson of Stylish Curves. She recommended these sexy thigh high stiletto boots, and says they comfortably fit her legs. I would totally bust my ass in these heels, but I love that she found a hot high heel high boot for all you babes that can handle them. They also have some sleek OTK flat boots with an 18.5″ circumference.
Avenue: Though there are a lot of wide calf styles available here, an unfortunate number of them are quite dowdy and dated. It takes some sifting, but there are worthwhile pairs available. My favorite styles are from international brands they’ve added over the years, like UK plus label Evans or Australia’s City Chic. There are also some more classic riding boot styles by their Cloudwalker brand, like this wine pair with an 18″ calf circumference. Make sure to check the Size & Fit section before ordering though, because one two tone pair in the same section is listed as having a 13″ circumference!
Anthropologie: I like the styles here, and they do have a wide width section, but based on the imagery and the calf circumferences (when they are listed), I’m not confident their styles would be true wide calf friendly. If you’ve tried a pair of their tall wide width boots, let me know!
Madewell: While I love their plus size clothing, I don’t think Madewell’s extended calf boot offerings will work for me. This style has a 16.5″ circumference, which would just strangle my leg, but I will be keeping an eye out for other extended calf styles with either stretch or a stretch panel, as I really like the look of their boots.
Let me know if there are any particular styles you are still looking for, and swipe through to shop some of my picks from this post below!