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Comfortable Boots for women

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The Authoritative Guide to Women’s Tall Boots

A frustrating feeling emerges every fall for many women when boot season comes around.

Narrow-calf Nancy complains, “All my tall boots fit like my 4th grade galoshes–fish could swim in there.”

Cheerleader-calf Cheryl gripes, “I want a fashionable boot, not a blood pressure cuff.”

Vegan Valerie wishes for a stylish non-leather tall boot while Fallen-Arches Fiona needs a boot that can accommodate her orthotics.

Don’t give up yet, ladies! The Barking Dog has done her research and compiled a list of tall boots to fit all shapes and sizes of calves and feet. 

The 2016 Barking Dog Tall Boot Guide

Tall Boots

Timberland Savin Hill Tall Boot

  1. Best Tall Boots for Narrow Calves: The Timberland Savin Hill features a 13″ calf circumference where most tall boots start at 14″. The Savin Hill runs narrow in the foot, so if you’re a medium width, you might do better with the wide (especially if you need extra room for an orthotic since the insole is removable). The boot shaft measures 13.75″ from the arch, so if you’re tall, these could hit mid-calf.

Zappos customer Lori says, “If you have narrow calves, these are the boots for you. I have never owned boots because the boot shafts were always too floppy. These boots have an adjustable shaft and it looks great even when at the tightest setting.” Available in sizes 5.5-10,11 for $220 at Zappos, $145-240 at OnlineShoes.com, $109.99 at 6pm.com.

Two more boots for narrow calves: Rieker Elaine R3358 with a 14″ calf circumference and the Bussola Sofia Tall boot in synthetic suede with a 13 1/2″ calf circumference.

Tall boots

Aetrex Essence Chelsea Tall Boot Wide Calf

2. Best Boots for Wide Calves: The Aetrex Essence Chelsea Wide Calf Boot. Not only does this tall boot have a 16″ calf circumference, a sweater-like back panel with additional stretch, it’s got built-in arch support with memory foam cushioning and a slightly wider toe area than most boots–and it’s waterproof! $199.95 at Zappos. This boot also comes in more colors and foot widths in its regular calf circumference styles.

Two more boots for wide and wider calves: The Born Poly is an attractive low-heeled riding boot with a 16 1/4″ calf circumference on sale now at Nordstrom. The Rose Petals Tristan Wide Calf (17″) and Tristan Extra Wide Calf (20″) also offer multiple foot widths and extended sizes 4-12).

Be sure to check out Naturalizer.com for a good selection of wide-calf boots (click on the small boot measurements link). And don’t forget about WideWidths.com, a wonderful resource for wide calf boots in extended sizes.

Tall Boots

Bussola Lovejoy Non-Leather Tall Boot from Sahalie.com

3. Best Non-Leather Tall Boots: The Bussola Lovejoy Stretch Boot is made of soft suede microfiber with a little Lycra for stretch. The insoles are removable and may accommodate an orthotic. 15 1/2-16 1/2″ calf circumference. $129.99 at Sahalie.com. This tall boot by Bussola packs well for travel too!

The Arcopedico Liana is another vegan boot with a wonderfully comfortable footbed. The upper is made of Lytech® – a proprietary blend of Lycra® and polyurethane that is water resistant, light and breathable. Customers with bunions like that the material has a little give to it and doesn’t compress sensitive areas on the toes.

Tall Boots

Arcopedico Liana Vegan Boot

The footbed has built-in arch support but is removable should you want to use your own insole. Order up if between sizes. $185 at Zappos, $185 at Amazon.

4. Best budget-friendly comfort boot: Perhaps you wear tall boots on occasion and can’t justify spending over $100 on a pair. The Bare Traps Seville is a classic riding boot with a side-zip entry and elastic goring at the calf for a good fit (15″ calf circumference). Sure its synthetic leather, but if you don’t care about that, then a great deal is yours! Right now, you can pick up a pair in dark brown from Famous Footwear for $50. The black and dark gray go for $79.99.

The Lifestride X-Must collection sells for under $100 and comes in extended sizes, multiple widths and wide calf options.

Tall Boots

Bare Traps Seville for $50 at Famous Footwear. Photo credit: MommaSociety.com

5. Best warm and waterproof tall boot: The Clark’s Tavoy Cedar features a waterproof leather upper and synthetic fur lining for added warmth. A “Comfort Fit” lacing panel in the back allows for adjustability around the calves, Ortholite footbed provides support and cushioning; a steel shank enhances stability. $220 at ClarksUsa.com, $220 at Zappos, $214-220 at Amazon.

tall boots

Birkenstock Farmington

6. Best boot for bunions: Birkenstock Farmington. Maybe it’s not the fanciest boot in the bunch, but it’s a Birk! If you’ve lived in Birkenstocks all summer like I have, the thought of enclosing your feet in a tight toe box is enough to make you shudder. Thankfully, the Farmington boot offers a nice, wide toe box to accommodate even the peskiest of bunions. The contoured cork and latex footbed is removable to accommodate an orthotic. This is also a great boot if you can’t manage any kind of heel and prefer flat.

A happy Zappos customer writes, “These boots aren’t exactly slick and high style, but they are really comfortable, which is what I was going for. I need boots that I can move around in, go up and down stairs, and into which my orthotics can comfortably fit. I need room for my toes to move around. These boots can do all of those things, and look decent as well–just plain, black boots, without buckles or other embellishment, and nice leather. Bingo!” Calf circumference runs a little wide at 15 1/4″. $229 at Zappos, $228.95 at Nordstrom, $229.95 at The Walking Company.

Which tall boots are your favorite? Do you have a pair that meets and exceeds your specific foot issues? Please leave a comment and let other readers know.


About the Author



14 Responses to The Authoritative Guide to Women’s Tall Boots

  1. Marie says:

    Merrill Captiva buckle up boot for narrow calves is hands down the winner IMHO and bonus points for being both water proof and crazy comfortable. (And I horrible feet neuromas, PF, RA). These are my go to winter boots and I have maybe 13 inch calves at the widest point.

    Funny part is this Merrill boot did not fit my daughter for whom it was originally purchased–she has very muscular calves, college athlete, however she lives in the Timberland Savin hill boots–so I’m surprised the Savin Hill is being recommend for thin calves.

  2. Jen says:

    I love your shoe posts. Thank you for doing what you’re doing! However I need boots with an 18 inch circumference or higher. Any recommendations? It’s not hard to find boots with an 18 inch circumference but it’s hard to find boots that are 18 inch with arch support.

  3. cedar says:

    My “go-to,” boot in Winter is the Rieker Astrid. (gray) It goes with anything (dress, leggings, anything) and is warm (mine have shearling lining with wool footbed), really great tread for excellent footing on ice or snow but it doesn’t look aggressive or manly, run TTS, lightweight, easy to put on.
    I have tried the Arcopedico Liana and loved it. I still consider buying it to keep, but I opted at the time for a similar Rockport boot with low wedge. I didn’t love the embellishment on the Arcopedico, BUT, they do screw in or out, depending on your mood. That is one fantastic boot. The lightest boot ever, super super comfortable, but I don’t think it would be warm in Winter at all. Probably best for an indoor event.
    I have a pair of Gentle Souls leather boots, and they are the softest leather I’ve ever felt. Really a beautiful boot, from a few seasons ago, pull on, up to knee, with some stretch built into both sides.
    I’ve got a pair of Naturalizer boots. Riding boot style. I think they look cheap, but are comfy and I get compliments. I don’t quite love them, though, although I can’t find anything wrong with them structurally.
    I have a pair of CAT leather boots, I think they were featured here a couple years ago. I liked the leather and thought they would just get better with age and wear. BUT, I don’t wear them! The tilt of the footbed isn’t comfy, sitting on a blocky lumberjack type heel.

  4. Sarah P says:

    I splurged on the Vionic Tall Storey boots this fall. Great arch support–I can teach in them all day without any foot or knee pain. They are a bit snug on my 15.5″ calves, but I have made them work by loosening the the buckle as much as possible. Plus, the back of the boot is stretchy fabric, which helps. The only disadvantage is that I can’t wear them over jeans (perhaps I can make them work in the future–I’m pregnant at the moment). They don’t come in wides, but I ordered up half a size, and that fits perfectly.

  5. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Great info! I saw those. Vionic has come a long way since their only offering of flip-flops!

  6. sophie otis says:

    just found site. Great info, prices and manufacturer
    Appreciate very much

  7. Nancy Clark says:

    I want to get my daughter (30 years old) a pair of boots for Christmas. She actually does ride horses for fun so I’d love to find some riding boots. Unfortunately, she has always been hard to fit–wide toe box but narrow heel needed. If you have any ideas on a brand/style, I would appreciate it tremendously!

  8. Starla says:

    Thanks for your reviews! I am 5’11” and wear a narrow size 11 (43.5 euro). Due to my height I have a tough time finding boots that are tall enough to hit about 2″ below the knee. Most boots are just over mid-calf on me. I would love any recommendations from other tall ladies! Thank you.

  9. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Not cheap, but Bed Stu Cambridge is one of the taller shaft boots out there at 18 1/2 to 19″ high.

  10. Karen says:

    I’m reading through comments for more boot options, and I think I know the Gentle Souls boots you have! The ones I’m thinking of is “Ready 4 Change”, a pull on riding boot. I ordered them about 5 years ago and almost kept them but they were just a hair too narrow across the bunion for me. Beautiful boots though.

    I stalk Gentle Souls on eBay (partly because they can be way cheaper for even new in box, and partly because the best styles are discontinued), and I’ve seen those pop up before if you’re ever in need of a replacement.

  11. Karen says:

    After trying at least 20 boots in the past year, I have two recommendations for boots I love. As background, my feet issues are: bunions, flat feet, very narrow heels, and I also have bony ankle bones which makes some boots very uncomfortable.

    For tall boots, I have the La Canadienne Stefanie. They feel roomier than they look in the toe box, have moderate arch support and don’t bunch at the ankles. Very comfortable and look very chic to me.

    I also love love love my Bogs Kristina boots. I bought a second pair because I found I was wearing them more than any other shoe I own. They have a few styles (chukka, tall, ankle), plus they’re waterproof. I think I might have found out about Bogs in the first place on this website–thank you Kirsten!

  12. Karen says:

    P.S. Another take on the Timberland Savin Hill since they’re recommended here and have some great reviews online. I tried them a couple of years ago and was really disappointed that they fit terribly on me. I knew about the narrow calf part, but that wasn’t an issue. The footbed was odd: wide in the heel, very tapered in the toe box so it was too narrow and too long. It takes a lot of trial and error, but thankfully there are lots of options out there!

  13. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Your feedback is much appreciated, Karen! Wide in the heel and tapered toe box doesn’t sound very comfortable. I just received a pair of Earth Sierra tall boots from Sierra Trading Post and they are wonderful–fit the calves nicely, roomy toe box and no heel slip. The footbed is nicely cushioned…

  14. Pam Giordano says:

    After looking high and low for any comfortable footwear, I found the UGG La Velle bootie. The 8.5, which is my standard size, is perfect. Warm, fleece lined, waterproof, good arch support, easy to get on and off. I bought the taupe but it also comes in black. I have multiple foot problems – bone spur surgery this year, wide toes, narrow heels, don’t need aggressive arch support. These are a real find.

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