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Can Boots Be Altered to Fit My Calves?

A Frequently-Asked Question about Boots


knee-high leather boots
Steve Wisbauer/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Question: Can Boots Be Altered to Fit My Calves?

Answer: Boot shopping – call it the fall equivalent of the dreaded summer bathing suit hunt.

Whether you have wide or even average-sized calves, knee-high leather boots are a tough fit.

Find a pair that’s just right in the shoe and the calf will be too snug. Go up a size and the calf may fit like a glove, but the heel slips.

If you love trendy or expensive leather boots, but the styles you choose leave you jammed into your footwear, here are some ways to get a better fit without ruining the sleek look – or your investment.

Boot Shopping - Tips for a Better Fit

  • Look for boots made of soft leather with adjustable laces or elastic gore inserts. Some designers offer boots in a choice of calf widths.

  • If the boots you choose are a bit too tight, zip them up as far as you can and try wearing them a few times to see if the leather loosens up.

Having Boots Altered to Fit Your Calves

  • If you can’t stretch the boots on your own, an inexpensive option is to have the boots stretched by a shoemaker, which usually works best when you need just a bit more wiggle room.

  • Cobblers also can expand boot calves by adding elastic gussets, stretch fabric or matching leather insets up the length of the boot.

  • Let your shoemaker know how you plan to wear the boots.

    If you’re pairing them with pants, an extra seam or a slight color variation on the insert won’t be a problem. For boots you’ll wear with your favorite mini, calf widening remedies need to be less noticeable.


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