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The Search for Wide Calf Boots

4-minute read

Monica Gault in Poppy Barley Wide Calf Boots - the Off-Duty Boot in Black A few years ago, admitting I have "wide calves" to the world was not something I would have signed up for. Even labelling it as a "fit issue" still makes my nose scrunch a little. My whole life, I've been convinced that my calves were big based on one single piece of evidence: I could not zip up any off-the-rack boot over the top 3 inches of my legs. There's nothing quite like trying something on in front of a store clerk and clearly not fitting into it. Let's be honest, it's a bit awkward. A combination of shame and embarrassment results in a "lighted-hearted," self-depreciating joke that buys the time to scramble back into your own shoes and head for the door. I've found some relief in the past, when I spotted those stretchy pleather boots and quite happily zipped them up, embracing the Cat Woman inside of me and slinking around, though often seeming a little overdressed for everyday wear. I've tried getting leather boots stretched, but it just ends up morphing and you are never completely happy with the result. I've experimented with "supposed" wide calf boots that have the elastic panel inserts at the top or lace-ups to accommodate. They're ok, I guess, but really shout out "Look at me! I have big calves, and I need wide calf boots!", and you're still compromising on style. Plus it's never a good thing when you start to see your pants through the edges of the laces. I've also stuffed myself into cheap "wide calf boots" made with mystery materials, which tend to be super tight around the calves and baggy around the ankles with very uncomfortable insoles. I accepted these solutions, because they were the only ones available to a girl with 17.5-18" calves. I've been living a life of settling! This slowly chipped away at my "sole" (teehee) and I basically stopped even trying to search for wide calf boots. Sometimes I would do a sneaky stretch test with the floor model to see if there was any give. There usually wasn't. Another quick exit.

Monica Gault in Wide Calf Boots - The Off-Duty in Black

This all goes to say that when Kendall and Justine approached me about designing Poppy Barley's brand and website in 2012, I was more than eager to join forces and be part of a larger movement to help women have the boots that they wanted (be it wide calf boots or otherwise) and be rid of the shame surrounding fit. No one deserves to feel less than normal because of an arbitrary industry standard set by... who knows. The most annoying part of these standards is how excluding they are. My "fit issue" was my own battle and girls everywhere were enjoying beautiful leather boots while I explored booties and wet, snow-soaked jean bottoms.

When Kendall and Justine showed me the market research that 60% of women have difficulty finding boots that fit, I was surprised and felt a huge sense of relief. Suddenly my calves weren't so huge or embarrassing. In fact, my calves were, and are, exactly as they should be—normal. And I deserve boots just like everyone else (above, I'm wearing The Off-Duty Boot in Essential Black, now sold out).

Evaluating Poppy Barley's customer measurements over the last year, it quickly becomes clear that "normal" encompasses a huge range of measurements. The fit issues we have encountered are all over the map, including no fit issues at all. This really proves that Poppy Barley boots are not only addressing a major problem in the market--stopping the search for wide calf boots, narrow calf boots etc.--but that they are stylish and fashionable enough to be made for EVERYONE. They aren't wide calf boots. They are beautiful boots. There are a lot of women who still need to know that they can have boots no matter what their calf size, foot size or fit issue, and we are on a mission to spread the word—and the leg love.

So thank you Poppy Barley, you've made me a very happy girl.

-Monica, Brand Design Manager


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The Harley Heeled Sandal Ankle Size Guide

How To Measure:
The Harley Heeled Sandal: Take a tape measure and wrap it around your foot, right below your ankle bone as that is where the strap will sit (see product imagery and fit video for a visual demonstration). This measurement is based on the last adjustment point on the strap.

Size Strap length will accommodate an ankle measurement up to the size below
5 26 cm
5.5 26.5 cm
6 27 cm
6.5 27 cm
7 27.5 cm
7.5 27.5 cm
8 28 cm
8.5 28 cm
9 28 cm
9.5 28.5 cm
10 28.5 cm
10.5 29 cm
11 29 cm
11.5 30 cm
12 30 cm

The Esther Heeled Sandal Ankle Size Guide

How to Measure:
The Esther Heeled Sandal: take a tape measure and wrap it around your ankle, above the ankle bone, as that is where the strap will sit (see product imagery and fit video for a visual demonstration). This measurement is based on the last adjustment point on the strap.

Size Strap length will accommodate an ankle measurement up to the size below
5 23 cm
5.5 23 cm
6 23 cm
6.5 23 cm
7 24 cm
7.5 24 cm
8 24.5 cm
8.5 24.5 cm
9 24.5 cm
9.5 25 cm
10 25 cm
10.5 25.5 cm
11 26 cm
11.5 26 cm
12 26 cm

Belt Sizes

Natural Waist Measurement Typical Jean Size Belt Size for High‑rise Pant Belt Size for Mid‑rise Pant Infinite Belt Size
23-25" 23/24 26" 28" 1
25-26" 25 28" 30" 1
26-27" 26 30" 32" 1
27-28" 27 30" 32" 1
28-29" 28 32" 34" 2
29-30" 29 32" 34" 2
30-31" 30 34" 36" 2
31-32" 31 34" 36" 2
32-33" 32 36" 38" 3
33-34" 33 36" 38" 3
34-35" 34 38” 40" 3
36-37" 36 38" 40" 3
38-39" 38 40" 42" 4
40-41" 40 40" 42" 4
42-43" 42 44" 46" 4
43-44" 43 44" 46" 5
44-45" 44 46" - 5

Sizing Note: For the most accurate fit, measure around your body where you plan to wear the belt. Choose the closest belt size to that measurement.

Belt Diagram Accent Belt and Complement BeltThe Accent Belt, The Polished Belt and The Complement Belt size measurements start from the beginning of the leather to the middle hole.

Belt Diagram Infinite BeltThe Infinite Belt size measurements cover the entire length of the leather.

Belt Measuring Guide

Belt Measuring Guide

A - High-rise style:

If you plan to wear your belt around your natural waistline, wrap a measuring tape around the narrowest part of your midsection. Then, add 3” to determine your high-rise belt size.

B - Mid-rise style:

If you plan to wear your belt lower than your natural waistline, you will require a dierent size. If you have a particular pair of bottoms you intend to wear your belt with, wrap a measuring tape through the belt loops while in a relaxed position.

When wearing your belt in your preferred style, it should fasten in the middle hole. The belt will relax with wear allowing you to cinch it tighter, as needed.

If you plan to wear the belt in both the high and mid-rise styles, you have two options:

  1. Select your high-rise style and fasten it more loosely when worn in the mid-rise style.
  2. Select your mid-rise style and fasten it more tightly when worn in the high-rise style.