Born Crown Lissa, $260, borncrown.com
These classically chic, go-with-everything tall boots aren’t billed as wide-calf friendly, but we were pleasantly surprised to find they are. An elastic gusset is placed discreetly at the back of the boot, so it doesn’t distract from the sleek design, but offers extra give for tucking in jeans. The 3.25” stacked heel is tall enough to put a little sexy in your stride without being skyscraper high and supportive enough that a long day on your feet isn’t unbearable. Besides black and a pretty marled brown, the Lissa boot also comes in a unique deep sapphire blue.
Rockport Courtlyn Laced Tall Boot, $274.99, famousfootwear.com
The Rockport Fall Look Book had us salivating over their fashion-forward designs: We couldn’t wait to try the Courtlyn, a knee-high granny boot-inspired style. The Courtlyn’s slightly grainy, somewhat distressed leather with leather laces and an interesting gum sole with chunky heel earned us some major compliments (one stranger threatened to steal them out of our tester’s gym locker). But did they deliver in the comfort department? Sure, the cushioning was there—thanks to the layer of adiPRENE by adidas in the insole. But we could have used more support in the arch, something that may not be a concern for everyone. For a four-inch heel, though, the Courtlyn gave us a pretty steady ride—and a stylish one, to boot (ha!).
Sofft Whitley, $220.95, sofftshoe.com
Despite their super-high heels (3-and-a-half inches), we had super-high hopes for the Whitley, as other Sofft styles we’ve tried received high marks in both the comfort and style departments. And it was love at first feel: The calf-high boots in Ash Grey suede (also available in black leather) with coppery buckle details slid on perfectly, hitting the arch in just the right place. But what we thought would be a long-term relationship may have to be an on-again-off-again affair. After several hours of light wear with very limited standing and walking, our tester couldn’t wait to get them off her feet. And when she did, said feet were puffy, swollen pillows. She’s not swearing them off completely, but will limit future wearings to a few hours (or less).
Born Alika, $225, borncrown.com
These boots will fast become your favorites, as they are both fashionable and functional. The soft leather offers a snug leg hug, but buyer beware: Our tester reports that they are a little too snug across the top of the feet. Our advice? Go a half-size larger than your normal size. Great arch support and soft fabric lining are perks topped only by the boots’ appearance: full-grain leather and metal buckles, which evoke an equestrian vibe. Zip them up inside or outside of leggings or jeans to punctuate any fall outfit.
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Aerosoles Plum Sauce, $150; aerosoles.com
Aerosoles, a brand that has built a reputation on soft-soled, make-feet-happy shoes, delivers another win with the Plum Sauce boots. The soft, suede boots have a 3-inch lift, but your feet will be none the wiser: a full day in the boots, and our tester’s feet were still happy! The boots feature two zippers: one acting as a “master” to put the boots on, while the other is an expander, which is great news for folks with wider calves or who want to tuck in wider-leg jeans. Worth noting—they’re slightly heavy, and when worn around the office, the phrase “pirate boots” was mentioned in passing.
Life Stride Yarn, $89.99, lifestride.com
“Not too high, not to low” is a great theme for these boots. At a comfortable 2-and-a-half inches, the heel height is definitely a strong selling point. The knee-high boots are versatile, too, and can either go super dressy or simply sass up some jeans. A word of caution, though, as they run small: Opt for a half- to full-size up as they are snug from toe to calf.
Rockport Janae Quilted Tall Boot, $250, rockport.com
True-to-size, these boots are super-soft and extremely comfortable. The thin leather makes them flexible and lightweight, both plusses in our book! Though the snug fit makes it unlikely they can be worn outside of jeans, zipping them up over tights or leggings proves no problem. The supportive sole and ample arch support make these a viable option even for a full day at work or a fun night out. Take note, though: If you wish to wear tall socks with the boots or anything thicker than tights, order a half-size up. And if ordering off the website, the “beet” color is actually more of a lavender. Consider yourself warned!
Spring Step Heavenly, $199; amazon.com
These boots are standouts, making a hat-tip to days’ past with their lace inserts and petal-shaped buttons. Wide calves are welcome thanks to the elastic gusset and full-length side zipper. And the rubber soles make them ideal for wet, wintry days: no slippage! The one minus on this boot, which is otherwise full of plusses, is the fit—it was a little tighter than anticipated making, it impossible to wear even the thinnest of socks. Buy a half- to full-size up, though, and problem solved!
UGG Josie II, $295, uggaustralia.com
The Ugg Josies enjoyed rave reviews from our testers, not only for comfort and quality, but for versatility as well! The full-grain leather boots can be worn tall, or fold them over and snap them down for a more casual ankle-height boot. Ugg’s signature lamb’s wool lining is one of the boot’s many assets, making them warm and cozy. And the heel, at a lofty 4 inches, adds a pleasant height. Be warned, though, that if a full day on your feet is on tap, these are not the boots to wear!
Naturalizer Etton, $189, naturalizer.com
As many gals with wide calves know, not only is it hard to find tall styles that fit, but the ones that do often look frumpy or orthopedic. But Naturalizer’s Etton design, featuring elastic gussets that run the length of the boot on both sides, is flattering as well as practical. The scalloped sides and almond-shaped toe give the boot a refined cowgirl look without distracting from its traditional appeal. We found the wide calf sizing to be very generous, leaving room to pull on over heavy jeans, and could even tug them on without using the back zipper. A 2.5-inch heel makes these a great option for day or night.
Naya Gazelle, $265, naturalizer.com
The boots pull double duty in both the style and quality departments. The metal ring and buckle at the ankle is an understated accent that truly makes the boot. And the soft lining and insole are icing on the comfort cake! Our tester reports that the 2-and-a-half-inch heels are an excellent height and a nice alternative to slender, pointy heels. The fit is true-to-size around the foot, but the shaft is a different story. For ladies with smaller calves, you’ll be pleased with your purchase. But wider-calved gals will have a difficult time getting these bad boys zipped up. So if thick calves are your reality and yet you fall in love with these boots at first sight, be prepared for a separation early on while you send them off to be stretched. Otherwise, two thumbs up!