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Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

photo: Daniela Vesco, Vivala

Finding a pair of cute tall boots if you were blessed with naturally wide calves — or have them as a result of hard work like American Ballet Theater Principal Dancer Misty Copeland — can be an exasperating experience. Forget about blindly buying a pair online because 9 times out of 10 you won’t be able to get the zipper to close all the way. The worst is when you fall in love with a pair and you would do anything to make them fit. You know what we’re talking about: It’s like putting on a pair of skinny jeans two sizes too small, so you bring in backup to pull on the zipper while you stretch and hold the ends of the boot together. If only we could suck in our calves to get that darn zipper to close. It’s a lost cause and enough to make you give up on it all together and just live in a pair of Uggs.

That used to be me until one day I solved this annoyance by taking a tape measure and wrapping it around the widest point of my calf to find my “shaft circumference.” Having this measurement on hand helped narrow down my options in an instant. Sites like and allow you to filter their selection of boots by calf width (#YAS!), so you don’t even have to risk falling in love with a pair that won’t fit. Out of sight, out of mind. And with the additional information like the shaft height, you can have even more options if the boot hits below the widest point of your leg. Even if I want to try a pair on in a store, I do my research beforehand and make a beeline for the styles that I know I can put on without making a scene. I’ve already picked up two staples without shedding a tear this season and have rounded up other cute styles for my fellow piernudas.

Related From Vivala: Embrace The Platform Shoe Trend This Fall