Riding boots for short legs and narrow calves: Aquatalia

aquitalia drew boots1

Aquatalia “Drew” boot (now sold out), J.Crew petites blazer (older style), Gap petite skinny jeans, H&M blouse, DIY leopard clutch (tutorial)

I posted about these Aquatalia boots on both FB and Twitter while all sizes were in stock, and hope anyone interested was able to pick them up! Shopping for boots that fit both height and width-wise is the bane of my fashion existence. I might be pickier than most, but only to avoid any unnecessary bulk on already shorter legs. On my wishlist were both below-the-knee flat boots and heeled boots, in basic black as well as brown. I do own a pair of Stuart Weitzmans (see my review for both womens and kids) which I absolutely love, but need more options given the long winters here. In my opinion, their over-the-knee style boots reign supreme for lengthening legs, but that style may not be for everyone or every occasion.

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Earlier this summer, I tried on a pair of Aquatalia boots and thought the fit was pretty good. I asked the Nordies sales associate for their slimmest-calf boot that would actually hit below my knees, and he promptly brought out another style (Drew) by the same brand. He mentioned that Aquatalia boots are handcrafted in Italy and go through a special weatherproofing process. To my pleasant surprise, the boot shaft fit me almost perfectly both in height & width.

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My issue with them however was the part suede, part leather composition. I was hoping for full leather riding boots and wanted to browse some more. I would still love a pair of full-leather boots, but the many positives of this particular style have helped me overlook the partial suede.

aquitalia drew boots

Fit: I usually take between 5 and 5.5. My local store only had these down to a 5.5, and they were snug both across the width of my foot, ankles, and at the calves. The sz 5.5 shaft measures 14″ high, not including a small 0.75″ heel. The calf circumference is about 12″ and the top opening is about 12.75″ around. There is a small stretchy panel running down the back which allows for some give. The side buckles are more decorative rather than adjustable. I would’ve never considered these boots while browsing online, as the description says 15.25″ height.


These boots seem sturdily made, and the insides are lined with an insulation-like plaid fabric. I’ve only worn these boots a few times but have found them to be very comfortable with no breaking-in required. I plan on them being my go-to commuting shoe this winter.

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I was also curious about what exactly “weatherproofing” entailed. From their website, I found these excerpts that also explained the padded lining:

What is weatherproofing? The weatherproofing process…provides a protection for the supple leather and suede used in our Fall-Winter collections. During the tanning process, the leather and suede skins are bathed in a special sealant within a uniquely designed drum. This sealant penetrates through the fibers, resulting in soft and natural looking leather and suede that prevent the absorption of moisture and also provide salt and stain resistance. Each seam made during the stitching stage of production is filled with a liquid sealant to prevent water penetration. This unique and complex process allows the materials to resist moisture while maintaining breathability, keeping your feet comfortable and dry. Please note: fastenings and zippers cannot be protected against water penetration. Our weatherproof fall/winter collection is designed to be worn in all types of weather: sun, rain, sleet or snow. 

What type of insoles are used in Aquatalia footwear? A padded, insulating footbed is used underneath the sock lining. This footbed is made with long term memory foam…this unique feature will keep your feet comfortable year round, indoors or outdoors, regardless of the weather. During cold weather, the special insulator will activate to keep your feet warm. In warmer weather, the breathable microfiber lining will keep your feet cool and dry. 

What types of outer soles are used in Aquatalia footwear? The outer soles are fabricated using a special rubber compound that retains its flexibility, even in cold weather conditions. They are specially designed to be slip resistant, providing maximum stability. 

In a nutshell…wearable in rain/snow, salt and stain resistant, non-slip, and memory foam footbed? Sold and sold!

This particular style is now unfortunately sold out, but check out Aquatalia’s other weatherproofed tall boots here. As with the boots I got, however, please note that listed measurements are usually taken off a size 7 or 8, so both the shaft height and calf width measurements could increase or decrease with shoe size.

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49 thoughts on “Riding boots for short legs and narrow calves: Aquatalia

  • The Internet and The Unicorn November 11, 2013 at 12:18 am

    You look great in these photos! I'm loving that deeper side part and the side swept volume of hair. So pretty AND lady-like. I just scooped up a bunch of cashmere and silk shirts/sweaters from the Nordstrom sale too!


  • Tam November 11, 2013 at 12:36 am

    I've found that Zara's riding boots are decent for petite proportions (I'm wearing my pair here). From this season's selection, this pair looks promising, with sizing going down to a rare-for-Zara size 5. They have free shipping and returns, so they might be worth a try for you!

  • Anonymous November 11, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Does anyone know what the difference in quality is between a factory blazer and the retail j crew blazer?

  • Petite-ish November 11, 2013 at 2:27 am

    To add to your recommended boots list, I adore my cole haan jodhpur boots, which run small (pic here: http://instagram.com/p/gghq_Kki-j/). They are great quality and have a nike air footbed(which unfortunately, cole haan isn't doing anymore :'( but still can be found on sites like amazon and zappos). Let me know if you want measurements!

  • Lia Wright November 11, 2013 at 3:19 am

    Wow!!! your are looking awesome Dear!!!!. I like your all picture. Your hair style is very nice.

    Human hair extensions

  • Carol Li November 11, 2013 at 3:31 am

    The boots look lovely on you. Also thanks for sharing the reader recommendations 🙂


  • zozo November 11, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Awesome, detailed post as usual. Those boots do look really sleek on you and, also, maybe an odd comment but I love your jawline haha


  • Dressed with soul November 11, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Yes, you look really great in these photos! And if I had known your tuturiol for this cool DIY-bag before, I wouldn´t have bought my leopard bag 🙂


  • Style Squared November 11, 2013 at 4:21 am
  • hamster428 November 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Did you need to have any alterations done to your blazer and jeans? I'm asking because the j crew blazer was said to be big a few years ago by Sarah, and I've given up on Gap sizing as well.

  • Styla Petite November 11, 2013 at 7:57 am

    These boots are incredible – it's so hard to find boots for Petite women! Amazing photography too xx


  • Jenn November 11, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Hi Jean, I love your new boots. I know you recently got a new leather jacket from Nordstrom as well. Do you recommend treating the leather jacket and boots before wearing?


  • Anonymous November 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Have you considered purchasing leather boots that fit everywhere except calf circumference and then taking them to a cobbler to have them slimmed?

    I have also had a very hard time looking for boots, and after 2 seasons, I learned a solid cobbler can slim boots! I purchased a pair of Corso Como tall, leather, black boots at 40% off and a highly reviewed NYC cobbler in West Village is slimming them for $80.

  • Jillian November 11, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for the review. I would love to see more posts about what you wear to work in the winter. I'm a university lecturer and want to look professional (ie. not like a student), but I also need to walk long distances between classes, so pumps are out of the question. I am stumped about what I am going to wear all winter aside from variations on the riding boot + jeans + blazer or sweater combo.

  • Choochoo Li November 11, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Love these boots, they look perfect on you! I have been wearing a brown Steve Madden pair for several years and so far they've held up great (I wear them regardless of snow or rain). I originally wanted them in black but found the brown ones to be very versatile as well. I'm 5'2 btw. Here is a recent outfit post where I'm wearing them.

    Choo Choo

  • Kate Uhry November 11, 2013 at 9:52 am

    hi, I was wondering what your take on the "bootie" is. I love the trend, but have found I can't wear it because my legs & ankles are so skinny, that it looks like a toothpick coming out;) Is this just a trend I have to skip? My feet are very small (a 34 euro or a 4.5 US) sometimes I can fit in a US 5, but finding a pretty woman's boot is hard!

  • Helen November 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Hi Jean, I own four pairs of Aquatalia winter boots (three knee-high and one ankle bootie) and highly recommend them to anyone who mentions they are looking for boots. They are the most comfy I've found, and extremely durable even in harsh Canadian winters. I have both leather and suede boots, and both materials hold up very well. I never treated them. After the winter I usually take them to the shoemaker for a deep clean. They are relatively expensive, but given the comfort level and durability and classic styling, I think they are well worth the price, even at full price. They are sized quite small in comparison to American sizing. Enjoy your boots Jean! You've made a great purchase!!

  • Katherine November 11, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I LOVE Aquatalia! I have a pair of knee high suede boots from them that I wore for 2 years in Boston and they still look great. Warm, comfortable and waterproof. Highly recommended and I'm sure your boots will keep very nicely!

  • Madyuki November 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Hi Jean,
    You always look so polished. Although I'm a bit taller (5'3") than you, I have tiny ankles and calves that always look ridiculous when trying on boots that gape or slouch too much. This season, I was really surprised to find these black leather riding boots – they fit my calf perfectly and do not scrunch at all. They are also super comfortable after wearing them a few times – no breaking in required. Might be worth checking out!

  • pretty little things November 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

    gorgeous photos and love this whole outfit! xo


  • Anonymous November 11, 2013 at 11:18 am

    At 5'5 I'm not petite and have longer legs over torso width. Yet I can't seem to wear 'high boots' cause they somehow make my body proportion look short and stunted and my calf seems to disappear. I admire how you look perfectly proportionate and even seem to have longer legs with these boots despite having your description of being petite and having a longer torso over leg proportion. I'm interested to know if you have any tips on what to look out for these taller sort of boots that helps you elongate your legs, or at the very least, not make them shorter than they are?

  • Anonymous November 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I am eternally in search for small calved boots – check out this blog where the author reviews various small-calved boots (not afil!)

    I've been searching high and low for a pair of slim calved riding boots, and actually just got my first pair of Aquatalias earlier this fall – the Unity (http://www.amazon.com/Aquatalia-Marvin-K-Womens-Unity/dp/B007H5CPC2). They were on sale for $350, plus there was an extra 25% off code when I ordered, so they were just over $250! I like how they are all leather, very comfy, and warm for Canadian winters too. My size 7's measure 12.5" at the calf opening. Still a bit of gap on me, because my legs measure 11.5" at the very top, but doesn't look ridiculous.

    I've also had great success with La Canadiennes – Dorina (12.5" calf circumference) and Ramona (13" calf circumference) especially. Their shaft height pretty much hits me at my max calf circumference, so I can wear these with tights and dresses/skirts and they look great.

  • Anonymous November 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Just reread this comment and noticed my grammatical errors. Do pardon the mistakes as I'm using my mobile for this!

  • Hannah November 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Those are so perfect!

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

  • Kai-Li November 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    i'm looking for a pair of boots! can't believe these are sold out! great reviews!


  • Elle FFNFF November 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Love the Drew on you…I tried them in a black/forest green combination earlier this year but didn't like them on me. I ordered the Aquatalia "Toast" during the Nordstrom sale and really hope they work out…did you happen to try those?

  • Zoe Rivera November 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    The entire outfit is very elegant. The boots are a good choice.

  • Rebecca November 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    If you can find them, I like the Santana "Renata" boot. I bought them based on a review on Fast Food and Fast Fashion. They fit perfectly in the calf and ankle but they make my legs look bulkier since they are quilted on the inside. I reserve them for the dead of winter. I have given up on knee high boots and wear lace up ankle boots almost exclusively now.

  • Mei Fleming November 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Extremely CHIC!!! Love it and the leaves all around and surrounding you are such a dream!




  • Marie mjh November 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I love your pictures. May I ask what camera lens you use? Thanks!

  • Vickie D November 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I absolutely adore your JCrew blazer and am interested in getting one too. What size is your blazer and did you have to get it altered? Thanks!

  • Maggie Adofo November 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Love your boots! 🙂

    Maggie A

  • Anonymous November 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    hi jean (and everyone else)! I just wanted to add to the discussion here. The Little Contessa blog (mentioned earlier) has been a big help to me in my search. I was almost set on the Blondo boots, but realized after trying them on a few times, that because the shaft isn't made of leather (it is a fabric material that has been treated for weatherproofing), the sag too much in that area for me to think they look good. So, just a word of warning to you–you may find yourself wearing yours for a few times, and then realizing that the ankle gets very saggy, because of the suede. I actually ended up deciding on a pair of fryes instead (although they are a little bit big on my calves, they work fine with jeans tucked in). But the leather on the fryes is just so perfect, and I know it will hold its shape over time (as I have a friend with the exact same pair). Seeing how hers looked after years of wear convinced me. hope this helps someone else!

  • 99 Boxes of Shoes on the Wall November 11, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    These boots are gorgeous! I also would prefer full leather since I would hate for the suede to get dirty… it's such a pain to clean! I just got these Sesto Meucci Dolly boots (http://www.lastcall.com/Sesto-Meucci-Dolly-Buckled-Knee-Boot-Cuoio-Sesto-Meucci/prod20130146___/p.prod?icid=&searchType;=SEARCH&rte;=%252Fsearch.jsp%253FN%253D0%2526Ntt%253DSesto%252BMeucci&eItemId;=prod20130146&cmCat;=search) and they are perfection! I am 5'5 but wear a size 6 shoe and my calves need about 13" circumference… these boots definitely fit the bill. It has room for a bit of stretch so although it's snug on my bare legs, you can still wear with skinny jeans/pants. It hits about two inches below my knee so it still could work for those around my height/a little shorter.

    Have a great week!

  • Sara - Window On My Wardrobe November 12, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Hi Jean,

    Lovely outfit! The boots look very nice! I like the different textures in it, but my favorite is your clutch! Oh my it is just perfect! I have been looking for ages for a nice leopard clutch but I cannot find it anywhere. Your DIY is super, but my problem is that I cannot find the perfect fabric. Any suggestions where I can purchase online (and shipping to the EU) ?

    X Sara


  • Anonymous November 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Wow, wow, wow, you are rocking those boots! I prefer flat boots to be mixed material b/c all-black leather makes me look like Santa Claus.

    And I agree with a comment above, love your deep side part. But how on earth do you get your hair to stay to the side without clips or the inevitable tuck-behind-ear?

  • une vie à vivre November 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Hi, I'm 5 2" and 103 lbs! I found great flat tall boot (and yes I'm picky). These are sell by Browns Shoes, a canadian company. Model 6137318 at $248 CAN. They are perfect and very comfortable and the calf part is great!

  • Dice November 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Great thorough review as always, Jean! These boots look great on you!

    I recently bought a OTK boot from Sole Society that required no breaking in. I'm 5'2" and these boots make my leg look slender. Here's a link to the boot:http://www.solesociety.com/andie-black.html

  • Plum Pretty Sugar November 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Oh how lovely! We love this look!



  • charactersandcarryons November 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Nice boots! I'm still on the hunt for the perfect pair because I recently bought similar ones, but the heel height is a little bit too low for me. It looks the same to the heel height on yours, but I would like a little bit more height.

    I would love if you could do a post on commuting shoes in the winter. I'm struggling with finding the perfect balance between boots or flats or booties that are appropriate with pants but still comfortable to walk in. Thanks!


  • FW November 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I have a pair of Jimmy Choo heeled boots that I love. Granted that they were still pricey even with a sale, the slim and narrow calves was just too good to pass up.

  • Anonymous November 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I'm 5'2 and have a really hard time looking for slim calved boots too. I like La Canadienne and Mjus (a lesser known Italian brand) – they have fit my skinny legs so far!

  • Anonymous December 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I've been searching for boots forever. I'm 4'11" and 85 pounds! My calves are probably around 12 inches in circumference – much smaller than most boots are made for! i just tried the Michael Kors Hamilton boot and the Michael Kors Arley boots and they fit great! Definitely check them out if you're still looking.

  • kate December 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    i am 5'1 and purchased these: http://www.net-a-porter.com/us/en/product/374665?cm_mmc=ProductSearch-_-us-_-Boots-_-Cavaliere&gclid;=CP-GgZG3hrsCFclcMgod1EgApg
    they hit about 1/2-1" under the knee and are extremely flattering, with a fairly similar look to the ones here.

  • Anonymous January 23, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    I just discovered this site and love it! I splurged on a pair of Aquatalia boots three years ago and LOVE them. They fit my ultra-skinny legs and have stood up to rain, snow, and sleet. They are a bit on the pricey side, but worth every penny.

  • Leigh Carroll February 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for posting about this! I am a short 5'0" with average calves (narrow but not extremely narrow) so it has been REALLY difficult to find the right pair of riding boots. I ordered these from ebay and the shaft height, which has been the main problem, is perfect. They stop an inch below my knee which is the best of all the pairs (must be 50 at least) that I've tried. However they are a bit tight in the foot and at the widest part of the calf. Wondering if they have broken in at all for you and loosened up a bit?

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  • Anonymous October 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    You should give these a try! You can put in your own calf circumference 🙂


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