Petite-friendly narrow-calf leather riding boots: Ariat York

fall outfit blanket scarf riding boots

Ariat “York” riding boots, also available at Zappos or Amazon in brown, black or 2-toned

Tall boots are hands-down the most frustrating item I shop for, but it makes it all the more rewarding when winners are found! For newer readers, my trouble areas are both boot shaft height and calf width. For reference, my calves measure ~12.5″ around and my lower leg is ~15″ high, resulting in most “knee-high” boots hitting uncomfortably at or over my knees. It’s admittedly been easier to shop for over-the-knee style boots for a little more leeway on height. You can find past reviews on the few options I’ve found that are a good fit: Stuart Weitzman’s stretch boots, select Aquatalia boots, and also a style of stretch Cole Haan boots. These each cost a pretty penny, but quality boots should last many years so could be worth the splurge for those with similar fit struggles.
fall outfit plaid scarf riding boots
I’ve been wanting a pair of brown riding-style boots for years and decided to look into an actual equestrian brand. I came across a few scattered reviews for Ariat’s “York” boots indicating the calves fit slim, although you wouldn’t guess based on the 15″ calf circumference listed online. I was pleasantly surprised by the great fit and couldn’t wait to take them out for a spin!
fall outfit striped shirt riding boots
The leather feels thick and durable (slightly on the stiffer side compared to thinner, more supple leathers) and the soles have rubber traction. They are lined and have a full interior side-zipper entry. The “maplewood” color is a medium cognac brown, and these also come in classic black and a few two-toned options. The York boots are also sold direct on Ariat’s website, where you can find more specifications as well as a video on how to clean your boots. I ordered mine from Nordstrom for their customer service / easy returns in case of any issues down the road.
ariat york - petite narrow calf riding boots
As you can see in the photos, there’s minimal gapping at the calf circumference on me, enough room for jeans or boot socks. There is a small stretch gore panel on the inside at the upper calf to help with a comfortable fit. The shaft hits about 1.5″ below my knees which is very rare for a tall boot. The ankles are not baggy on me, which is another problem I tend to find on boots that might fit otherwise. The price point is very fair for leather boots that fit (esp. compared to others in my collection), so I would definitely recommend while sizes are in stock! Unfortunately for small-footed ladies, the smallest size is a 5.5 which I found to be a snug fit with socks on.
ariat york - petite narrow calf leather boots review
Measurements of a size 5.5: 13.5″ boot shaft height excluding heel, 13.5″ calf opening circumference when measured along the interior, 4.5″ across ankle width from the exterior, 1.25″ heel. Please note that as with all boots, these measurements will likely decrease / increase with the shoe size.
fall outfit plaid scarf riding boots1
Per your requests, I also have some leather & suede care posts planned for this season (finally ordered myself some protectant and cleaner brushes!). As always, if you guys have petite-friendly boot recommendations, please share below in the comments!

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  1. Hi fellow extra petite XD
    Could you share the model of the RL boots?

    Posted 9.29.16 Reply
  2. Sue wrote:

    Have been looking for the GeoX 10 boots but seem to be sold out everywhere I look. My friend has these boots and they fit my calves perfectly. I came across 2 different GeoX boot styles which are supposed to be suitable for narrow calves at this site here ..has anybody tried these?

    Posted 7.1.16 Reply
  3. MelDoReMi wrote:

    Jean, my friend told me about your blog a while ago but I've only started following it regularly a few months ago. Thank you for your recommendations! I've bought quite a few pieces that you recommended since November.

    I saw the Ariat York back in stock in size 5.5 (last pair!) earlier this week on Amazon. I've been searching for a pair of tall leather black boots for a while, so I had to snatch them up when I saw these.

    Two questions for you:
    1) Since you've had this pair for a few months, have they stretched out a bit, especially at the calves? Mine are a pretty snug fit out of box – no discomfort but I don't think I can tug my jeans in.
    2) The zipper pull tabs are longer than usual and are making quite a bit of noise when I walk. Do you have the same issue/ does that bother you?

    Thanks so much for your blog. Keep the styles coming! 🙂

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  4. Stephanie wrote:

    Just bought those boots and am loving them! I even got the skirt from an online consignment store. I checked out some of the Solemani shoes online, too. Now to find a top!

    Posted 12.18.15 Reply
  5. Jenny wrote:

    I too have problems finding boots with a smaller shaft circumference. I find one or two styles with the right measurement but end up not liking the style. However this fall I found so many styles, that were a perfect fit for my calves. I did buy 4 pairs in the Frye, Cole Haan and Solemani brands. This was the website that has been a godsend to people like me with thin legs

    Posted 11.29.15 Reply
  6. Mirah wrote:

    Thanks for the recommendation! I just bought these boots and they are the best thing ever. Thinking of getting a second pair in another color!

    Posted 11.16.15 Reply
  7. IT Girl wrote:

    I love your outfits and your hair!! Is your hair permed or curled? TIA!

    Posted 11.7.15 Reply
  8. These boots look great on you, and they look really comfy to walk in! Great find!


    Posted 10.8.15 Reply
  9. Elaine wrote:

    The whole club was looking at hurr!

    Posted 10.7.15 Reply
  10. Cate Adair wrote:

    You've done a terrific job. Love all your boot choices. Here is a peep-toe fringe bootie that I think you will like too:

    Posted 10.7.15 Reply
  11. Those are beautiful boots! I love the color of the leather. I find boot shopping to be a challenge as well, but usually my struggles (as a non-petite) are more geared around finding calves that are narrow enough and styles that look feminine since my feet are so large. I guess everyone has different struggles!

    lifestyle by joules

    Posted 10.7.15 Reply
  12. Lucy Lai wrote:

    Love the outfit, especially the boots!

    MISS LUCIA | Fashion & Lifestyle

    Posted 10.7.15 Reply
  13. Paola wrote:

    Beautiful outfit and great boots

    Posted 10.7.15 Reply
  14. A really simple but cute pair of boots. It looks great on your petite frame. Love the plaid scarf too!

    Posted 10.7.15 Reply
  15. Leona wrote:

    I'm not an equestrian hobbyist, but I enjoy going to equestrian trade shows to learn about brands like Ariat 🙂

    I LOVE my Ariat York boots — the sole is really comfortable and perfect for walking miles in the city. I purchased mine on 6pm (which is the Zappos outlet) for around $125-150, but it doesn't have the same convenient return/exchange policy as Zappos. There are also several Frye styles which cater for slimmer legs.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  16. June wrote:

    Bussola – brand you can order via Nordstrom. I have wider calves (15"). And these boots are dreamy. Can zip up without issue and there is still enough rooms for jeans, leggings, boot socks, what have you.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  17. La Canadienne has nice boots with shorter shaft, petite friendly.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  18. Hi Jean! Love the look and your review on the boot! I have really petite feet myself and it is that exact reason why I started a boutique company that sells only size 6.5 and below. I don't have boots yet but hopefully will soon, I hope to help girls find stylish shoes for work and play. You're such an inspiration! –Love Evelyn

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  19. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean, do you have any recommendations for black boots that are more on the dressy side (with < 1.5 inches heel) and don't quite look so chunky as most boots do. Basically a streamlined profile with no buckles or any other kinds of bells & whistles. Just a classic shape that is more on the dressy side.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    Actually you'll have to search under the user hideho13 as the link is not working. She's used a bunch of your pics to advertise her listings.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  21. Absolutely love all of these Fall looks!

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  22. Hi Jean!! I love the boots and the review is great and so helpful!! I also love the outfit, the cream colored skirt and the stripes are just amazing!


    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  23. Wow! I've accidentally enter this blog and the first foto – an outfit I would absolutely want to wear.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote:

    I buy all my boots from Duo from the UK. You pick the shaft size and they ship to the US.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  25. Sasa Zoe wrote:

    These boots look great! I love them<3

    Shall We Sasa

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  26. what i would not give to have your closet! i love your style, one day when i finish school i will be able to actually purchase the same pieces instead of just recreating it with what i have. thank you for being an inspiration and for being so down to earth!

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  27. Kristina wrote:

    I had the similar problem with boots in the past as well – the calf was too wide for me, but my local shoe repair guy was able to fix it! he cut out the slice just near the zip and sew the zip back so it fits me perfectly and it hasn't been expencive service (just like the regular shoe fix!)

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  28. I love the J.Crew mini! Those boots look like they will age nicely.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  29. These boots are amazing. Love how you put this look together.

    Meg | Meghan Silva's Blog
    @MeghanSSilva on Instagram

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  30. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey Jean,
    Just wanted to let you know someone is using your pictures to sell stuff on eBay. Not sure how you feel about this.. .

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  31. I love this look especially the scarf!!!
    xoxo Lynda

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  32. Trang Do wrote:

    You look fantastic!! Love your booties very much!!
    Love from {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    I was in Italy this summer and managed to find very slim calf knee high boots from a brand called Cinti. I spent around 150 euro which was amazing! I think they ship to the US

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  34. I love your scarf! The oversized and big look is my favorite.

    xx, Diane ||

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  35. Denise W. wrote:

    Thank you for your endless tips and tricks! Last year I purchased the Franzie boot from Sole Society. I am 5'0" and the shaft height was perfect. They had a size 5 for my little (but slightly wider) foot. I was pleased with the quality and ended up buying them in 2 colors. They do have them this year.

    Posted 10.6.15 Reply
  36. Unknown wrote:

    Wow I've never, ever, EVER seen a boot with such a narrow calf opening *_*. I literally have the hardest time buying boots so thanks for sharing!

    Posted 10.5.15 Reply
  37. Tonya L wrote:

    If you're really brave you could check the little girls section 😮 sometimes you can find things that fit well there. I always struggle with being in-between. I have a tad more share than a young teen girl but not enough of a woman.

    Posted 10.5.15 Reply
  38. Anonymous wrote:

    Do you know of any petite riding boots for those of us with really huge calves? The problem with petite is I'm short, but my clothing size and calves are not petite.

    Posted 10.5.15 Reply
  39. Bella B wrote:

    Nice! I have the hardest time with some boots. I am also size 5.5 and find it is so hit and miss.

    xoxoBella |

    Posted 10.5.15 Reply
  40. I have a few pairs of Ecco tall boots that are just a bit too tall for my calves. I cheat it by adding orthotic drugstore insoles, which increase both comfort and the "height" of my heel to knee-bend measurement. My feet are relatively low-volume so I don't have issues with foot size doing this, but some may need to size up a half size.

    Posted 10.5.15 Reply
  41. Those are amazing! So great to find riding boots that fit extra petite girls. I have a pair of Ralph Lauren riding boots that fit like they were made for me! I have research most of their riding boots and the measurements are very petite friendly! 🙂

    Posted 10.5.15 Reply

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