While you might think objectively you have a wide calf, there are actually measurements in the fashion industry that define the term “wide calf.”

We’ve gone over the unfortunate lack of wide calf boots in our roundup, but also highlighted stores that are doing a great job of being size inclusive. Basically, a lot of brands will advertise they have “wide calf boots” but, much like plus size clothing as a whole, the extended sizes will touch the very bottom of the “plus size” numbers and not go any further. If, like me, you have big, bulging calves, that’s an issue.

While I’m not totally a fan of classifying sizings by name (inclusivity is key) it’s still important to know what size is actually wide for calves, so you can shop more comfortably.

wide calf definition

So, what size is “wide” for calves? Generally, if your calf is 16 inches in circumference or more, you have what the fashion industry will class as a wide calf. 

To get your measurements, we recommend checking out our guide on how to measure your calf circumference specifically for wide calves.

super wide calf definition

We get it. Sometimes we’re simply larger than what the mainstream defines as “plus size.” Based on where “traditional” plus size brands stop their wide calf boot offerings, and where more custom brands position themselves, we’d loosely define super wide calves as calves that measure more than 21 inches in circumference.

When it comes to shopping for boots online, it can be a bit of a minefield. Brands often list the calf circumference for a size 8. If you want to size up, the calf circumference will also increase. For instance, Tall Plus Life founder Amelia is a size 10/11, and she told me to note that when she looks for boots in a size 11 the calf circumference is often going to be 1-2 inches more than what it would be in the standard size 8.

summary

We know that trying to shoehorn sizes into “categories” is tiresome, but unfortunately, the fashion industry is a beast that you sometimes have to conform to. It’s important to note that if your calves are under 16 inches in circumference, you don’t actually have “wide calves.”

DefinitionWidth of Calf
Average calfUnder 16 inches
Wide calf16-21 inches
Super-wide calf22+ inches

If you find yourself really struggling with calf boots, you can always strip it down a little and invest in a sturdy wide width ankle boot, as many renowned brands such as Doc Martens create these in wide widths, too.