Reader Request: Boot Height and Leg Flattery

Laura popped this question into a comment:

I’m also fascinated by the too-tall boots example you give in this post. If you’ve already written about boot height and proportions, would you point me toward that piece, and if not, would you do a post all about boot height? I suspect I may have the same problem with some tall boots in my closet… This would be great information to have before fall!

Many of you followed up by throwing similar requests into the suggestion box. So here we go!

These are my gorgeous taupe-y brown Coclico boots:

I’ve had them for more than two years and wore them constantly after winning them on eBay. But their most recent wearing was in October of 2011. Because they hit VERY HIGH on my leg. Behold:

Especially in an outfit like this one where there’s a lot of contrast between my upper leg and the boot, these just-shy-of-the-kneecap boots bisect my legs.* And, as the Golden Ratio states, it’s typically more appealing to see divisions of thirds than divisions of halves.

My John Fluevog Adriana Luna boots are also very tall, and bisect my legs when worn with dark pants, leggings, or tights:

Again, the boots are light and pants are dark, so the break is emphasized by their contrast. The long top layers make my legs look even shorter. Pairing these boots with lighter pants helps a bit:

But that’s pretty limiting. I’d prefer to be able to wear my boots with most pants and hosiery instead of feeling like they’ll only work with similar tones.

Just a couple of inches of shaft height can make a HUGE difference. Here are my Kork-Ease Alva boots:

These fall a few inches below my kneecap, which means that even worn with high-contrast underlayers, they make my legs look longer. In fact, these boots are my ideal height. They work with longer hemlines:

And with low-contrast layers:

They even do passably well against bare skin:

A few inches more, and things shift again. Here are my Frye Harness 12R boots:

I adore these boots and always will, but they hit much lower on my leg at a point where my calf is considerably wider. They aren’t necessarily making my legs look shorter overall, but the fact that they end where my calf is largest means that they do adversely affect my leg proportions.

As was true with the other pairs, this can be mitigated by wearing them with a similar pant or legging color. However, I scrolled through several years of outfit posts featuring these boots, and it seems that I don’t care to do that myself. Hmm.

So let’s see these side by side:

In my case, a pair of boots that hits several inches below the bottom of my kneecap feels the most flattering and versatile. Boots that are either much taller or much shorter than that can be challenging to style.

Now, there are LOADS of other factors that affect how flattering a pair of boots may feel: Heel, wedge, or platform height, how closely they fit to your ankle, how closely they fit to your upper calf, and, of course, how they’re styled within the context of your outfit. These boots aren’t identically shaped and they’ve all been styled differently, so they’re imperfect examples. But my hope is to illustrate how boot shaft height can impact your leg line.

If this is a figure-flattery priority for you, measure a pair of tall boots that fits you well to find out the shaft height. Most vendors measure the shaft from sole to shaft top, regardless of heel, but BEWARE! Some measure the heel, too, and online measurements can be deceiving. I’ve even ordered pairs that listed heel-to-shaft measurements that were incorrect, so I always purchase boots online from vendors who accept returns.

I realize that many of you cannot even find tall boots that will properly fit your calves, so nit-picking about shaft height may seem unimportant. Furthermore, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment, take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent.

Related post: Legs, Skirts, and Footwear

Are you conscious of boot shaft height and its impact on your leg line? Where do you prefer your boots to hit?

*I took these boots to George’s and had them shortened by about 2″. And it worked beautifully. More on that soon!

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

  • http://jessiinbetween.blogspot.com Jessi

    This is great information! I bought a pair of Frye harness 8r boots last year and was immediately regretful after wearing them and seeing how…awkward they made my legs look :( I wish I had a more flattering way to style them, but so far I haven’t come up with anything. Anyway, thanks for sharing this :)

    • Andrea

      At the risk of stating the obvious, you could wear them UNDER bootcut or straight leg jeans or pants. That’s how I always wear mine. Gives a nice long leg line and gets lots of compliments.

  • http://www.relatablestyle.com Lili @ Relatable Style

    Interesting! Now I know who is wearing all those not-quite-at-the-knee boots! I was really wondering about that and was already a bit angry at the people selling these boots, haha. I prefer them at the knee, lower just seems to look weird on me. I’ll give it another try after reading this, but I’m not too confident about it :-)

  • http://www.venusianglow.com Eternal*Voyageur

    The best part of the post was about you getting the boots shortened — this makes everything easier. Love the way the Kork-Ease Alva boots make your legs look so shapely.

  • Eliana

    I have two pairs of boots from Duo Boots that are made to your calf measurements.Mine are several years old from avisit to London and I see that there prices have gone up quite a bit. One is to the knee and the other a couple of inches below, I’m going try them today with a high contrast layer…we’ll see.

  • Ellen

    Interesting. I cannot do short boots– well, except for the occasional bootie– but I actually prefer tall boots. I splurged on a pair of Frye’s and have been sad to see them sag and scrunch near the ankle over time. I guess I prefer a taller, crisp line. More flattering to my leg for whatever reason.

  • Helen M.

    I like the look of the taller boot. To my eye it lengthens the leg. For shorter boots, I see lots of young women wearing shorty cowboy style boots (shorter than the Frye Harness boots in the photos here) with short dresses & skirts. I think it’s an absolutely adorable look, but not one I”d try to pull off at my age.

    Love your blog!
    Helen

  • Kristen

    Useful. :)

    I learned the hard way that skirt silhouette is a factor; my knee-high boots look great with slim skirts and inordinately childish with flared skirts. Most vexing…

  • http://modernmrsdarcy.com Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I’m so ready for boot season, and these posts the past week or two have had me drooling….

    I need a new pair of boots this year (or two?) and this isn’t an issue I’ve ever even considered! Thanks, Sal :)

  • http://unacasaconjardin.blogspot.com.ar/ romy

    Hi Sally, past August (winter season down here in Argentina!) I went to a saddlery and purchase a pair of tall leather boots, with leather lining at us$150.- the price was really good as I have seen some boots in faux leather at us$120.- and tall (but not knee high) leather boots with NO lining at us$190.- So this was a really good purchase, I was also thrilled when they told me if I could wait 15 days they will made a pair with a wider calf as the one I tried where too narrow and they can even made them taller with NO, ZERO extra charges! Of course I said YES! I could and I will wait! So by my birthday party I was wearing my knee high boots, I am sooo happy!

    The only advise I can give you regarding High knee boots, is to sit down when you try them, mine are so high that I must be careful of not bending the leather behind my knees, because some times the top of the boot touches my upper leg, and it bends it. Or try those that are higher on the front, like the black ones you have Sally!

  • Kate

    I’m having a hard time with boots. I have Frye Harness 12R as well and they hit me at the wide part of my calf AS WELL as being only a few inches from my knee because I am so short! I wonder if more of an ankle boot would actually be my best bet?

  • http://mamacasspro.wordpress.com Cee

    Thanks for this post, Sally. I’ve never really thought about defining the line of my leg, to be honest. However, I am saving up for some new winter boots (dark brown, with a riding boot-style buckle at the ankle, comfortable low heel) and I’ll take this into consideration.

  • Kate K

    I’ll admit that for the most part, I look at these “figure flattery”/visual posts and I don’t exactly see it. (That doesn’t mean that I don’t find them helpful or useful.) And when you mentioned the boot height phenomenon earlier, I expected to have the same problem. However, I took one look at the first picture and had a total “Ahaaaaaaa” moment.

    I am sadly the person who struggles with boots fitting in the calf and not sagging in the ankles, plus being a size 11 shoe so boot shaft is lower on my list of requests. But, it’s good to be aware of this!

  • http://chiralcraft.wordpress.com Laura

    I know that Angie @ YLF agrees with you, Sally, but I don’t :) There’s something about a knee-high boot that I expect to be, you know, knee-height. In my eyes the first boots you share look perfect, just below the kneecap. The others look too short to me.

    Re the Fryes that are mid-calf and looser, I had a similar pair of boots for a while (in fact, I might still, haven’t gotten the fall wardrobe out yet). I wore them a lot with shorter skirts – it was not a particularly leg-lengthening look but it was kinda quirky and fun, not as vavoom sex-goddess as formfitting knee-high boots can look, especially if you’re wearing them without tights.

  • Northmoon

    I hadn’t thought much about this before, but your visuals show that shaft height does make a difference. I’m thinking of purchasing a pair of tall black boots, and I’m going to be more critical of how they look on my legs. As a person of short stature I know how important small differences in proportion can be! Thank you for your excellent post.

  • http://sheliesshattered.blogspot.com Samantha/GlassCannon

    I think you really have to take your own height into consideration when buying tall boots. Most images we see of boots, they’re on thin models who are 5’10″+. “Knee high” boots on someone that height will actually fall a few inches below the knee. For me, at barely 5’2″, knee high boots actually cut into my knee cap in really painful ways. Boots that would be mid-calf on a 5’10” model fall an inch or two below my knee, which at my height and leg length is similar to your “just right” second pair. Three or four inches below my knee is half way down my shin, so again, proportions are the important thing, not the actual inch measurement. Having boots that hit at that right point between mid-calf and knee-high makes you look like those 5’10” models who are too tall for their knee-high boots, even if you’re rocking significantly fewer inches over all. ;)

    • http://pacificrain.blogspot.com sarah

      I agree! I’m 5’11” with long legs. Boot height is just one of those issues I don’t ever bother to consider because nothing is ever going to make my legs appear short.

      And while it depends on the company, most of the boots I’ve seen modelled have definitely not been modelled by women who are my height – I, too, cannot trust a boot that claims to be “knee high” to actually end up being anywhere close to my knee. Plus, I think most shoes are designed for the smaller sizes (6-7-8); I can’t tell you how many cute styles take a serious trip to fuglyville when reinterpreted as a size 10. It’s only an inch or two of difference in the overall length of the hose, but suddenly all the detailing can be thrown seriously out of proportion.

      • http://butaneanvil.blogspot.ca/ Amber of Butane Anvil

        Sarah – I am so with you on the fugly pattern translation issue which happens at size 10 to shoes and boots that are so great in teeny sizes! This is the bane of my existence, together with wishing at 5’6″ that I had the height to balance out my giant cloppers. :)

  • Aziraphale

    I tried on those Adriana Luna boots when they came out last year, but gave them a miss because of the shaft height. They are simply too tall for me. Boots that hit right at the kneecap like that make me look like a hobbit. I have proportionally longer shins and shorter thighs, so perhaps that’s the reason. :-)

    I aim to get my tall boots to hit at about the spot where your black wedge boots hit your leg. A little lower works well on me too. I think it has to do with the shape of my leg, as well as my overall shape. I’ve got quite a lot of choice with boots because of my small-but-not-exceptionally-so feet and calves, but I’m short, so the main limiting factor is shaft height. I’ve passed up many a nice boot because of the height!

  • Kaybug

    I also have the problem of muscular calves. So, a boot shaft that hits about 4.5 inches below the knee is at the widest part of my leg, emphasizing that instead of my narrower knees and ankles. Additionally, my calves are not really wide enough for extended calf sizes. I have had to stick with primarily stretch fabric boots (one day I will get myself to a saddlery) to get the colors and styles that I want.

    I kind of have a band-aid over this for now. Maybe when I make the big bucks I will invest in some boots that really fit.

  • Molly

    I have a pair of knee-high Frye boots that, as I’m fairly small, are both a touch too tall and a touch too wide in the calf (it’s hard for me to find boots, so I take them where I can). I think they’re endearing, especially worn with shorts in a sort of worn, desert-casual way, but I’ll admit they make me look a little like I’m standing in a bucket. The shaft of my favorite boots is just a little shorter and narrower, but it does make all the difference!

  • Halo

    I’m tall-ish, with most of my height in my legs and I have “extra-large” calves, so finding boots that fit correctly is nearly impossible. The quotation marks are there because I’m annoyed that my very proportional legs are considered gigantic because they aren’t 14″ around. Bleah. Ideally, boots would hit me two inches below the knee, but I haven’t found a single pair I like that fit my calf AND hit that high on the leg. Lots of extra-large calf boots end up hitting me mid-calf, where I least enjoy the line and they end up rubbing me legs uncomfortably. Ankle boots and cowboy boots for me for now.

  • Margeax Batts

    Sorry, but black boots against bare skin with a skirt only about 5 inches above the boots cuts your legs off even more. Either tights or a shorter skirt, but this combination isn’t flattering. If you like it, great, but I think it’s not working.

    • Amy M

      MB, the look you are refering to looks just fine to me…

  • may

    I agree with Samantha – you must take your height into consideration. Proper fit is really key. A tall boot that hits you above the curve of your calf and leaves a gap of 1/2 inch or more would appear to be an improper fit. Sometimes, I feel like I’m puss in boots when I try on tall boots that are far too tall in the shaft for my petite length legs. So it doesn’t matter how gorgeous the boot is – if it doesn’t fit you properly, it’s not going to look good.

  • http://kthecakejunkie.blogspot.com/ Karoliina

    I’m tall and most of my height is also my my legs. I’ve got really muscular calves to boot (pun intended), so finding boots that fit properly is a challenge, as I like my boots to fit me snuggly in the ankles.

    I’ve yet to find a pair of boots that would be properly knee length on me, so I make do with the boots I find that fit me well enough.

    • Halo

      I haven’t been able to find boots that are wide enough in the calf and simultaneously narrow enough through the ankle. I share your pain.

    • Tohnia

      I also have very muscular calves (a good 15″-16″ around!) and I just tried on these boots today http://www.softmoc.com/ca/systemshow-item_I628594%20BLK and they fit me perfectly at about 1-2 inches below my knee! Even with jeans tucked in. The ankle is a bit loose on me, but the strap at the ankle really helps to tighten it up! If you can get these shipped to you (i’m in Canada and this is a Canadian store) I would recommend them! I like that I can have them slightly slouchy or more closely fitted to my leg. Bonus, they make my legs look so long! Which is tough for me, since I also have muscular thighs. My height is 5’8/9″ if that helps!

  • Susan

    I have to say I prefer the knee-high boots, even after I study them with the Golden Mean in mind. But I don’t think that ‘which boots look better on Sally’ is the point here. I’m thrilled to be exposed to this whole concept. This is exactly the kind of information that can help us determine why something isn’t working on us, when we love the look on others. Thanks, Sal!

  • AM

    I forgot that another boots post was in the works, so I just posted to the forums last night (http://www.alreadypretty.com/forums/topic/shoes). The gist of my question is, are there boots with smaller ankles *and* wider calves available on the market, or am I going to have to spend the big bucks to get custom boots? Are there boots proportioned specifically for women with shorter legs? I have such a combination of non-standard factors it’s hard for me to know exactly what is preventing me from finding boots.

    • Katharine

      If you get boots that are too narrow in the calf (which almost all boots are, for me) and get them stretched by a cobbler while being VERY specific about where in the shaft they should be stretched, this golden ideal can be achieved.

      All my Fluevog boots were so tight when I got them that I had to squash the shaft down just to see if they fit my foot properly. Now, they fit perfectly to my relatively tiny ankles, and have been stretched (as much as two inches!) to fit my calves.

      Just remember that your boots must be all-leather to do this much expanding, and can’t have full-height zippers or lacing (most places I’ve asked won’t stretch those, as the stitching/grommets might give way).

      • AM

        Thank you!! That is great, specific advice. I bought a pair of leather boots off ebay a few years ago and when they didn’t fit I took them to a cobbler to have them stretched. He told me he wouldn’t be able to stretch them much, but didn’t tell me why. However, they’re fully-lined boots with a zipper up the entire length, and now that you say it, I understand why it would be hard to stretch such a boot!

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      That’s a tough one, AM. DUO comes to mind as they carry several specialty sizes including wide and narrow calves: http://www.duoboots.com/ But I can’t think of any vendor that does boots proportioned for petite women or women with shorter legs. My guess is that they leave it to the consumer to select a shaft height that works. If you’ve got very short legs or calves, boots that are labeled “mid-calf” might work as tall/knee-high-ish boots for you.

      The wide-calf/narrow ankle question is one I’ve been asked before, and I can’t say as I know of brands or vendors who specialize. Anyone else have suggestions?

  • Rudyinparis

    I’m short, with short legs (so double short legs, I guess) and it only just recently occurred to me that even though I love tall boots, I just can’t wear them. They lend a distinct hip-wader appearance to any ensemble. They also hit the backs of my thighs. Ankle boots, or, at the highest, low calf boots are all I can pull off. Wah!

  • http://www.meganmaedaily.com/ Megan Mae

    All very cute boots, Sally.

    I actually like the frye’s best on you because my personal fit-flattery tends to be making my legs look wider. I have very thin legs so I tend to look for ankle to mid calf boots to balance myself out. Some people may not like looking short or whatever, but I know I’m short, I’m okay with that. I prefer balancing out my thin ankles/calves with a little boot bulk.

    Although, if I can score those Adriana’s in purple someday – screw all fit flattery. Those are GORGEOUS.

  • http://fashionforgiants.blogspot.com Gracey at Fashion for Giants

    Great post, Sal. I don’t think I’ve ever actively considered of boot height flattery, but I do prefer my Born boots to all others and I think they’re a couple of inches below my knee. And I know that other heights can be awkward to style; for me those are the one’s that hit right around mid-calf.

  • kate

    Hi Sally – I think you look great in all of these. :)

    But a question – for the taller Luna boots, which are beautiful – they are such lovely boots and they look so nice on you, and I totally see what you’re saying about maybe making your legs appear shorter than you are. BUT: in these pictures, you are matching your pants with long tunic-length shirts or even shorter dresses, which also cuts off your legs from the top (with shirt length), as opposed to the from the bottom (with boot height). Does that make sense?

    I know that you are a fan of kind of cinching at the waist when you wear dresses and skirts – is there a reason you don’t often pair shorter shirts (just regular length, to show off more of your legs) with jeans?

    • http://musclemilkisnotaeuphemism.blogspot.com malevolent andrea

      I agree with this. The proportions would look totally different (and better) with a non-tunic-length shirt.

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Hi Kate! You’re absolutely right, I am most likely to do pants with a tunic-length top, and they do visually shorten my legs from the top down. I prefer to downplay my hips, and wearing pants with regular shirts doesn’t do that. I am experimenting more with non-tunic pants outfits nowadays, but am still happier in tunics.

      I didn’t post any photos of the Coclicos or Fluevogs with skirts because every time I tried to pair them with skirts or dresses, the combination looked utterly bizarre to my eye. The boots hit so high on my leg that the proportions were off with skirts, too. Sorry I don’t have any photographic evidence, but it’s totally true. ;)

      • kate

        I believe you! And I definitely think it’s a good idea to experiment with non-tunic pants outfits. I actually do the same thing, I feel so uncomfortable about my hips in skinny jeans with non-tunic topics, because when I look down at myself, i reeeeaaally looks pear-shaped. But I realized that when I wear non-tunic tops with skinny jeans and boots, I get a lot more compliments than when I don’t. The pear-shaped idea was all in my head. I have to keep reminding myself that my perspective looking down is NOT what people see. Actually I had to remind myself of the same thing when I started trying skirts at the waist like you so often wear and look so nice in.. maybe it’s something about change in general. Who knows… :)

  • Sam

    My $0.02: The tallest pair of boots look breathtaking on you. Enough for me to consider wearing my own pair of super-tall boots more often. (I usually neglect them because in my head they look too “dramatic.”)

  • Angela

    Sally, I LOVE this post! Thank you! I’d never considered this concept, but your photos illustrate it so well. I quested for two years to find my “ideal” cognac riding boot. I found finally found them this summer for an off-season spectacular deal, and now I must go try them on and hope they’re a good height for me, which I hadn’t even considered since I was so wrapped up in finding the color and style that I wanted. Your post offers some good work-arounds for heights that aren’t exactly at that golden ratio, so thank you for that, too.

    I’m surprised that neither you nor any commenters (unless I missed one in my comment skimming) have mentioned over-the-knee boots. Do you own any? If not, why? Too trendy? Not versatile enough? Not your most flattering?

    I believe I’ve commented before on your blog, perhaps on a power-dressing post, that I feel like a million bucks in a pair of OTK boots. I only got my first pair two years ago, so I’m hoping the trend isn’t dead already (is it? I haven’t paid much attention to fall trends, but when I think of it, I don’t recall seeing any OTK boots in any fall catalogs), but for the two fall/winter seasons that I’ve enjoyed them, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of them. I’m sure that being 5’9″ helps. You asked where we prefer our boots to hit, and I think about 3 inches above the knee is just right on me. I love wearing them with tunics, dresses, and skirts that are at the length to show just a flash of leg or tights between the hemline and the boots.

    Last spring, I found a pair of Frye Shirley Over the Knee Riding Boots at Goodwill (OMG, jackpot). I’ve been waiting all summer for fall to come so I can bust them out!

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Hi Angela! Over-the-knee boots are a bit of a fringe trend now, but they’re still out there. I didn’t mention them here because they’re not super common, and the feedback I’ve gotten is that they can be tough to work into an office/everyday wardrobe.

      I own one pair myself, the Tsubo Hepat: http://www.alreadypretty.com/?s=hepat But I don’t wear them much.

      Your Frye Shirleys sound like a dream come true, though, and I hope you wear them with pride! What a score!

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  • http://butaneanvil.blogspot.ca/ Amber of Butane Anvil

    Hi Sally, sorry to be jumping in really late, but wanted to thank you so much for this post – I continue to learn just loads from you, and appreciate how you talk about and illustrate these things so beautifully. It’s great to know the WHY of certain things!

  • http://rubybastille.wordpress.com Laura

    I had never really given much thought to boot height except in relation to where the skirt hem hit. I have a pair of mid-calf black buckled Nine West boots (my “pirate boots”) which have no ankle definition to speak of and can easily make my legs look like toothpicks stuck in blobs of Play Doh if I’m not careful about how I style them. Since I don’t like to/haven’t figured out mixing neutrals, it’s not such a pain for me to pair boots with similar-toned bottoms, so I tend to wear them with black leggings or my charcoal skinny jeans.

    That was a really long-winded way of saying that I hope other neutral-mixing-phobes aren’t scared away from trying different boot heights, because the one-color leg thing can help a lot. ;)

  • sm

    I really appreciate this post. May I ask a specific question? I’m 6′ and curvy, with proportionate calves and size 11 feet. After years of fruitless searches and sore feet, I’m going to have some soft-sole boots custom-made on etsy. What would be the most flattering height? I would wear them with skirts and dresses as I think my legs are too big to wear jeans tucked in. Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      sm, it’s a bit hard to guess without knowing your leg proportions! But assuming you wear your skirts and dresses at about knee length or just above, about an inch or two below the kneecap is likely your best bet. If you’ve got some dark-colored, tall boot socks (or can pick up a pair from Target or similar), you could experiment with different heights on your calf by pushing the sock up and down a bit. Hope that helps!

  • http://susanthoder.com Sue

    I was just telling my family my theory on boot height!!! Im 4’11.5 and its really hard for me to find the correct shaft height for my little leggies! I was explaining that 12 inches is probably just about right for me it makes my leg look so much bettter than a short boot. and i taller boot makes be look like my kids look in my boots….silly
    I loved this article and now i know im not kookoo about obsessing over shaft height! If only everyone knew

    thanks
    susan thoder

  • Lauren

    I find this to be a very interesting post because i am such a stickler for the height of my boots. I am 5’8 with a thin frame and i seem to only have interest in the kind of boots that hit me at the widest part of my calf or ones that hit right below my knee cap. Tall boots seem to really really elongate my leg. They make me look like i have legs for days. It is very hard to find narrow shafted boots that are really tall though. My calf measures 13″ at the widest point. I hate how thin my calves are and i guess i like to cover them up. Weird complaint some might say. I own the Sendra Street Fillimore boots and the Fyre Deena Harness Tall. Both boots absolutely eye catching and incredible. Their height screams “look at me”. Here is a picture of my Sendra’s in case anyone is interested….

    http://tinypic.com/r/10x5wya/6

    [IMG]http://i45.tinypic.com/10x5wya.jpg[/IMG]

  • Stacie

    I loved this post and especially the part where you had them shortened. I have a pair of Frye boots that are 14r and I’d love to make them 12r. I’m going to call some shoe makers in my area. Thanks!!

  • Glenn

    Sally:

    I am a male, 36 year old, stumbling into this on my quest to find a suitable tall equestrian boots.
    I have yo disagree with you on all account.
    A good tall boots should hit just below the knees. Even better if the cuff on the outside raises up s bit in the shape of an almond. The main result is practicality. Tall boots must be tall enough to protect a rider’s inside knee from either saddle strapping motor cycle part. Anything shorter than that would look totally superficial. Either that or wear ankle boots, which in equestrian terms is called paddock boots. Something that you wear to work at the barn, instead of riding.
    Now about the leg proportion. The distance between our natural waist – around the waistline to our knee is exactly is exactly 5/7 of the length of our legs. The distance between our hip socket joints to our knee is exactly 3/5 of the distance between our hip joints to the base of the sole. This is the golden rule: 3 to 5 proportion. Nature is in many ways perfect. So wear boots that show off this perfect proportion. The lenght of your skirt doesn’t matter. It’s the proportion of your knee-to-ground to your whole body that matters! In all honesty, the rather low boots in the picture make your legs look a bit stumped! Not very attractive. In the equestrian world, people with stumped legs – or too short boots – will never get picked up showcase expensive horses. Because they ruin the elegance of the horse! A good rider should be quiet, elegant and as non obstructive as possible.
    I am very aware of this because as a guy I am rather big. 5-11, weight 165 pounds. For the avarage population I may be of very ideal height and weight. But for showing competition horses, I am slightly too tall (more than 5-10″) and, believe it or not, slightly to heavy! So my only salvation is to wear a pair of boots that show of a most elegant picture of myself while doing my equstrian job. My riding can only be improve so much!
    So donate those ridiculous ‘rather-short’ tall boots. In addition to looking superficial and historically incorrect, they don’t flatter you.