I have a 16-inch calf. Unfortunately, Vogs rarely cater to legs like mine. Other than the Hotcakes, I haven’t really met a knee high boot that suited me. However, I did recently learn about a boot alteration that is quite promising.
Recently, I acquired a vintage pair of Bordens in red. Monika (dealer extraordinaire) mentioned that the calves are generous on these. When these popped up on eBay at an excellent price, I jumped on them! When they arrived and tried them on, this happened:
Much to my heartbreak, they didn’t zip up. I needed about 3-inches (if I wear boot socks) to make them work. Since they were an eBay purchase, a return wasn’t an option. I’m too lazy to re-sell, and I really didn’t want to give these beauties up. With that, I explored my options.
Option 1: Take it to the dealers and have them stretched. I emailed FlueDaddy Denny and he said to hold on to them til I came back to Cali. Stretching the leather does miracles. Problem: I couldn’t wait. Also, I was concerned that stretching would affect the stitching. Three inches is a lot and I couldn’t imagine the leather stretching that much.
Option 2: I headed straight to the local cobbler. Years ago, a dear friend had a leather gusset added to her black Fluevog boots. They looked and fit great. I figured I would explore the same option. With the assistance of yelp, I found Broadway Shoe Repair, which isn’t far from campus. I brought the boots and explained my situation. Randy, the cobbler, explained that yes, he can add a black elastic gusset. It will change the look, but it’ll fit. He suggested that the gusset be added to the back, and not the side (where the zipper is). After some pondering, I agreed to the alteration. He said that I needed to come back for a fitting before the final stitching was done. To gain a sense of what adding a gusset looks like, check out these photos I found online:
When I came back a few days later, I wasn’t feeling really good about the black elastic. Luckily, the trusty cobbler was thinking the same thing. For my fitting, the back was undone and he used paper tape to measure (his initial estimates were a bit too big). He said that he didn’t like the look of the black elastic and decided we’d be better off installing a red leather gusset. Though it won’t match exactly, it’ll look better. This meant more waiting and another fitting. (No problem! I’m so happy we were thinking the same thing!)
When I came in for the fitting, I was surprised to see a beige gusset. However, the cobbler explained that the beige leather was the lining and the finished product would be topped with the read leather. Again, the initial estimates were a bit big, so we made adjustments. I was glad to find that we were able to taper the top. Otherwise, to use a true triangular gusset would leave huge gaps.
In total, the process took over three weeks. Please note that this isn’t the standard turnover at Broadway Shoe Repair. This particular project took some time because we had to wait for the red leather to come in. To ensure a proper fit, I had to come back twice for measurements. In the end, the wait was worth it. The alteration was also incredibly reasonably priced! (It came out to $45. However, each alteration is different, so do talk to your cobbler about price.) Plus, I now have my dream Wonder Woman tribute boots. I couldn’t be happier. Here’s the final product:
Some post-alteration notes: The boots fit perfectly. However, if I had to do this with another pair of boots, I would not put the gusset in the back, like they did with these red boots. Instead, I’d have the cobbler put it on the side, where the zipper is, just like the photos with the yellow boots. This is because the alteration forces the zipper to shift a little bit. For the red boots, they shifted toward the front. When I put them on, I have to stand in the boot and pull the leather to make sure the zipper lines up further back. Otherwise, the zipper shifts toward the front, and that’s no bueno.
Another great alternative for those of you with healthy calves is the Boot Band. However, I opted for the gusset over the Boot Band because your cobbler can taper the gusset, and you don’t have to deal with gapping.
Hope this info helps and gives knee-high boot hope those with healthy calves!
For the love of Fluegasms,