for the love of vogs

where the MotleyFlue gather

hope for healthy calves


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:

The photo on the left is from the eBay seller. The photo on the right is how they originally fit.

The photo on the left is from the eBay seller. The photo on the right is how they originally fit. Tears. They couldn’t zip up. As you can see, the gap is quite big.

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:

Image can be found here:

Image can be found here: As you can see, a simple alteration can make those dream boots a reality. For this alteration, a yellow leather gusset was added to the inside, attached to the zipper.

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!)

The "draft": this is part of the leather lining. It was glued for the fitting and then adjusted.

The “draft”: this is part of the leather lining. It was glued for the fitting and then adjusted.

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,



Author: jlrondilla

Joanne L. Rondilla, is a scholar, writer, and educator (not necessarily in that order). She received her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in Ethnic Studies and her B.A. in Art Studio and Asian American Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on beauty, race, gender, the body, and colonialism. She is the co-author of "Is Lighter Better? Skin Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans" (with Paul Spickard) and the co-editor of "Pacific Diaspora: Island Peoples in the United States and Across the Pacific" (with Paul Spickard and Debbie Hippolite-Wright). Born and raised in Dededo, Guam, Joanne considers the San Francisco Bay area home. Outside of the academy, she has more than twelve years of work experience in the cosmetics industry as a skincare specialist and make-up artist. While she's not an Imelda Marcos fan, Joanne does love her Fluevogs!

5 thoughts on “hope for healthy calves

  1. OMG!!! I’m so happy to hear that this is an option! I’ve been despairing that I’d never be able to wear Fluevog boots. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

    • Hi Laina! Yes, it does! Dangerous, but I’m willing to brave the danger:) I did an official test run yesterday when I wore them to campus. They held up great. Also, the cobbler found a piece of leather that matched really well. I’m sure these alterations are MUCH easier with a standard black or brown pair of boots. If you do this, be sure to communicate with the cobbler. These gussets can be done with leather or a sturdy elastic. Please note that not all cobblers are built the same. It’s a good idea to ask if they’re familiar with this alteration. The place I go to does this regularly, so I knew I was in good hands.

      Please share if you end up altering a pair of boots. I’d love to see the “before” and “after” shots:)

      • I definitely will share if I do! I’ve always ignored the boots when shopping because of my large calves, but this means I can actually look at them in earnest now…!

  2. Thanks for the in depth report, this opens up a whole new world of Vog boots to me and I already have a cobbler in AZ to do it at a reasonable price. Whoo!!

  3. J-ri thank you for the in depth report! Since I had a kid, I have had the same problem. I also found a cobbler that could do the same job, altough this was live in Canada, just North of Toronto…. The winters get bad here and I’ve always wanted boots that fit me right. He stretched them out for me by 3 inches, AND also added a piece of leather that looked very close to the original design. THEY LOOKED AMAZING! Could barely tell he did anything to them. The cobblers website is

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