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How to Measure for Tall Boots



What You’ll Need

• a cloth tape measure
• a chair
• your regular breeches and socks
• a friend to measure you


• Put on the breeches and socks you normally wear with tall boots.
• In a seated position with your leg bent, have your friend measure the widest part of your calf.

• In a seated position with your leg bent, have your friend measure from your heel to the bend at back of your knee.
• As tall boots break in, the ankles will bend and soften, and the boots will “drop.” Depending on the boot style and type of leather, the drop will vary. Measurements shown on size charts
indicate the height of the boot before they drop.

Selecting a Size

• Calf fit depends on personal preference. If you’re between sizes it’s up to you whether to order up or down, keeping in mind that the leather will give and stretch a little bit as you break in your new boot. If you like your boots to “fit like a glove” when broken
in, you’ll want to start with a boot that is quite snug, which may mean ordering down. However, if you’re prone to weight fluctuations or prefer a more relaxed fit, consider ordering up.

• As you break your new boots in, the leather softens and the rigidity of the boot relaxes. This is most noticeable in the ankle of the boot, which will start to showing a bit of creasing. As a result, the overall height of the boot will decrease slightly. This decrease in height is referred to as the “expected drop,” and can range from a few centimeters to a few inches, depending on the structure of the boot. It’s important to factor in the expected drop when measuring for new boots, otherwise they may end up being too short once they’re broken in.
• For example: if your leg height measures 18” and the boot’s expected drop is 1.25”, you’ll want to order a boot that’s around 19.25” tall.
• A note on fit: A tall boot that’s too short breaks up the line of your leg, creating an unflattering profile. If you’re in between sizes, we generally recommend ordering a size up. While the boots are breaking in, you can buy heel lifts, (sold at most drugstores), to help alleviate any rubbing at the back of your knee.

Can’t find your size?

If your foot, calf and height measurements don’t match up with any of these boots, don’t give up! Each manufacturer offers a slightly different style and fit, so there is probably a boot out there that comes close to your measurements. If you can’t find one that’s just right, consider ordering a custom boot or call 1-888-752-5171 for expert advice!

Shop for tall boots

Once you’ve determined what size is right for you, shop our selection of tall boots from Ariat to Tredstep at

Top Picks:

Tredstep da Vinci Field Boot
(55 reviews)
This ships free!
Mountain Horse Victoria Dressage Boot


Sale Price: $149.99

(44 reviews)
Sergio Grasso Imperia Field Boot
(10 reviews)
This ships free!
Der Dau Contour II Field Boot


Sale Price: $349.99

(14 reviews)

Sarah Paull

Sarah Paull is a lifelong rider and SmartPak’s Brand Manager. You may know her better as the life-size foam finger from the London Olympics, the host of USEF Network’s Live from London coverage, or “that girl from the Stuff Riders Say videos.” Prior to joining SmartPak in 2008, Sarah worked as a Veterinary Technician at B.W. Furlong & Associates in Oldwick, NJ, and obtained her degree in Equine Science from Centenary College. Sarah is the proud mom of Cody, a semi-retired, 23-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, and she’s currently looking for an eventing partner to help her get rid of all the extra time, money and energy she doesn’t actually have :-) If you're interested in her often-horsey, always-odd musings, follow @SmartPakerSarah on Twitter.

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3 comments on “How to Measure for Tall Boots
  1. Janet B Harper says:

    How do you know how much a particular boot will drop?

  2. Paisley says:

    Does this apply when ordering online???

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Paisley,

      Thanks for your question! This guide is intended to help you choose the right boot size whether you’re shopping online or in a store. If you need any help picking out the perfect tall boots, feel free to give our Customer Care Team a call at 1-800-461-8898 or email us at We’re always happy to help!

      – SmartPaker Lexi

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