How to Measure Boot Shaft

Three Methods:Measure Boot Shaft HeightMeasure Boot Shaft CircumferenceCompare Boot Shaft Measurements to Your Leg Measurements

When you consider purchasing a pair of boots, knowing the boot shaft measurement can help you figure out whether or not the boots will fit on your calves correctly. Measuring the boot shaft yourself is a good idea, but even if you are purchasing boots online and are unable to measure them, you'll still need to know how this measurement is taken so that you can determine if the boots will be a good fit for your own legs.

Method 1
Measure Boot Shaft Height

  1. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 1
    Identify the boot shaft. The shaft of a boot refers to the portion of the boot that rises above your foot and over your calf.
    • When you only see a measurement for “boot shaft,” it is safe to assume that the measurement refers to the height of the shaft and not the circumference.
  2. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 2
    Measure from the arch to the top of the shaft. Place one end of a tape measure at the middle of the boot arch, directly above the boot sole. Extend the tape measure vertically along the outside of the boot until you reach the very top of the shaft. This length is your boot shaft height.[1]
    • Note that in the United States, boot shaft sizes are described in inches even when the shaft extends beyond a foot in height.
    • When a manufacturer lists the shaft height of a boot, the heel height is not usually included in that measurement. There is still some risk that some shops will include heel height as part of the shaft height, though, which can throw this measurement off completely. When buying a pair of boots you cannot measure yourself, try to verify whether or not heel height is left out of the shaft measurement.
  3. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 3
    Know a few common measurements. If you are not able to measure the boot, you can estimate how tall a boot shaft might be simply by noting the style of boot.
    • For a size 8.5 women's boot:[2]
      • Ankle boot shafts range between 3 and 8 inches (7.6 and 20.3 cm).
      • Mid-calf boot shafts range between 8.25 and 13.25 inches (21 and 33.7 cm).
      • Knee-high boot shafts can be 13.5 inches (34.3 cm) or taller.
    • Boot shaft estimations can vary depending on the size of the boot. A size smaller than 8.5 will have a slightly shorter shaft, while a larger size will have a slightly larger shaft. The change in shaft size is usually about equal to the change in foot length when you compare your size against an 8.5 sized boot.
  4. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 4
    Also consider heel height. Typically, heel height is not included as part of the boot shaft height. Since this separate measurement does play a part in the overall height of the boot, though, it can still be worth knowing.
    • Measure the heel height by extending a tape measure from the bottom of the heel to the point at which it meets the sole of the boot. Place the tape measure against the center side of the heel as you measure.
    • Common heel heights based on heel type are:
      • Flat heels, with an average height between 0 and 0.75 inches (0 and 1.9 cm).
      • Low heels, with an average height between 1 and 1.75 inches (2.5 and 4.4 cm).
      • Mid heels, with an average height between 2 and 2.75 inches (5 and 7 cm).
      • High heels, with an average height at 3 inches (7.6 cm) or above.

Method 2
Measure Boot Shaft Circumference

  1. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 5
    Identify the widest part of the boot shaft. Examine the boot and determine where the widest part of the shaft lies. More often than not, the widest part will be at the opening of the boot, but this is not always the case.
    • Note that boot shaft circumference is sometimes referred to as “circumference” or “calf circumference.”
  2. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 6
    Measure around this part of the boot shaft. Place the end of a tape measure at a point along the widest part of the shaft. Wrap the rest of the tape measure around the shaft until it meets the starting end. Read the tape measure at the point of intersection to determine the shaft circumference.
    • Make sure that the tape measure is parallel to the ground the entire way around the shaft of the boot. If the tape measure is not even or straight, the measurement can get significantly thrown off.
    • As with shaft height, shaft circumference is often measured in inches when discussing boot sizes in the United States.

Method 3
Compare Boot Shaft Measurements to Your Leg Measurements

  1. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 7
    Sit with your foot flat. Sit down comfortably with at least one foot flat against the floor. Your knee should be bent down at a 90 degree angle, making your leg perpendicular to the floor.[3]
    • You should also relax the muscles in your leg as you prepare to measure it.
    • This leg is the leg you will need to measure. The vast majority of people can get away with only measuring one leg, but if one of your legs is slightly shorter than the others, you may want to consider measuring each leg separately.
    • Your leg is straightest in this position which is why you need to keep it this way for both your calf height and circumference measurements.
  2. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 8
    Measure up the back of your leg. Place the end of a soft tape measure at the bottom of your heel. Extend the tape measure upwards, over the back of your leg, until it hits a point just below your kneecap.
    • You can then take this calf height measurement and compare it to the shaft height measurement of the boots you are looking at. Find the measured height of the boot on the tape measure as you have it pressed against your calf. This spot is the point at which the boot shaft will most likely land on your leg.
  3. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 9
    Measure around your calf. Locate the widest part of your calf and place the end of a flexible tape measure there. Wrap the tape measure all the way around your calf until it intersects with this starting point, then take the measurement at this point of intersection.
    • If you want to be really precise, figure out where the top of the shaft will land on your calf using the shaft height measurement and measure the circumference of your calf at that point.
    • Compare your calf measurement to the shaft circumference of the boot. If the boot shaft circumference is smaller than the circumference of your calf, the boot will not fit well. If it is an exact match, the boot will fit but may feel a little too tight or snug. If the shaft is too much larger—usually 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) or more—the boot may end up feeling too loose.
    • A boot shaft circumference can, however, be 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) smaller than your calf circumference if the material has enough elasticity to stretch over your calf.[4]
    • An ideal situation would be for your boot shaft circumference to be 0.25 to 1 inch (0.6 to 2.5 cm) wider than your calf circumference.
  4. Image titled Measure Boot Shaft Step 10
    Estimate an ideal boot shaft height. Beyond the basics of fit, your ideal boot shaft height is merely a matter of personal taste and preference. There are a few things worth keeping in mind when considering how high you would like a boot shaft to be, though.
    • If the shaft of a certain boot will end right at the crease of your knee, that boot is likely to pinch and rub your skin as you sit, making it uncomfortable.
    • If you have notably wide calves, the best options will usually be ankle boots and similarly short boots. The shaft of these boots will stop just above your ankle and below the widest part of your calf, creating a more relaxed fit.[5]
    • Your height can also determine an ideal boot shaft height. As a general rule, shorter legs look better with shorter shafts and longer legs look better with taller shafts. If you are petite, a shaft height taller than 14 inches (35.6 cm) may overwhelm your figure. If you are tall, a shaft height shorter than 15 inches (38.1 cm) may throw off the visual balance of your legs.[6]

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Boots

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