Boots & Legs: The Golden Rules

By Kate Shapland

Craving a pair of proper chunky boots this season – DMs with thick soles that will take me from park to office and back again even on the most dismal cold, wet days. Unfortunately I know that, at 5 foot 3 inches with a shorter leg length than average, these aren’t likely to be the most flattering footwear for me. When considering the best shapes of boots and heels for different body shapes, you really do need to consider your shape and what will balance it.

So where do you start this journey of discovery with so much choice? Here are the top 12 rules:

  1. Stiletto heels with their long slim spindly shape are best for slimmer body shapes and those with slim calves and ankles. Love those knee and thigh highs with a sky-high heel? They’re made for you.
  2. Curvier calves and thicker ankles look better in stacked heels – it tends to have a slimming effect on those with a feminine curvy hip and legs.
  3. Wedge heels can be finer (look at the profile from the back) and suit slimmer shapes, or wider, and suit curvier shapes.
  4. Cone heeled boots work for every leg shape and length.
  5. Completely flat boots work best on those with average to longer legs.
  6. Kitten heels are more flattering on women with proportionally smaller feet and narrower calves.
  7. A platform wedge is great for any woman with shorter (but shapely) legs who wants some extra height, but doesn’t necessarily want to wear a high heel.
  8. Knee high boots are universally flattering (if you can find one that fits your calf and thigh).
  9. Knee high boots make your legs look longer and slimmer, which is why they are so great, but if you have shorter legs, avoid those with lots of buckles, straps or other horizontal details as this will shorten their apparent length.
  10. Motorcycle (mid-calf) length boots only work for those with slim calves as they cut you across the calf and visually widen the size of your legs.
  11. Ankle length boots can be worn by anyone with trousers but if worn with a skirt they need a slim ankle because the eye is drawn straight to them.
  12. If you have short legs choose longer, well-fitting boots with little detail and a heel. Match hosiery to your boot colour to further elongate.