Ladies -  YOUR calves are NORMAL!

Ladies - YOUR calves are NORMAL!

If asked what is a normal calf shape or size (and I get asked about this subject so much when I'm talking to prospective female clients) I say "Yours!".


Why such a glib response? 


Well, because Female calf shape and volume is THE most common fitting question, issue, observation, characteristic.......etc etc etc in female specific boot fitting. Female calf shapes and volumes can differ massively person to person. I've helped clients with everything from calves that could be described as pipe cleaners all the way to people with congenital issues leaving them with a vastly different lower legs with large volume and circumference differences.


AND everything in between!


These days boot manufacturers help me out by giving me models and adjustability to cope with this issue. In fact the major differences between male and female boot product can be found in this area.


Female specific product isn't about style or colour, although this is really important, its about geometry and sizing. Ladies boots have a lower cuff to cope with the fact that the Gastroc and Soleus areas of a ladies calf extend further down the leg than the typical male. The cuff also have a different profile along the top edge of the plastic for the same reason. Lots of boots have an adjustment at the top of the cuff, usually just where the calf muscle sits that allows your fitter to expand or contract the circumference of the top of the boot by as much as 25mm or 1". The cuff clips are also very adjustable, they can be moved to increase or decrease the available room inside the cuff when the boot is clipped.


Then there are liners, in particular wrap liners, which cope much better than a traditional tongued liner with varying calf volumes and shapes. Many of my ladies boot range are supplied with this type of liner.


Lots of tools for your fitter to help get that lovely enveloped feeling and comfort for you as an individual skier.


And that's not the end off it. Any good, experienced  fitter will have solved these problems many times over with previous clients. Lots of shell and liner work to make your fit as good as anyones and allow you to ski in comfort. Cue Fire Extinguisher and heat gun to expand the cuff!


And now to elephant in the room. I have had so many conversations with ladies who think they're unfittable, unable to get a comfortable fit, will never ski again. Ladies who are self conscious about their size, the boot room wrestle in the morning is absolutely the worst part of any skiing day for them. Every time I see or hear this I take it personally. I see it as my duty as a fitter to get you comfortable, to put you at ease, to look after you like one of my athletes.


My empathy stems from the fact that my wife had similar issues, in fact this is how I started fitting all those years ago. She has a high volume calf for her height and always struggles with boots. In the 1990's we would go and see fitters and they would just shrug and say that's how it is, sorry we can't/won't help. She was so demoralised and once threw her boots at me half way down a slope in La Thule and said to me "I'm too intelligent to be in this much pain, if we can't sort it I'm done with skiing!" Expletive deleted. Pressure on. Divorce Loomed!


I just thought of it in engineering terms as that was my background. She needed a lower cuff and more volume. So,  drilled the cuff off my boots as I am 4 sizes bigger than her, cut the top two inched off the circumference and replaced her cuff with it, moving the clips to a wider position. Voila, happy skier, no marriage counsellor needed! My journey as a boot fitter had begun and my wife's ski career had been extended!


You really are NOT on your own. WE CAN HELP! WE WANT TO HELP!



1 comment

Hi, I’m having this very problem. I’m currently skiing and after incr3asing my fitness, the only problem I’m having is tender calves. I have very muscular legs, and a large calf volume. Im currently in a pair of mens atomic livefit and I’m interested in coming t9 see you. However I’m wondering if there is any point in continuing with these boots or just starting again? (I live in Stockport however mu boots normally stay at my friend’so in France)


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