What Is The Boot Shaft? How Do I Measure It? The Complete Guide Below

Are you unsure what the boot shaft is? Or do you want to know how to measure the shaft but don’t know where to start? Or are you curious and want to know more? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you! 

What Is The Boot Shaft? How Do I Measure It? The Complete Guide Below

When it comes to knowing the parts of a boot, many of us are stumped.

Sure we know what a boot is and what one looks like, but labeling a diagram with the correct terms? Or knowing the proper way to measure a boot? That all sounds like another language and leaves many of us desperately searching online for the answers that we need. 

Well, no more! Today we are here ready with the answers to help you and your boots become one with each other.

Just keep reading to find out what the boot shaft is and how you can measure it with our complete guide below!  

What Is The Shaft Of A Boot?

Let’s get straight into today’s article! The shaft of a boot is the tall part at the back of the boot that sits against and travels up your ankle.

It is this part of the boot that opens up, allowing you to slide your foot in. This might include a zip, buckles, or a stretchy section that allows you to slide the boot on and off your foot. 

When we measure the shaft of the boot, we measure from the collar to the arch, from the point top of the sole, rather than measuring from the floor. Don’t worry, we will walk you through how you can measure the shaft like a pro! 

How To Measure The Boot Shaft?

Now, measuring the boot shaft can be a little tricky. Not because it is a complex thing to do, but rather you need the knowledge to do it correctly! But fear not, we have the knowledge and are here to share it with you. 

To start, take your boot and put it on the floor upright. Then you will want to make sure the collar (the top part of the boot where the opening is) is fully elongated. You might need to pull worn boots taut to get an accurate measurement. 

Once the boot is laid out correctly, grab your measuring tape, it’s time to start measuring! Start at the top of the arch, where the sole is attached to the foot. Measure the distance from the arc h to the top of the collar, this will give you the height of the shaft. 

You will also want to measure the circumference of the shaft. To do this, you need a flexible tape measure.

If you haven’t got one, you can pick them up for a reasonable price online or at most hardware or craft stores. Once you have the tape measure, simply wrap it around the shaft of the boot. 

Wrap the tape until it meets, this will tell you the circumference of the shaft of your boot.

You can use this method to measure the circumference of other parts of the boot, like the calf and ankle circumference.

These parts of the boot often have different circumferences, so it can be interesting to see the difference! 

Boot Shaft Height Chart 

Now that we have established how you can measure the shaft of your boot, let’s take a quick look at a height chart. This will show you what the shaft height usually is on different types of boots! 

Boot TypeCoverageHeight
Over the kneeAbove the knees18-inches or more 
Tall bootsJust below the knees13 ¾ inches to 17 ¾ inches 
Mid-calf bootsBetween the ankle and knee (usually halfway)9 inches to 13 ½ inches
Ankle boots Covers the ankle only 3 inches to 8 ¾ inches 

Shafts with a height of 3 to 8 ¾ inches are usually considered an ankle boot, covering only the ankle.

Typically, dress boots will fit into this range and stop at your ankle. Mid-calf boots will have a height of 9 and 13 ½ inches on their shaft.

Typically, work boots fall into this category, offering protection to your feet, ankle, and calves and plenty of flexibility too! You wouldn’t want rigid boots you can’t move in, would you?

Tall boots typically stop just below the knee and will have a shaft height of 13 ¾ to 17 ¾ inches.

These boots offer plenty of protection for your legs, but they can feel heavy on your feet and legs due to the extra material on them. 

And then we have over the knee boots. These will have a shaft height of 18 inches and over and are pretty rare! We only see boots this tall in specific occupations or used for certain tasks where you need extra protection on your legs. 

Can I Stretch The Shaft Of My Boot?

Can I Stretch The Shaft Of My Boot?

If you find your boots are restricting your ankles or calves, you might be wondering if you can stretch the shaft of your boot.

Thankfully, you can and we are here to show you how you can! You have a few options that we will walk you through now. 

The first option you have is to continue wearing your boots. The more you wear them, the more your boots will stretch around your calf and ankle, providing you with a more comfortable fit.

This is the cheapest way to stretch your boots, but it does leave you wearing uncomfortable boots for a while. 

If you want a faster method, then use one of the three methods we have listed below for you! 

Use A Boot Stretcher 

Your first option is to use a boot stretcher on the ankle and calf section of your boots.

You can purchase them online or in-store, and they won’t cost you too much money! We recommend opting for a boot stretcher made from a durable material like aluminum, as it will be able to stretch even the toughest of boots! 

The boot stretcher can also be used to stretch the instep if this needs to be adjusted. They are a wise investment to help you get the perfect fit from your boots forever! 

For those that don’t know, a boot stretcher is an adjustable device that can be placed in the shaft of your boot.

To use it, you adjust the boot stretcher to the circumference of your leg.

The stretcher then forces the leather to expand without you needing to stretch the boots yourself! It is usually a quick process and one that removes the need for you to wear uncomfortable or ill-fitting boots. 

Use A Leather Stretching Spray 

If you don’t want to spend the money on a boot stretcher, then you can purchase a leather stretching spray.

These sprays tend to be cheaper than boot stretchers, making them a fine budget option! To use them, you simply spray your boots with the spray and put them on. 

Initially, your boots will feel tight, but in a few hours, they will start to conform to your legs, giving you a more comfortable fit. You can think of this spray as an expedited break-in period, doing the hard work for you! 

So how does it work? Well, the leather spray makes the leather more supple, helping it to mold to your calf and ankle properly.

It makes the boots more comfortable to wear and allows you to stretch the boots with ease. For best results, make sure you coat all of the shaft with the spray. 

Take Your Boots To A Cobbler 

Finally, if you don’t want to stretch the boots yourself, you can take them to a cobbler.

They will do the hard work for you, usually using a combination of a boot stretcher and a leather stretching spray to achieve the results you want! 

By taking them to a cobbler, you reduce the risk of damaging the boots.

While it is pretty straightforward and safe to stretch your boots yourself at home, there is always the risk that you could damage your boots, so why not leave the task to a professional?

The only downside to taking your boots to a cobbler for stretching is that it tends to be the most expensive option.

You will want to carefully consider if this is the best option for you before parting with your hard-earned cash! 

Average Boot Shaft Circumference

The average boot shaft circumference is about 14 inches and is a safe place to start when you are browsing boots online.

Of course, the circumference of boot shafts will vary depending on the height of the boot and other factors. 

Thankfully, most manufacturers and retailers will have the circumference of the boot shaft listed, so you can work out before you purchase the boot if they will be a good fit or not.

If the circumference of the boot shaft is not listed though, you can make a safe assumption that it is around the 14-inch mark. 

We recommend that you take measurements of your leg to ensure you get the boots that fit you best.

After all, you will want your legs to be comfortable and protected in your boots! Ideally, you want half an inch of room between your boot shelf and calf or ankle.

If your ankle has a circumference of 13 inches, then go for a boot with a shaft circumference of 13 ½ inches. 

It’s best to start trying boots on to find a pair that fits you best! 

What Is The Purpose Of A Boot Shaft?

The purpose of a boot shaft is to provide additional support and stability to the ankle.

If your boot wraps around the ankle, then it can give extra support to the joint, reducing your risk of spraining or injuring your ankle in other ways! 

This is true when we think about ankle boots. They don’t have large pieces of material to protect your lower leg, but the shaft has enough material to support the ankle, without impacting your mobility! 

Taller boots work slightly differently. Their shaft is responsible for protecting the leg like we see with western-style boots and work boots.

The taller shaft wraps around the calf, providing a layer of insulation and protection against anything that might hit your leg. 

This is why work boots have thicker layers of material, to protect workers from heavy objects that could slam or come into contact with their legs.

Thanks to the shaft covering the calf and shin, your legs will be protected from any potential injury! Higher boot shafts also help to prevent debris from entering the boot.

You won’t have to worry about rocks and other small objects getting kicked up into your boots. 

How Does The Shaft Impact The Fit? 

The shaft of your boot can impact the fit of your boot.

Boots with a snug shaft will help to keep the foot in place, especially if the boots have laces, you can tighten them as you see fit! But overly tight boots can mean you need to size up to get a comfortable fit.

The last thing you want is to be in boots that feel like they are squeezing your legs! 

You must have boots with a shaft that fits you correctly. Not only will they provide a comfortable fit, but keep your legs protected too!

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it! The boot shaft is the long part of the boot that extends to your ankle and leg, keeping your leg protected! The shafts come in a range of lengths and circumferences, and you can measure these easily! Be sure to follow our tips to measure the shaft easily and our super easy methods that will allow you to stretch the shaft if needed!

Joseph Pais