How to Dress your Cankles

Before I begin, let me remind you, the internet, that I myself have cankles. I have written about them before, and the post got more than 100 comments. I don't have sorta cankles. No, I have full-on sturdy-ass grandma canks. Pregnant ladies ain't got nothing on me. I got them honest. Both my mother and my father have thick ankles, and I've had them all my life, even when I was very thin. (I had a friend in middle and high school who teased me relentlessly about them.)

Since that time I have not learned to love my cankles, but I have learned to live with them. I've honed my skills at camouflage by constantly discovering new ways to flatter my admittedly heavy legs. This was after years of hiding in hot Tennessee summers behind jeans and pants. No more. Instead I try to create long, lean lines with tips and tricks I've gleaned after a lifetime of log legs, and I plan now to share them with you. Let me say now, though, that if you love your cankles then I celebrate you. Get your cankle on if you want to. You can use these rules of slimming your cankles by inverting them and breaking each and every one. In fact, I hope that you do.


  • No strappy shoes. I know, it sucks. Strappy shoes are awesome and sexy. But not on us. For us it looks like rubber bands around sausage links. The exception to this rule is if the straps are at your toes/front of the foot, but never, ever choose the ankle strap or the ribbon-wrap heels. That is a style gorgeous on those thin-limbed bitches, but it just draws the eyes to our thick ankles, accentuating them. Not what I want. If you do want that, wear them proudly for me. Oh, and if you must wear strappy shoes, try the t-strap style. This creates the illusion of a long line down the front of your leg, rather than creating a horizontal break at the ankle, making it look even wider.

  • No capris. Believe me, I feel you. As a short & wide girl, I find it easier just to buy cropped pants and not worry about them being too long, but no. Not with the canks. Capri pants, especially with socks, are like a window for your cankles. There might as well be a sign that says, "Look at these!" With capris the only skin you choose to bear is that of your ankles. If you've got big ones, not one is fooled, even if you get the wide-legged pants. Trust me, I operated under this illusion for far too long. (I break this rule all the time. I'm willfully breaking it, though. At least I'm aware.)

  • Ankles socks are good, knee socks are better. Knee socks with short skirts are hot. This is a look you should try, because it moves eyes up to the knee or thigh area, which is, thankfully, is not your cankle area. Ankle socks are your best bet when paired with sneakers, because the other kind just emphasizes the wideness of your base, while creating the dreaded sock lines made by too-tight elastic. Never a good look.

  • No kitten heels. These are much more comfortable to wear than tall heels, but kitten heels make legs look stubby instead of long and lean, like their higher, albeit more painful, cousins. I think flats, even, are better than kitten heels, but that is just my opinion. Kitten heels are just not very flattering to me.

  • Try tall boots. Nothing disguises cankles better than tall boots. Unless you also have heavy calves, like me, in which case then they can be hard to find. But once you've found a winner, tall boots are a fall-back favorite. Put a pair on with a shortish skirt, and it's instant hotness.

  • Avoid rounded toe shoes. This look seems to accentuate the matronly look of many a heavy-ankled gal. The pointy toed heel trend did a cankled girl good, but that look seems to be on the wane. Still, avoid the thick heeled, round-toed high shoe if you want not to look like your rotund Aunt Edna. On the other hand, if you don't give a crap, may I suggest these? They are lovely.

Now, go forth and shop. Knowing is half the battle, my large-cankled lady friends.


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silly girl. cankles are hot.

* dress up your cankles with up with a cankle bracelet (a.k.a. "a necklace").

# of times Chris N has been wrong that I know of, one.

Is this all a plan to convince the Innertubes that you are not Teh Hotness before you move to SanFran? Shedding all the local stalkers, to make room for new ones? :)

Number of times any man has ever taken note of any woman's ankles: zero.

I have a tattoo on my cankle.
And, as I said over at MCB, it's fantastic.

This is a self-esteem issue.

Case in point: Visit your nearest gym. The guys are scoping out the hot chicks, and the gals are scoping out the hot chicks.

What's going on? Probably not "I wonder if I am less attractive because I have big ankles." Instead, probably "Why can't I look like her, or her, or her, or her...?"

I learned what cankles were about three weeks ago.
A "friend" of mine was making crude jokes about women with "cankles" (he is a chauvinist but occasionally has clever insight into Shakespeare) and so I asked him to define. Halfway though his explanation, I freaked out and told him that I thought that he was shallow and a loser.
I did this because I have a crush on a girl who has cankles. And I think that she is both beautiful and charming.

Hey Newscoma, I have a tattoo on my cankle, too. And B like you, when pregnant women complained about their cankles I thought - "Ha, trying living it with it ALL.THE.TIME"

But you know what - when I was pregnant they did get bigger - my legs were like columns. Goodbye cankle, hello thankle.

Anyway, I just like to think of myself as sturdy.

Shoes with ankle straps should be avoided if your legs don't resemble Kiera Knightly's. Especially when girls get older and skirt lengths become more modest and skim the knee - that's when ankle straps really chunk-ify the body.

T-straps are always fun, but even with those, you must avoid the ones where the clasp goes around the ankle and instead, keep the strap loose around the top of the foot.

Great tips though!

And Chris N... sometimes we women lament not because of what men think of us, but what other women think.

What about sneakers?

I have killer cankles, always have. I had liposuction on them a few years ago, it helped but they're still there. They're a bit worse now that I've gained weight, I went from 60kg to 69/70 in the 12 months since I quit compeditive swimming. I am still the leanest, fittest person I know and I still have cankles.

I don't like them, tried to fix them but it didn't work, so now I accept them.

Going to the gym doesn't help so everyone can quit that argument, and my self esteem is just fine thankyou very much. Guys DO notice cankles, but they generally shut up after I have out run/swam/skated them. I get horrible comments in the street and when I'm at the pub, from guys and girls. And I'm pretty, and not fat and healthy. Cankles seriously gross some people out, I don't know why, it's not like we can do anything about them or we're unhygenic. I get grossed out by orange fake tan, why would anyone do that to themselves?

If I had a self esteem issue I'd probably never leave the house, after some of the comments people I don't even know have said to me. I don't go up to people on the street and say 'hey you smell' so why do people think they can tell me I've got cankles? Which I'm well aware of, already.

Strappy shoes, never, the straps won't go around my 30cm ankle. Slip on, flip flop type shoes look good. High boots, well I have massive calves so a pair rarely fit. A bootmaker can put in an elastic insert though. Those calf length boots look terrible and they never zip up. Sneakers and short socks, not at work, but on the track you'd look a bit silly in anything else. As for heels, wedges work well because the wide heel balances a wide leg.

Anyone who thinks they have cankles, take a look at mine then you will feel a whole lot better about yourself. And please feel to have a laugh at them, but anyone with negative comments can keep them to themselves, I've already heard it all before, and besides it just makes you look pathetic and immature.


Ditto what Jane said above. I've always had them also. Even when I was a teenager and weighed 80# my legs were straight from the knees down. I was nicknamed "piano legs" then. Years later a stranger at the park asked me if I had shin pads on under my socks. This was at my most athletic when I was hiking and climbing. Now at age 55 I'm fairly average size (size 10). Some pants, though, fit beautifully in the hips and thighs, but are very tight across the calves.

Rarely wear a skirt. If I do, it's a long one, which looks darn good, since I'm fairly tall.

Shoes are important - everything that's been said above is true, and I'll add that when looking for dress shoes to wear, a low vamp is very important - almost down to show toe cleavage (but not quite - ug!). The low vamp creates a longer leaner look. Absolutely no ankle straps! The really sexy shoes are for my next life.

I quit stressing about this only about five years ago. Isn't it crazy that I'd still worry at the age of 50? Somewhere about that age I came to grips with it and quit fixating on it.

It's such a shame that I put so much time and energy into wishing I had slim legs and ankles.

If you notice your ankles getting bigger over the years, you could have lipodema (lipoedema). Compression socks help. My doctor tells me to wear them 24 hours a day! If its too hard at night (they are NOT comfortable), put the socks on before you climb out of bed.

I tend to do this especially if I know I have to wear a dress. Wearing the compression socks/stockigns for a few days before really helps. You can even wear compression panty hose--but the beige ones look like your grandmother.

This is a revelation! I tried to google "what to wear with fat ankles" and found this. First of all I have never heard of the phrase - Cankles but I have them too! I have hated them my whole life. My body is like two in one. My top half is small ie: v. small bust and waist and then it explodes from my hips down. Luckily my husband likes my ample but, however I don't know if I will ever get over my cankles. They are 28 cm, my calves are 42cm and I have size 10 feet. I got my cankles from my Mother and my horrible wide big feet from my father - the worst of both worlds. My mum is quite short and petite so you don't notice her cankles as much and she doesn't care about them anymore, but I have real issues. What to wear in summer that is trendy? I have terrible problems finding shoes too and if I find a good pair will wear them to death.
I was at the beach the other day and thought, if I surveyed the entire beach that day I don't think I would find another person with cankles. It sucks when there are so many other fat bits that are easy to hide.
My mum says you can always hide your ankles but you can never hide your face. I guess she is right.

I am in my teens and I don't have major cankles but I do a little bit. I am in shape and everything but they wont go away. I have a boyfriend who thinks I have gorgeous legs. They are toned its just those damn cankles. I know he doesn't care but I feel like he does and so does everyone else. Idk reading people's comments helped tho. :) I am confident in myself I just have one thing....my cankles. I pray soon I can grow to love them.

Add me to the list of major cankle problems. I also have had to learn that cankles are genetic and without plastic surgery, there is no remedy (it's all from my mom's side, although somehow it skipped her, but my aunts are all major canklers). It helps a bit now that I am thinner, but they are still there. For YEARS I would wear pants in the summer and only really long skirts/dresses. Now, I just wear whatever I want, with the exception of ankle strap shoes (I'm 30 years old). I realized it's not going to change, and I'm tired of being hot in the summer and missing out on really cute knee-length skirts. I know a ballerina who has cankles. It really has nothing to do with weight, although being heavy will exacerbate the problem.

P.S. The "thankles" comment is the funniest thing I've ever read!

Oh my god! I am so happy I found this site.
I have giant cankles. My family makes fun of me all the time because of them. My cankle dominates my entire lower leg. It's awful. I look at other girls legs all the time and I envy them! But there is hope!
I recently bought a pair of killer heels, and when I wear them with cute stockings and a knee-length dress, my cankles look much smaller! In fact, it even looks like there might be a slight curvature between my knee and my foot.
I hate them, but I have to live with them, so I might has well dress em' up and take them out for a night on the town. My cankles aren't going to ruin my party! haha.

I don't know anyonneee except myself that has cankles. Cankles ruin my life. I have a really good body but my cankles stop me from dressing hot. I alwayyys have to wear jeans. I used to wear capris but when i was a freshman in highschool a few of my "friends" noticed them and before long it felt as if everyone was checking out my cankles. When wearing jeans i can pass for having a nice body, i was even asked a few times to model, but i know as soon as someone sees them they will be grossed out. I want to wear capris, shorts, cute dresses, and not have to be forced to wear jeans in 90 degree heat, but no matter how much i work out, how many miles i run daily, how many calve lifts and presses i do, and how much i diet, i cannot loose these terrible cankles. Does anyone know a good surgeon in new york? I've had it with these treee trunks!

Gosh, a site talking about cankles! When I was younger my cankles weren't bad, but now I'm thirteen and all I see when I look at the other girls lower legs is not...cankles!
My cankles and these pockets of fat on the sides of my knees. I hate them with a passion! My Mom even says I have cankles and it makes me feel bad, because I know it's genetic because my Dad has cankles and pockets of fat on the sides of his knees!
I wish they would go away and sometimes I work out, but nothing, nothing, nothing, I think, will ever make them look less like cankles. And I"m not fat!

i have cankles and my calves are a bit big too. im pretty sure my cankles arnt genetic, my mum and dad are normal.
i wonder if it is the type of shoe i wear, when i wear shoes they are very flat and dont offer any support like sport runners.
so is it the type of shoe i wear???

i read that comment about compression socks, do they really help?
because i regularly exercise and i dont get any results my stomach gets smaller but my cankles are the same!

my cankles ruin my self esteem and i really wont to change, i will never except them , EVER!!!!!!

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