Best Sorel Boots Reviewed For A Warm, Luxe Look
Sorel first started out as a footwear line in 1959, under the label of Kaufman Footwear. It quickly became one of the best-selling winter collections in the world, and thus the Sorel company was born.
Today, Sorel boots are a symbol of functionality and expert craftsmanship. It combines felt, wool, premium genuine leather, and flawless construction to create only the finest footwear money can buy. While Sorel no longer produces only boots, they like to proclaim that there is a boot in everything they make.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
It’s easily the first question we think of when we’re shopping for winter footwear - will it keep us warm? Will it protect our toes from going numb in the freezing temperatures outside?
Thus, we have decided that one of our main criteria categories is insulation, or how much warmth one Sorel boot design can preserve.
Of course, we have to mention here that whether someone’s feet are warm or cold in any given situation largely depends on that individual. The warmth that we feel depends on our physical build, our metabolism, what we ate that day, our health condition and many other factors that vary from one day to the next. So, to get the bad news out of the way quickly - if one Sorel boot works for your friend or family member and keeps their feet nice and toasty, it may not do the same for you. That is just the unavoidable fact.
However, that does not mean that there aren’t ways to assess the probability of a boot keeping you warm.
One of the main methods for determining if a Sorel boot design is a good insulator or not is by giving it a temperature rating. You’ve seen this in our list - this option keeps you warm down to minus this many degrees, another one down to minus this many degrees… However, this method of rating the potential of the design to keep you warm isn’t the most reliable. Because of all the varying factors we mentioned above, just because a model keeps someone warm at -25 F doesn’t mean it’ll do the same for you.
What is more reliable, though, is the number which represents the weight of the insulation used. You have also seen this in our guide - 100g of insulation, 200g of insulation and so on.
Generally speaking, 100g and 200g are good choices for those who will keep active outside, around the town, for walking, participating in snowball fights or sledding. 400g on the other hand, is great if you have poor circulation if the climate is unbelievably cold (think Siberia), or if you know you will be standing still for an extended period of time.
Sorel, in particular, makes the whole concept of insulation practical and convenient, as they often create Sorel boots with removable felt inner boots. These can be taken out, washed, and put right back in without any problems. Felt is a material which has outstanding qualities all around - it is resilient, wear resistant, moisture-wicking and a superior thermal insulator.
One last thing on the subject of insulation - please be careful what kind of socks you wear with your Sorel boots. Cotton, for example, is a poor choice, since it absorbs all the moisture and becomes wet and cold, effectively lowering your body temperature. The material you should be looking for is merino wool, as it will preserve all the warmth even if your feet start sweating.
Weather resistance is a product’s ability to withstand a wide range of weather conditions - from heat, humidity and direct sunshine, to winds, rain, and snow. This means that the product won’t lose its shape, fall apart or otherwise deteriorate no matter what weather it is exposed to.
There is a difference between weather resistant and weatherproof. Weather resistance doesn’t guarantee that the product will hold up well against extreme or harsh conditions such as hail, or strong winds. Weatherproof, on the other hand, means that the product will remain almost as good as new regardless of the climatic changes.
Some of the Sorel boots we have on our list are weatherproof (for example, the Joan of Arctic), and some Sorel boots are merely weather resistant (the Emelie and the Lea).
Sorel itself labels its Sorel boots in terms of what is the worst type of weather a design can endure. In our research, we have encountered anything from ‘casual/everyday use’, to ‘light rain’, ‘heavy rain’, ‘light snow’, and even ‘heavy snow’.
How resistant a Sorel boot is to different weather conditions is in direct correlation with the materials and the techniques used in its construction.
Full-grain leather, for example, is an incredibly durable material, especially if it is coated with PU. It can take snow, slush, salt, wind, rain - pretty much anything you throw at it. Suede, by contrast, is more delicate than that and gets easily scuffed or stained in conditions that are harsher than rain.
In terms of outsoles, Sorel uses vulcanized rubber for most, if not all, of its outsole shells. Vulcanization is a process in which different chemical agents are added to rubber, heated up and molded, and the end result is a material which is far more durable and resilient than regular rubber.
And finally, almost all Sorel boot designs in this list are waterproof. This brand uses special waterproofing agents, as well as seam-seal membranes to keep the water out. This enables you to walk in any type of wet conditions in your Sorel boots and to be confident that your feet will stay dry and warm no matter what.
Having a Sorel boot which keeps you warm and which you can wear in inclement weather is all nice and dandy, but what happens if it is uncomfortable? What if the toe box is too tight, what if it pinches you at the heel, what if there is a seam which digs into your skin? What good is a solid boot that protects you from the cold and the wetness, if the mere thought of wearing it again makes you wince?
This is why, on top of what we’ve mentioned so far, your winter footwear should also be comfortable.
This can be achieved in any number of ways, but here we’ll discuss the ones utilized in the designs from our Sorel boot list.
First and foremost, many Sorel boot options have molded EVA footbeds and EVA midsoles. EVA is a material which has exceptional shock-absorbing qualities. It is mainly used in running sneakers, as well as those for high impact sports, such as tennis, soccer, and basketball.
The problem with walking is that with every heel strike there is a force which travels up your foot, into your ankle, knees, and hip, putting unnecessary strain on your joints. What EVA does is, instead of allowing that force - or shock - to put pressure on your leg and lower back, it absorbs it and evenly distributes it through the sole of the shoe. That way there is no accumulated effect of constant pounding of the heel, and the risk of developing medical conditions such as plantar fasciitis is greatly reduced.
Furthermore, Sorel pays special attention to the arches and knows the value of good arch support. This keeps your foot in a natural position inside the shoe, and prevents it from rolling inward or outward as you walk. Good arch support also helps in minimizing foot fatigue, meaning that at the end of the day your feet won’t feel so tired, regardless of the amount of time you spent walking outside.
And finally, when it comes to blisters and hotspots, Sorel boots strive to utilize only those materials which will be gentle on your skin. Most of the Sorel boot designs in our list are lined with microfleece, a sinfully soft, abrasion-free material, and even the top cover of most EVA footbeds is layered with this luxurious fabric.
When it comes to comfort, the important thing is what works best for you - your foot shape may not be similar to that of another person, and thus not every model will feel as good to you. Find a Sorel boot which makes you feel well-supported and cushioned, which doesn’t rub you the wrong way and doesn’t make you feel restricted or confined. If you intend to spend a lot of time in the snow, you really don’t want to be gritting your teeth in pain with every step you take, so make sure to try on the design at home before you set foot outside.
With winter and snow, you can expect ice and slippery terrain. We’ve all been there - an insecure step, a skid, a mini heart attack as we flail about and either roughly land on hard ground or somehow manage to stay upright, losing about seven years of our lives.
It’s not pleasant, and we’d all like to avoid it if we can.
Traction is the shoe’s ability to adhere to the ground, and to provide us with a solid, stable foundation to walk on, no matter what the surface type is. Footwear with good traction helps you keep your balance on clean, polished floors, on carpets, on rough, gravely terrain and anywhere in between.
But a special kind of traction is required to prevent you from slipping on ice and slush as you brave the city streets in the winter.
Traction, in general, is achieved through various patterns in the outsole of the shoe. These grooves may seem like they don’t have much rhyme or reason to them, but they are carefully designed to provide you with the ultimate stability on unfavorable terrain.
The one pattern which we have mentioned several times in this Sorel boot guide - and which is widely regarded as one of the best when it comes to traction - is the herringbone design. These diagonal lines are most commonly found in sports sneakers, such as for basketball or volleyball, where athletes have to change direction quickly and without warning and not lose their footing. They offer stability in several directions, and as long as you’re not running or otherwise behaving unsafely on ice you shouldn’t have any problems with staying on your feet.
Other than a herringbone pattern, we have also come across lug outsoles. Lugs are deep grooves or indentations in a rubber outsole, and they provide additional traction on top of rubber’s natural slip-resistance properties. Lug outsoles are heavy, and as such are reserved for heavy-duty footwear such as work boots, those for hiking, fishing, and trudging around in harsh winters.
If you live in an urban area and don’t expect much snowfall than a simple, lightweight herringbone pattern outsole will suffice for your Sorel boots. However, if there will be a lot of snow, a lot of ice, and if you are not simply going on a short shopping trip or to a lunch with friends, then definitely go for a more secure lug outsole on your Sorel boots which will keep you on your feet at all times.
Let’s face it - we all want to look good. We want to wear footwear which reflects our personality and fashion aesthetic, and which goes well with the outfits we have in our wardrobe. Sure, a design can keep us warm and dry and comfortable and prevent us from slipping on ice but at the end of the day, do we like it? Is it visually appealing to us?
Well, in terms of style, Sorel is a bit all over the place. In fact, we can divide their models into two groups - those which are functional and maybe not that attractive (the Snow Angel, the Caribou), and those which are not as insulating or weatherproof, but which are aesthetically pleasing, and just what we needed to pair with those new skinny jeans we bought (the Lea, the Emelie).
It all comes down to what your priority is. Do you want your winter footwear to be both practical and chic? Or do you not mind the visual so much, as long as it keeps you protected? Or maybe you are just looking for a cute design to add to your autumn collection?
These things are important to consider before you decide on a purchase - what fits your tastes, what looks good on you, and whether you even care if it looks good on you; whether it is a good idea to wear a Sorel boot design with a heel or not.
No one can decide these matters but yourself, and so take a moment to scan the Sorel boot choices we’ve laid out for you, and choose the ones which you find the most attractive.
A Sorel boot which started it all, the Caribou is the Original Sorel Boot. While the construction changed over time, the silhouette remained the same - this is a sturdy, practical choice which isn’t very fashion forward, but which certainly does its best of protecting your feet from the chill of winter.
The Caribou is a Sorel boot that has an upper made from waterproof nubuck leather. The waterproofing part extends to the seams as well, meaning that not a drop of moisture can pass through, no matter how wet it gets outside. Similarly to the Joan of Arctic, the Caribou also features a vulcanized rubber shell that is both handcrafted and waterproof, with an aero-trac non-loading outsole.
The Caribou preserves warmth thanks to its 9mm thick removable recycled felt inner insulation that is complete with a Sherpa Pile snow cuff. This inner part is also easily washable, helping you get rid of any unpleasant smells that might arise over the course of the wear.
This amazing Sorel boot can keep you warm even in -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you’re in desperate need of that one boot to trudge through the snow in, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
2. Cate The Great
This fun, sleek Sorel boot boasts of a tall knee high boot constructed from suede and quality leather materials. Cate The Great is a Sorel boot made for cooler months when fall style trends are in their glory. Perfect for work, nights out, or just a fun night around the fire pit, this boot will have heads turning your way.
The brand added a lot of detail in the design of this Sorel boot, using raised seams to accent the shaft of the boot for texture and style. You’ll likely notice the covered wedge heel that will give an extra bit of height and confidence. Long lace up closure adds to the style with rustic charm and appeal.
A combination of leather and suede create the upper of the boot, making it durable and fashionable. Textured synthetic sole will have you braving wet weather without problem or slips. Overall, this Sorel boot has all the great qualities expected from Sorel, wrapped up in rustic charm!
3. Joan of Arctic
This Sorel boot list wouldn’t be complete without one of their bestsellers - the design which tops all the best winter wear lists, the one and only Joan of Arctic! A play on the name of the well-known French heroine is only fitting for this badass Sorel boot that will put all other footwear brands to shame. The Joan of Arctic is not only stylish and fluffy, but it is also amazingly functional.
This mid-calf style comes with a full-grain leather and suede upper with faux fur along the edge for that winter wonderland aesthetic. It is waterproof thanks to its handcrafted vulcanized rubber shell, and it has a recycled felt inner boot which is around 6mm thick, can be easily removed, and which keeps you warm in temperatures as low as -25 F.
The outsole of the Joan of Arctic comes with a herringbone pattern, largely regarded as one of the patterns, which provides the best traction no matter what surface you find yourself on.
The Joan of Arctic is truly a legendary design. It will keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable, and you will look stylish at the same time! We are having a hard time finding a flaw with this beautiful Sorel boot, and are sure that you will love every second of wearing it in the winter months.
The Cumberland is better suited to cold climate, where snow or wet weather usually prevail. It’s packed full of tech to help keep you warm and dry when you need it most, with everything you’d expect from a Sorel boot. About 9” high, it comes about mid calf in height, and is lined with soft faux fur cuff for comfort and warmth.
At the base of the Cumberland is a tread with patterned texture to prevent slips and falls, and is made from rubber for traction and water-resistance. A waterproof bootie can be found inside to keep feet dry in slush and light snow. The uppers consist of rip-stop nylon, durable for wear and tear, and also help to keep wetness out.
Coming in several color options, the cuff of this Sorel boot is a soft faux fur, comfortable and warm around your calf. Lace up has angled D-rings for the perfect adjustable fit, and a thick fabric lining to add to the insulation and warmth. It’s a great Sorel boot for a winter boot that mixes a no-nonsense tech with some faux fur style and appeal.
5. Cozy Joan
If you are not interested in any of these heavy, large Sorel boots which are geared towards heavy snows and harsh winters but still want a pair to keep you warm and dry in mild winters, then take a look at the Cozy Joan. This Sorel boot is advertised as a cross between a sneaker and a boot, with all the lightness of the former and all the weather resistance of the latter.
The Cozy Joan is crafted out of supple leather and suede for the upper, with faux fur lining for a touch of fancy interest. It has a seam-seal waterproof membrane construction and a microfleece lining to keep you both dry and cozy as you enjoy your walks.
While it is not meant for temperatures below 0 F, the Cozy Joan will provide just enough warmth with its 100g insulation. It is also more than comfortable, thanks to the removable molded EVA footbed, an EVA midsole and an EVA outsole with molded rubber pods.
The Cozy Joan has absolutely taken the fashion world by storm, and there is no fashion blogger who hasn’t shown off these cute, sporty booties. In this Sorel boot you will be stylish and carefree, while also safe from light rain and chilly weather. A great deal!
6. Snow Angel
Have you ever laid down in the snow, spread your arms and legs wide and moved them up and down, creating an impression of an angel in the white fluff? Were you a kid? Were you laughing? Did you feel cold at all? Well, thanks to the Snow Angel, you can now do all of that again, and this time without feeling even a hint of chilliness.
The Snow Angel is created for heavy snow conditions, with a waterproof suede leather upper and a microfleece lining. The collar and the edges of this design are made of faux fur to amp up the coziness factor, and there is a solid lacing system in the front.
While most other Sorel boot options here have about 100g of insulation, the Snow Angel goes even further with an additional 100 for a total of 200g of warmth-preserving materials! It is designed to withstand temperatures down to -25 F, and it has a removable EVA footbed for that cushy comfort.
On the bottom of the Snow Angel there is a vulcanized rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs for superior traction and slip-resistance.
Running around, playing and even rolling around in the snow has never been as fun or as safe as in the Snow Angel Sorel boot!
7. Slimpack II
With the Slimpack II, we are slowly moving away from snow and venturing into the rain. Not as heavy-duty as some other Sorel boots in this guide, the Slimpack II is still a decently protective boot, one which you can wear in heavy rain and still come home with toasty, dry feet. It is not only functional but also really cute with its ankle-height and low stacked heel.
The Slimpack II Sorel boot comes with a full-grain leather upper which has a wool felt collar around it. It has a seam-seal waterproof construction and a microfleece lining that is gentle on your skin. In this lovely design you won’t have to worry about any blisters or hotspots, no matter how much time you spend on your feet.
Even the footbed of the Slimpack II has a microfleece top cover, and it is made from molded EVA, complete with an arch cookie. Arch support is essential if you are planning on walking long-distance, as it keeps your feet supported and prevents foot-related medical conditions such as fallen arches, or flat feet.
This adorable Sorel boot also comes with an insulated vulcanized rubber shell and an outsole with a herringbone pattern that is specially reinforced for wet traction.
We are absolutely in love with this model of Sorel boot. It is rugged and yet cute, comfortable to wear and it keeps you sufficiently warm and dry in rainy, chilly months. What more could one possibly want!
Step out in style in the chic, versatile Lea wedge bootie. Sorel as a brand is world-renowned for its sturdy, weatherproof designs which we have seen a lot of in this guide, but they also have an entire arsenal of fashionable, autumn-friendly footwear which is just dying to become a part of your everyday wear.
As most Sorel boots we’ve encountered, the Lea is also made out of waterproof full-grain leather for the upper which does more than its fair share of protecting you from the elements. There are classic Chelsea stretch panels in the sides for an elastic fit, and a pull-tab in the back to make it easy to slide in and out of these edgy Sorel boots.
When it comes to comfort, the Lea is one of the absolute best, with its removable EVA footbed with arch support and heel cup, and a molded rubber outsole. The outsole, in fact, has deep grooves in it which provide excellent traction and keep you on your feet anywhere you go.
The hidden wedge heel is a special feature of the Lea design, almost three inches in height for that elevated poise, but also comfortable, as it evenly spreads out your weight along the sole and takes pressure off of your joints.
In the Lea Sorel boot, you will look and feel like a fashion model just off the runway, while at the same time being protected from wet conditions and blessedly warm in mild winters.
With our fair share of Sorel boots meant for the most extreme of winters, we are now turning towards a more sensible world. The Emelie represents a design that is meant for everyday wear, a weather-ready ankle Sorel boot to keep you company in autumn and winter when you want something rugged and yet chic to go with most of your outfits.
The Emelie is made out of smooth, waterproof leather, with a seam-seal waterproof construction. It has a breathable canvas and synthetic lining and a die-cut EVA footbed with a microfleece cover.
It is true that this Sorel boot doesn’t have any obvious closures to it, but it is still insanely easy to slip it on and off, thanks to the elastic side panels. These stretch out to accommodate the width of your ankle and the height of your instep, and you will have no problems getting in and out of this shoe.
Moreover, the Emelie comes with a one and a half inch leather-wrapped heel which is blocky in shape, providing you with all the stability as you take on the city streets.
In the Emelie, you will be fashionable, comfortable and safe from heavy rain. It is a Sorel boot that will quickly become your favorite, and you will have a hard time separating from these cute booties during winter time.
Embrace your love for Western-style silhouettes with the Slimboot! Not to be confused with the Slimpack II, the Slimboot is a knee-high Sorel boot that is an embarrassment of riches, as the brand itself declares. It is best used for casual wear, as well as short walks in the light rain.
This Sorel boot is made out of full-grain leather with oiled suede panels. This ‘oiled’ part gives the model that stylish, distressed look, as though it has been well-worn and well-loved over the years, despite being brand new. There is a textile knit lining on the inside, and a molded EVA footbed with arch support which helps you stay on your feet for as long as you’d like.
The Slimboot has a handcrafted vulcanized rubber outsole with a herringbone pattern, and a leather-wrapped heel of about one and a half inches in height. It is mostly a pull-on design, though it does have a half-zipper in the inner side to help with the entry.
We understand that such bulky silhouette may not be for everyone, but there is little doubt that the Slimboot will fit right into your wardrobe. It is solid, it is versatile, and it is a great casual Sorel boot for when you need a good knee-high design to complete your looks.