Sorel Boots – an undeserved reputation

Image of a pair of Sorel Boots

Sorel Boots – Not So Warm

I live in Ottawa. We get winter in Ottawa. It gets cold in Ottawa. As such it is important to me to have boots and other winter gear that keeps me warm. Last year at the end of the winter I had to buy some new boots because my previous ones which had lasted me seven or eight years finally came apart. The leather split from the sole of the boot and given the amount of slush we see in the spring – especially last year with all the snow we had – I thought it would be a good idea to get boots without a gaping hole collecting snow and slush. I settled on a pair of Sorel boots with a rubber bottom and leather upper. I had heard good things about Sorel over the years and figured that with these boots there was no risk of my feet getting wet.

I was supremely disappointed in the boots.

Cold Feet

Even in the relatively mild temperatures of the spring and the claim on the boot box of keeping your feet warm to -30 Celsius, I found my feet were getting very cold in the boots. They were colder than when I just wore shoes. It was like the rubber was conducting the cold from the pavement directly into my feet. I even found if I was going back out within an hour of coming in that the insides of my boots were still cold when I put my feet in. I contacted Sorel and they provided excellent customer service. They suggested that there may have been some sort of defect with those boots and offered to exchange them for another pair.

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I accepted that offer and they sent me another pair, in fact a better pair at no additional charge. I was very appreciative of their willingness to accept that I may have ended up with a pair of poor quality boots. After all, Sorel had a reputation for warm, good quality boots. Those boots served me well in the slushy spring and kept my feet nice and dry. However it did not get cold enough for me to be able to test their cold-worthiness.

Now winter has returned, at least to some degree and after a few days of cold weather I can tell you that these boots are also not particularly warm. The coldest temperature we have seen so far has only been -10 celsius and I have only walked 20 minutes at most. In spite of that short amount of time in relatively mild winter temperatures, my feet started getting cold. Not a good sign for boots that are supposed to keep my feet warm to -30.

I again reached out to Sorel this week to complain about the quality of their product. This time – no response.

I am disappointed that they did not respond and I am most especially disappointed in the quality of their product. If you are thinking about buying new boots for this winter, I would suggest you think twice before buying Sorel boots. You might not get what you are expecting from their reputation and their advertising.

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One Solution

If you are having the same problem with boots you have already purchased I have found that adding some good quality insoles provides the cold break that the boots clearly lack. I have added insoles to mine and now my feet stay generally warm.


I bought a pair of Sorel Boots and while they kept my feet dry, they did a terrible job keeping my feet warm.

Leave a Reply

  1. i agree – their boots are terrible. Rubber has cracked in the second winter of wearing these – which means i have only actually worn them for about 4 months, and not everyday.

  2. I agree the boots are terrible …..the soles on the heels have worn right through in about 4 years of quite intermittent wear. Sorel are very poor with customer services. I wanted replacement laces for them two years ago. You’d think Sorel would be the place to get them? Forget it; they don’t sell replacement laces!

  3. I’d simply like to add my name to the growing list of former Sorel customers. I got 15 years on my first pair of Caribous; about 15 months on this latest pair. As with so many, the rubber cracked where it flexes. Really shoddy. Their customer care was polite but inflexible about their year-long warranty. The company will coast as long as it can on the reputation built with other boots.

  4. By the way, my boots are more than 15 years old! I have worn the bottoms almost smooth, but that is a lot of walking on back roads.

  5. The problem is that Sorel was bought out several years ago, and the boots are no longer made in Canada. I’m from Upper Michigan. After having a new pair of the Chinese-made boots fall apart in 3 months (after getting 19 years out of the first pair – fabrique en Canada – and losing them to a slice through the barely-worn soles), I demanded a refund and read up. The Sorel boots on Amazon had almost universally positive reviews prior to the buyout, and almost universally negative reviews thereafter. I’ve since purchased a 10-year-old used pair for $35, they’ve held up for 2 years already, and it looks like they have 20 years left in tbem. Canadian-made Sorels are still the best cold-weather boots I’ve ever owned.

  6. I also have same experience with my Sorel boots I bought about 2 years ago. They do not keep my feet warm in cold nh winters. I must have paid at least $100 for them. Maybe $200. I expect at that price they should keep my feet warm. Instead my feet are freezing. I thought this was strange, so decided to do google search on it and came across your blog. Will buy a different brand next time. Dissapointed.

    • I found that insulating insoles helped the problem to a certain degree. It made the boots usable, although not down to the temperatures they claim.

  7. I have to laugh because I am wearing a pair right now bought end of season last year. I put them on today it is a balmy -11 and went off to do some outside shoveling. I came inside wondering is it me…No it’s these 200.00 used to be made great not anymore boots! I wore the heck out of my Canada made Sorel’s. I know someone in China is laughing and Sorel is all the way to the bank.

  8. I agree, I thought it was me! My feet have been warmer in runners in the winter. They are actually making my feet freeze, the opposite of what they are supposed to do! I don’t know if it’s the rubber or what? My pair was rated -30’C and though lined, they are actually making my feet cold when they weren’t before. They are actually doing the opposite of what I need them to do. I only wear them for short lengths of time in the city! They should patent this technology and sell it as a cooling system and sell them down in the Carribean!

    • That is the reputation they deserved. Now it seems that the quality is not as good and while they hold up fine, mine at least are not remotely warm, even in mild weather. I have found insoles that I’ve added that make them at least usable to around -20 celsius so long as I am moving. If I stand still for too long my feet get very cold.

  9. I bought the Joan of Arctic in 2016 and the rubber has completely cracked at the heal. This was my first pair of Sorels and definitely my last. I always liked the boots but didn’t want to spend the money. I finally splurged and bought them on sale and this is what happens!!?? $100 per winter…..not very cheap! Highly disappointed and now I’m trying to figure out which boots to by next. A one year warranty is terrible since you really only wear them 3-6 months in a year.