These are my favorite snow boots for surviving New England winters
I couldn't walk on icy Boston streets without them.
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When I first announced I was moving to Boston three years ago, my mother—who had spent her college years in Beantown—advised that I immediately invest in a heavier winter coat and quality snow boots. She was right. While I had grown up in Connecticut, I quickly learned that winter is a bit more intense in Boston. Not to mention, I was going to be spending a lot of it outside walking down icy sidewalks and waiting outside for public transportation.
In my quest to find a solid pair of snow boots, I set out to find something that would help me survive the impending winter months and also something that was relatively fashionable. Something I wouldn’t feel embarrassed wearing into the office before slipping on more work-appropriate footwear.
Enter: the Sorel Caribou Boot. While most snow boots are bulky and have an overly puffy look to them, these boots are just as fashionable as they are functional. For the past two winters, I've been trudging through Massachusetts with these bad boys, and I can safely say they have been a fantastic investment.
And I'm not alone in my love for them. They're known as "the boot that started it all" by Sorel and have a 4.3-star rating from more than 800 shoppers. Here's why I actually look forward to slipping them on each season—and why you might want to consider buying a pair for yourself.
Is the Sorel Caribou Boot warm?
As someone who has poor circulation, I often lose the feeling of my toes whenever I’m outside in the cold for too long—even if I’m wearing fluffy socks. But with the Sorel boots, my feet feel quite comfortable for a few hours, as long as I’m wearing thicker socks.
They have a felt interior that makes them incredibly insulated and warm. At eight and a half inches in height, they’re tall enough to prevent snow from falling in and getting your feet wet, but they're not so high that they feel constricting.
I’m not exaggerating when I say these snow boots saved my life as I went to dig my car out of 10 feet of snow after a trip to Upstate New York last January. My feet still felt warm and protected even as I was struggling in the snow.
Does the Sorel Caribou Boots have good traction?
Before getting these snow boots, I had the horrible experience of slipping on ice as I scurried to work in the morning. It led to one too many scrapes and a ripped pair of jeans (and not in the cute way).
Since wearing the Sorel Caribou Boot, I have not fallen once—even on the slickest, ice-laden sideways that were seemingly ignored by the city. I give full props to the boots thick rubber sole, which is entirely waterproof. The bottom is also designed with Sorel’s aero-trac non loading outsole that provides enough grip to remain stable on snow and ice.
After wearing these boots for nearly three years, I haven’t noticed any significant wear on the soles of the boots aside from the heels, which happens to all my shoes as I have a bad habit of dragging my feet as I walk. At this point, I believe the traction will remain for years to come.
Is the Sorel Caribou Boot comfortable to wear?
One of the biggest struggles with snow boots is putting them on and taking them off, and unless I'm wearing super thick socks, my feet slide into the Caribou Boots with little effort. Getting the boots off takes a little more effort, especially if my feet are hot and swollen from moving about in them, but it's not too challenging.
Walking in them isn't as smooth of an experience as, say, walking in Bean Boots or sneakers, as they are a little heavy and clunky—but that's to be expected with any snow boot. They're still easy and comfortable to walk in, and that's coming from someone who has done a 35-minute walk to work in them numerous times. However, I tend to give myself an extra five minutes or so to make up for any slowdown I may experience in clunky boots.
While I do love how warm my Sorel boots are, I would not wear them for an extended period of time indoors, as my feet get way too hot. I have worn these snow boots to the grocery store and to run other quick errands and found that they were comfortable for these short trips.
How fashionable is the Sorel Caribou Boot?
These shoes are proof that snow boots can be stylish. My favorite thing about the Sorel Caribou Boot is how they look. They don’t scream in your face that they're snow boots, but they still function like them. Made of waterproof nubuck leather with a Sherpa pile snow cuff, they have a sleek and clean look to them that, I dare say, is fashionable. They’re easy to pair with snow pants or with jeans, and they're appropriate to wear whether you're running errands or dining out at a restaurant.
Snow boots inherently tend to get dirty from the mud and salt on the streets, but thankfully the Sorel boots are relatively easy to clean. I typically just wipe them off with a wet towel after stomping off the snowy residue when I notice they look particularly dirty.
What I don’t like about the Sorel Caribou Boot
Like most snow boots, the Caribou Boot can feel a bit heavy on my feet, making it kind of a drag to wear them for more than an hour or two. However, I will take some weight for a boot that allows me to look good and stay warm in extreme temperatures.
Another deterrent is the high price tag of $170, which might seem a bit steep at first. However, I firmly believe these boots will last me for years to come, making them well worth the investment. Besides, other high-end snow boots like the popular Ugg Adirondack III Boot can run you upwards of $250, making the Caribou boots a bit more affordable for the quality.
One thing to note, though: these boots do run a little small. As I mentioned earlier, I went up half a size to give myself a little wiggle room, which has given me more than enough space. If you intend to wear thick socks, I would go a full size up, just to be safe.
Where to buy the Sorel Caribou Boot
In addition to Sorel’s official website, you can find the Caribou boot at a number of reliable retailers, which is good if you can't find the specific color or size you want. Some of our favorite retailers that sell the snow boot include:
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.