Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Stylish, great protection from the elements
Cons: Not super warm or extremely comfortable
Best Uses: Around town, general winter use
Last year, we awarded the Sorel Tofino Herringbone our Top Pick for Style because it combines stylish looks with overall outdoor performance. In our updated 2015 review, we just didn't get as many compliments on this boot. We've learned a lot of thing over the years here at OutdoorGearLab and one of them is that style is extremely subjective. As a result, we awarded a Top Pick for Warmth to the Sorel Joan of Arctic and we're leaving the final style judgments up to you individually.
The Sorel Tofino has a somewhat narrow rubber toe box and a water resistant textile upper with an attractive herringbone pattern. Sorel topped off this tall model with a plush faux fur cuff and lined the boot with soft fleece and 100 grams of insulation. Unfortunately, we did not find this boot to be extremely warm, but if you are using it for shorter outdoor excursions or live in a milder winter climate, then it will certainly meet your around town needs. Our testers found this boot to be ideal for casual evenings out with friends and for short outdoor chores like shoveling snow.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Spend this winter in style with the Sorel Tofino Herringbone. With its herringbone textile upper, faux fur cuff, and narrow, feminine toe box, this boot will keep you dry whether you are heading out to the bar on a Friday night or scraping off your car before an afternoon of errands. Although this isn't the warmest boot, it earned good scores across our metrics and we thought it was a great balance of style and comfort, even if you do have to sacrifice a bit on the warmth. Plus it's a great deal at only $150.
Not willing to sacrifice toe toastiness? Consider the Sorel Joan of Arctic, our Top Pick for Warmth. Actually, when we first started looking at these two models online, we thought they would be much more similar. However, we found that they're totally different. We'll be comparing these two pairs of winter boots closely throughout this review, so read on to learn how the Sorel Tofino Herringbone measures up to the Joan of Arctic and the rest of the models in our review!
Similar in construction to the Sorel Tivoli High II, the Sorel Tofino features 100 grams of insulation and is designed with a more narrow sole and toe box than the Joan of Arctic. While this reduces clunkiness and gives the Tofino a more streamlined look, it also reduces overall warmth. That said, we really liked the calf warmth that this model offers; the soft, insulated shafts on this boot measures 13 inches from the bottom of the sole. To top it off, Sorel added fluffy faux fur cuffs that create a cozy seal against the calves. These not only seal warmth in, but also keep snow and rain out.
As we mentioned above, the Joan of Arctic and the Tecnica Moon Boot scored higher in warmth than the Tofino, so you may want to consider either those models if you are planning to spend lots of time standing out in the cold. Several other competitors, like our Editors' Choice winner, the UGG Adirondack II offered the same amount of warmth as the Sorel Tofino.
Comfort & Coziness
This model did not excel in comfort and coziness, but it wasn't so uncomfortable that we felt like we were really sacrificing on comfort. (With the Joan of Arctic, we definitely sacrificed on comfort for qualities like warmth and water resistance.) The Sorel Tofino's footbed is not as supportive as those in winter hikers, like the Ahnu Northridge; however, because the footbed is more narrow, this model is easier to walk in and is lighter weight - similar to The North Face Nuptse Purna. Be sure to check out our Style & Fit category to learn more about whether this narrow footbed will fit your foot.
This model has a soft lining that is a bit fleecy, but it doesn't even begin to compare to the coziness offered by the UGG Adirondack II. The faux fur cuff on this Sorel model also adds an extra bit of coziness, but some of the leather detailing initially detracted from our overall comfort. Specifically, this boot has a leather strip that goes up the back of the calf. This adds an element of style and helps give the upper its shape, but it was a little bit difficult to break in. We found the shaft on the Tivoli High II to be much more comfortable initially. Finally, driving in this boot was more comfortable than in some of the other tall boots that we tested.
We were completely surprised at the high levels of water resistance that the this boot had to offer. Although we experienced a slow leak at about three inches deep, the textile upper prevented flooding up to six inches deep. Moreover, the shaft protects against snow drifts over 10 inches high. The lower portion of the herringbone textile proved to be waterproof while standing in six inch puddles for over 60 seconds, and the upper half of the boot has been treated with a water resistant finish. Rain and snow bead up and roll off of this part of the shoe and the faux fur cuff keeps wetness from seeping down into the shaft and footbed. We took the Sorel Tofino out in seven inches of fluffy, dry snow and were completely protected from the elements.
For a model that offers even more winter protection, consider the Sorel Joan of Arctic, which can handle puddles up to nine inches deep. On the other hand, if a shorter boot is more your style, but you still want significant water and snow protection, the Vasque Pow Pow may be a great option for you.
Style & Fit
We really liked this boot's classy winter look. The tall herringbone textile upper gives this piece a distinctive flair while the faux fur cuff adds a bit of sass; however, the fur is a bit bushier than many of the other models, so it's not ideal for those who are on the fence about this detail. As we mentioned above, the sole and toe box are a bit more narrow, which makes this model a little more feminine, but may also decrease comfort for women with wide feet. If your feet run wide, you may want to consider a boot like the Joan of Arctic or even the Ahnu Northridge.
We really liked the look of the leather detailing throughout the boot, including the lace fixtures, pull tabs, and back leather stay. These were a bit more polished than those on the Joan of Arctic, giving the Sorel Tofino a more chic look. The other product that really gave this model a run for its money in our 2015 review is the Sorel Conquest Carly. This model has a completely different look (and no faux fur) and earned our testers more compliments than any other model.
Looking for a stylish boot without quite so much faux fur? Check out the Baffin Loki. The UGG Adirondack II is also a relatively stylish model, if you don't mind the "rugged-chic" look.
None of the Sorel boots in our review received high scores in traction. All of them, including this one have rubber outsoles with somewhat shallow herringbone/zigzag tread. While none of our testers reported slipping or sliding in these boots, they certainly did not feel as stable over slick or rocky surfaces as they did in the models with Vibram soles. The Ahnu Northridge scored particularly well in traction, as did the Vasque Pow Pow.
Ease to Take On & Off
We were surprised at how easy it was to take off this model given its tall shaft and narrow footbed. The fleecy lining makes the interior of the boot somewhat slippery and the laces are extra long so that you can loosen the laces enough to kick off the boots, but they don't come unlaced from the eyes. When you're ready to pull the boot back on, the leather pull tabs at the top are easy to grip and tug. They are definitely not as simple to put on as the Baffin Loki, but you don't have to sit down and use brute strength to tug them off.
We loved wearing the Sorel Tofino around town and out to dinner with friends. It is relatively versatile in that it will keep your feet dry while you're shoveling out your car, and it will look great when paired with casual outfits, especially those on the nicer end of the "casual" spectrum.
This model rings up at $150, which we think is an excellent deal. Our only hesitation in recommending these boots is that they were not the warmest in our review. Additionally, you really need to like the look of faux fur in order to appreciate them. But if you are ready to rock the faux fur and you don't have to endure super cold winters/are willing to sacrifice a bit of warmth for style, then this is a great choice.
On the other hand, if you're not completely sold on the look of this boot, and you want something just a little bit more affordable with comparable performance, the $140 Tivoli High II is another awesome option.
A stylish boot that provides stand-out protection from the elements, we loved this model. Although it fell short in our warmth and traction metrics, it made up for its shortcomings by earning high marks in style and water resistance. This winter, shed snow and give your wardrobe a boost with the Sorel Tofino.
— Amanda Fenn
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 14, 2015
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