Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $119 - $150 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros: Stylish, Great protection from the elements
Cons: Not super warm or extremely comfortable
Best Uses: Around town, General winter use
We awarded the Sorel Women's Tofino Herringbone the Top Pick for our women's winter boot review because it combines stylish looks with overall outdoor performance. The Tofinos have 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 the Tofinos to be extremely warm, but if you are using them for shorter outdoor excursions or live in a milder winter climate, then they will certainly meet your around town needs. Our testers found these boots to be ideal for casual evenings out with friends and for short outdoor chores like shoveling snow.
Additionally, the Tofino Herringbones are a great deal at only $150 in fact, we considered them for our Best Buy Award, but we ultimately decided to give the Best Buy to the Sorel Joan of Arctic. We initially thought these two Sorel models would be much more similar, but found that there were some very distinctive differences between them. We'll be comparing these two pairs of winter boots closely throughout this review, so read on to learn how the Tofino Herringbone measures up to the Joan of Arctic and the rest of the models in our review!
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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 they aren't the warmest boots, the Tofinos earned good scores across our metrics and we thought they were a great balance of style and comfort, even if you do have to sacrifice a bit on the warmth.
Not willing to sacrifice toe toastiness? Consider the Sorel Joan of Arctics or the Tecnica Moon Boot.
Similar in construction to the Sorel Tivoli, the Sorel Tofino Herringbones feature 100 grams of insulation and were designed with a more narrow sole and toe box than the Joan of Arctics. While this reduces clunkiness and gives the Tofinos a more streamlined look, it also reduces overall warmth. That said, we really liked the calf warmth that the Tofinos offered; the soft, insulated shafts on these boots measure 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 Arctics and the Moon Boots scored higher in warmth than the Tofinos, so you may want to consider either those boots if you are planning to spend lots of time standing out in the cold. Several other competitors, like our Editor's Choice winner, the UGG Adirondack II offered the same amount of warmth as the Tofino Herringbones.
Comfort & Coziness
The Sorel Tofino Herringbones did not excel in comfort and coziness, but they weren't so uncomfortable that we felt like we were really sacrificing on comfort. (With the Joan of Arctics, we definitely sacrificed on comfort for qualities like warmth and water resistance.) The 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 than the Joan of Arctics. Be sure to check out our Style & Fit category to learn more about whether this narrow footbed will fit your foot.
The Tofinos feature a soft lining that is a bit fleecy, but this lining doesn't even begin to compare to the coziness offered by the UGG Adirondack IIs. 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, the Tofinos have 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. 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 Sorel Tofino Herringbones had to offer. Despite their textile uppers, these boots protected us from puddles up to six inches deep and from 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 Tofinos out in seven inches of 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 the the Sorel Tofino Herringbone'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. 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 reviewed the Hawk/Mountain colored Tofinos, which come with light slate blue laces and a matching blue rim at the base of the textile upper. We weren't totally sold on the lace color, but they are easy enough to swap out for black or brown. We did, however, really like 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 Arctics, giving the Tofinos a more chic look.
Looking for a stylish boot without quite so much faux fur? Check out the The North Face Janey II. The UGG Adirondack IIs are also a relatively stylish model, if you don't mind their "rugged-chic" look.
None of the Sorel boots in our review received high scores in traction. All three, including the Tofinos 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 Northridges scored particularly well in traction, as did the Vasque Pow Pows.
Ease to Take On & Off
We were surprised at how easy it was to take off the Sorel Tofinos given that they are tall and don't have a side zipper for easier removal. 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 Tofinos 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 Columbia Minx Mid, but you don't have to sit down and use brute strength to tug them off.
We loved wearing the Sorel Tofino Herringbone boots around town and out to dinner with friends. They are relatively versatile in that it will keep your feet dry while you're shoveling out your car, and they will look great when paired with casual outfits, especially those on the nicer end of the "casual" spectrum.
Our Top Pick Award winner 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 the Sorel Tofino Herringbones are a great choice.
A stylish boot that provides stand-out protection from the elements, we loved our Top Pick Award winner, the Sorel Women's Tofino Herringbone Boots. They fell short in our warmth and traction metrics, but made up for their shortcomings by earning high marks in style and water resistance. This winter, shed snow and give your wardrobe a boost with the Sorel Tofino Herringbones.
The Sorel Joan of Arctic, $150, is an amazing winter boot for cold cold days. With their faux fur cuffs and removable felt liners, they will keep your toes warmer than any other boot in our review. Add affordability to the list of pros, and we can't resist our Best Buy Winner: the Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots.
— Amanda Fenn
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Most recent review: December 9, 2013
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