Sorel Madson II Moc Toe Review
Cons: Pricey, only waterproof to 2.75"
Our Analysis and Test Results
The first Madson Moc Toe won an award in late 2019 for its focus on good looks, light weight, and extravagant comfort. The Madson II Moc Toe is this year's update and features some small changes while keeping the bulk of the boot the same. We ultimately appreciate the new outsole (which is noticeably grippier than the older model) but still wish that these boots were more waterproof.
The Moc Toe definitely wasn't designed to be a traditional rain boot, which becomes clear as soon as you start looking at its waterproofing. It, unfortunately, shares the same issue as the previous version had — this boot doesn't have sealed gussets. Gussets are the folds between the boot proper and the tongue, and waterproof hiking boots generally feature waterproof gussets to prevent water from coming in at the bottom of the tongue. Since these gussets aren't waterproof, these boots have a flood height of just 2.75".
When we tightened the laces all the way down, we found these boots could deal with moderate to heavy rain, but as soon as we stepped in puddles, they would leak almost immediately. As a result, these boots aren't the best choice if you're planning on spending a lot of time in deeper water or muck. But if you like the way they look, they'll certainly do well for you in the city.
While the Moc Toe boots don't do great in the weather protection category, they're phenomenally comfortable. We love how light they are (only 2.6 lbs for the pair, or half the weight of the heavier work boots in our review) and how perfectly they fit our feet. They feel like a pair of classy sneakers (though they're not as squishy underfoot). If you need a pair of waterproof boots that you can wear at work and also commute through some wintry weather, the Moc Toe is great.
They don't have a very thick insole, but the midsole is cushioned enough to keep this boot feeling good even after you've worn them for a whole day.
The new outsole is the best part of the Madson II update. We didn't love the old outsole, so we were happy to see that they improved the outsole lug depth and changed the lug pattern to provide more lateral stability in loose conditions. This new outsole made us feel significantly more confident on wet grass and mud. The boldly emblazoned "Sorel" on the bottom is a bit odd but didn't seem to be any less durable than the rest of the outsole.
Leather is much more pleasant to wear than rubber, as it's both warmer and more breathable. As a result, the uninsulated Moc Toe boots were warmer than any of the other uninsulated rubber boots in our cold-water immersion test (our feet got uncomfortable after about six minutes in an ice bath). At the same time, we also found that the Moc Toe was more comfortable in warm weather (none of the rubber boots are). So if you're looking for a boot that's good for most temperatures, this one will keep you happier than a similar rubber rain boot.
Style is where these rain boots really shine — the Moc Toe is barely distinguishable as a rain boot. We love the Moc Toe styling (which means that they've got a moccasin-esque seam around the toe) for how well it pairs with everything, and as a result, you can wear them without anyone noticing that you're actually wearing "rain boots."
Our style consultants unanimously voted for the Moc Toe as one of the most stylish in the test (tied only with its brother the Chukka), and whenever we wore them around town, people were surprised to learn that these boots were actually waterproof. If you're hoping to have dry feet and still look good, these boots are a solid choice.
With their laces and leather (which molds to your feet the more you wear it), the Moc Toe fit us better than any other boot in this review. Our lead tester has size 12 feet and a size 13 boot fit with only about a half-inch of toe room, which is exactly how we like it. They're the perfect width for D-width feet and have less than a quarter-inch of wiggle room. We also really appreciate the wide laces, which we feel lock the heels down well.
These boots aren't cheap, especially considering the fact that they only have a flood height of 2.75". At this point, the Moc Toe is one of the most expensive boots in our lineup. However, we think it's important to remember that these aren't "rain boots" per se, so much as they're extremely comfortable and versatile shoes that happen to also be waterproofed. As a result, if you're mainly a city-dweller, you'll probably get a lot of casual use out of them, as they can be worn almost year-round. However, if you need something that can handle sloppier conditions, go with something burlier and cheaper.
If we had to choose one boot from our review to wear all the time, it'd easily be the Moc Toe, thanks to their reliable comfort, light weight, and great looks. We won't pretend that these boots will keep you dry in inclement weather or be suitable for heavy-duty farming, but they're ideal for casual use.
— Richard Forbes
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