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Sorel Madson II Moc Toe Review

While they've got a low waterline, these boots are at the top of our tests for comfort and style
Sorel Madson II Moc Toe
Photo: Sorel
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Price:  $185 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Extremely comfortable, lightweight, and trendy good looks
Cons:  Pricey, only waterproof to 2.75"
Manufacturer:   Sorel
By Richard Forbes ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 12, 2021
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 14
  • Weather Protection - 30% 2
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Warmth - 15% 5
  • Style - 10% 9

Our Verdict

When we're heading out on errands, we often find ourselves slipping on the Sorel Madson II Moc Toe. We love them for their perfect fit and their light weight — they weigh in at less than half the weight of our burlier boots. And while we wish that they had waterproof gussets (giving them a higher waterline), these boots are waterproof enough to let you brave most city weather, and their looks make them easy to wear no matter the occasion. If you want a good-looking boot that you can easily kick around town with, these will do you well.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
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Pros Extremely comfortable, lightweight, and trendy good looksExtremely weatherproof, decently lightweight, great tractionExtremely warm, grippyHighly waterproof, stiff construction for rough terrain, great tractionGreat looks, extremely warm and comfortable, versatile
Cons Pricey, only waterproof to 2.75"Pretty pricey, thin-feeling underfootToo warm for most uses, too tight to easily slip on and offLooser fit, lacks insulationExpensive, included wool insole can be too warm for all conditions
Bottom Line While they've got a low waterline, these boots are at the top of our tests for comfort and styleThese boots performed highly in every test we threw at them, and we're confident they'll keep you dry and happyThis impressive boot will keep you toasty when all else fails, though they'll be far too warm for normal conditionsThis workhorse boasts a very fair price for such a rugged bootWhile admittedly pricey, these good-looking boots can do it all
Rating Categories Sorel Madson II Moc... Wetland Arctic Sport Baffin Enduro Blundstone Thermal...
Weather Protection (30%)
2.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
3.0
Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
9.0
Traction (20%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Warmth (15%)
5.0
9.0
10.0
3.0
8.0
Style (10%)
9.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
9.0
Specs Sorel Madson II Moc... Wetland Arctic Sport Baffin Enduro Blundstone Thermal...
Weight per Pair (size 13) 2.63 lbs 4.72 lbs 5.74 lbs 5.49 lbs 2.93 lbs
Flood Height (inches from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft) 2.75" 18" 17.6" 16.3" 6.7"
Mouth Circumference (inches) 13" 18.75" 15.25" 17.5" 9.75"
Lining/Insulation Textile and synthetic 5 mm neoprene Fleece Synthetic Thinsulate
Upper Material Waterproof leather Rubber Rubber Rubber Leather + Elastic
Outsole Material Molded rubber Rubber MS-1 molded outsole Rubber TPU Outsole
Insole EVA EVA EVA molded midsole with contoured footbed and 2mm thermal foam underlay Gel-Flex shock-absorbing heels and midsoles Removable sheepskin insulated insole
Unique Features Suede collar and tongue-top Breathable air mesh lining Neoprene shaft, thick insulation, and aggressive outsole Aggressive outsole Cushioned Midsole
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular + Wide
Sizing info Order next size up Order next size up Order next size up Order your true size Order next size up

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.

Performance Comparison


While this boot doesn't have the highest flood height, they are...
While this boot doesn't have the highest flood height, they are comfortable, stylish, and great for the city.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Weather Protection


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".

This is about as deep as you can get get before you start getting...
This is about as deep as you can get get before you start getting leaks in these boots.
Photo: Richard Forbes

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.

You can clearly see the gussets here - if only they were waterproof.
You can clearly see the gussets here - if only they were waterproof.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Comfort


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.

These boots are extremely comfortable, thanks to their cushioned...
These boots are extremely comfortable, thanks to their cushioned midsole and light weight.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Traction


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.

These grippy boots stand out no matter the backdrop.
These grippy boots stand out no matter the backdrop.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Warmth


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.

We really like how leather keeps our feet warm in chillier conditions.
We really like how leather keeps our feet warm in chillier conditions.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Style


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.

These boots are an easy choice for date night.
These boots are an easy choice for date night.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Fit


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.

Value


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.

Despite their price, if you get these boots, we're sure you'll get a...
Despite their price, if you get these boots, we're sure you'll get a lot of use out of them.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Conclusion


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