The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Sorel Joan of Arctic Review

A stylish and tall boot built to take on bad weather.
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Price:  $200 List | $83.19 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Warm, weather-proof, faux-fur collar, tall shaft height, stylish
Cons:  Poor traction, heavy, less precise fit
Manufacturer:   Sorel
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Weather Protection - 25% 9
  • Comfort & Fit - 25% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Traction - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Sorel Joan of Arctic is a perfect pick for those who live and breathe winter. This 13.5-inch faux-fur Pac boot protects from the elements while keeping you warm and cozy on the coldest winter days. The entire boot is entirely waterproof and locks in warmth when temperatures dip into the double negatives. Unfortunately, it isn't exceptionally lightweight but does offer a cozy hi-pile liner. It's a great option for completing outdoor chores or a short walk in terrible weather. Women looking for protective warmth will find this winter boot quite alluring, and a great choice for warm feet in super cold conditions.

There have been some color updates, but no substantive changes to this great winter boot. Take a look at one of the current color options in the photo above!

December 2019


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Joan of Arctic is a classic (and cute) workhorse boot that will keep your toes toasty, and your pants drier than ever. While we love its ample warmth and protection, it is super heavy and not very comfortable for everyday wear. It's an excellent option for standing outside in cold temperatures — but don't plan on taking it out on your next technical winter hike.

Performance Comparison


This protective boot is cute and warm  but bulky in design.
This protective boot is cute and warm, but bulky in design.

Warmth


The Sorel Joan of Arctic is one of the warmest winter boots tested. Boasting a super warm 6 mm thick (and removable) felt liner encased by a suede outer, our testers were warm all the way into the double negative digits.

Even though other boots feature 200g of Thinsulate insulation as well  this one was made warmer because of its design and thick  insulating outsole. Even though the boots feels clunky and bulk  we did like the faux fur collar and fleece lining.
Even though other boots feature 200g of Thinsulate insulation as well, this one was made warmer because of its design and thick, insulating outsole. Even though the boots feels clunky and bulk, we did like the faux fur collar and fleece lining.

The sole of the boot is super thick, insulating against the cold when just standing around. We first tested this boot during a "polar vortex" that brought double negative digit temperatures to Colorado. Even during that super cold week, these toes kept warm with just a single pair of wool socks. The thick outsole that insulates against the cold and keeps you warm.

The taller shaft height of the Joan of Arctic makes it perfect for blustery  cold winter days. They are both protective and warm  especially when the temperatures dip well into the double negatives.
The taller shaft height of the Joan of Arctic makes it perfect for blustery, cold winter days. They are both protective and warm, especially when the temperatures dip well into the double negatives.

This boot features one of the tallest shafts in our review. Its extra height locks in more heat while the faux fur cuff creates a cozy seal around the mid-calf. Overall, it is very warm, but not the warmest contender out there. It's an excellent choice if you need a boot that will keep your tootsies toasty. Just remember the pair them with a solid pair of winter wool socks that can wick away moisture easily.

The 6-mm liner warm and removable making this a versatile winter boot option.
The 6-mm liner warm and removable making this a versatile winter boot option.

Weather Protection


We were blown away when we observed the level of weather protection this boot offers.

Here we test the waterproofness of the boot. Turns out the overlay is super waterproof  but leaks where the tongue meets the body of the boot.
Here we test the waterproofness of the boot. Turns out the overlay is super waterproof, but leaks where the tongue meets the body of the boot.

It features a 13.5-inch shaft height with a waterproof suede full-grain leather upper and a rubber outsole and repels the nastiest winter conditions. During our submersion and slush bath tests, this winter warrior outperformed most of the competition. It can withstand puddle depths of 10 inches, and snowbanks up to 13 inches. It also didn't leak at the seams when we hiked around in a freezing cold reservoir. The faux fur collar does a great job keeping blowing snow out of the top of the boot.

Comfort & Fit


It's not surprising that this heavier boot isn't as comfortable as lighter options nor is the fit precise. While the fur-lined faux collar and the fleece-lined liner is cozy, this boot feels heavy and sloppy to wear. With each boot weighing almost two pounds, our testers didn't enjoy wearing it all day.

The cozy faux-fur keeps out blowing snow and locks in heat.
The cozy faux-fur keeps out blowing snow and locks in heat.

The bulky design features a thicker (and heavier sole) while the toe box has lots of volume in the toe and heel. As a result, the foot moves around easily and is not locked into place. There is no arch support, but the footbed is firm and comfortable. We hate to say it, but wearing these boots felt a bit like wearing heavy clown shoes. The boot true to fit so there is no need to size up or down — which is a plus.

This boot is heavier and chunkier than most. That said  we do love its comfort features like the faux-fur collar!
This boot is heavier and chunkier than most. That said, we do love its comfort features like the faux-fur collar!

This is a heavy boot weighing just over 2 lbs (yikes!). It's not recommended if you're going to be walking around all day long. It's a great option for standing around all day, getting out to shovel the driveway or running quick errands around town.

Ease of Use


This boot is fairly easy to use and putting each on is easy. The shaft is stiff enough to stand up on its own, and we found that when the laces were properly loosened, we could just slide our foot inside. We did wish there were pull tabs on the side. The upper tabs on the liners that connect the liner to the outer suede material do not double as the pull tabs. When we tried to use them as finger holds, they usually came unsnapped, and one eventually broke after six months of use.

Simply pull the laces and the boot will become nicely fitted to your foot and leg.
Simply pull the laces and the boot will become nicely fitted to your foot and leg.

When taking it off, we often had to loosen the laces so much that they came unlaced from the top eyes, and simply 'kicking them off' wasn't so simple. Aside from that, when pulling the laces, all tighten in just one pull. In comparison to hiking boots and others that require manual lace-up methods, it is much easier to use than most.

Easily unclip the liner and remove.
Easily unclip the liner and remove.

Traction


We are not super impressed by the vulcanized rubber sole that offers little traction. Instead of featuring a lug-based outsole, this boot (along with other competitors tested) features grooves.

The lug-less design is perfect for snow  but not technical terrain.
The lug-less design is perfect for snow, but not technical terrain.

While this does great on flat surfaces or deep snow that include hard-packed trails, it doesn't grab the super sloppy steep stuff as well as boots with legitimate lugs. It did not do well in our steep hill hiking test and commonly slipped out.

The outsole features a wave-like pattern and a wider outsole that floats on the snow.
The outsole features a wave-like pattern and a wider outsole that floats on the snow.

This boot is compatible with YakTrax. If you like everything you've read so far but worry about traction, couple it with a pair of these, and you'll be fine on any slippery surface.

Value


Throughout our testing process, we were impressed at how well this cute and protective winter boot performs. Although it has a slightly higher price tag it is well worth the investment if you are in need of a warm, tall winter boot. We enjoy its weather protection, warmth, and cute faux fur look, suitable for any woman living in super harsh, largely snowy conditions.

The Joan of Arctic can be paired with a skirt for a cute winter look that also performs when it gets really cold outside.
The Joan of Arctic can be paired with a skirt for a cute winter look that also performs when it gets really cold outside.

Conclusion


A winter crusher, the Sorel Joan of Arctic is hands down the best choice for women enduring long, cold, snowy winters. Although it sacrifices comfort and traction, it makes up for its shortcomings by outperforming most of its competitors in warmth, water resistance, and style.

Looking for a great 'apres ski boot'? This also fits the ticket! Heather enjoys the warmth of the Sorel Joan of Arctic after a blue bird day skiing Red Mountain pass.
Looking for a great 'apres ski boot'? This also fits the ticket! Heather enjoys the warmth of the Sorel Joan of Arctic after a blue bird day skiing Red Mountain pass.


Amber King