Sorel Joan of Arctic Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Joan of Arctic is a cute and classic workhorse boot that will keep your toes toasty and your pants drier than ever. That said, 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.
The Joan of Arctic is one of the warmest winter boots we've tested. Boasting a super warm 6mm thick (and removable) felt liner encased by a suede outer, our testers were warm all the way down to double negative digits.
The sole of this boot is super thick, insulating against the cold even when you're 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, our toes kept warm with just a single pair of wool socks. The thick outsole on the Joan insulates against frigid days to keep you comfortable.
This boot features one of the taller 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 still not the warmest contender out there. But it's an excellent choice if you need a boot that will keep your toasty. Just remember to pair them with a solid pair of winter wool socks that can easily wick away moisture.
We were blown away when we observed the level of weather protection this boot offers. It features a 13.5-inch shaft height with a waterproof suede full-grain leather upper and a rubber outsole to repel even 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, and 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 very precise. While the fur-lined faux collar and the fleece-liner are 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 bulky design features a thicker (and heavier sole) while the toe box is voluminous. 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 feels a bit like wearing heavy clown shoes. However, the boot is true to fit, so there is no need to size up or down.
Ease of Use
The Joan of Arctic is fairly easy to use, and putting it on is easy. The shaft is stiff enough to stand up on its own, and we found that when the laces were loosened correctly, we could just slide our foot inside. We do 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.
When taking off this boot, we often had to loosen the laces so much that they came unlaced from the top eyelets, 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, this is much easier to use than most.
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.
While this does great on flat surfaces or deep snow that includes 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.
Throughout our testing process, we were impressed at how well this cute and protective winter boot performed. Although it is pricey, it is well worth the investment if you need a warm, tall winter boot. We enjoy its weather protection, warmth, and cute faux fur look, suitable for anyone living in super harsh, largely snowy conditions.
A winter crusher, the Sorel Joan of Arctic is an excellent 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.
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