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Sorel Joan of Arctic Review

A tall weather proof boot perfect for bad weather.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $190 List | $81.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 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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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weather Protection - 25% 10
  • Comfort & Fit - 20% 4
  • Traction - 20% 4
  • Ease of Use - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Enduring long and harsh winters? The Sorel Joan of Arctic is our Top Pick for Severe Weather, and 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 or comfortable. It is heavy with a floppy design. It's perfect for completing outdoor chores or a short walk in terrible weather. Women looking for protective warmth will find this winter boot quite alluring.

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


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Pros Warm, weather-proof, faux-fur collar, tall shaft height, stylishComfortable, great traction, waterproof, warm, not bad lookingWarm, wider-forefoot, waterproof, fantastic traction, stability and supportCute, versatile, relatively warm, decent tractionWarm, great weather protection, removable liner, super thick outsole
Cons Poor traction, heavy, less precise fitShort in the backAggressive and techy look, not cozy, less arch supportNot super water-resistantSloppy and clunky fit, heavy, not very stylish
Bottom Line A tall weather proof boot perfect for bad weather.The most comfortable winter boot we tested, and it has burly traction, making it perfect for winter backcountry adventures.A great winter hiker, perfect for slippery trails and long days.A versatile and cute winter boot for all purposes.A perfect option for winter chores in cold weather.
Rating Categories Sorel Joan of Arctic Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated Wa... Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat Shellista II Mid Sorel Caribou - Women's
Warmth (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
9
Weather Protection (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Comfort & Fit (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
3
Traction (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
8
Specs Sorel Joan of Arctic Oboz Bridger 7"... Bugaboot Plus IV... Shellista II Mid Sorel Caribou -...
Maximum puddle depth before major leaking 10 inches 6 inches 6 inches 6.75 inches 10 inches
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Measured Weight (ounces, one boot, size nine) 1 lb. 15.95 ounces 1 lb. 3.5 oz (size 7) 1 lb. 3.75 oz (size 7) 1 lb. 5.90 ounces 2 lb. 1.35 ounces
Fit Details True to size True to size True to size True to size True to size
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 13.5 inches 7 inches 7.5 inches 11 inches 11 inches
Lining/Insulation 6 mm recycled felt 200 gram 3M™ Thinsulate™ insulation Omni-Heat reflective lining 200g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco 9mm recycled felt inner boot with Sherpa Pile snow cuff
Removable Liner? Yes No No No Yes
Footbed 2.5mm bonded felt frost plug O FIT Insole™ Thermal Techlite EVA Injection-molded waterproof TPR shell 2.5mm bonded felt frost plug
Upper Material Waterproof suede leather with faux fur cuff Waterproof nubuck leather Leather, nylon Waterproof, BLC-compliant nubuck leather upper, knit collar Waterproof nubuck leather
Toe Box Rubber Molded rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Waterproof vulcanized rubber Granite Peak winterized rubber Michelin winter compound rubber Winter Grip rubber outsole with IcePick temperature-sensitive lugs. Vulcanized rubber
Company-claimed cold-weather rating -25 n/a -25 n/a -40
Animal products used? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sizes Available 5 - 12 6 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 11 5 - 12

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our Top Pick for Severe Weather will keep your toes toasty and your pants drier than ever. Even though this product earned some of the highest scores in our review, 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 winter hike.

Performance Comparison


A look at our Top Pick for Severe Weather  the Joan of Arctic.
A look at our Top Pick for Severe Weather, the Joan of Arctic.

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. 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. While the Joan of Arctic the thick outsole that insulates against the cold and keeps you warm.


The taller shaft height of the Joan or Arctic makes it perfect for blustery winter days where one might encounter tall snow banks.
The taller shaft height of the Joan or Arctic makes it perfect for blustery winter days where one might encounter tall snow banks.

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, this Joan of Arctic 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.

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.
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.

Weather Protection


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 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. We are thoroughly impressed with this boot.

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

Overall, the Sorel Joan of Arctic scores top points for weather protection. Use it when the conditions are wet, sloppy, or snowy. Severe weather warnings? No problemo.

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!

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 long. 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.

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.

This is a heavy boot weighing just over 2 lbs (yikes!). iI'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 for running quick errands around town.

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

Ease of Use


This boot is fairly easy to use. Putting each boot 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 boot. 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 this boot 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, this boot is much easier to use than most.

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

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. While this does great on flat surfaces that include hard-packed or soft-packed snow, it doesn't grab the super sloppy steep stuff as well as boots with legitimate lugs. This boot 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 n the snow.
The outsole features a wave-like pattern and a wider outsole that floats n the snow.

If you're planning on hiking over super-slippery surfaces, the Joan of Arctic isn't the best option. Its best use is over hard or soft-packed snow and flat surfaces, and it's a perfect compadre for around-the-house chores or standing around in the cold.

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.

The Joan of Arctic can be paired with a skirt for a cute winter look.
The Joan of Arctic can be paired with a skirt for a cute winter look.

Value


Throughout our testing process, we were impressed at how well the Joan of Arctic performed. Although it has a slightly higher price tag it's well worth the investment if you are in need of a warm, tall winter boot. We enjoyed its weather protection, warmth, and cute faux fur look.

Here we test during a cold early morning where temperatures hover around 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The extra length on the Joan or Arctic keeps our legs warmer than shorter boots.
Here we test during a cold early morning where temperatures hover around 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The extra length on the Joan or Arctic keeps our legs warmer than shorter boots.

Conclusion


A winter crusher, the Sorel Joan of Arctic is hands down the best choice for women enduring long, cold, snowy winters. Although our Top Pick for Severe Weather Award winner sacrifices on 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