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Hands-on Gear Review
Sorel Tofino II Review
Cons: Not very warm, pinches at the calf, lacks great traction
Bottom line: This nasty weather warrior is a great winter option to add to your wardrobe.
The Sorel Tofino II is a high-performing boot that earned good scores across all our metrics, but lost its podium as Editors' Choice to The North Face Shellista Mid this year. Although it doesn't shine in any one particular category, we think that it offers great all-around performance for most women. This stylish winter boot features a cute faux-fur collar with a somewhat narrow rubber toe box. The upper is constructed out of a water-resistant textile or quilted canvas upper (depending on which version you decide to purchase). In addition, there are many great color combos that Sorel offers. It all features 100g of plush insulation that is cozy and comfortable. Although this boot is not as warm as competitors like the Sorel Joan of Arctic or the Kamik Momentum, the Tofino is much more comfortable for all-day wear. It's also a great option if you'll be doing a lot of walking around town. That said, many of our testers noticed that it does have a minor design flaw in the back frame of the boot, that left some of our testers limping after wearing thin socks all day. As a result, we'd recommend that if you do purchase this cute and well-performing winter boot, a thicker sock is best to wear with it.
In addition to its cute style, this was one of the easiest boots to kick off and put back on, and its traction was superior to the Sorel Joan of Arctic and Northside Kathmandu. That said, the ribbed outsole doesn't compare to contenders that feature a Vibram sole or lugs. All in all, this was our Editors' Choice last year, but due to a minor design flaw, and beefed up competition this year, it lost its sport. However, it's still our favorite for wearing to work with a pair of tights and a skirt.
A long-time favorite of our testers, the Tofino II is cute and weatherproof! This high-performing women's winter boot offers good comfort, weather protection, and warmth, along with a stylish appearance. We recommend this boot to women looking for an all-around winter boot for cold days in town. If you're looking for a comfortable winter hiking boot, consider the Vasque Pow Pow II.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Winter Boots of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
If you're looking for a great warmth option that is more affordable, check out the Kamik Momentum - Our Best Buy award winner.
The Tofino II features 100 grams of insulation and is designed with a more narrow sole and toe box than the Sorel Joan of Arctic and Northside Kathmandu. While this reduces clunkiness and gives the Tofino a more streamlined look, it also reduces overall warmth. This sole isn't as thick, nor is the amount of insulation (Joan of Arctic has 200g of insulation), but we really liked the calf warmth that this model offers; the soft, insulated shaft on this boot measures 10.5 inches from the bottom of the sole. To top it off, Sorel added a fluffy faux fur cuff that creates a cozy seal against the calf. This not only seals warmth in but also helps to keep snow and rain out.
The Sorel Joan of Arctic scored higher in warmth than the Tofino II. You may want to consider this model if you are planning to spend lots of time standing out in the cold. If you are planning to do a lot of active hiking or walking around town, and want a warm boot that also breathes, check out the Vasque Pow Pow II - it features 400g of insulation.
All in all, the Tofino II is a great option for those looking for a boot that will keep them warm in moderately cold temperatures. Unlike the Sorel Joan of Arctic or Northside Kathmandu, it breathes extraordinarily well; so, feel free to walk all day!
The newly designed upper in this contender seems to be more water resistant than last year's model. Last year, we experienced a slow leak at just three inches, but we didn't see that in this year's model!
We were completely surprised at the high levels of water resistance that this boot had to offer. The newly designed upper features a water-resistant textile that does great in precipitation. When performing our slush bucket tests to determine both warm and water resistance, our feet were bone dry. This was after marching in seven inches of slush for about seven minutes. It wasn't until our bathtub test that we learned the maximum puddle depth of the boot, which was roughly 8.5 inches!
If you're interested in a boot with the absolute best weather protection, consider the Sorel Joan of Arctic, which has a maximum puddle depth of nine inches! On the other hand, if a shorter boot is more your style and you want the ultimate in protection against the elements, check out the less stylish Vasque Pow Pow II instead.
In general, we are pretty happy with the boot shaft, which is treated with a water-resistant textile. Moreover, it protects against snow drifts over 10 inches high. Rain and snow bead up and roll off of this part of the shoe and the faux fur cuff keeps wetness from seeping down into the shaft and footbed. When we took this model for a jaunt around town, our tester's feet were happy, warm, and protected - even with slush, snow, and temperatures below zero!
Comfort & Coziness
Order this boot a half size larger as it runs a little small.
The Tofino II has many comfortable and cozy features that many of our testers loved. We looked the support of the footbed and the soft lining that is warm and soft to the touch. We also loved the fur collar that gives this boot an extra 'cozy factor'. Initially, when putting the boot on, we were in love. Even though the interior liner doesn't compare to the coziness offered by the plus and warm UGG Adirondack II, it is still really cozy.
It wasn't until we started walking that we learned about a minor design flaw that had one of our testers limping after wearing it around town all day. Specifically, this boot has a leather strip that goes up the back of the calf. This adds an element of style and helps give the upper its shape, but we found it a little difficult to break in.
After two months of wearing the boot, this stripe didn't pinch the back of the leg like it did when it was initially taken out of the box, but many testers commented that this was one of the least comfortable boots because of this minor design flaw. We found that when wearing it with thin socks, the design flaw was much more pronounced, but when wearing thicker wool socks, we hardly noticed it at all. If you do plan on purchasing this boot, make sure to break in this leather strip, and wear thicker socks while you do it!
None of the Sorel boots in our review received high scores in traction. All of them (including this one) have rubber outsoles with somewhat shallow herringbone/zigzag tread. While none of our testers reported slipping or sliding in these boots, they certainly did not feel as stable over slick or rocky surfaces as they did in the models with Vibram soles.
On all the faux fur boot options (like the Sorel Joan of Arctic and Northside Kathmandu), the tread on this contender was the deepest of the three; we were surprised to see that it stuck while running up snowy slopes in our traction tests. In fact, the traction was on par with the Columbia Minx-Mid II that features a rubber outsole and a small, well-spaced lug pattern. If you're looking to kick snow steps up a hill or you want to venture into the backcountry, check out the the Vasque Pow Pow II - a winter hiking boot that earned top marks in traction.
Style & Fit
We really liked this boot's classy winter look. Of all the boots tested, it got the most on-the-street and at work compliments. In addition, it scored the highest in our 'style' media poll. The tall shaft and quilted canvas upper give this piece a distinctive flair, while the faux fur cuff adds a bit of sass; however, the fur is a bit bushier than many of the other models, so it's not ideal for those who are on the fence about this detail. As we mentioned above, the sole and toe box are a bit more narrow, which makes this model a little more feminine.
We really liked the look of the leather detailing throughout the boot, including the lace fixtures, pull tabs, and back leather stay. These were a bit more polished than those on the Sorel Joan of Arctic, giving the Tofino II a more chic look. This model has a completely different look (and no faux fur) and earned our testers more compliments than any other model. Looking for a stylish boot without quite so much faux fur? Check out The North Face Shellista (our Editors' Choice winner) instead.
Ease to Take On & Off
We were surprised at how easy it was to take off this model given its tall shaft and narrow footbed. The fleecy lining makes the interior of the boot somewhat slippery and the laces are extra long so that you can loosen them enough to kick off the boots (they don't come unlaced from the eyes). When you're ready to pull the boot back on, the leather pull tabs at the top are easy to grip and tug. Although the Tofino is not as simple to put on as the Kamik Momentum (which has a one-pull lacing system), you don't have to sit down and use brute strength to pull it on and off (like we had to with the Sorel Joan of Arctic).
We loved wearing the Sorel Tofino around town and out to dinner with friends. It is relatively versatile in that it will keep your feet dry while you're shoveling out your car and it will look great when paired with many different outfits. Feel free to wear it all day long, or on short jaunts around town. That said, avoid wearing it on super cold days, or layer it with some warm, thick ski socks.
This model rings up at $170, which we think is a good deal. Our only hesitation in recommending this boot is that it is not the warmest in our review. Additionally, you really need to like the look of faux fur in order to appreciate it. But if you are ready to rock the faux fur and you don't have to endure super cold winters (or you're willing to sacrifice a bit of warmth for increased comfort) then this is a great choice.
If you're not completely sold on the look of this boot, and you want something just a little bit more affordable with comparable performance, the $140 The North Face Shellista is another great option.
A stylish boot that provides stand-out protection from the elements. Although it fell short in our warmth and comfort, it almost makes up for its shortcomings by earning high marks in style and water resistance. This winter, shed snow and give your wardrobe a boost with the Tofino II.
— Amber King
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