Hands-on Gear Review

Sorel 1964 Premium T Review

By: Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 1, 2016
Price:  $150 List  |  $140.00 at REI - 7% Off
Pros:  Stylish, pants can go over or under boot top.
Cons:  Not warm as advertised, slippery on ice.
Manufacturer:   Sorel

Our Verdict

The Sorel 1964 Premium T exemplifies the classic winter pac boot look. The unassuming style is equally at home on a trip to the hardware store or going out to dinner on a trip to Lake Tahoe. The boots were easy to use and were comfortable and soft, but they fell short in their warmth, which is really one of the most important qualities when looking for a winter boot. Our Best Buy winner, the Kamik Nation Plus, is another pac style boot which scored much higher for warmth.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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This boot has a full-grain leather upper coupled with a molded rubber outer. Each boot weighs about 2 pounds in a size 11. They are available in Black and Brown, and come in half sizes from 7 to 15.

Performance Comparison


These retro pac boots have a classic styling. They weren't the warmest or most comfortable model  but they were easy to slip on and off when running errands  and we liked that we could easily fit our jeans over the top of them.
These retro pac boots have a classic styling. They weren't the warmest or most comfortable model, but they were easy to slip on and off when running errands, and we liked that we could easily fit our jeans over the top of them.

Warmth


By using a recycled felt liner, Sorel has stayed true to the original 1964 design of this boot, but by foregoing more modern materials, may have overestimated the claim that these boots will keep feet warm down to -40 degrees F/C. There are several boots that claim this temperature range, so we don't find Sorel at fault specifically; rather, manufacturers could do better to define a temperature range that the majority of users might experience and build boots that actually work in those temps. The felt lining packed down over time after compressing it with body weight and there is little else besides the rubber sole to keep your feet insulated against cold surfaces. This model was almost as warm as our Editors' Choice winner, the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid, but not as warm as our Top Pick for Winter Hiking, the Vasque Snowburban II Ultradry.

Testing these boots on a snowy day. These boots were rated to -40 degrees  yet we found our toes getting cold in much milder temps. The felt liner quickly packed out and didn't provide as much insulation as other models.
Testing these boots on a snowy day. These boots were rated to -40 degrees, yet we found our toes getting cold in much milder temps. The felt liner quickly packed out and didn't provide as much insulation as other models.

Water Resistance


This boot has a vulcanized rubber outsole that is stitched to a full-grain leather upper using sealed seams. The seams held out water, but the tongue is only leather for the lower third, and a coated canvas for the rest. When we submerged this boot in water, the tongue allowed water to easily penetrate the boot, even in moderately shallow puddles.

Neoprene or felt? Our ice bath helped determine the best construction and insulation for slushy conditions. The tongue on the Premium T (right) allowed some water into the boot  unlike the solid outer of the Ultra Mid (left). While the handles on the Ultra Mid can let some water in  they are sufficiently high enough to ford deep puddles and this boot still had the highest maximum puddle depth of any boot in this review.
Neoprene or felt? Our ice bath helped determine the best construction and insulation for slushy conditions. The tongue on the Premium T (right) allowed some water into the boot, unlike the solid outer of the Ultra Mid (left). While the handles on the Ultra Mid can let some water in, they are sufficiently high enough to ford deep puddles and this boot still had the highest maximum puddle depth of any boot in this review.

Fit and Comfort


Sorel introduced the contemporary pac boot with their felt liner placed inside of a durable outer shell. These boots have been popular over the years because of how easy they are to put on and take off, and they have a comfortable fit either snugly laced or used as more of a slip-on boot for convenience. This was one of the first boots we reached for on trips out to the mailbox or to the store, along with the even simpler Bogs Classic Ultra Mid. They were less comfortable on longer walks or after long periods of standing due to the loose-fitting nature of the pac boot as well as the lack of any sort of insole to provide more support. While it is expected that tall winter socks are worn with this boot, on the times that we were wearing short socks and pulled these boots on to head out on an errand, the felt lining was itchy and uncomfortable against the skin.

Traction


The sole has a low profile herringbone pattern which worked well on wet surfaces like sidewalks, but did not perform as well as other Sorel soles such as featured on the Sorel Caribou. We liked the Kamik Nation Plus' large lugs more for snowy conditions.

The style of the Sorels is "ski town chic " and they fit in well at the grocery store or at the bar.
The style of the Sorels is "ski town chic," and they fit in well at the grocery store or at the bar.

Ease of Use


With handy pull-tabs on both the pac liner and the outer boot, this is one of the easier boots to use in this review, along with the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid and the slip-on Merrell Polarand Rove Zip. Laces can be securely tightened for a longer journey or left undone for quick trips out to the car or to take the trash out, and it was easy to put pant legs inside the boots or over the top. The felt liner would get damp from perspiration and needed to be dried out in front of the fire, which is not a big deal but returning the soft pliable liner to the boot proved annoying, especially as the felt packed out and became less rigid.

The inner felt liner is easy to remove but harder to replace. Most people shouldn't have to take it out unless it is thoroughly soaked.
The inner felt liner is easy to remove but harder to replace. Most people shouldn't have to take it out unless it is thoroughly soaked.

Best Applications


This boot is a great choice for days around town, as it is quick to slip on and off and is reasonably warm and water resistant for short trips out into bad weather. For extended outdoor time in cold and wet weather, the Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat will keep your feet warmer and better supported than this model.

Value


For $150, Sorel is leveraging their brand name and well-known look. The warmer and more water resistant Kamik Nation Plus is half the price of this model, but the construction quality is good and the full-grain leather upper is soft and supple, and may be worth the extra investment for some.

Conclusion


The Sorel 1964 Premium T boot is a comfortable pac boot that performed adequately but not outstandingly as a warm and waterproof winter boot.

Ryan Huetter

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