Last Updated: July 10, 2019

Baffin vs Sorel Boots: Is It Beauty vs The Beast?

Sorel are renowned for their stylish winter boots and they have been making them since 1962! You have probably seen a bunch of them on the streets, often without even knowing it.

Baffin have come to the winter boot market from a different angle than Sorel, because their focus was first and foremost - warmth. Style mostly plays second fiddle to keeping your feet toasty and dry with Baffins, but they have started making some nice looking boots lately.

So, a quick comparison of these boots would be - 

  • Sorel Boots - Stylish winter boots, that also keep you warm and dry
  • Baffin Boots - Insanely warm and dry winter boots, that will last you a lifetime

Now, let's get into a bit more detail about how they compare, and then check out some "head to head" boot comparisons to help you choose your next best winter companion :>

Comparison of Features 

The following section is broken down to help you see how these boots compare regarding the main differences in features:

Warmth & Insulation

One of the biggest differences between Baffin and Sorel boots is there approach to insulation.

Sorel typically (it varies a little from boot to boot) uses a simple liner, either of felt or synthetic insulation. 

It is usually measured in mm - millimeters (one mm is about 1/25 of an inch) to help you compare boots. In most cases the inners are removable, which is a good thing as you will want to dry them out after wearing them a lot. Whether it's sweat or the less likely snow that has melted into your boots. 

Baffin Foam Layer System

Baffin uses a 7-layer foam-based system in their boots that is designed to be super-warm, while also helping wick away moisture. 

They also included a heat relfection material in the footbed area to further increase warmth by re-using your own body heat.

These boots are designed to be warm and stay warm in cold winter climates. 

You can check out their full layer foam system in the image.

Baffin also makes boots all the way from -4 to -150 F. So, you can really find the right boot for you local climate range and needs.

With Sorel the warmest is about a -40 F, which to be honest is ok for the majority of people.

Water Proofing

Snow boots from both manufacturers are designed to be waterproof, which is clear from how they are designed.

Most of the time you will get wet in the snow from walking in slush/melted snow.  This is stopped by making the boot sole quite thick (over an inch in most cases) and also having the rubber rim from toe to heel.

The upper is usually made of waterproofed leather or synthetic, with the tongue stitched all the way to the top, to prevent any leaks.

The fur cuff is the last line of defence, helping stop powder snow from entering the boot.


Baffin Women's Chloe

Baffin Men's Impact Snow

Sorel Women's Caribou

Sorel Men's Bear Extreme

Baffin & Sorel also takes this a step further on some of their more extreme boots by having no tongue and a draw string cuff on the top to really seal the entrance to the boot.

So, although these boots are designed to be waterproof, bear in mind that if you are going to walk through rivers, the more stylish and open boots are not going to cut it.

Sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Style

If you are looking at the more stylish "around town" style boots, then Sorel definitely have the edge. They have been designing great looking winter snow boots since they started. 

Starting with the Caribou, the classic of Sorels, you get a great mix of style, comfort, grip and warmth (rated to -40 F/C).

Sorel Women's Joan of Arctic

Sorel Women's Tofino II

For women, the other most popular and stylish models include the Joan of Artic, Tofino and Carnival. All have varying degrees of warmth, boot height but a little less grip than the caribou.

Grip

Baffin focuses on strong and durable boots that are intended to be used outdoors doing all kinds of activities.

Sorel has more of a focus on style and fashion.

The difference shows in the soles of their boots.

The majority of Sorel's boots have a reasonable grip, but nothing amazing. You can see this in the first image - the Sorel Herringbone-style sole, which is found on a lot of their more stylish boots.

There are exceptions like the Caribou with it's nob-like grip and  more extreme snow boots like the Bear Extreme.

Sorel Herringbone Sole

Sorel Herringbone Sole (on most boots)

Sorel Caribou Sole

Sorel Caribou Sole

Sorel Bear Extreme Sole

Sorel Bear Extreme Sole

Baffin Chloe Sole

Baffin Chloe Sole

Baffin Wolf Sole

Baffin Wolf Sole

In comparison, Baffin soles have more of a hiking boot style sole, even on their more fashionable boots like the Chloe and the Judy.

And if you go with their more extreme boots, the grip gets even better, like on the Baffin Wolf.

Of course, a lot of people don't need extreme grip on their city shoes and often go for Sorels. It just depends on what you are going to use them for :>

Comfort

This one is always a matter of personal taste, but let me give you a few tips that might help.

First, with winter boots, you almost always have to size up. This is because you will want to include a thicker sock when wearing most of these boots (although some of the insanely warm Baffin's you might not). Always read the reviews on Amazon first, to see what other reviewers have said - to help avoid ordering the wrong size.

Second, Baffin and Sorel have completely different liners in their boots. Baffin has a foam inner that molds to your foot over time and can be seriously comfy to wear.

But, having said that, a lot of people love the felt inners in the Sorels. You just have to get the size more spot on, as they don't give as much as the foam does.

Made in North America?

Baffin tries to produce as much of their boots as possible in Canada. In today's "made in China"/low-wage marketplace, it is no surprise that they are not 100% made in North America. But, as well as making the boots, they also give to some worthy causes in Nepal to help those in mountainous regions who are far less well off than us!

Sorel on the other hand, used to make all their boots in Quebec, Canada, until they went bankrupt and were purchased by Columbia Sportswear. Now, it is more than likely that any Sorel boot you buy is made in China, or some nearby low-cost country in Asia.

Boots Comparison

Women's Stylish Snow Boots

Baffin Women's Judy Snow Boot,Grey,10 M US
Sorel Women's Joan of Arctic Snow Boot, Elk/Dark Mountain, 8 M US
Height
13 inches
12 inches
Temperature Rating
-40C/-40F
-25° F / -32° C
Insulation
Removable, multi-layer inner boot system
Removable 6 mm recycled felt inner boot
Upper Material
Waterproof suede leather upper
Waterproof suede leather
Sole
Polar Rubber
Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with herringbone outsole
Baffin Women's Judy Snow Boot,Grey,10 M US
Height
13 inches
Temperature Rating
-40C/-40F
Insulation
Removable, multi-layer inner boot system
Upper Material
Waterproof suede leather upper
Sole
Polar Rubber
Sorel Women's Joan of Arctic Snow Boot, Elk/Dark Mountain, 8 M US
Height
12 inches
Temperature Rating
-25° F / -32° C
Insulation
Removable 6 mm recycled felt inner boot
Upper Material
Waterproof suede leather
Sole
Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with herringbone outsole

Men's Snow Boots

Baffin Men's Wolf Snow Boot,Black/Pewter,10 M US
Sorel Men's Blizzard XT Snow Boot, Black/Red Quartz, 12 M US
Height
11 inches
13 2/5 inches
Temperature Rating
-40C/-40F
-40C/-40F
Insulation
Removable, multi-layer inner boot system
Omni-Heat reflective lining
Upper Material
Double-weave, 900 Denier nylon upper
Waterproof PU coated synthetic upper
Sole
Polar Rubber
Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with sorel aero-trac non-loading outsole
Baffin Men's Wolf Snow Boot,Black/Pewter,10 M US
Height
11 inches
Temperature Rating
-40C/-40F
Insulation
Removable, multi-layer inner boot system
Upper Material
Double-weave, 900 Denier nylon upper
Sole
Polar Rubber
Sorel Men's Blizzard XT Snow Boot, Black/Red Quartz, 12 M US
Height
13 2/5 inches
Temperature Rating
-40C/-40F
Insulation
Omni-Heat reflective lining
Upper Material
Waterproof PU coated synthetic upper
Sole
Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with sorel aero-trac non-loading outsole

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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