Last Updated: July 10, 2019

Sorel Caribou vs Carnival: Find Out The Difference

The Sorel Caribou and Carnival boots share Sorel's classic look with the rubber lower, faux wool liner top and four metal lace loops.

But there are also quite a few differences.

First off, the Carnival boots are meant for women. Which is not to say men can't buy them, but the fit will suit women more, for sure.

The Caribou is generally warmer and has a more robust and gripping sole. It is meant more for colder and more snowy conditions. That comes at a price though because the boot is signficantly heavier (5 lb vs 1.5 lb).

The Carnival is more of a stylish boot as well. It looks similar in many ways to the Caribou, but the less harsh tread combined with the fluffier top make it more fun and feminine. It also comes in a range of brighter colors (purple, light blue, pewter gray and black) as opposed to the beige, gray and black of the Caribou.

All in all, the Carnival is more of a stylish winter boot that will cope with some cold temperatures and snow, but is not the workhorse that the Caribou was designed to be.

Below is a detailed specs comparison followed by some more details on the differences.

Best suited for

Heavy Snow & Cold

 Snow & Cold

Weight (average)

Approx 5 lb

Approx 1.5 lb

Shaft Height

9 1/4 inches

7 1/2 inches

Temperature Rating

-40° F / -40° C

-25° F / -32° C

Upper Material

Waterproof nubuck leather upper

Waterproof nylon upper





Removable 9mm ThermoPlus washable recycled felt inner boot with Sherpa Pile™ snow cuff

Removable 6mm washable, recycled felt InnerBoot with Sherpa Pile™ snow cuff


Midsole: 2.5 mm bonded felt frost plug

Outer: Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with Sorel aero-trac non loading outsole

Midsole: 2.5 mm bonded felt frost plug

Outer: Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with herringbone outsole

Weight / Tread / Height

The Caribou is significantly heavier than the Carnival, which is partly because of the construction but also because of the more robust tread on the sole. It is a sturdier boot, but is heavy to wear around all day.

The Caribou is also a lot higher on the calves at over 9 inches from the arch. The Carnival sits lower at 7.5 inches. So, it is easier to walk in, but protects you less from deep snow.

Unless you plan to be outside working in it, the Carnival might be a better option.

Inner Lining & Upper Material

Again, the Caribou has a thicker felt lining in the boot designed to be warm down to -40. The Carnival is only rated to -25. 

Keep in mind that these temperatures are only a rating and not always realistic (it depends on your socks, if you sweat, your body temp etc). However, they are a good indicator of how the warmth compares - the Caribou is warmer.

So, if you live in very cold areas in winter, the Caribou is a better bet.

The Caribou uses a leather upper while the Carnival has Nylon. I prefer natural materials myself, as they usually last longer. But it makes the boot a bit heavier I think.

Which Should You Buy?

Both these boots will serve you well, but you need to think about what you will use them for.

Price-wise they are quite similar so that does not play much of a role.

The Caribou works better in colder conditions and deeper snow. They are heavier though, so are not for long walks or hikes.

The Carnival is a more stylish boot intended for day to day use. It can handle the cold to a point, and the snow as well, but you won't be shovelling 5 feet of snow in them. I would just use them if I lived in a cold place in winter that was not covered in a lot of snow.

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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