If you’re wondering whether you should get Sorel or UGG boots this winter, then you got one tough decision to make!
At A Glance: Our Favorite Boots
But, I can help you choose – in this review, I will tell you everything you should know about the two brands before deciding which one is better suitable for you.
And I’ll show you men’s and women’s boots from both brands.
Yes, that’s right – men’s boots from UGG. They’re very different from the women’s options, but they are still pretty popular. Mostly because of their quality – while they might look different, they are every bit as good as plain UGGs.
In this section, I’ll compare some of the basic features of the boots – waterproofing, outsole, insole, materials, etc. Obviously, everything I tell you here doesn’t apply to all of the boots – some models will have different materials.
But, I will make sure to tell you that when I’m talking about a specific boot.
And if you don’t want to know all the little details, feel free to skip straight to the reviews!
UGG boots usually feature either wool or sheepskin lining. So, they are not exactly insulated but rather lined with materials that are able to keep you warm. And I don’t see an issue with that – boots with fuzzy lining are almost always super warm. But they are really difficult to clean, since you can’t remove the lining, and you can’t really just throw the boots in the washing machine.
Sorel does insulation differently. They sometimes put proper synthetic insulation in their boots – like what you see in jackets. Now, it’s up to you whether you prefer this or warm lining – in some cases, I’d say synthetic insulation is the more reliable choice. It performs really well in wet conditions, and it works fine even in extremely low temperatures. But so does wool.
Additionally, there is something else you will see pretty often in Sorel boots – a removable inner liner. This is basically a 6-9mm inner felt boot that you can take out. It is super easy to clean and does a great job at keeping you warm. In fact, most Sorel boots with inner liners are declared safe to wear in temperatures as low as – 32 degrees Celsius.
But that also means that you won’t see a proper footbed in those boots. More about that later.
So, this one is up to you. Do you prefer boots that have a fuzzy and warm lining, but that are kind of difficult to clean? Or boots that have removable liners that are super easy to clean, or just good old synthetic insulation? If you’re not really sure, read the next section – it should help.
So, the breathability of the boots mostly depends on lining and insulation. And to be perfectly honest, I think only one type of boots does this properly, and those are Sorels with synthetic insulation.
Synthetic is usually really breathable since it acts as a membrane – it traps your body heat, but also lets some air in from the outside.
UGG’s fuzzy lining is not really breathable. Therefore, there is a good chance you’ll get too warm in the boots. And being too warm leads to sweat, and sweat leads to uncomfortable smells – not really something you want to have to deal with.
Granted, there are lots of different ways to clean your boots and have them smell fresh again without actually washing them, so it’s not that big a deal.
What’s also interesting is that Sorel boots with removable liners perform really similarly there. The felt inner booties are not that breathable, and you can experience the same issues. But at least you can remove them and wash them, so that’s one point for Sorel there.
Great breathability is not something you’ll get with either of these brands, with rare exceptions. So, which do you prefer – being able to take out the inner part of the boot and just throw it in the washer, or spraying them with bicarbonate and baking soda to get rid of the nasty smell? It’s completely your choice.
This largely depends on the materials the boots are made of. So, I’ll tell you about the waterproofness of each pair in the mini-reviews below. I can’t really tell you too much right now, since we’ll see lots of different materials.
What I can tell is that you can make pretty much all of these boots 100% waterproof with an impregnation spray. That could particularly come in handy with UGGs since there are some models that are not waterproof by nature. Like the classic women’s UGGs.
Sorel boots, on the other hand, are waterproof by default. That’s because they are designed for winter sports and adventures in deep snow.
I can also tell you that Sorel boots are all seam-sealed, meaning that it is virtually impossible for water to penetrate the inside of the boot. Because of that, I definitely think they are the better option for hiking, skiing, and just any activities that include walking in knee-deep snow. They will perform better, and they will keep your feet warm no matter what.
UGGs, on the other hand, are probably the better choice for the everyday. Sure, we’ll check out a few pairs of sporty UGGs, and those pairs will perform perfectly fine in nasty conditions.
Honestly, I think they are just more stylish and better looking, which is why I prefer them as everyday boots. But it’s up to you and your personal style – just be sure to check out the mini-reviews and see if the boots are completely waterproof, or if they need any additional treatment.
With UGG boots, you’ll usually see two types of outsoles. It’s either their proprietary Treadlite or a Vibram. Treadlite is super lightweight and really durable and has great grip and traction on wet surfaces. But the weight is definitely one of the reasons why it is so popular – if you’re looking for feather-light boots, then definitely try to pick up a pair with UGG’s Treadlite outsole.
Vibram, on the other hand, is kind of iconic. It is used by many different brands, and there are absolutely zero reasons to doubt the quality and performance you can expect from it. It does tend to be somewhat heavier though, so boots that feature it won’t be the lightest ones.
In some boots, you’ll also see a plain spider rubber outsole. There is nothing too special about these, meaning that they don’t include any revolutionary technologies. But they do offer superb grip and traction on wet surfaces, so keep that in mind.
Sorel, on the other hand, uses their own outsoles. But, they have very few specific types of outsoles – the most prominent one is the AeroTrac, which you’ll see in the Caribou boots. This one is pretty much on par with UGG’s Treadlite because it is really lightweight as well.
With Sorel boots, you need to know that most of their outsoles are made from vulcanized rubber. Vulcanization of rubber makes it more flexible and durable and improves its performance on wet surfaces. So, you can expect it to perform really well.
One other thing to look for is the lugs on the outsole – if they are pretty deep and there appear to be lots of them, you can expect the boot to perform exceptionally well. But I’ll tell you about that in the mini-reviews anyway.
The bottom line here is that there is no obvious winner. It’s not as simple as “oh, go with XX if you want the best grip and traction”. Both of these brands put great outsoles in their boots that are lightweight, durable, flexible, and not slippery.
Let’s get this out of the way – all of the boots that I will show you are comfortable. Or at least comfortable for the average person.
The thing is, not all of the boots in this review have proper footbeds. That’s usually the case with Sorel boots, especially the ones that feature a removable liner. Because they have an entire inner boot, there’s not really room for a proper insole. And I think that could be a big issue for those of you who suffer from flat feet.
But that’s not the case with all Sorel boots – the ones that have insoles feature molded EVA footbeds that are really comfortable. Plus, they are usually removable, so you can always take them out and put them in your anatomical footbeds if you need to wear those.
What about the UGGs? Well, it’s pretty similar. Most of the boots I’ll show you have an UGGpure insole, which is actually wool woven into a durable backing. It is moisture-wicking so it should keep your feet dry and warm at all times. However, UGGpure is not always removable, so keep that in mind. It is soft and really comfortable, but it is not suited for people who need to wear specific types of footbeds.
So, I think that Sorel has a slight advantage here, simply because you can get Sorel boots with a removable EVA footbed. But it depends on you – if you don’t have any issues with your feet and can walk in pretty much anything, then either of these is still a great choice. But if you do need to wear anatomical footbeds, then be sure to look for a “removable footbed” in the mini-reviews.
Overall, UGGs tend to be the more expensive choice. They are usually in the $150-200 range, with some pairs being even more expensive.
Sorels, on the other hand, are usually in the $100-150 range. So, it’s not really a huge difference – if you can afford a $160 pair of boots, then you can afford a $180 pair, right?
Also, keep in mind that the price is usually going to depend on the size and color of the boot you are getting. So, if you want to save a few bucks, definitely check out all the options for your size – in some cases, you can save up to $100!
But if you are wondering which of these two brands is cheaper, then the answer is simple – Sorel.
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Favorite Sorel Men’s
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Favorite UGG Men’s
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Favorite UGG Women’s
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Favorite Sorel Women’s
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Both of these boots are a great choice for heavy snow. If you are looking for boots to wear in the mountains, something that you can easily hike in, then either one of these is a good option.
The Sorel Conquest boots are iconic. They just look badass – like you could take on pretty much anything in them. They are fully waterproof, so they are perfectly safe for deep snow. Also, they feature synthetic insulation, which does a great job at keeping you warm in freezing temperatures. But that’s obvious from their cold rating.
These boots have a removable EVA insole that’s pretty soft and comfortable. They also feature a thermal rubber outsole that is super flexible and offers amazing grip and traction, even on ice. However, one thing I don’t like about these is that they are not too versatile. Yes, they are amazing for hiking, mountain climbing, and similar adventures, but you can’t really wear them to the office.
This is not the case with the UGG Butte. They are incredibly warm, thanks to the fuzzy wool lining. And, they feature DryTech – a technology that helps these boots stay waterproof, but also breathable at the same time. And that’s pretty important, considering just how warm that lining gets can.
Oh, and these UGGs have a removable and replaceable UGGure wool insole. Additionally, they feature a Vibram outsole with superb flexibility that gives you great grip and traction on any surfaces. Overall, they are definitely the boots I would pick up if I was looking for something versatile.
The Caribou and the Hennen are both made from waterproof leather and have seam-sealed construction. But they look very different – the Sorel boots just look a little tougher. They also appear to be thicker, thanks to the removable inner liner boot.
The UGGs, on the other hand, are a lot more stylish. I think they are by far the better choice if you are looking for boots that you can wear every day, mostly because of their simple and elegant design. Plus they are lined with UGGpure wool, which will keep you warm and dry at all times.
Both pairs of boots feature a rubber outsole. The UGGs are equipped with Treadlite, which is super lightweight yet offers good grip and traction. However, I really think that the outsole on the Caribou boots is the winner here. Just check them out:
It might not be as lightweight as the one on the UGGs, but it appears to be much more rugged. That’s mostly because it has lots of lugs that are pretty deep, which offers you great traction on wet surfaces. Therefore, I think that the Sorel boots are the better option if you are looking for more dangerous adventures.
But if you are looking for the ultimate comfort and support, then I think you’ll find the Vildona foam insole on the UGGs a better fit. It does a great job at wicking away moisture and ensures your feet stay dry even if you start to sweat. The Sorels, on the other hand, don’t really have a proper insole. But, they do have a 2.5mm bonded frost plus midsole, so they provide you with some stability.
If you prefer ankle boots to tall boots, these two pairs are a good option. Both are made from waterproof full-grain leather, so they’ll definitely keep your feet dry regardless of the weather outside. However, only one pair will keep you really warm, and those are the UGGs.
They feature UGGpure wool lining, just like all the other UGGs in this review. Plus, they have seam-sealed construction, which significantly improves their waterproofness. The Sorel boots are also completely waterproof, but they are not really insulated. So, they will keep you dry, but won’t really keep you warm. That’s why I think UGGs are the go-to option if you want something to wear in the snow. But if you’re just looking for waterproof and lightweight ankle boots, you’re fine with either pair.
The Ankeny boots have a rubber outsole with a herringbone design, which is actually used in tennis shoes quite frequently. That gives you an idea of the amount of traction you’ll have in them.
The Harkley boots are equipped with the Treadlite – UGG’s lightweight rubber outsole. And when you look at the two side-by-side, you can see just how different the designs are.
But the different designs don’t mean that there are differences in their performance. In that regard, they are much more similar than they appear.
What about the footbed? Well, the Sorels come with an EVA molded footbed. It is removable, so you can easily replace it with your favorite one if you want to. But the original insole offers heel and arch support and it is soft and comfortable. The UGGs have a cushioning foam insole, which is not removable. But it is super comfortable and it is lined with moisture-wicking wool.
Ladies, if you are looking for rugged outdoor boots, then these two are your top options. Both of them are pretty tall, with a waterproof exterior and a soft and warm interior.
The Joan of Arctic boots features a removable liner boot inside, which is made from felt. It works really well as insulation – the boots can keep you warm in temperatures as low as -32 degrees Celsius. Because of that, they are a good option for the mountains and pretty much any more demanding outdoor activities.
The UGGs, however, perform even better. They are somewhat shorter than the Sorels, but it’s not a huge difference. They have a seam-sealed construction, which includes DryTech – a waterproofing technology that helps keep these boots waterproof and breathable at the same time.
The Adirondacks have 200 grams of synthetic insulation in them, as well as wool lining, so you should never be cold in them. And their outsole is made from molded Spider Rubber, which offers great traction. The outsole of the Sorel boots also performs really well – it is a herringbone design outsole, made from vulcanized rubber.
One more thing to note is that the UGG boots have an Imprint by UGG insole. It is removable, comfortable, and offers lots of heel and arch support. On top of that, they also feature an EVA midsole, for ultimate stability and comfort. Considering that the Joan of Arctic boots doesn’t even have a proper footbed, I’d say that the winner here is pretty obvious.
At first glance this might seem like an unfair comparison – the boots look really different. The Sorels appear to be more sporty and rugged, while the UGGs look like your typical everyday boots. But, they are both medium-tall boots, with a waterproof exterior and really warm interior. And both of them are more than suitable to be your new favorite everyday boots.
The Sorel ones are lined with microfleece on the inside, which tends to be really warm. Almost as warm as wool, which the UGGs are lined with. However, the Tivoli boots still have an advantage in terms of warmth, since they also have 100 grams of synthetic insulation.
Both of them have a rubber outsole: (Sorel Tivoli Outsole vs. UGG Blayre Outsole)
They don’t have any revolutionary technologies here – just plain rubber outsoles that offer decent (but not amazing) stability and traction on wet and icy surfaces.
One aspect where the Sorels have an edge is the insole. It is an EVA molded one, which offers great arch and heel support. The UGGs, on the other hand, have a plain UGGpure footbed – covered with wool to stay soft and warm but don’t offer too much support.
If I was choosing based on the looks, I’d pick the UGGs in a heartbeat. But if I have to consider their features and performance, then Sorel is the right choice here. The Tivoli boots are just the overall better choice.
In the end, it’s really difficult to say that one of these brands is just outright better than the other. But I do think that they are each better suited for different purposes.
If you’re looking to get durable and rugged hiking boots, I’d recommend going with Sorel. That’s what they mostly focus on – making boots that you can wear hiking even when the snow is knee-deep.
A great example of that ruggedness is the men’s Sorel Caribou boots. They are warm, waterproof, and breathable – everything you want out of a good sporty boot. And I really think these offer the best grip and traction out of all the boots we checked out. They have a vulcanized rubber shell with an aero-trac non-loading outsole, which has some really deep lugs. And lots of them. Do you want to hike for hours in knee-deep snow? These are the boots for you.
And who says Sorel can’t make decent everyday boots? The women’s Tivoli is a good example of that – a versatile pair of boots that you can wear in the mountains, but also to the office. They look good; they don’t have a too rugged exterior like some other women’s boots. Plus they feature synthetic insulation and microfleece lining, as well as an EVA molded insole for great support and stability.
UGG boots, on the other hand, would be my go-to choice for good everyday boots.
I especially liked the men’s Harkley boot – a short and lightweight shoe that amazes you with its performance. The upper part of the boots is made from waterproof leather, with UGGpure wool lining on the inside. And on their lower ends, they feature UGG Treadlite – a lightweight outsole made from rubber, which offers superb grip and traction. Plus they just look very stylish, and are easy to pair with your favorite outfits!
And there’s also proof that UGG can make a really rugged boot – the women’s Adirondack. They are waterproof with seam-sealed construction, as well as breathable thanks to DryTech. Their interior is lined with soft wool and it is really warm – oh, and they have 200 grams of synthetic insulation. I really think that these are the boots to get if you don’t want your feet to be cold ever again in your life!
And those four would be my top picks. But keep in mind that all of the boots I showed you in this review are really popular – and the thousands of 4 and 5-star reviews they get on Amazon speak for themselves. Go check out their prices there, and see what people are saying!
If you’re still not sure which boots to pick up this winter, check out our other posts.