Comfortable, Warm and Stylish: Winter Boots for the Woodsman

Sorel Men’s 1964 Premium T Boot.1JPG

It’s always an exciting day in the mountains when an average guy, who slips outdoors any chance he gets, finds a new pair of boots worth purchasing.  Boots separate those of us who are willing to get our hands dirty, willing to spend a few hours in freezing temperatures, willing to wake up well before the rooster crows, and willing to tromp up and down snowy mountains and hills in search of nature… from those of lesser wisdom.   And whenever I find boots worth purchasing, I feel compelled to share my enthusiasm with anyone I know.

Before I go too far in my review, here’s what the manufacturer’s website states:

Sorel Men’s 1964 Premium T Boot 2

Sorel 1964 Premium T

Sorel

Men’s 1964 Premium T Boot

Seam-sealed and waterproof, the leather upper on this classic style locks out the elements; inside, the removable recycled felt liner keeps feet dry, warm and comfortable during long, active days in challenging weather conditions.

Construction:

  • Seam-sealed waterproof construction
  • Waterproof leather upper
  • Removable 9mm washable recycled felt inner boot
  • Waterproof vulcanized rubber shell
  • Shaft Height: 9.5 in / 24 cm
  • Weight: 29 oz / 822 g
  • Sorel rated: -40° fahrenheit / -40° Celsius
  • Imported

Fabric:

  • Leather Upper
  • Recycled Felt Lining
  • Vulcanized Rubber Shell

Here it is worth mentioning that I don’t purchase anything made for outdoor purposes without prior research and thought.  Most everything I found about these boots was positive.  They generally received great reviews.  And they were manufactured by a boot company known for years for top quality boots.  Additionally, as a reminder, I don’t provide positive reviews for compensation and only provide my honest opinions on anything I review.

Sorel Men’s 1964 Premium T Boot 3

Sorel 1964’s are perfect for quick trips outside to get the mail, clean off the car, or tend to a short chore. They slip on and off easily and are tall enough to keep pants dry.

I found my boots several months ago.  Because they were off season, Dick’s Sporting Goods reduced their price to a reasonable strain on the wallet.  I’ve been without quality winter boots for a couple of years now and honestly, I was tired of dealing with frozen toes, wet socks, wet pants, and a feeling of dread when confronted with impending snow forecasts.  Even if Dick’s Sporting Goods sells out of stock, you could probably find these for somewhere just at or above $100.  For some, spending $100 dollars on a pair of boots is little more than change in their pocket.  I am not one of those people.  I’d just assume keep every portrait of Benjamin Franklin I’ve ever encountered, but I’ve found that quality boots aren’t the place to be frugal.  Quality footwear equals happy feet.

Sorel Men’s 1964 Premium T Boot 4

Warm enough for winter weather. Comfortable enough for all-day wear. And stylish enough for trips into town or city.

After the short drive from the city, I was back at home and wearing my Sorels.  Of course, I started my break in period inside my house on the carpet.  As soon as the boot tread touches any outside surface, they are all but impossible to return.  As silly as it may seem, I wore my Sorels while sitting at my desk working on school, when doing laundry, and any other time I was confined to the indoors.  Much to my delight, the boots remained comfortable throughout my experiments.

For field trials, I can’t imagine a better time and situation to begin than an hour walk for Thanksgiving Day rifle hunting in sub-freezing temperature.  The walk is a rough and sweaty affair, plenty of hills to get your heart fluttering and your temperature just below screeching.  My feet were smoldering hot by the time I arrived at my hunting location.  However, I immediately noticed no hot spots, indicating a blister, and no noticeable wear on my feet.  They were a bit heavy, but they handled the hike in superior form.  After the pitch-black walk into the forest, I sat upon my log and waited for sunrise.  Such a beautiful moment in life!  The view.  The serenity.  The warm feet.

After waiting patiently for a four-legged hunting acquaintance to arrive, the cold started to seep its way through the vulcanized rubber shells, through the felt inners, and through my skin and flesh to reach those aching points in my tarsals and metatarsals.  Fortunately, a little movement of my feet, a little movement of my toes, and some happy thoughts thawed the wintry ice within my joints and left me with a comfortably numb sensation.  My feet didn’t return to a balmy 98.6 degrees until well after an afternoon nap at home.  However, it should be noted that of all the boots I’ve tried, these have given old man winter’s meager temperatures their best rival.  I’m known to complain incessantly of cold feet (I’m wearing thick wool socks in my climate-controlled house right now).  But these Sorels have been far superior to anything else I’ve tried.

As to traction, the Sorels meet or exceed anything I’ve encountered.  The vulcanized rubber sole gripped the sand, leaves, mud, rocks, and snow especially well.  But to be honest, they struggle a bit on wet rock and ice.  Even so, a wise woodsman knows well enough to be cautious on such surfaces as a general practice.

Sorel Men’s 1964 Premium T Boot 5

Sorel 1964 Premium T
Warm. Dry. Perfect.

Oh, and the snow.  I’d been delaying this post until I had an opportunity to determine how the Sorels performed in the snow.  We’ve had a few decent snowstorms here lately – decent enough at least to get outside and enjoy some of nature’s finest precipitation.  I shoveled snow, drug a sled full of children, walked about on my property, and chased my boys around in about six inches of snow.  Here, these boots excel.  Warm.  Dry.  Perfect.

As of this date, I can’t comment on the boots’ durability.  Perhaps in a year or two or twenty, I can write honestly about how well they withstand season after season of grueling abuse.  But until then I’ll simply provide my personal insights into a first year snow boot.

Overall, I love them.  They were reasonably priced.  They’re warm.  They’re dry.  They’re comfortable.  They perform well in the snow.  And they are rugged enough to be true outdoor/hunting boots while still looking nice enough to wear to the store, or if you’re life is really challenging, the mall.  They are not without their concerns though.  As mentioned, they are quite slippery on wet rock and ice.  If this concerns you, consider a set of ice and snow chains.  I fully suspect that I’ll find a set for next winter’s ice storms.

Every woodsman should have a pair of quality general purpose outdoor boots.  Matching these boots with a pair of snow boots ensures year-round enjoyment.  I personally recommend the Sorel 1964 Premium T boots for your winter weather footwear.  They will prove invaluable to those looking for a warm, dry, and comfortable snow boot.

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14 thoughts on “Comfortable, Warm and Stylish: Winter Boots for the Woodsman

  1. We’re bouncing back and forth between Sorels and some Baffin Arctic boots. It’s been mighty cold up here of late. As I write this comment, the high for the day is a whopping 11, which we’ve reached already. The plus of either pair is using them for late season hunting as well as for ice fishing, with the purchase of some mini-crampons. Unfortunately, the only Sorels I can find in women’s sizes are more stylish than practical- faux fur, sparkles, nary an inch of vulcanized rubber.

    • Thus far, I’ve really enjoyed the Sorels. That being said, it’s unfortunate that they don’t produce a quality women’s boot. Perhaps this requires a feminist critique of hunting and outdoor gear – sounds like a great post.

      • That sucks. As Andy mentioned, maybe a smaller pair of Men’s? Otherwise, maybe try on a pair for fit and then order the same size in a different style online???

    • Thanks for commenting Andy! They’re definitely solid boots for hunting in the snow. These are the 1964 T’s and they work great, but you may also want to look at the Sorel Caribou as well. They’re a touch more expensive but seem to have much more aggressive tread. Even so, the 1964 T’s should work great.

    • In men’s, I’m about a size 4 or 5. but I’m a picky kid who won’t pay shipping on principle. Our Gander Mt carries the Baffins in a women’s (my size there is 7-ish), and we’re getting a Cabela’s in the next few months, so I’ll be looking there as well, for men’s if I have to. My current hunting boots are a pair of boy’s Rocky boots that do pretty well until it dips into the teens. But at these temperatures, I think my feet will be cold regardless.

  2. Duncan,
    My first experience with Sorels was in 1964 I believe. Here I can speak from experience. Years of hunting, hiking and snowmobiling in Sorels puts them on the upper most part of my boot list.

    My only complaints would be two. After spending good time in them, the felt will compress and compact. Then you have less “air” insulation, just as you would if you used wall insulation in your home and compressed to the outer wall and insread of leaving it fluffy. Two. If you have to hike for a long period and your feet perspire, the felt absorbs the moisture. Now sit and still hunt for a long period and with your feet in the snow. The felt can actually freeze to the insole lining. I have owned several pair and worn them as you describe. I found before starting my third season, a new set of felt liners helps a lot.

    I currently switch between waterproof HiTec Magnums high tops or the waterproof HiTec hikers. Both keep my feet warm and dry even stepping in water that isn’t deep enough to flow over the tops. But when sitting for any length of time, almost any boot will let your feet cool down. I believe it is simple circulation. The same is true of my hands and glove or mittens.

    Great review.

    • Thanks for the great info! I think that the fact that you can replace the inners is excellent. I wasn’t sure how many seasons I’d get out of a set but fully expect that they’ll need replaced from time to time.

      I never thought about the insole freezing. That would be a bad scenario.

      I agree that any boot has its limitations. I’ve yet to keep warm feet through an entire day of cold weather hunting. That being said, with my double layer of wool socks (probably a post about wool coming soon) and the Sorels, I gave the frigid temps a decent fight. My feet still got cold, but not nearly as bad as last year when I was wearing my general purpose outdoor boots with no insulation.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, my friend.

  3. Great article, i’m sorry I didn’t come across your site sooner. I’m curious, how have these boots held up since your initial post? I’m in the market for new winter boots and these are my top contenders.

    • Thanks, Russ! I’m glad you enjoyed!

      Thus far, the boots have held up well. I’ve hunted in them, hiked in them, shoveled snow in them, etc., and they seem to be well–made. I definitely recommend them!

      Thanks for visiting! Thanks for commenting! And I invite you to follow SmoothingIt.com for future outdoor product reviews!

  4. I’m currently looking into buying a pair of boots as well. I’m going to school in Boston and I’m wondering if you had any thoughts on this vs LL Bean boots?

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      I’ve never owned any LL Bean boots so I can’t speak to their quality, but I definitely recommend the Sorels. Maybe try both pair on and see which you like better (and which does the least damage to your wallet) and go from there.

      Thanks again!

  5. Pingback: Walking After the Storm | SmoothingIt.com

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