Are Sorel Boots Good for Hiking? (The Good and the Bad)

Sorel boots are popular footwear best known for their durability and utility on winter hikes. Some styles include faux fur collars with buckles, laces, drawstrings, or Velcro straps.

However, while Sorel is praised for their winter hiking boots, they also design footwear that can be worn all year round, thanks to their optional fleece linings. This allows you to wear a boot that can be used as a casual style accessory, work footwear, or even rain boots.

With that in mind, are Sorel boots good for hiking? Below, we’re going to talk a little more about this brand’s boots, get into some of Sorel’s greatest products, and find out if their footwear really is great for outdoor adventures.

Quick Summary 

  • Sorel’s are designed to be worn as winter hiking boots in cold weather, but their seasonal styles make them appropriate to be worn year-round.
  • Sorel boots have features like Thinsulate insulation, waterproof construction, and removable molded EVA footbeds, making them ideal for hiking.
  • The Madson II Hiker WP and Lennox Hiker boots are popular products to choose from, but each Sorel boot has its own unique advantages and disadvantages when on the trail

What Are Sorel Boots?

a pair of sorel boots with red laces

Sorel boots were originally designed in 1962 to be a durable form of protection against cold temperatures.

Even though they were made with premium materials, such as full-grain leather, synthetic fabrics, and fleece linings to keep the feet warm, they have since evolved into more fashionable boots that combine style with versatility.

When Sorel boots aren’t being worn for winter hiking, the rubber outsole still performs exceptionally well, especially on wet and slippery surfaces.

The removable liner complements this by allowing you to turn a Sorel winter boot into footwear suitable for some spring and even summer traveling.

Are Sorel Boots Good for Hiking?

sorel boots from behind

Sorel boots are good for hiking if the trail isn’t exceptionally rugged.

While Sorel produces good quality boots made to withstand deep snow and icy hiking trails, they’re not fully committed to the design of most regular hiking boots.

Usually, most hiking boots have padded collars for ankle support, consistent traction, sufficient cushioning along the midsole and around the foot, and a lightweight build.

Unfortunately, Sorel footwear tends to lack some of these features, especially in terms of its bulk.

These would be better suited for ski trips or winter vacations. Although, if you did plan to use these for hiking, keep in mind that the thick leather upper of Sorel boots can withstand temperatures of up to -100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The leather also manages to be incredibly protective against outdoor hazards. Overall, whether or not Sorel boots are good for hiking depends on the type of traveling you intend to do, but it remains a sturdy choice for most casual outdoorsmen.

Are Sorel Boots Comfortable?

Sorel boots are incredibly comfortable to wear during the colder, snowy seasons. The fleece liners are very soft, keeping your feet dry while also helping you to remain warm.

The footbed, which is EVA molded, is well-padded on the heels and arches, and the variety of closure styles lets you choose a boot that fits around your ankle the best.

However, one feature to note, which may or may not be a problem depending on what you’re looking for, is that a Sorel boot runs a bit wide to accommodate people with larger feet.

While this gives more room to the forefoot, it may be too much space for people with narrower sizes, requiring you to size down in some cases. Although, that also means these boots can be worn with socks without a decrease in overall comfort.

What Are the Best Sorel Boots for Hiking?

Sorel Madson II Hiker WP Boot

Sorel Men's Madson II Hiker WP Boot

The Sorel Madson II Hiker WP is a durable leather boot made with full grain uppers, a removable EVA footbed, a padded collar, and a lace-up closure system.

With the seam-sealed design, the waterproofing makes these a good pair of boots in light or moderate rain conditions.

The Madson II also has a molded rubber outsole, which has solid traction on slippery terrain. Overall, these boots can handle casual hikes, walking, and other everyday activities.

However, they may not make great winter or snow boots due to the lack of insulation that most Sorel boots have.

Sorel Lennox™ Hiker

Sorel Lennox™ Hiker

The Lennox Hiker is another leather waterproof boot designed to be effective in rainy conditions.

Like the Madson II, it gives the soles of the foot good comfort for long periods of time.

It also has a cushy midsole with an omnidirectional tread on the rubber outsole.

However, what makes the Lennox Hiker different from these two, is that it’s a little lighter than the Madson II.

On average, the Lennox Hiker weighs around 2lbs per pair, while the Madson II weighs around 3lbs per pair. While this isn’t a significant difference, it does make the Lennox more appealing for someone looking for a true lightweight boot.

Advantages of Using Sorel for Hiking


tread and traction

The rubber outsole that Sorel uses is multi-directional with a decent grip and lug depth.

Since they were originally designed as snow boots, they have consistent adhesion in snow and ice, making them good choices for winter adventures on trails and mountains without a lot of steep elevations.


A Sorel boot can be made with full grain or suede leather uppers, which are some of the highest quality materials to make footwear with.

This makes Sorel boots scratch and tear-resistant, but it also makes them good at protecting the feet from harsh elements and other outside hazards.


A Sorel boot has applications in both wet and dry conditions. As mentioned previously, winter boots can be converted into spring and summer footwear by taking out the removable Thinsulate layer.

They can also be used as style accessories in urban settings instead of just outdoor boots.

Disadvantages of Using Sorel for Hiking


Sorel boots tend to be a little heavier than normal. There are other brands, which produce footwear exclusively for the outdoors, with much lighter hiking boots.

That said, the bulkiness of Sorel boots makes them poor choices to be worn as anything other than snow boots for winter hiking. 


black boots

Sorel winter boots have a seam-sealed design, which keeps the inside dry and protected from water.

Unfortunately, this means that the boots lack any real ventilation, even if the Thinsulate lining is removed.

The low breathability makes the boots overheat quickly in the hotter and dry seasons.


Sorel boots are commonly designed for people with wider feet, so there’ll be many situations where you might need to size down to find something that’s comfortable for you.

If the boot isn’t properly sized, the extra volume could cause discomfort on the arches and toes, or even blistering.

Related Articles:

Do We Recommend Sorel for Hiking in the Winter?

Overall, we don’t recommend Sorel boots for hiking in the winter. These boots are heavier than most and are lacking some key features of traditional hiking boots. However, while these boots are too bulky for medium and longer hikes, they could be used for casual and easy trails.

All things considered, if you’re still undecided on the best winter footwear for yourself, take a look at our article here to see what we recommended as the best snow and winter hiking boots for 2023.


Are Sorel Sneakers Good for Hiking?

Sorel sneakers are good for light hikes. Since they’re not hiking boots, they don’t offer the same level of protection, stability, and support. Using them for moderate or advanced hikes isn’t recommended.

Are Sorel Boots High Quality?

Sorel boots are high-quality shoes, designed with premium materials, such as full grain and suede leather, EVA midsoles, and responsive rubber outsoles, all of which can withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

Are Sorel Boots Really Waterproof?

Sorel boots are waterproof. Combined with a seam sealed design, Sorel footwear is insulated and can withstand rain, snow, and puddles, but cannot handle being fully submerged.

Catalin Geangos

Catalin Geangos

Catalin is a writer and outdoor specialist who has been traveling in over 35 countries so far. He loves spending time in nature, enjoying mountains and nature adventures, and ultimately inspiring people to travel more. In his time off, he is testing, analyzes, and reviews hiking and other outdoor gear and accessories.

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