If you live anywhere with a cold climate or harsh winters… you know how important it is to have a good pair of boots that will keep your feet both warm and dry.
One of the most popular footwear brands out there, SOREL is now owned by the world-renowned sportswear empire Columbia Sportswear LTD. These boots strike the perfect balance between function and fashion.
Founded in 1962, SOREL combines expert craftsmanship and of-the-moment design to create all-season footwear
For anyone living in or traveling north for the winter, SOREL boots are worth checking out. A competitor to UGG boots, their snow boots are designed to keep your feet warm inside.
If you’ve ever wondered where are SOREL’s popular winter snow boots made…you’re in the right place. We’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular brand below.
History and Background of SOREL
SOREL was founded in 1962 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. The brand started by creating premium hand-crafted boots made primarily of rubber.
The company was owned by Jacob Ratz Kaufman, owner of the Kaufman Rubber Company. Jacob Kaufman opened his very first rubber factory in 1908 on about 4 acres of land at King and Victoria Streets in Kitchener, Ontario. He soon began creating high-quality rubber boots that were sold around the world.
SOREL challenges the status quo by creating unexpected footwear that pushes the boundaries of function-first fashion
In 1920, the company was handed down to his son Alvin Ratz after Jacob Ratz Kaufman passed away earlier that year.
Alvin Ratz did a phenomenal job expanding the Kaufman Rubber Company, but once the SOREL brand was officially launched, he stepped down as President and acted as the chairman for years to come.
SOREL has a long history and has consistently made quality boots by putting functionality first. In fact, just like Canada Goose, their products were made to withstand harsh Canadian winters.
The SOREL Lennox Hiker boot takes the trails and scenic exits during both good and wet weather seasons
The waterproof rubber boots were designed with fishermen, farmers, and hunters in mind. SOREL boots became increasingly popular over the years, but due to the limited market audience, they struggled financially.
SOREL’s financial struggles continued for years until they finally filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
Columbia Sportwear and SOREL Boots
Columbia Sportswear Ltd. scooped up the SOREL brand after it filed for bankruptcy in 2000. However, the brand as we know it today was not officially launched by Columbia Sportswear until 2010.
One of the largest outerwear manufacturers in the world, Columbia took the functionality of SOREL boots and made them fashionable.
The Columbia Sportswear Company operates the brands Columbia, SOREL, Mountain Hardwear, and prAna
More specifically, they redesigned the boot to make it more appropriate for everyday use for both men and women.
The retail locations quickly moved from hunting and trade shops to malls, outlets, and independent sellers across the globe.
That being said, the rebrand of SOREL boots did not come cheaply, and Columbia had to make some tough decisions as to where they would manufacture the SOREL line moving forward.
Due to the high-quality nature of the boots, they are not exactly cheap to make. Manufacturing the boots in North America became increasingly costly and led to products out of reach for the average consumer.
Where SOREL Boots are Made
Due to the rising manufacturing costs of SOREL boots, Columbia Sportswear LTD. moved the manufacturing facilities from Canada to China and Vietnam. As a result of this move, the cost of creation was cheaper, and the consumer purchase price was more affordable.
According to Columbia, most of their footwear products are manufactured in three countries, with most (and specifically, SOREL) being manufactured in both China and Vietnam.
Columbia does not own manufacturing facilities but rather maintains contracts with multiple large manufacturing companies in countries around the world.
Previously, Columbia made all of its products in Portland, Oregon. However, as the company grew in size and began increasing its annual revenue, the financial decision was made to contract manufacturing companies overseas to make their products.
The classic SOREL Caribou winter boots provide legendary warmth and protection in cold, snowy conditions
In recent years, Columbia executives have spoken out about the tariffs imposed on companies that manufacture products overseas.
In a ‘Mad Money’ interview, Columbia’s CEO, Tim Boyle, was very clear on the company’s position related to overseas manufacturing. According to Boyle, Trump’s imposed tariffs on companies that manufacture products outside of the United States are simply ineffective.
“We’re paying additional tariffs on that merchandise, which we’ve been very clear it’s bad for consumers globally, bad specifically for consumers in the United States,” Boyle claims. “We’re free traders. We like the opportunity to sell more merchandise at better prices to consumers.”
To this day, Columbia is continuing to manufacture SOREL boots overseas.
Where to Buy SOREL Boots
SOREL boots are available at retail stores in North America, Europe, Asia, and beyond.
A global brand, many shoe retailers sell these popular boots in their retail stores and online. SOREL also has its own website where you can buy a wide variety of footwear. Most importantly, they ship worldwide.
SOREL boots fit true to size, so ordering SOREL boots online should be fairly straightforward. Though they come in a wide range of sizes in length, there are no ‘extra wide’ options for SOREL boots.
However, most consumers report that SOREL boots have a roomy fit accommodating most feet comfortably, without needing additional width. If you are between sizes and plan to wear them with a thick sock, it would be wise to size-up to ensure a comfortable fit.
5 Most Popular Styles of SOREL Boots
SOREL boots have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years, and their fashionable footwear has been all over Pinterest, Instagram, and most other social media platforms. Even Selena Gomez has been spotted in their popular rain boots.
1. SOREL Joan Uptown Chelsea Boots, $199 – $245 on Amazon
The urban-chic wedge boot for an instant style boost
Certain styles seem to be more popular among fashionistas. In particular, the Joan Uptown bootie has been consistently popular over the years, especially after actress Debra Messing was seen wearing a gorgeous pair of wedged Conquest shearling boots at the Sundance Film Festival.
2. SOREL Conquest Winter Boots, $130 – $165 at SOREL
A fashion-lovers dream, these boots look incredibly chic while also keeping your feet warm when winter temperatures kick in.
Hilary Swank has been spotted wearing SORELs over the years, and her signature style is the SOREL Explorer Joan boot. These boots are incredibly comfortable, with a comfortable footbed and luxurious insulated microfibre designed to keep your feet warm all day.
3. SOREL Explorer Joan Waterproof Winter Boots, $139.95 at Backcountry
The warmth of a winter boot meets the fit of a sneaker with this stylish explorer
A winter classic that is completely functional for wet, snowy days, the Joan of Arctic Next Boot is one of the most popular styles for fashion lovers living in a colder climate.
This style has become increasingly popular because it is completely waterproof – which means when you’re faced with 5 inches of snow on your way to work, you’re not going to arrive with soaking wet feet.
4. SOREL Joan Of Arctic Boots, $249.95 at Nordstrom
SOREL’s classic Joan of Arctic winter boot is seam-sealed, waterproof, and insulated for warmth and protection
Additionally, the boot is well designed so that despite its functionality, it is still a fashionable winter accessory! The shoe has a slight lift and an adorable fur-trim and lace-up design that looks great paired with almost any outfit.
If you’re not necessarily looking for a full-on winter boot but still want a pair of SORELs, the Emelie Chelsea boots are the most popular style of booties sold by SOREL.
5. SOREL Emelie Waterproof Chelsea Boots, $150 at SOREL
The lux look of the waterproof SOREL Emelie Chelsea boot will keep you in style all season long in all kinds of weather
These boots have a more dressed-up look and are suitable for more temperate fall weather. True to the SOREL brand, they are still very well insulated and are perfectly waterproof. Rainy weather? No problem!
Are SOREL Boots Worth the Price?
SOREL boots will cost anywhere from $80 -$300 USD, on average. Of course, this is pricier than the average boot so you might be wondering – are they really worth the price? In short, yes!
SOREL boots are fashionable, functional, and, most importantly, built to last. You will get several seasons of wear from their boots, even when worn in harsh winter weather! SOREL boots are built to last, and their quality has been maintained for years.
Columbia Sportswear is known for its high-quality products. Their brand was built on the promise to provide high-quality goods at more affordable pricing.
Plush fur and fleece lining with sophistication and insulation make SOREL snow boots winter essentials
While their products are definitely not cheap, the cost is reflective of the quality. In fact, many people claim to have SOREL boots that are nearly a decade old!
SOREL is one of the most popular choices when it comes to winter boots. A company that originated in Canada, they know all about winter weather.
Celebrities have been seen wearing the boots for years, and they are certainly well-designed. Winter boots are one of the hardest items to shop for because the design is often sacrificed at the expense of functionality. Luckily, there are a few brands out there that do this well, and SOREL is one of them.
With manufacturing taking place in China and Vietnam, Columbia Sportswear strives to price its products competitively. As such, the company continues to make its SOREL footwear line in Asia, as opposed to North America.