Sorel Carnival

8.3 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.3)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.9 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Sorel Carnival Review Facts

Winter boots can be fashionable, but you want them to still be functional. Sorel has been around long enough to know that you don’t have to separate the two and has successfully created several pairs of winter boots that cover both and left many ‘wowing’ over them. The pair we are looking over today has both in the eyes of many and are worth it to look into, however you may want to know the specifics to decide if the balance that's given is what you both need and want in yours this winter. While some brands struggle with overbalancing, Sorel seems to have a selection of boots that sways both ways, so you want to pay close attention to what it is they have to offer.

The Carnival boot has been traditionally a line that can go either towards men or women, but this particular pair we are looking at, which is fairly newer, is aimed more towards women. The design is intended to look good as much as it feels good and may not be what you want to look for in a men’s boot. That being said, we know there is a changing spectrum of readers and people out there who no longer believe that any style boot can be worn by any person. With this pair, it all seems to depend on which option of color you take. No matter what your take on it, you came looking to hear about these boots, so let us check out the good, the not so good and the average on the Carnival Boots by Sorel.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Stylish
  • Warm
  • Traction in snow
  • Brand
  • Easy to clean
  • Not flexible
  • Not good for inclines


Like other styles of boots, Sorel chose to use a style of rubber that prevents wear and breaking especially in extreme temperature changes. They use what is known as vulcanized rubber which is created by using a special mixing technique. It consists of adding specific ingredients into the rubber to create a blend allowing for it to maintain its softness or ability to stretch and form while preventing it from breaking apart through either melting in warmer weather or chipping and cracking in colder weather. The exact compounds can vary (and tend to have different one’s dependent on the desired result) but usually involve sulfur with other materials into the rubber itself. The end result here is a boot that doesn’t fall apart and is also waterproof. The claim to fame for this product and others made by this company are that they can withstand -40-degree weather all together without any negative effects!


So, when we look into what makes up the midsole for most of the boots, including this one, we stumble upon the term “felt frost-plug”. What, pray-tell, is this? Well, even we weren’t sure initially, and just listing it off as if we did, and leaving you to wonder or nod as if you got it even if neither of us did, we decided to look into a description. After all, it is never good to use terms or throw words around if you have no idea what it means. (Good idea to follow the rule ‘don’t use it unless you know what it means’ no matter what language you are speaking.) What did we find? Do you know that hollow area inside the plastic or rubber of your shoe? Well, the plug is essentially a filler made of a specific type of material which prevents cold air from getting inside and getting your feet cold. Not all boots or shoes have a filler and often are simply covered over by the liner placed on top of it that makes up the midsole. With these, that area is filled with a frost preventing material, likely one of the company’s own design, and it works wonders for insulating the boots. Now we both know what it is, and we can read this description or hand it out because when someone asks ‘what do you mean’ we have an honest answer!


The upper part of these boots is made of a nylon style material which is waterproof as well. With the lower raised up and partway over the top of the foot, this boot is suitably sealed to prevent your feet from getting cold or wet. The nylon part is actually really good on its own for this prevention and actually travels halfway up the calf in its design. At the very top of the shell, they have a tuft of basically what amounts to faux wool. This is where you have to decide if this boot is going to fully meet your comfort wheel, as the texture is exactly as stated: it feels like wool. This, however, is a great insulation sealer which, again will aid in keeping heat where you need it during the winter.


Most boots from this company do weight more than other brands that are available, however, when you consider all that goes into this boot to protect your feet against cold winters you kind of have to let it slide a bit. Between the heavier materials on the outer and upper parts of the boots, and adding in both the midsole and liner, you come to expect a heavier style boot. While this may not leave them ideal for heavy/long travel for most, if you know you are going to be dealing with snow and cold through it all, you kind of have to forgive the weight. Less is not more in this case. At one and a half pounds, this boot is meant for the cold, and not the best for your warmer days when a lighter boot or shoe will suffice. Keep in mind though, when facing true cold and heavy snow, trading weight is often the equivalent of trading heat and protection.


A heavier boot does take away comfort in one aspect. They can wear out your legs, ankles, and foot over long use, but they do provide comfort in an important way that lighter boots don’t. If you don’t want frozen, wet and sometimes bruised feet caused by ice and snow, the heavier boot simply wins out in all three areas. Standing in these you will still remain comfy, the build of the boot is rather a cushy feeling, but lifting the weight is something that causes you to wear out faster. It is a balance that changes in value from person to person. So which side does this one ‘weigh’ in at? Well, these are more of an even balance between the two. They are at least a half a pound lighter than other lines, so they give back to comfort, but they are still given to a heavy sense of being a protective winter boot- and what else are they balanced on? Style!


Truly, these boots are not totally focused on style, but they certainly are not lacking in it either. With a carefully equalized blend of comfort, style and protection, these boots really don’t seem to lean more towards any of the three (unless like us you consider not having your feeling gone in your toes as an important part of comfort!!) and rather try to leave all three at about an exact equilibrium. With the faux wool look on the top, they aren’t ‘too’ flashy but rather give that reserved feeling of having a taste without needing to smash it in everyone else’s face. We understand the need to stand out, but in the end, you can look good without having to have a superior sense of self. This gives just that right balance so that you seem approachable, but that if approached, the other person just might want to mind their manners. Okay, okay, we know it is just a boot- but hey, no part of an outfit is usually as overboard as footwear at points. (walk down a street in thigh high, high-heel boots, and check the reaction- footwear can turn any outfit into something it isn’t!


This really ties into several areas of these boots, from the materials used, to the tread they have. We’ll actually keep this section short and sweet because of this. They are very durable. They can resist breakage and wear through extreme temperature changes, and that material allows the tread design to work where it is intended. They won’t wear out as quickly as other boots due to the material we mentioned earlier- Vulcanized rubber. Where Faux fur can get naturally matted and seem to wear out rather easily in appearance, the faux wool takes a lot more to damage in appearance, and a lot less to recover from and care for.


The heavier rubber material and liner of these boots is where the protection comes from and let us not forget the plug! With the thick yet flexible rubber, these boots start out protecting your feet from the cold ground. With it being also so tough, the flexibility doesn’t mean a hidden pack of hard snow will cause issues, though, in fact, they will protect your toes much better than a softer boot, though obviously not as well as a steel-toed boot. The rest of this boot, from the plug to the liner protects you against cold as well, preventing cold air from penetrating the boot and getting inside where you’ll end up feeling it. The nylon is as waterproof as the rubber too, so your feet are also protected from outside wetness.


Unfortunately, the way the rubber was designed, to trap heat, prevent water and to protect against a colder environment, this boot is not extremely responsive. This is what leads to the issue of discomfort as much as the weight, and why it is suggested you not use these for hiking or walking long distances. The boots do respond enough to allow easier movement through snow, but it is not meant to flex and work for going up steep inclines. The thicker rubber is also unforgiving when it comes to walking over debris more than snow- since packed snow tends to only give to harder heavier substances, that is what these boots were meant to allow for.


Depending on what size and color you choose from on these is how much you will end up paying. While we have seen the comment that it can go up to $270, we actually only found two prices, $79 and $104. The only thing we can’t seem to find information on is why there is a price difference. The only thing that really changed was the size, and it wasn’t more for a bigger size, it actually varied the whole way down the chart. Regardless, we feel either price is well worth it for this boot. They come from a great company that makes quality products you can count on, and they are awesome in both appearance and effectiveness. With such a wide array of colors, you’ll definitely find something to suit your tastes.

Traction (Tread/Grip)

The tread on these are designed for snow over ice, but then that could be said about most products in their particular use. According to most buyers, however, they actually are better than most at traversing snow and getting you safely where you need to go. Unfortunately, that same tread design is not good for going up inclines or debris-covered areas. They don’t flex well for harder less stable surface type objects like branches or rocks. So, if you want to go hiking in winter, while they will keep your feet much warmer, they aren’t the best for this purpose.


These have a removable liner, which is where that faux wool is actually attached. The liner is a bit thicker than most companies would make, but that is what makes it capable of helping to keep your feet warm. What is deceptive, however, is that many people think that because they are marked to do what they should in up to -25-degree weather, this doesn’t mean they can withstand hours of this temp and keep working, after all, feet sweat. Even if water from the outside can’t get in, it doesn’t mean your feet won’t get damp naturally on their own, allowing cold to build up over time because of the moisture. This is also what makes this liner good though- since they are not only removable, they are also machine washable! No need to worry that these will simply get to a point where you can’t wear them.


These boots go about 7 and a half inches up the calf, and, for most, that’s about halfway. In deeper snow, this is a good idea, but it can get a bit more annoying for a few of us at this height. Wool is not normally a softer material, and even faux wool has a sort of harsher texture to it. Unless you wear your boots over your pants or wear knee high socks, this will eventually irritate more sensitive skin and can even cause a mild rash from having wet, wool-like texture rubbing against you over a longer period of time. Of course, you can wear things to prevent that, as mentioned, but in the end, it is a matter of personal preference as well as if it really bothers you to begin with.

Key Features

-Faux Wool top
-Removable, easy to clean liner
-Stylish appearance
-Resist subzero temps
-Great traction in snow
-Reputable company

Bottom Line

If you must have style when fighting off the winter cold, or you simply want a pair of dependable boots for keeping your feet warm as your first priority, these are definitely worth your time and purchase. If your ability to take long treks through a wintery trail, or if you need to wear something comfortable for longer periods of time is worth more than warmth and protection, then keep checking for other options. In the end, these are designed to look good while getting through a tough snowy winter over anything else.