Sorel Footwear

by Karmaloop Rep Codes

Sorel is a line of winter boots that has long been popular in Canada for its high quality and warmth. Currently a subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear, Sorel brings the spirit and heritage of expertly crafted boots to the modern fashion world to inspire a new generation of doers, builders, and creators.

Brand history

On the frozen plains of Canada, the Sorel line was introduced in 1962 by the Kaufman Rubber Co. (now Kitchener). The boots featured vulcanized rubber, leather uppers, and wool lining. Sorel boots became the world’s best-selling winter boot for several years, keeping millions of feet in cold regions dry and warm.

Catering mainly to adult men, Sorels were sold through a wide range of channels, from traditional winter footwear retailers to tire shops and farm supply stores.

When Kaufman Footwear went bankrupt in the summer of 2000, Columbia Sportswear bought the Sorel trademark, breathing new life into the floundering brand.

Following Columbia’s acquisition, the Sorel line expanded to other products such as nylon outerwear and workwear. Sorel also moved production outside of Canada.

In 2010, Columbia took its cold-weather Sorel boots from the farm store to the fashion boutique and reignited a stagnant line. Under new leadership, the company turned the slow-selling male-focused, utilitarian arctic work boots into hot-selling female-focused fashion statements. Featuring product names such as “Helen of Tundra” and “Joan of Arctic,” the new Sorel shoes maintained some of the fur-lined, vulcanized look of the traditional winter staple, but in a sexier calf-length boot and in a variety of colors and patterns.

Last fall, Columbia introduced a made-over Sorel in a two-page ad on Vogue magazine featuring models wearing a much sexier, sleeker version of Sorels.

Columbia also worked to lengthen the shelf-life of Sorel beyond the traditional winter months by adding a spring line featuring Sorel sneakers for both men and women.

Pushing Sorel to even greater heights, Columbia developed limited edition Sorel models for The Tannery, an upscale specialty footwear chain in Boston. Another collaborative project is in the pipeline, this time with Paris couture boutique Colette.

The brand’s heritage of impeccable quality has not changed much since the first Sorels hit the market in 1962. And though Sorel now makes other products, there’s a boot in everything Sorel makes. From light and airy sandals to full-coverage snow boots, Sorel combines felt, wool, premium leather, and flawless construction for people who aren’t afraid to get their boots dirty.

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The new-look Sorel now gives your feet warmth and protection while adding some fun and zip to your step. Check out the cool line of Sorels at Karmaloop today. Current offerings include the Joan of Arctic boot, Caribou boot in buff, Tivoli boot in twill, 1964 Premium CVS boot, and Summer boot sandal in leopard and zebra prints.

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