Sorel Snow Sneakers


Dubbed an “arctic slip-on,” the Fairbanks Snow Sneakers are a strange low-top option for winter use. Made to protect from the snow and cold, the shoes have waterproof leather uppers and felted wool lining. The tough outsole tread is said to have been inspired by snowmobile tracks.

The shoes slip on and off easily, no lacing required. They are warm for average winter tasks like running errands or shoveling the walk. The company notes that design cues were taken from the winter chukkas of the Alaskan Inuit.

Sorel Snow Sneakers.jpg

Sorel Fairbanks Snow Sneakers

But a replacement to winter boots these are not. I would not recommend the Sorel shoes for anything beyond the most basic activities in the outdoors. In my test, loose snow came right in when walking on a trail. The shoes’ opening at the ankle is large and loose. And at only four inches high, a lot of snow can spill inside.

On ice and packed snow, the “snowmobile tread” outsole was fine for traction. But being rubber, the tread was far from slip-proof.

Sorel Snow Sneaker.jpg

Snow Sneaker close up

Overall, the Snow Sneakers’ fit was loose and uncomfortable. Around my ankles, the big opening felt strange and too large for my foot. At the same time, they were too short in my regular shoe size. My toes banged against the front of the shoe as I walked a trail.

At $90, the Sorel Fairbanks Snow Sneakers are not worth the price. They are warm. I wear them around the house on winter days as slippers. But the company ( has some work to do on this model before I will take to wearing an “arctic slip-on” outside.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

Posted by Beau - 03/02/2010 04:53 PM

They look like they are designed for a quick run to the mail box or shoveling a lightsnow, not for doing anything really outdoorsy.

And when I was in Fairbanks in the middle of winter, I’d just sprint barefoot to the mailbox. As long as I didn’t stop moving, I could make the round trip in 30 seconds and thus no cold weather injury.

Posted by Matt - 03/02/2010 09:40 PM

I’m pretty sure these are made for apres ski, which they look like they would fill that need perfectly. If you’re resort skiing (>75% of skiers) these would be great for parking lot to happy hour, to home, whatever. Why in the world were you taking this on a ‘trail’, they look exactly like glorified slippers, which is what you’re now using them for.

Posted by Stephen Regenold - 03/02/2010 09:58 PM

Clarification: The “trail” was a path, by an urban creek near my house, loose snow, walking my dog. Common winter day task.

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