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Winter Boot for Univ. of Michigan campus

Looking for a durable, waterproof and warm boot for my daughter attending Univ. of Michigan this winter. Needs to handle ice, snow, slush and -degree temps. They don't close school for snow. We were getting ready to purchase the Sorel Caribou, but reviews have been bad for "cracking" since Columbia took over that brand. She likes that she was also looking at the Merrell Tremblant Mid Polar boot.  Do you have any recommendations for us?

3 Replies

@crystal thanks so much for reaching out to us for help with this! The first consideration with any footwear is fit, which is why it's a bit hard for us to recommend specific boots over the internet without knowing anything about your daughter's feet. Are they wide/narrow? High or low volume? If it's at all possible, coming in to your closest REI store for a fit would be ideal. If that's not possible, make sure whatever boot you pick is both waterproof and insulated. Know that lace-up boots will provide a more secure fit than slip-ons, which can be helpful for walking across campus and for activities like snowshoeing. Here are a few specific suggestions, in case you can't come in:

  • The Sorel Caribou is a good option for a wider foot or someone who doesn't mind a loose-fitting boot - in terms of the sole cracking concerns, as long as the cracking is not caused by normal wear and tear, our Satisfaction Guarantee would cover a manufacturer defect. 
  • In contrast, for a more narrow foot, you might consider the Oboz Bridger or The North Face Chilkat.

It's likely that other employees (and community members) will weigh in with other suggestions as well!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

My recommendation would be to visit the REI in Ann Arbor for a recommendation by someone local to SE Michigan weather.  

Likely your daughter will also have to deal with a high snowfall at times so a higher boot might be a better option.


@crystal Thanks for reaching out!

You've gotten some really good advice here so I'm going to focus on your Sorel comment. I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and we sell a lot of the Sorel Caribou boot to students, hunters, snowshoers, and other various winter outdoor enthusiasts. I can say that in our Alaskan winters we have not seen any quality issues specific to that particular boot. There are a lot of good options out there for sure, but the Sorel Caribou hasn't stood out for any noticeable lack of performance in my experience. I would also recommend traction devices as an addition to the boots for walking in really icy conditions.

I hope this helps and best of luck to your daughter!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.