Thursday, 23 January 2014

Sorel Conquest Carly

Sorel Conquest Carly boots

Over the last fortnight I became obsessed with Sorel boots. I was randomly searching for warm, practical boots I could wear on our honeymoon to New Zealand next year (where it will be a mix of autumn & winter – sun, rain & snow!) and I came across them through a picture Elsie of A Beautiful Mess posted on Instagram. She had snow boots with brightly coloured laces and I thought “finally, boots that don’t look like I shop in the men’s department!”. I quickly googled Sorel boots and found their website. I was so excited about the styles they had and the fact that they weren't really THAT expensive considering they were all-weather shoes. But, alas, I discovered they didn't do online shopping & shipping to Australia. I tried to find Australian stockists (mostly snow shops) but they had very little, if any, stock, and only carried the most plain styles. I was pretty bummed. I REALLY wanted a pair of those shoes!

That is when Plan B came into effect. I remembered some of the Aussie Curves girls talking about American mail forwarding companies that let you ship your purchases to their American warehouse and then forwarded your packages on to you. They will also unpack your items and repack them all together to help you save on shipping fees. I asked for some recommendations, then went with as they didn't require a monthly fee (I don’t buy a lot of stuff from the US so I really couldn't justify paying a monthly fee) and they only had a $10 USD joining fee.

With my new mailing address in hand I logged into the Sorel US site and did my window shopping. I immediately fell in love with the Conquest Carly boots. I’m a sucker for black boots with military style laces. I had a $90 pair from NOVO a couple years back that I literally wore to death. I had to have them fixed 3 times before I finally accepted they were dead!

The only problem with the Conquest Carly was that they had sold out in my size (10). Actually, most of the boots had sold out in size 10. I sent Sorel an email asking if they were going to restock either of my 2 favourites in a size 10 and they politely got back to me saying that no, they weren't restocking their winter stock, but to keep my eye open for returns be re-listed as a lot of international customers buy 2 sizes and return the pair that don’t fit.

Over the next couple of days I checked back regularly and, lucky me, they were finally back in stock in my size. I didn't need any more encouragement to buy them, so I whipped out my credit card (they don’t accept Australian PayPal accounts) and ordered them. They were $220 USD with $6 domestic shipping – so altogether it cost me about $250 AU to purchase the boots and have them shipped to my mail forwarding company in Florida. The boots arrived at the warehouse in about 3 days and they forwarded them on to me in Sydney, Australia for about $150 AU using DHL couriers. The reason it cost SO much to ship is the fact that the box is MASSIVE and specially constructed to keep the boots safe. I didn't want to risk damage to the shoes  in transit (as my chances of finding another new pair were slim) so opted to instead cop the postage fee. They arrived on my doorstep a few days later and even though it was a blistering hot day, I wore them around the house (paired stylishly with my pajamas haha) for a good couple of hours.

The Serious Review: Now that I have told you my awfully long winded purchasing story – here is my review of the actual boots, having only worn them once.

Look – they are indeed an attractive boot. I love the mix of textures (leather and a suede type of material) and the way the laces become a feature of the boot, rather than a necessary part of them. The boot reaches up about ¾ of my calf. So not quite a knee-high boot, but not a short boot at all. Perfect height if you were wearing chunky statement socks (because, you know, statement socks are a thing now…) underneath as they will have an inch or two to show.

Comfort/sizing  – for the small amount of time I've worn them they seem comfortable.  They are a sort of stiff boot, so they do need some wearing in, but I found them true to size - my size 10 (41 EU) feet fit perfectly in them with room for moderately thick socks.  They are not flat boots and have an inch high heel. They fit around my calves without any problems, and the laces mean you can make them tight or loose around the top. A few reviews I read said they had difficulty getting them on and off, but I found simply loosening the laces was enough for me and I didn't need to completely undo and re-do them every time I wanted to wear them.

Summary: Essentially the Conquest Carly boots cost me $400. That is a lot of money for shoes in my opinion. That being said, I would buy them again given the option. They are waterproof, warm and have both snow/outdoor grips (on the toe) as well as cement grips (on the heel) which mean I can wear them around town or on my honeymoon whilst hiking glaciers or walking across snow covered towns. Of course, I will update this review once winter/cold weather hits & they get some wear, but for now they get 2 thumbs up from this happy customer!

Ps. I am REALLY hoping Sorel change their store to include shipping to Australia, if they did they would get some SERIOUS business from me!

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