I thought I'd post an update in case anyone is considering any of the pairs I ordered.
- The Sorel Kinetic boots: Lovely with warm lining. Lightweight, the colour is slightly more blonde than in the product photos. Couldn't get my foot in them unfortunately (and that was before inserting my orthotic). Definitely not for people with high insteps.
- UGG Classic Tech Mini: Same issue. Not for high insteps either :-(( I had expected these to have some stretch, but the upper part of the shoe that runs over the foot is very hard and unflexible. Also going back.
- Salomon Outline MID GTX - Colour is more greyish than in the photos. These were surprisingly narrow (well compared to the Salomons I've tried on in the past, that were all on the wider side). Much too tight on the instep, even without orthotics. I think these would have been very comfy otherwise.
- Salomon Vaya MID GTX - Also narrower than expected (but slighty less so than the Outlines), so also too tight for me personally.
- ECCO Soft 7 Tred - I had high hopes for these. They are cute, and Eccos often work well for me, but not these alas. I ordered my normal size, which was too small with the orthotic. But I could tell that even if I sized up they wouldn't work for my high instep. Shame!-(
- Salomon Vaya Blaze - These were the only ones that fit great (with orthotic, so if you don't need one, you might need to size down). They are lightweight, comfy and warm, but I'm not sure they would keep the sand out because the flap up top sits quite "open" even when I tighten the laces as tight as I can.
- UGG Yose - I was disappointed in these. They fit well with orthotics, and are reasonably lightweight, but the part of the shoe right above the sole and the side of the foot is quite a hard, unflexible material, which made walking in them uncomfortable (for me). It felt as if I couldn't roll my foot properly. Very fun otherwise. And warm