The North Face Shellista II Mid Review
Cons: Not super water-resistant
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Shellista II is a versatile, cute, and comfortable winter boot. It will keep you protected from the elements, and keep you looking stylish, no matter what winter decides to send your way.
During our testing for the fourth year in a row, The North Face Shellista II Mid still provides decent warmth in the negative digits. This boot features an 11-inch nubuck waterproof shaft and insulates using 200-grams of PrimaLoft Silver Eco Insulation. This generates heat while in motion. The sole is a little thicker than most of the around town boots, which protects against cold underfoot.
We were happy to have it when the Polar Vortex' hit Ridgway, CO, a few seasons ago, bringing temperatures down to the double negative digits for a full week. While wearing the Shellista in those temperatures with a pair of ski socks, our feet stayed toasty warm while walking around town and holiday shopping for hours.
That said, it's not the warmest boot out there as heat escapes from the thinner shaft material (even though it is lined). In our temperature test, this boot lost almost 25 degrees over the course of 20 minutes! Nonetheless, this boot works well when we kept moving.
While it's not the warmest, it's not the coldest either. We were pretty surprised to find that this leather boot offered more warmth for the coldest day of winter. Overall, we recommend this boot when the mercury plummets here and there, but we'd opt for a warmer boot if you're going to be in cold shiver, inspiring temperatures most of the season.
The Shellista II is waterproof and snow resistant up to its knit topper, which is neither. During our leak depth tests, water flooded into the lowest knit point at the back of the shoe, over four inches below the top of the boot. This gives it a puddle depth of 6-inches. Still, with a waterproof membrane and nubuck leather shaft, this boot provides decent protection in snowdrifts up to eleven inches.
As the seams are watertight and the material waterproof, we had no trouble jumping through slush puddles or heading out on a short hike. That said, even though this boot was protective in our tests, we noticed that the leather did saturate after being outside for the whole day in the snow. Even though the water didn't penetrate to the interior of the boot, it doesn't wick as well as other options.
Since it doesn't feature a faux fur collar, which keeps snow out of your boot when you step in deeper snowbanks, it didn't score as high as competitors with faux fur. It stands up well in most snowstorms, but if you plan on being outside all day, every day, we'd recommend a boot that features a little more weatherproofing.
Comfort and Fit
The Shellista II is one of the top-performing boots for comfort and fit. The shaft and interior of the boot are lined with furry insulation all the way to the footbed. Injection-molded, this footbed is firm and feels like stepping onto a memory foam mattress. It kept our feet comfortable while walking around in them each day. The shaft is a little rigid at first but breaks in easily after just a couple of longer walks.
This boot fits true to size. It features a wide toe box that is high volume, providing wiggle room to generate heat on colder days. We appreciate that the boot is large enough to accommodate thicker socks. The heel is nicely fitted, which means it does not slip out on hiking trails. This boot fits those with narrow and medium feet well.
Our head tester wore this while commuting to work (approximately a one-mile walk) and throughout several eight-hour days on her feet. After tests with numerous other boots in similar conditions, this proved to be one of the most comfortable because of the shaft's flexibility. Weighing in at about 1.25 lbs, this was one of the lightest boots tested! It's also incredibly breathable! As a result of all these features, we highly recommend buying this boot to wear all day, inside and out.
It has a diversity of lugs that vary in shape and size, are multi-directional, sticky, and temperature-sensitive. This provides good grip over rocks, and uneven surfaces and the temperature-sensitive lugs stick to wet rocks and packed snow. This makes it ideal for snowy commutes and light winter hiking.
The multi-directional and varied lugs ultimately increase surface area to keep your feet on the ground. We wore these boots while hiking over snow-packed trails and while running snowy hills. During these field-based tests, this boot provided a great level of traction that extends its versatility to light hiking. In addition to the great outsole, the rigid shaft and precise fit also facilitate grip.
While this boot features a decent traction pattern, but it's only about average for the testing field. It does a great job as a wear-around town or light hiking winter boot. When it comes to situations where traction on steep snow-packed surfaces is a necessity, a winter hiking boot is a better bet.
Ease of Use
This boot is not the easiest to take on and off. While the inner lining is slippery and smooth, this boot lacks a whole lot of volume in the shaft. Also, the lacing system requires you to tighten and loosen the laces manually. We found ourselves taking a lot of time to put it on and off. That said, we did like that we could wear it above tights and underneath pants comfortably. This model is comfortable for all-day use and doesn't feel too bulky.
This model offers one of the best values in the review. Not only is it one of the least expensive boots in our fleet, but it's chock-full of features. For a low sticker price of it offers immense versatility and performance. To boot (no pun intended), it has a super cute style that is suitable for wear from work to dinner with friends.
Conquer gnarly winter conditions with this Editors' Choice Winner! This mid-calf boot protects from the elements with a unique style. If you're looking for the best around-town option that you can wear all day, inside or out, this cute weather warrior will keep your feet (and fashion-sense) happy.
— Amber King