The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The North Face Shellista II Mid Review

A versatile and cute winter boot for all purposes.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $140 List | $109.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Cute, versatile, relatively warm, decent traction
Cons:  Not super water-resistant
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 14, 2018
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Weather Protection - 25% 8
  • Comfort & Fit - 20% 9
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Ease of Use - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The North Face Shellista II is one of our favorite women's winter boots. As one of the most versatile boots tested, it's an excellent choice for wearing out on the town or hiking a short local trail. The 12-inch leather shaft features a waterproof nubuck leather that provides good weather protection in the snow. The outsole provides decent traction on hard or soft-packed snow. Its design is cute, while the fit is super comfortable. It does well in cold weather and offers a stable, supportive footbed for the odd-winter hike. This boot is excellent for all-around use. If you love a cute design built with great versatility, it's time to take a look at this award winner.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $109.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$185.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$94.99 at Amazon$249.95 at Amazon$106.63 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Cute, versatile, relatively warm, decent tractionComfortable, great traction, waterproof, warm, not bad lookingWarm, wider-forefoot, waterproof, fantastic traction, stability and supportSuper cozy liner, completely waterproof, cute style options, comfortable, warm.Warm, great weather protection, removable liner, super thick outsole
Cons Not super water-resistantShort in the backAggressive and techy look, not cozy, less arch supportExpensive.Sloppy and clunky fit, heavy, not very stylish
Bottom Line A versatile and cute winter boot for all purposes.The most comfortable winter boot we tested, and it has burly traction, making it perfect for winter backcountry adventures.A great winter hiker, perfect for slippery trails and long days.The epitome of comfort and warmth, wrapped in a cute winter boot.A perfect option for winter chores in cold weather.
Rating Categories Shellista II Mid Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated Wa... Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat UGG Adirondack III Sorel Caribou - Women's
Warmth (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
9
Weather Protection (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Comfort & Fit (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
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3
Traction (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
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6
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
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5
10
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8
10
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8
10
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7
10
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8
Specs Shellista II Mid Oboz Bridger 7"... Bugaboot Plus IV... UGG Adirondack III Sorel Caribou -...
Maximum puddle depth before major leaking 6.75 inches 6 inches 6 inches 8 inches 10 inches
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Measured Weight (ounces, one boot, size nine) 1 lb. 5.90 ounces 1 lb. 3.5 oz (size 7) 1 lb. 3.75 oz (size 7) 1 lb. 5 ounces 2 lb. 1.35 ounces
Fit Details True to size True to size True to size True to size True to size
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 11 inches 7 inches 7.5 inches 10 inches 11 inches
Lining/Insulation 200g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco 200 gram 3M™ Thinsulate™ insulation Omni-Heat reflective lining UGGpure wool 9mm recycled felt inner boot with Sherpa Pile snow cuff
Removable Liner? No No No No Yes
Footbed Injection-molded waterproof TPR shell O FIT Insole™ Thermal Techlite EVA EVA 2.5mm bonded felt frost plug
Upper Material Waterproof, BLC-compliant nubuck leather upper, knit collar Waterproof nubuck leather Leather, nylon Waterproof suede and leather Waterproof nubuck leather
Toe Box Rubber Molded rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Winter Grip rubber outsole with IcePick temperature-sensitive lugs. Granite Peak winterized rubber Michelin winter compound rubber Molded Spider Rubber Vulcanized rubber
Company-claimed cold-weather rating n/a n/a -25 -32 -40
Animal products used? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sizes Available 5 - 11 6 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 12 5 - 12

Our Analysis and Test Results

As our Editors' Choice winner for the fourth year in a row, 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.

Performance Comparison


The Shellista Mid is our Editors' Choice winner for its versatility and cute style.
The Shellista Mid is our Editors' Choice winner for its versatility and cute style.

Warmth


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.

The knit collar and fuzzy interior keeps warmth in while you hike and move around in the snow.
The knit collar and fuzzy interior keeps warmth in while you hike and move around in the snow.

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.

This boot keeps feet dry  warm  and happy - even in deep snow!
This boot keeps feet dry, warm, and happy - even in deep snow!

Weather Protection


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.

Here we look to see how deep each boot protects in snow.
Here we look to see how deep each boot protects in snow.

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.

Treat the leather each year to ensure its longevity.

Here we determine water resistance in our reservoir tests.
Here we determine water resistance in our reservoir tests.

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.

The fuzzy collar and interior fluff is enough to keep us comfortable and warm all day long.
The fuzzy collar and interior fluff is enough to keep us comfortable and warm all day long.

Our main 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.

Traction


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.

The traction pattern is cute and varied.
The traction pattern is cute and varied.

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.

No boot did well on ice. If you're in need of something that's guaranteed to stick, consider purchasing a pair of Yaktrax to ensure you stay on your feet when the streets ice over.

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 boot does not have a one-pull tightening action. As a result  it's important to manually tighten the boot for a precise fit.
This boot does not have a one-pull tightening action. As a result, it's important to manually tighten the boot for a precise fit.
The Shellista II Mid is super cute and works well with leggings or under a pair of jeans.
The Shellista II Mid is super cute and works well with leggings or under a pair of jeans.

Value


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.

Take a load off  make a snow angel  take a hike  do whatever it is you love to do in the winter. The North Face Shellista II Mid will keep you warm and cozy throughout the winter.
Take a load off, make a snow angel, take a hike, do whatever it is you love to do in the winter. The North Face Shellista II Mid will keep you warm and cozy throughout the winter.

Conclusion


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.

This Editors' Choice award winner is cute and stylish. Wear it around town or to work all day long.
This Editors' Choice award winner is cute and stylish. Wear it around town or to work all day long.


Amber King