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The North Face Shellista III Mid Review

This is a really comfortable, waterproof, and protective boot that's ready for the most wintery days
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Price:  $140 List | $69.98 at Backcountry
Pros:  Comfortable, waterproof, protective, warm
Cons:  Style is questionable, not as versatile as a shorter boot
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 11, 2019
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weather Protection - 25% 6
  • Comfort & Fit - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Traction - 10% 4

Our Verdict

Winter savvy and stylish is what defines the North Face Shellista Mid III. It stands out for its great all-around winter performance that makes taking on winter a breeze. Its mid-calf construction blows down snowdrifts while its softer and less aggressive outsole sticks to snowy packed trails interlaced with ice. Perhaps the most stand-out feature is its comfort and warmth, wrapping your feet up like a warm blanket all day long. Its lightweight construction doesn't feel bulky and its streamlined enough to drive a stick shift with ease! While it certainly protects from slush and snow, it's not completely waterproof from the deepest puddles. The new updates to this boot have made it easier to use and more protective than its been in the past. Enjoy winter with this high-value winter boot, built for basically anything that you'd want to do in the winter months.

This boot comes in a taller version if you prefer more coverage.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Shellista III is an update from the II for 2019. Here are the main differences:
  • Taller height (1/4 inch)
  • New pull tabs to get the boot on easier
  • New "fuzzier" lining at the top of the boot
  • No gaiter attachment
  • Fewer eyelets for lacing
  • Higher quality leather construction

This is one of our favorite all-around performers that's seen a major update since last year. This boot used to be our Editors' Choice winner because it offers great all-around performance transferring from the town to the trail. This new update offers a little more protection than before while giving us an easier time getting it on and off. That said, the competition amongst other boots is stiff this year, and it doesn't earn an award. That said, it's still among our favorites for its great all-around performance, comfort, and versatile application. This is the boot to buy if you want a stylish option that does it for around-town or city travel.

Performance Comparison


We enjoy a cold winter walk in the mountains while wearing the super cute and comfortable North Face Shellista III Mid. A great option for winter walks  sipping hot chocolate  and hanging out at work.
We enjoy a cold winter walk in the mountains while wearing the super cute and comfortable North Face Shellista III Mid. A great option for winter walks, sipping hot chocolate, and hanging out at work.

Warmth


Built with 200-grams of high-quality PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation and a thicker outsole, this boot offers lots of warmth throughout the coldest days of winter. It continues to keep our feet warm, even when a polar vortex hits the town, sinking temperatures well into the double negatives. Since the boot is so tall, it insulates 11.5 inches up the leg. The thicker outsole insulates from the ground, locking in the warmth generated from movement. The leather upper is quite breathable, offering decent ventilation so your feet don't get swampy and stay dry. Overall, we are impressed by the warmth of this boot. Trust it to keep you warm with a decent pair of socks through the coldest days of winter.

The Primaloft Silver insulation provides ample warmth while the mid-calf construction comes halfway up the leg  offering great warmth.
The Primaloft Silver insulation provides ample warmth while the mid-calf construction comes halfway up the leg, offering great warmth.

Weather Protection


This boot is made from high-quality materials that make it relatively weather-resistant for most winter conditions. The shaft is composed of a leather upper, with wool and suede at the top of the boot. The outsole is made from a lightweight and durable rubber compound that is waterproof. That said, the seams are only water-resistant and not waterproof.

Here we break some trail around our property while watching the clouds move in for another storm. The Shellista proves to be a protector  keeping our feet warm and dry on these escapades in deep snow.
Here we break some trail around our property while watching the clouds move in for another storm. The Shellista proves to be a protector, keeping our feet warm and dry on these escapades in deep snow.

This boot offers great protection from snowdrifts that get as high as 11 inches! The new insulation at the collar of the boot does a great job grabbing and glomming snow, so it doesn't sink into the shaft of the boot.

A look at how the faux fur collar of the Shellista III Mid keeps snow out.
A look at how the faux fur collar of the Shellista III Mid keeps snow out.

While it does really well in snow, extremely wet conditions are another story. During our puddle tests, water seeped into the boot just a mere 4 inches from the bottom of the outsole, right at the seams. Furthermore, when we walked deeper into the river, water came flooding into the shaft.

At about this height  water comes pouring into the boot. While it does well in little puddles around town  don't expect them to perform if you're going to go tromping around in rivers for fun or work.
At about this height, water comes pouring into the boot. While it does well in little puddles around town, don't expect them to perform if you're going to go tromping around in rivers for fun or work.

While this boot offers protection from flying snow, slush, and small puddles, it won't do it when puddles get deeper than 4 inches or if you're trying to cross a deeper creek or puddle. While this boot is protective for most things that Winter will throw at you, its performance breaks down in extremes. This was a problem with the previous version, and we're a little unimpressed that North Face has not fixed this issue yet.

Here we see water that enters through the opening at the tongue. Even with it cinched down completely  these are not waterproof in their construction.
Here we see water that enters through the opening at the tongue. Even with it cinched down completely, these are not waterproof in their construction.

Comfort & Fit


Oh boy! How we love the fit and comforts of this boot. If you're seeking a comfortable midsole with a plush-lined interior and stability throughout the shaft of the boot, this is it!

A view from the front.
A view from the front.

The midsole is quite supportive, with a regular wide toe box, offering much wiggle room for the wide footed. We ordered a size nine and thought it was pretty true to fit. However, when reading online reviews, many say it's a little small. If you're on the fence or like a thicker sock, we'd recommend sizing up a half size. Aside from that, enjoy the comforts of this super cozy winter boot through all the cold days of winter.

From the side.
From the side.

Ease of Use


One of the best updates to this boot is the new 'easy pull tabs' on the sides of the boot and fewer eyelets.

We appreciate the pull tabs that make putting this boot on so much easier. This is a new addition to the update of this boot.
We appreciate the pull tabs that make putting this boot on so much easier. This is a new addition to the update of this boot.

The laces are thicker, and still doesn't have a one-pull use that tightens all the laces, but the construction has improved since the last iteration. We appreciate that you can keep the shaft of the boot laced up, put your foot in, pull it on with the tabs, then simply lace just the last two eyelets. This makes this boot far easier to get into before. While you can't simply slip it on without the use of your hands, it's still pretty easy to use.

Unlaced  you can slip your foot in  then lace the upper two eyelets  and you're done.
Unlaced, you can slip your foot in, then lace the upper two eyelets, and you're done.

Another point to make is that the construction of this boot is leather. We suspect that it will require maintenance throughout the year to ensure it stays weatherproofed. Be sure to treat the leather in this boot.

Traction


This boot offers enough traction to take you over most winter surfaces, including the odd winter trail or snowshoe trip. The traction pattern is far from aggressive, but we appreciate the softer rubber that hugs to undulations in the surface, doing okay on hardpacked surfaces and other types of terrain. When testing it while hiking on steeper snowy trails, we found ourselves slipping out quite a bit.

While this outsole isn't the most technical or aggressive  the rubber compound is soft  which sticks better to icy surfaces than rubber that is quite hard and slippery.
While this outsole isn't the most technical or aggressive, the rubber compound is soft, which sticks better to icy surfaces than rubber that is quite hard and slippery.
The depth of the lugs is perfect for hardpacked trails  snowy terrain  and conditions you'd expect to encounter in winter.
The depth of the lugs is perfect for hardpacked trails, snowy terrain, and conditions you'd expect to encounter in winter.

For these applications, we'd recommend a burlier hiking boot, and stick to flatter, snowy trails in this boot. Like most snow boots, it doesn't do the best over ice. However, the softer rubber compound does better than boots that are constructed with super hard rubber. Therefore, it'll suffice for the odd slippery sidewalk, but be sure to strap on a pair of microspikes if you're sidewalks and streets are completely iced over.

Take little jaunts through the woods or go on easy winter hikes. They are also comfortable enough to strap on a pair of snowshoes.
Take little jaunts through the woods or go on easy winter hikes. They are also comfortable enough to strap on a pair of snowshoes.

Value


This boot is relatively well priced with great performance throughout the winter months. It is comfortable with a mountain-chic style that you can wear from work to the local town trails. Its versatile and protective, offering performance that'll last you for many years. We've tested different versions of this boot over the last four years, with our main tester testing the previous version for a couple. It's kept up its relative warmth and proven to be quite durable. If this new iteration is anything like that, we can stay (with confidence) that this boot is of great value.

Enjoy the super cute and comfortable North Face Shellista winter boots this year. A past award winner  they prove to be high performing and come at a great price.
Enjoy the super cute and comfortable North Face Shellista winter boots this year. A past award winner, they prove to be high performing and come at a great price.

Conclusion


The North Face Shellista III stands out as an all-winter warrior conquering simple hiking trails and pavement surfaces with ease. It looks cute and stylish while offering a hefty level of warmth, well into the double negative digits. While it's not the most waterproof option out there, it'll certainly suffice as you travel from the coffee shop to your car and up the mountain to your favorite ski hill. It's easy to take on and off and offers amazing all-day comfort.

Amber King