In this paper, we propose the strain-smoothed MITC3+ shell finite element. The membrane strain field of the continuum mechanics based 3-node triangular shell element (MITC3+) is smoothed using the recently developed strain-smoothed element (SSE) method. The strain-smoothed MITC3+ shell element passes basic tests (patch, isotropy and zero energy mode tests) and shows significantly improved membrane behavior in various numerical examples. The major advantage of the SSE method is that no additional degree of freedom is required for solution improvement. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.