Outdoor Research Shadow Insulated Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Designed for high output activity, the OR Shadow is marketed as breathable and stretchy. While it is indeed stretchy and comfortable to wear, our testing did not indicate that its breathability lives up to the hype. Others in our fleet offer more breathability and a lighter weight. While it's warm and comfy, it isn't our first choice for a wide range of adventures.
The Shadow Insulated Hoodie is a midweight insulation layer. It's great as a standalone piece in moderate climates and can be used as part of a layering system in colder weather. When paired with a warm base layer, a synthetic or wool midlayer, and a shell over top, this jacket is capable of keeping you warm even in the depths of winter.
Weight and Compressibility
This jacket is heavy. Our size medium weighed 17.2 ounces, one of the heaviest models tested. The Shadow is comfortable and stretchy but it isn't our first choice for adventures that take you too far from the car.
The Shadow is comfortable to wear and is made from a comfortable material that isn't a typical rustly plastic bag-esque material. The fabric has a soft and supple hand feel that makes the jacket quiet when you're in motion.
We found this model runs large. The roominess in the shoulders combined with the stretchiness of the material makes it very comfortable to move around in but more difficult to layer a shell over top.
As you might expect, the Shadow isn't a waterproof jacket. The outer shell will bead off light precipitation but a more thorough drenching will soak through. The synthetic insulation will keep insulating you if it does happen to get wet, but is still not an ideal situation.
The thick layer of insulation and unique shell fabric makes this jacket quite windproof. The Shadow is perfect for cold blustery days where you might encounter a few drips here and there.
While billed as a highly breathable option, our testing indicates that it is average. We found this jacket is thick and heavy and is simply not as breathable as other lightweight options in our lineup. When you consider the weight and amount of warmth it provides, it can be considered more breathable in comparison to other models with similar specs.
As an around-the-town jacket, it provides excellent value. If you like the fit, material, and brand, this could be a worthy purchase. That being said, for a similar price, you can purchase another model that is just as warm but is also lighter and more versatile.
The comfort and weight of this jacket make it an ideal choice for daily activities. Whether you're commuting to work, going for a walk, or skiing at the resort, this stretchy jacket offers great warmth and wind protection. It isn't our first choice to take deep into the backcountry but is more than capable for most applications.
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