Reviews You Can Rely On

Outdoor Research Shadow Insulated Review

This synthetic down is comfortable and stretchy but has a heavier weight and isn't as breathable as others in our fleet
outdoor research shadow insulated insulated jacket review
Credit: Outdoor Research
Price:  $219 List
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Buck Yedor ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 28, 2022
59
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Weight and Compressibility - 20% 4.0
  • Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 5.0
  • Breathability - 15% 6.0

Our Verdict

The OR Shadow Insulated Hoodie is a stretchy and comfortable insulating layer. It's ideal for wearing during cold-weather activities where you plan to be moving your entire body. Whether you need a breathable layer for hiking, biking to work, or rock climbing, the outer shell is made from 10% spandex, which gives the wearer an incredible range of motion and unimpeded movement. The Shadow has excellent wind resistance but boasts a heavier weight than many in our fleet. However, if weight is not a limiting factor in your purchasing decision, this stretchy, midweight insulation layer may be just what you're after.
REASONS TO BUY
Good wind resistance
Stretchy
Range of motion
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Runs large

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.

Performance Comparison


outdoor research shadow insulated insulated jacket review - the long cut of the or shadow gives you plenty of coverage.
The long cut of the OR Shadow gives you plenty of coverage.
Credit: Buck Yedor

Warmth


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.

outdoor research shadow insulated insulated jacket review - the internal drop pockets on the or shadow are the perfect place to...
The internal drop pockets on the OR Shadow are the perfect place to keep a pair of gloves.
Credit: Buck Yedor

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.

Comfort


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.

outdoor research shadow insulated insulated jacket review - the comfy fit of the or shadow makes it perfect for casual hiking.
The comfy fit of the OR Shadow makes it perfect for casual hiking.
Credit: Buck Yedor

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.

Weather Resistance


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.

outdoor research shadow insulated insulated jacket review - the or shadow has no trouble keeping out moisture from snow or light...
The OR Shadow has no trouble keeping out moisture from snow or light rain.
Credit: Buck Yedor

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.

Breathability


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.

outdoor research shadow insulated insulated jacket review - the stretchy shell on the or shadow gives you an excellent range of...
The stretchy shell on the OR Shadow gives you an excellent range of motion.
Credit: Buck Yedor

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

outdoor research shadow insulated insulated jacket review - the or shadow is warm and comfortable but a little on the heavy side.
The OR shadow is warm and comfortable but a little on the heavy side.
Credit: Buck Yedor

Buck Yedor
 
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More