The North Face Shelbe Raschel Hoodie Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Warm, stylish, soft inner liner
Cons: Heavy, ill-fitting non-adjustable hood, poor breathability, not very versatile
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Shelbe Raschel Hoodie is plush and warm with excellent wind-resistance, but it's heavy and doesn't have advanced enough features for anything too serious.
This is the category where the Shelbe performs the best. Plush lining provides a lot of warmth, and the air permeability of the highly wind-resistant WindWall material is rated at less than 10 CFM (cu ft/min). Typically this isn't a desirable feature in a softshell because it means breathability is very poor, which is, no surprise, exactly what we see with this jacket. If you won't be working up a sweat, and just want to stay warm on windy or snowy days, then this could be a fine choice. However, if you need your body to breathe or you think you might get caught in the rain, not so much. It repels water for a time but, eventually, moisture will come through, and, when it does, the fuzzy lining holds it in, making for a cold and miserable experience. Additionally, the hood on the Shelbe is shallow and has no adjustment system so, if gusts of winds catch you by surprise, the hood won't protect you much and may fly off completely.
This jacket provides very little breathability. The main selling point is the fact that it's windproof with very little permeability, so it's no wonder it didn't score well in this category. If you're walking to work or taking the dog to the park for an easy stroll in wind or light snow, this will be fine. But if you're planning to engage in anything even remotely aerobic, this isn't the right softshell to consider.
The Shelbe is so-so in this category. For how thick and heavy it is, it's decent, even through the shoulders and arms. The hips run a bit narrow, though, and the hood is not particularly deep or spacious, especially if you have a long neck or larger head.
A medium Shelbe Raschel will weigh you down a whopping 29.4 ounces. It's the current heaviest contender in our review by a full 8 ounces. If you're commuting via your car or the subway to work or school, it won't matter, and the heft may be seen as a good thing because it's a cozy and warm jacket. But if space or weight are at all at a premium, steer clear.
We also can't award high marks here. Other than the plush interior lining, windproof fabric, and the "comfort cuffs" at the wrists, the Shelbe Raschel doesn't offer a lot. There are only two hand pockets (zippered), and the hood doesn't adjust or cinch tight, so gusts of wind are prone to blow it off the head and allow cold to enter at the sides. This is a simple jacket for simple outings.
This is an entry-level jacket at an entry-level price. It's not feature-rich or technical, but it is warm, comfortable, and good looking. If you need something simple for chilly weather and don't want to spend a ton, this is a fine choice, particularly if you can find it on sale.
The Shelbe Raschel Hoodie isn't a bad jacket; it's just simplistic and heavy with an unfortunate hood. The material is decently moveable and highly wind-resistant, and mobility is okay, but don't expect to take on anything too aerobic or that would require properly sealing out the elements — you won't be happy. Stick to simple strolls close to home, and all should be well.
— Penney Garrett
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