The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody is an impressively lightweight, shockingly breathable sun shirt. It is one of the few we found to be actually wearable under a hot sun without pushing the sleeves up, making it our Top Pick for High Output Activities. This is doubly important, as it has the lowest UPF value of any model we tested - just 15! We also love the super handy features it has, like the cuffs you can flip over your hand on a chilly morning and the ponytail hole in the back of the hood. This shirt is a great addition to the closet of any activewear junkie. With a slim, athletic fit and several color options, this shirt quickly became a go-to both as an everyday sports-chic look and for a ton of outdoor activities from hiking and running to gardening and walking the dog.
Outdoor Research Echo Hoody - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Super lightweight, built in hand covers, extremely breathable, ponytail hole in hood
Cons: Snags easily, very low UPF, hand covers could be designed better
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody is a 100% polyester sun shirt with UPF 15 and anti-odor properties. It features cuffs that can completely enclose your hands and a hole in the hood for a low ponytail.
Comfort & Fit
The OR Echo is a relaxed, athletic fit with a slightly feminine cut made of soft, breathable fabric. Our main tester, who has self-described 'monkey arms' found the sleeves to actually be long enough for her. She's 5'4" and tested the XS. However, putting the cuffs down doesn't add any length to the sleeve, while still trying to cover both your arm AND your entire hand. The Echo is stretchy, but not quite stretchy enough to make this as comfortable as it could be. We found that with the cuffs over our hands, the fabric across the front of our necks was stretched a bit tight, which could be annoying to many wearers.
Additionally, the cuffs are sewn on at an odd angle for the direction they're used in. Each takes up half the width of the sleeve, and the edges of the cuffs line up with the two seams on each sleeve - one on the inside of your arm and one on the outside. This placement puts the seams on the palm and back of your hands, meaning that to use the hand cuff, the sleeve needs to be twisted about 90 degrees to be able to flip over the back of your hand. After a few wears and trials of this, we found that the shirt stretched and adapted enough that this was less bothersome than it was at first, though still not ideal.
Uniquely, The Echo has a ponytail hole in the back of the hood. It's positioned about right for a slightly-lower-than-middle ponytail, and the hole isn't quite big enough to fit a whole bun through. This feature actually works pretty well and helps keep the hood up even while running or biking, but we think it also looks pretty goofy. Still, it's a nice feature and if you don't like the look, it's easy to not use and no one is the wiser. The front of the hood is a bit taller, which both helps with sun protection and changes the fit of this shirt a bit.
With a UPF of just 15, the Echo has the least protective UPF rating of any sun shirt we tested. While several other models we tested also have hoods to protect your neck and ears from the sun, the Echo is the only one with a ponytail holder in the hood. This makes it much easier to have your hair up and still be able to wear the hood, which adds sun protection to your much cooler neck and ears.
However, unlike most of the other hooded options in our review, the Echo does not have thumb holes that help keep the backs of your hands protected from intense UV rays. While putting on those hand cuffs will certainly protect your whole hand from the sun, it also renders your digits utterly useless. We really only found this feature to be helpful when running on a chilly morning before we were fully warmed up. We do think this shirt could be even more protective - and more versatile - with the addition of thumb holes to the sleeves.
The OR Echo is one of the thinnest, lightest shirts we tested. It is impressively thin and incredibly lightweight. This makes it a great shirt for traveling, as it can easily be stuffed into a tight corner of your suitcase or backpack. It's also extremely breathable and thin without being see-through at all. We found this shirt to easily be able to keep us warm enough through an early morning chilly workout and cool enough to wear gardening in the hot sun. Truly, this is one of the only shirts we tested that we could comfortably wear to sweat in the hot sun without feeling the need to push the sleeves up and expose our arms to harmful UV rays.
We were super excited to learn that the Echo has anti-odor features as well. Being able to wear a shirt for several days and through multiple workouts is a huge plus in our book. Unfortunately, we didn't find this to make a difference at all in how the shirt smelled. After just two mild runs in cool, 60º weather, the Echo smelled just as rank as any other shirt. However, with such thin, breathable fabric, this piece can easily be washed in a hotel sink and hung to dry for tomorrow's morning routine. All things considered, this shirt performs admirably in a wide variety of conditions and activities and easily became one of our favorites to put on for just about anything from bike rides to errands.
The metric where the Echo is the least impressive, is durability. Made of thin 100% polyester, this model is breathable but snags easily. The material appears as a fairly loose weave, which surely helps with its comfort, stretch, and breathability, but also catches on things easily. Simply by wearing and washing this shirt for several months, numerous small snags developed in the fabric. While they don't unravel the shirt or leave gaping holes, we're not so sure this garment will last through many years of hard wear.
However, the Echo does come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects (at the time of writing), which is always a nice touch for any piece of gear. It also has flat, wide seams that add both durability and comfort to it.
If you're into the hooded look, we think you'll like the OR Echo. It's a loose but fitted shirt. With a feminine cut to keep it cute but loose enough to not squeeze you in the places you don't want. We like the look of this shirt better than most of the other hooded shirts we tried.
That being said, if you're concerned about fashion, we don't recommend sticking your ponytail through the hood. Unless you're trying to be unique, in which case, you go, girl! The Echo also comes in several bold colors that we think are both attractive and good for hiding the minor dirt you may acquire from wearing this shirt every day all summer.
The OR Echo is unique among models we tested in two aspects: the cuffs to cover your hands and the ponytail hole in the hood. However, it lacks thumb holes or pockets of any kind.
With a retail value that's about in the middle of the pack of tops we tested, this protective and versatile garment isn't about to break the bank OR save you a bunch. We think that its versatility, breathability, and coverage make it a great value and well worth a few extra dollars.
The Outdoor Research Echo is a great sun shirt, combining a ton of features we really enjoy into a pretty solid and versatile athletic shirt. Though its low UPF rating and unimpressive durability aren't wow-factors, we like the unique hand cuffs and ponytail holder as well as what we think are excellent color choices. With a soft, comfy fit that we loved in the cool mornings as well as hot afternoons, we really love this lightweight shirt and award it our Top Pick for High Output Activity.
— Maggie Brandenburg