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.
This is a good shirt for running on a cooler day or early in the morning.
Comfort & Fit
The OR Echo is a relaxed, athletic fit with a 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 some wearers. Both the Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious and the Editor's Choice Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake are made of extremely stretchy material.
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.
The hand cuff helps keep your fingers warm but also doesn't let you use your hands at all.
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.
The Echo has a fairly fitted hood that fits easily under a helmet.
With a UPF of just 15, the Echo has the least protective UPF rating of any sun shirt we tested. While several other models, like the Editor's Choice, Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake, Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody, and Patagonia Sunshade Hoody also all 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.
However, unlike the Butterlicious, Crater Lake, or Patagonia Sunshade, 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 completely 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 with the addition of thumb holes in the sleeves.
Even with the hood down, the Echo provides some neck protection.
The OR Echo is one of the lightest shirts we tested. Along with the Crater Lake, the Echo is incredibly thin and super lightweight. This makes it a great shirt for traveling, as it can easily be stuffed into a tight corner of your suitcase. It's also extremely breathable and thin without being see through. We found this shirt to 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 (along with the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake) 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.
Though this shirt has anit-odor properties, we discovered that after a sweaty run, it smells just as bad as any other shirt.
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.
While the thin fabric is comfortable and breathable, it also snags easily.
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 places you don't want. We like the look of this shirt better than the wide, tight hem of the Black Diamond Alpenglow or the pull-string hem of the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake.
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.
If you're an athleticwear junkie, the OR Echo will go well with your wardrobe.
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.
Perhaps not the most stylish, the ponytail hole is very functional!
We think this is a great addition to the closet of any activewear junkie. We found we got a TON of good use from this shirt both as an everyday sports chic look and for a ton of outdoor activities from hiking and running to gardening and walking the dog. If you're not sold on the sporty look, but like the versatility, check out the REI Sahara, our Top Pick for Trail to Office, with a collar and buttons for class and stretch and breathability to keep you moving.
The Echo came in handy for running a race on a partly sunny, partly rainy morning.
Retailing for about $65, this protective and versatile garment is in the middle of the pack of shirts we tested. We think that its versatility, breathability, and coverage make it a great value. But if you're not ready to spend that much on a single shirt, consider the Vapor Long Sleeve, our Best Buy award winner. It lacks a hood but is also just $17.
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.
From running to hiking to lounging, we're comfortable in the lightweight and breathable OR Echo.