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
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The 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 and Fit
The OR Echo has 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 be more than adequate — she's 5'4" and tested the XS.
Importantly, the latest version of the Echo has sleeves that are a whole cuff-length longer than the previous version. This lets you easily wrap the hand muff over your paw without stretching the shirt uncomfortably tight across your neck and shoulders.
This latest handy (no pun intended) upgrade also removes our other complaint regarding the cuffs. Previously, we needed to twist the sleeves around awkwardly to utilize the wrap-over muff. With the new, much longer sleeves, we don't even notice the twisting. This upgrade to the latest version is absolutely pivotal for this shirt, taking it from one we liked to one we love.
Uniquely, The Echo has a ponytail hole in the back of the hood. It's positioned for a slightly-lower-than-middle ponytail, but isn't quite big enough for a bun. 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 it with no one the wiser. The front of the hood is nice and tall, which also helps with sun protection.
With a UPF of just 15, the Echo has the least protective rating of any sun shirt we tested. While several other models we tested also have hoods to protect your neck and ears, 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 the 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 the 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.
However, the lengthening of the sleeves comes in handy here once more. Even without turning your arms into handless noodles, the longer sleeves more easily protect the hands than the previous version.
The Echo is one of the thinnest, lightest shirts we tested. 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 newest version of 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. Though the previous version of this shirt became stinky as quickly and easily as any other shirt, this latest iteration seems to be at least moderately better at warding off the worst odors. 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.
If you're into the hooded look, we think you'll like the Echo Hoody. It's a loose but fitted shirt with a cute feminine cut that doesn't squeeze you in the places you don't want. We like the look of this shirt better than many of the other hooded shirts we tried. It's breathability also makes it a solid choice for even the hottest days and the sweatiest activities.
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 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 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 this writing), which is always a nice touch for any piece of gear. It also has flat, wide seams that add both durability and comfort. Though it washes out, we also found the darker fuchsia color we tested is quite prone to showing salt lines after your sweat dries. Yuck.
The 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, this protective and versatile garment isn't about to break the bank OR save you a bunch. That said, we think that its versatility, breathability, and coverage make it a great value and well worth a few extra dollars.
The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody 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 muffs 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 appreciate this lightweight shirt and award it our Top Pick for High Output Activity.
— Maggie Brandenburg