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Outdoor Research Echo Hoody - Women's Review

A super breathable shirt with handy functions that keeps you both warm AND cool
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $65 List | $48.71 at Backcountry
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
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2020
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 14
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 8
  • Sun Protection - 25% 8
  • Breathability - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody is an impressively lightweight, shockingly breathable sun shirt. It is one of the few we found to actually be 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! Despite this, we 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, the Echo quickly became our 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.


Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


We recently retested the newest version of the OR Echo and while much remains the same  the sleeves have had significant improvements - and we love it.
We recently retested the newest version of the OR Echo and while much remains the same, the sleeves have had significant improvements - and we love it.

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.

Here we compare the sleeve length of the current and previous models of the Echo. You can see the old version (on top) has sleeves that are nearly 4 inches shorter than the current version (on bottom).
Here we compare the sleeve length of the current and previous models of the Echo. You can see the old version (on top) has sleeves that are nearly 4 inches shorter than the current version (on bottom).

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.

The hand cuff helps keep your fingers warm but also doesn't let you use your hands at all.
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 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.

The Echo has a fairly fitted hood that fits easily under a helmet.
The Echo has a fairly fitted hood that fits easily under a helmet.

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.

Even with the hood down  the Echo provides some neck protection.
Even with the hood down, the Echo provides some neck protection.

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.

With much longer sleeves in the current version  your hands are better protected from the sun even without using the cuffs.
With much longer sleeves in the current version, your hands are better protected from the sun even without using the cuffs.

Breathability


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.

This is a good shirt for running on a cooler day or early in the morning.
This is a good shirt for running on a cooler day or early in the morning.

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.

Though this shirt has anti-odor properties  we discovered that after a sweaty run  it still doesn't smell great - though the latest version is better than the prior one.
Though this shirt has anti-odor properties, we discovered that after a sweaty run, it still doesn't smell great - though the latest version is better than the prior one.

Versatility


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.

If you're an athleticwear junkie  the OR Echo will go well with your wardrobe.
If you're an athleticwear junkie, the OR Echo will go well with your wardrobe.

Durability


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.

While the thin fabric is comfortable and breathable  it also snags easily.
While the thin fabric is comfortable and breathable, it also snags easily.

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.

Salty sweat stains remain  long after the sweat has dried.
Salty sweat stains remain, long after the sweat has dried.

Features


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.

Perhaps not the most stylish  the ponytail hole is very functional!
Perhaps not the most stylish, the ponytail hole is very functional!

Value


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 Echo came in handy for running a race on a partly sunny  partly rainy morning.
The Echo came in handy for running a race on a partly sunny, partly rainy morning.

Conclusion


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.

From running to hiking to lounging  we're comfortable in the lightweight and breathable OR Echo.
From running to hiking to lounging, we're comfortable in the lightweight and breathable OR Echo.


Maggie Brandenburg