Ski helmets are specially designed to keep winter athletes warm, comfortable, and safe while engaging in extreme activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. They are essential because they significantly reduce the number of head injuries, such as concussions and skull fractures, experienced by athletes. Although ski helmets reduce damage, it is important to remember half of all skiing related fatalities are the result of blows to the head. It is therefore significant you find a helmet which meets proper criteria, is comfortable, and is reliable.
When looking for the best men’s ski helmet, there are many options available. Listed here are 15 of the greatest models in 2021 capable of protecting your head during even the most intense of snow sessions.
Choosing a top men’s helmet was remarkably easy. Although there are many good options currently on the market, the best is the POC Obex Spin Helmet. This model is available in four separate colors and features a comfortable fit, integrated vents, and POC's patent-pending SPIN interior. The SPIN interior is designed to mold to the shape of the wearer’s head and shears from the shell upon impact, reducing the force transmitted to the skier.
Besides these features, the POC Obex Spin has adjustable ventilation and an in-mold design. The exterior is made from thin, hard plastic while the interior utilizes EPS foam. There is some adjustability for the fit but the helmet is not as flexible as other models, focusing instead on superior protection. If you like to listen to music, the POC Obex Spin is compatible with POC AID Communication Ear Pads.
As you can tell from the specs, this is a half shell helmet. A 1-year warranty is available, and the helmet includes a brim/visor to protect the eyes. Due to the positioning of the vents, you don’t have to worry about your goggles fogging.
Overall, this is an excellent find capable of lasting for years.
If you are willing to spend a little extra for the best protection and comfort, you cannot go wrong with the Smith Level MIPS. The latest 2021 model is luxurious and designed to be stylish yet protective in even the worst of situations. The outer shell is a hybrid model that has a lightweight in-mold design combined with a harder exterior material. In addition, it features Aerocore Construction combined with Koroyd to reduce the total weight.
The ventilation is adjustable and uses twenty convenient external vents so you can find a level which is comfortable for you. There is full adjustability for maximum stability, and the helmet is compatible with an after-market audio system. The Smith Level MIIPS is a half shell design with a 1-year warranty.
A summary of the key features is as follows:
This is an excellent premium ski helmet for men and offers stellar protection for all types of skiing.
Not everyone has extra money to spend on a technologically advanced helmet. If you are looking for protection on a budget, the Giro Neo Helmet is right for you. This is a half shell model with a defensive hard exterior made through in-molding. The result is a lightweight helmet that is easy to wear but still offers the protection you need.
The Giro Neo had full adjustability for maximum comfort. It is compatible with all Giro goggles as well as all Aftermarket Giro audio systems made by Outdoor Tech. A 1-year warranty is included and multiple colors are available for further customization.
While there are not many extra features in the Giro Neo, it is affordable and reliable. It offers excellent protection and is also lightweight and stylish, making it a great choice for the slopes.
POC is one of the top manufacturers of snow helmets for a reason, and it should be no surprise their products keep popping up on this list. The POC Orbic X Spin is a great option for amateurs and pros alike because it offers significant protection and style. The design is a hard half shell with a durable ABS plastic exterior and a hard foam interior. You will get a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Many people enjoy the POC Orbic X Spin because of the patent pending SPIN construction and the updated EPS shell. There is a fixed goggle clip and separate ear chambers for better heat retention. The helmet complies with FIS RH 2013 regulations.
The main reason why the POC Orbic X Spin is not in the top three is because it lacks special features. There are no audio capabilities and no vents. The result is a simple yet effective design which might be too basic for some skiers, but great for others.
Here is a short summary of the key features of the POC Orbic X Spin:
The Smith Holt is simple yet effective. It brings tons of style to the table while remaining defensive and excellent for skiers, snowboarders, and other winter athletes. The design is a hard half shell and the ventilation is fixed to provide maximum airflow to major points around the head. The 14 vents are well-spaced. Multiple colors are available for customization.
There is partial adjustability with a self-adjusting lifestyle fit system. Included are bombshell ear pads, a removable goggle lock, and an outdoor tech audio system. You will be able to use your desired audio system. While there are not many extra features, the Smith Holt is one of only a few helmets which comes with a lifetime warranty, making it a great choice for long term skiers.
Overall, you can enjoy the following about the Smith Holt:
The Giro Neo MIPS comes in three separate colors and has a simple hard shell design with full custom fit adjustment. The vents are widespread and adjustable even when you are wearing the helmet, so you don’t have to worry about losing protection while on the go. The helmet was made with an in-mold design that uses thin hard plastic outer shell with EPS foam inner.
The Giro Neo is audio compatible and works with a broad range of headphones. A 1-year warranty is included from the manufacturer and covers basic wear and tear as well as any damage to the helmet when it arrives.
In summary, some of the key features of the Giro Neo MIPS are:
The K2 Phase Pro Audio is a simple helmet with one ultimate purpose: to provide a great built-in audio system to skiers. It is one of the only models on the market which includes its own audio system and does not require you to purchase one separately, making it excellent for music lovers on the slopes. Plus, the ventilation system is super adjustable and covers the entire circumference of the head, so you never have to worry about losing your cool. A 1-year warranty is included and will cover wear, tear, and other forms of damage.
Some key features of the K2 Phase Pro Audio are:
If you like the color yellow or hard shell ski helmets, you will enjoy the POC Orbic Comp Spin. The manufacturer likes to claim this specific helmet offers elite protection for elite racers who require a FIS Approved helmet. They are correct. The POC Orbic Comp Spin was designed with racers in mind and offers high-quality protection for skiers who move at high speeds and are more likely to suffer from intense impacts with rocks, trees, and other hard objects.
One element of this helmet which stands out is the included Arimid Anti-Penetration Deflector Panel. It provides extra protection against sharp objects and prevents them from penetrating the shell and affecting your head.
The main downside to this helmet and why it is not higher on the list is a lack of overall ventilation. Unfortunately, this design flaw means you will be warm while racing. You will, however, have maximum protection.
A couple of the essential features of the POC Orbic Comp Spin are:
The Smith Vantage MIPS comes in yellow or black and takes the cake for its whopping number of special features. However, this cake has solid construction in addition to fantastic icing. What does that mean? The Smith Vantage MIPS is a classic example of a durable helmet which manages to integrate features without sacrificing quality.
This is a hybrid helmet which manages to be flexible but protective. The interior lining is soft, moisture-wicking, and works in tandem with the foam to improve comfort on the go. The system is audio compatible, and there are numerous adjustable vents to keep you cool. There are even vents designed to sit just above your goggles to reduce the chances of fogging. A strong clip will keep them in place in even the gnarliest of terrain.
Overall, the Smith Vantage MIPS has many features worth mentioning, including:
The Head Icon is a personal favorite even if it did not make the top of this list. Why? Because it is one of the most affordable options available but does not sacrifice quality for convenience. Instead, it has solid construction and utilizes modern technology to create a helmet great for beginners and fundamentalists.
The design of the Head Icon is a half shell with in-mold construction and adjustable ventilation. There are extra flaps attached to the interior liner which can be pulled down for extra coverage along the forehead and ears, and there are clips included to attach your goggles. Despite the low price of the model, the Head Icon still includes a limited 1-year manufacturer’s warranty to cover wear, tear, and defects.
If you like simplicity, the Head Icon Helmet is right for you because of its:
The Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS is more expensive than many other models, but the number of extra special features it packs make up for the price difference. This Sweet Protection helmet utilizes a hybrid design to ensure the shell is lightweight but durable. The interior foam is thicker than normal and provides essential padding for the skull.
The interior has a 3D Shaped Vented Liner which wicks away moisture while you are on the go. It works in tandem with the adjustable ventilation system to keep you comfortable in even the coldest or warmest of weather conditions. The straps are easy to use and the buckle is magnetic, so you can latch it even when wearing mittens. A 1-year warranty is included and the helmet is audio compatible. If you want to listen to your tunes in style on the slopes, you cannot go wrong with the Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS.
The Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS turns heads for many reasons. If you want something durable but stylish, it is the right helmet for you.
Brief summary of notable features:
The Oakley MOD 3 is one of the sleekest and most stylish helmets on this list, eschewing the traditional matte design for a shiny exterior that offers hardcore protection. The construction is in-mold, which has a thin hard plastic outer shell with EPS foam interior. The ventilation is fixed but covers the entire circumference of the helmet, making it a great choice if you can’t stand having a hot head while you ski.
One of the most interesting elements of the Oakley MOD 3 is the Fidlock Buckle Strap, which uses magnets to make it very easy to latch. You can even close it if you choose to wear mittens, a popular choice for their warmth and comfort. The interior liner can be removed and washed and comfortable ear cups provide warmth and protection for the ears. Just remember to make sure they are in place.
Here is a brief summary of notable features:
Sweet Protection appears time and again on this list because of its attention to detail and inclusion of numerous special features in its helmets. Another great model by this company is the Sweet Protection Blaster II MIPS, which is an in-mold half shell that uses thin yet durable plastic for the exterior and soft foam for the interior. The ventilation is well-spaced but fixed, and the straps and buckles are fully adjustable and easy to use.
While the Sweet Protection Blaster II MIPS is not audio compatible like many of the other helmets on this list, it does come with a sweet 2-year warranty which can save you money in the long run. Overall, it is still a solid choice for skiers and comes with the Sweet Protection guarantee.
Here is a brief summary of the helmet’s notable features:
The K2 Diversion Audio helmet is powerful and durable, great for intense skiers who enjoy having fun and pushing their limits. The ventilation is adjustable and covers the entirety of the skull, providing adequate airflow for individuals of all experience levels. It is completely adjustable and features comfortable straps that mold to your head.
The construction is a hybrid, meaning it uses a lightweight in-mold shell combined with hard shell. The interior foam is powerful and comfortable and an audio system is included. It is remote and you will be able to attach your MP3 player or a cellphone.
Some of the notable features in the K2 Diversion Audio helmet are:
The K2 Thrive helmet is a simple design which uses a hard half shell and durable foam to protect your skull. One of the most significant features is the K2 Dialed Fit System, which uses an adjustable three-point interface to create the perfect fit. The interior is constructed from EPS Impact Foam and the interior liner is easy to remove and wash. The ventilation is fixed but still easy to use, and a 1-year warranty is included for wear, tear, and defects.
Some of the notable features in the K2 Thrive Helmet are:
When you are trying to find the perfect equipment for your next trip up the mountain, there are several things to consider. Ski helmets might all look similar but there are often many differences. These can include the type of shell, the material used for the inner liner, the construction style, the size, and what accessories are included.
Helmets are made of two separate components: the outer shell and the inner liner. These offer specific features like ear coverage, sweat reduction, and temperature control as well as broad protection against head injury. Shells and liners vary significantly, so find a helmet that uses materials you are comfortable with.
The shell is made of rigid material – like ABS high impact plastic – that will protect your head from falls, abrasions, and sharp objects. It is designed to spread the impact energy over a large portion of the helmet to reduce the severity of the impact itself. This, in turn, reduces your chances of getting an injury like a concussion.
The inner liner is usually made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. It is similar in appearance to Styrofoam and is designed to absorb impact energy. It is compressed after a fall or impact, and that action reduces how much pressure is placed upon your skull. Unfortunately, the liner will often remain compressed after a hard fall, so you must replace a helmet after such an incident or risk hurting yourself.
There are several different construction styles you will encounter while shopping for the right helmet. They are in-mold and injection-molded.
An in-mold helmet is made by attaching the shell and foam together in a single molding process. The result is a light and sleek helmet known for is flexibility and light weight.
An injection-molded helmet uses EPS foam bonded to a separate shell. The two pieces are made separately and then attached through multiple processes. Injection-molded helmets are prized for their durability and are excellent for beginners or advanced skiers who like to be adventurous. The downside is they are heavier than in-molds.
Having the proper fit is essential when choosing the best ski helmet. If possible, you should try on your desired helmet before purchase or order from an online store that allows refunds if your chosen model does not fit properly. Remember, always try on a helmet with your goggles for the best fit.
However, you might not know how to size properly. The majority of helmets will give basic measurements like Small, Medium, or Large but will include a size chart. Sizes are typically measures in centimeters.
To measure for size, use a flexible tape measure. Position the tape above your ears and roughly 1 in. above your eyebrows since this is where your helmet will rest. Keep the tape level and measure around the widest part of your head to get an accurate circumference in centimeters. You can then choose the right size from the charts available.
Once you have your helmet, you need to make sure it fits properly. A well-fitted ski helmet is snug but not tight. It should not rock back and forth even when you use your hands to move it. More importantly, it should not shift. At the same time, make sure there is no gap between your goggles and your helmet, but that the helmet also do not affect your vision or apply downward pressure on the goggles.
There are a couple of ways to adjust the fit of your helmet if the issues you experience are only minor. For example, you can readjust the straps or remove or add padding to make it more comfortable. You can tell if you need to make adjustments by pushing up along the front, back, and sides.
As a final note, make sure there are no gaps between the top of your head and the liner inside of the helmet.
When determining proper fit, you will also need to make some adjustments to the chinstrap or buckle. The chinstrap should fit against the back of your throat to reduce the chances of it flying off if you are in an impact. The strap should be snug but loose enough for you to open your mouth to take a drink or chew food. You should always check the strap before skiing.
If you're still confused about sizing, check out our snow helmet size fit guide for more information.
There are several safety certifications a helmet can receive based on the country of origin. The majority of the products listed here were made for a U.S.-based market, but some will have European certification. NEVER purchase a helmet that has not been properly safety certified.
This certification is the U.S.-based standard for all nonmotorized recreational snow sports like skiing. The majority of helmets have this certification and will have an ASTM sticker along the inside. Having the sticker means the helmet is safe for regular use.
This is one of several European certifications for alpine skiing and snowboarding helmets. It is possible to purchase a helmet that has been certified by both the ASTM and CE EN standards. However, it also possible for a helmet to only meet the CE EN requirements, so be careful with your purchase.
It is important to note that while a helmet may meet one of the above certifications, it is not infallible. You still need to be cautious when on the slopes to avoid serious injury.
Another aspect of the right ski helmet is the accessories and features included in the build itself. There are some elements which are included in every helmet, such as vents, but others are considered optional. A couple of the most significant are as follows.
Vents are automatically included in ski helmets and are absolutely essential to staying warm and comfortable. They bring in cool air and release the warm, sweaty air produced by the wearer. This improves circulation around the head and stops you from becoming waterlogged in your own sweat.
Some modern helmets include removable plugs that require you to take off the helmet to make adjustments. Others will have built-in adjustable vents that allow you to fine tune your airflow without removing equipment. These are preferable but can cost extra. The number of vents will vary considerably.
Most ski helmets are compatible with goggles and allow for direct attachment. However, there are several different attachment methods. Since they vary, it is important to read all of the instructions with your helmet to make sure they fit comfortably.
One of the latest advancements in ski helmets is the presence of built-in speakers that can be hooked up to your phone or MP3 player. This allows you to listen to whatever you want while on the go without worrying about wires. Some helmets are only compatible with headphones made by the same manufacturer, but many have open compatibility.
One of the joys of skiing is being able to share your adventures and successes with your friends. If you like to take video of your rides, there are many helmets which include camera mounts for GoPros and similar devices.
The interior liner keeps you warm and comfortable. Some helmet liners are detachable or can be customized so you control how warm you are. Plus, the removable liners are easy to wash so you don’t smell of sweat after a rough do.
This is the most basic accessory, and it is exactly what it sounds like. It is a hard case which you can use to store your helmet to avoid scuffs and damage off the slope.
One final thing to consider is whether or not your helmet comes with a warranty. Although it might sound silly to take a warranty out on a piece of athletic equipment, helmets are a significant investment and need to last years. Most reliable manufacturers therefore offer at least a year of coverage. This allows you to receive a replacement in case there are defects in your chosen helmet. Many manufacturers also cover wear and tear in case you damage your headgear immediately after purchase.
When choosing the right ski helmet for you, don’t hesitate to invest in its future. Doing so will ensure future protection for you and your equipment.
Ski helmets have time and again demonstrated their ability to help skiers of all ages avoid injury. This has been backed by reputable studies countless times. Athletes who wear helmets are not only less likely to experience severe head trauma, but also have fewer injuries overall. Whether you are new or experienced, it is best to stay safe and keep your noggin protected from a knocking.
The average ski helmet is designed to last between 3 and 5 years. However, if you start to notice cracks in the exterior, it might be time to retire your favorite. Over time, the shell of the helmet starts to degrade and will no longer be able to properly protect your skull. For more info, see: how long does a snow helmet last?
No. Ski helmets are designed to have a comfortable, snug fit. Wearing a hat underneath one reduces how protective the helmet is and puts you at risk of more serious injury. If you are worried about the cold, look for a helmet with adequate insulation and ear protection.
It is possible to recycle an old ski helmet. The interior foam should be removed and the exterior plastic shell can be recycled similar to other plastics. The foam is difficult to break down and is best disposed of. If there is nowhere near you where you can recycle the helmet, it is best to throw it away. Never wear a helmet that has cracked or been damaged.
Most modern ski helmets are designed to be worn with goggles. However, you might encounter problems if your helmet and goggles are different brands, or if you prefer to wear oversized eye protection. To ensure you have a proper fit, make sure to try on both essentials before you go skiing. If the products are made by the same company, they are more likely to have a seamless fit.
There are many excellent men’s ski helmets on the market, and each one offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Out of all of the models, the best one overall is the POC Obex Spin. It is comfortable and includes plenty of versatile special features without sacrificing functionality. If you are willing to spend a little extra money, there is the Smith Level MIPS. The Smith Level MIPS possesses tons of special features and is great for all types of skiing. If you don’t have a lot of money but still want quality, then a good budget option is the Giro Neo.
We hope that you're now a lot more comfortable browsing the snow helmet market. We know it's vast but using the above information, you should be able to better weigh which model is right for your particular needs.
Binging your kids on the slope with you? Their safety is paramount but helmet selection is different when shopping for the young ones. Fret not, all the information you need is in our guide on the best ski helmets for kids.