Unfortunately, as skateboarding has exploded in popularity in the past decade, so has the number of head injuries and emergency room visits from unprotected falls. It’s well-known that helmets should be worn while skateboarding, but not all skateboard helmets are created equally. It’s important to choose the best skateboard helmet to prevent concussions and minimize the chance of an emergency hospital visit. And remember, since you are dealing with your head and potentially your life, you don’t want to be cheap!
Skateboarding’s Helmet Perception Problem
Despite the obvious risks associated with the activity and alarming statistics on skateboard injuries, the majority of teens who skateboard still do not wear adequate protective equipment (helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, etc.) Although it is hard to pinpoint an exact reason for this trend, it is likely due to a combination of many factors. One of which is potential discomfort and heat that helmets can produce especially in hot temperatures. Another which I feel is even more dangerous is the rarity of helmet use among professional skaters which may give the appearance that helmets are viewed as “not cool” among the young skaters that look up to them. The way to address this issue is through increased education about helmets and the importance of wearing safety equipment when skateboarding.
Top Skateboard Helmets Comparison Chart
What To Look For in a Helmet
Ok, so now you understand the importance of buying a skateboard helmet, but it’s also important to know what to look for when choosing the best helmet:
For many years bike helmets have been heavily regulated and controlled by the CPSC. In fact, in order for a helmet to be legally called a “bike helmet,” it must meet a series of rules and guidelines outlined by the CPSC in the bike standard (16 C.F.R. part 120). The role of these guidelines is to minimize the risk of skull fracture while wearing the helmet. It’s also very common practice to replace bike helmets after any serious impact or crash to ensure proper protection.
For many years skateboard and other “extreme sport” helmets were the wild west with very little definition or regulation. This all changed when ASTM 1492 was introduced with guidelines for “Skateboard and Trick Roller Blading Helmets”. To become ASTM 1492 certified helmets must be able to withstand impact from multiple angles at once and have more complete coverage than is required for bike helmets. Also, unlike bike helmets, skateboard helmets can withstand multiple impacts before being replaced. Of course, you should definitely replace the helmet if it has visible cracks or defects. When buying a skateboard helmet always look for some type of reliable certification such as the ASTM.
Protective Shell Material
Today most skateboard helmets are made of fiberglass, ABS plastic, carbon fiber, or even Kevlar. The exact material doesn’t really matter as far as protection is concerned as long as the helmet meets the required standards detailed above. Price may change slightly depending on the material, but most people wouldn’t be able to the difference.
Padding Durability and Comfort
How comfortable and durable the interior padding of a helmet is very important who deciding which helmet to buy. After all, it’s unlikely that you would be willing to wear something on your head for an extended period of time that was painful or uncomfortable. The most common type of padding that skateboard helmets are made of today is a two-layered style. The first is typically a very hard grey foam material that is mounted permanently to the hard outer shell. This material is very durable, but not comfortable at all as it is not meant to make contact with your head at all. The second layer is typically a much softer level padding that is attached with velcro to the first foam later for easy replacement and cleaning. When judging how comfortable a helmet is, it is most important to focus on this second layer. Also, some helmets don’t have replaceable padding, so that is something you should consider if you want to use the same helmet for many years.
As mentioned earlier, a common complaint you hear from people who don’t wear helmets is the fact they make them uncomfortably hot and prone to excessive sweating. While some amount of added heat is typically unavoidable just due to the nature of effect protective materials, many brands have created technology in the 2nd layer of helmet padding to combat this. If sweating is a concern, then definitely check out helmets and brand who advertise breathable and sweat-resistant padding like Triple Eight and Pro-Tec.
The most important decision besides which helmet to buy is what size should you buy. This is very important as a helmet that is too large may still leave you susceptible to concussions, and a helmet that is too small will be very uncomfortable and can cause headaches. While each brand and helmet may run slightly larger or smaller, here’s the generally accepted guide to helmet sizing:
|Helmet SIze||Head Circumference (inches)|
Best Skateboard Helmet Reviews
If I had to pick one specific helmet that is the best on the market today for anyone- it would be this Triple Eight helmet. It complies with both U.S. CPSC Bicycle Safety Standard and the ASTM Standard for skateboard helmets. This helmet is priced in the medium-to-high range but based on the sheer number of positive reviews I am confident that this helmet is well worth the price. A really cool aspect to this helmet is that the sweatproof padding is replaceable and there are different shapes and options of the internal padding that you can customize based on your head shape and comfort level.
This Pro-Tec helmet is definitely another viable option. It’s priced slightly higher than the Triple Eight helmet listed above, however, Pro-Tec has partnerships with a variety of other skateboard brands so there are many popular skateboard brand logos on these helmets available that young skaters love and could help reduce the stigma of a helmet being “not cool” to wear. This helmet is also certified by both the CPSC and ASTM standards, so you can be confident in the safety and quality of protection it will provide.
This is a lower cost option for a ASTM certified skateboard helmet. It provides that barebones features you would expect including ventilation, a EPS sweat resistant padded liner, and a comfortable adjustable chin strap. You’re not going to stand out wearing this helmet, but it will perform adequately and protect the head and skull which is all that really matters when choosing a helmet. This is my pick for people on a budget who don’t want to sacrifice quality and safety but want to get a good deal.
This is probably the most popular helmet on the market today and it even has built-in sweat resistant technology to keep your head cool. Triple eight offers a very large variety of colors and styles of this helmet and younger skaters could also add stickers to their helmet to customize the look even further. The major drawback to this helmet is that it is not technically certified by either CPSC, ASTM, or NZ. While the helmet may be safe and effective, I cannot really recommend this helmet in good faith due to the lack of certification.
Buying a helmet for a young child who resistants wearing a helmet because it’s “not cool”? This is the helmet for you! This CPSM and ASTM certified helmet takes a unique approach to appeal to young children who are reluctant to wear helmets. This helmet features mohawk style silicon spikes to give the helmet an edgy look that is viewed as cool by many young kids. These spikes are very soft and will have no impact on the helmet’s effectiveness or ability to protect the child’s head, they are purely cosmetic. Many parents rave about how easy is it to get their kids to wear this helmet after trying many other helmet types. There are a variety of kid-friendly designs and colors available for both girls and boys making it my pick for best youth skateboard helmet.
Unlike the Krash Vector, this Triple Eight helmet offers a more traditional youth skateboard helmet. It is a higher-end option and is available in a variety of bright colors that are perfect for kids and young children. This helmet is certified by both the CPSM and ASTM and is made to fit children and toddlers of all ages. Like the original adult version of the Triple Eight helmet, this youth version features a cooling system and comfortable and adjustable chin strap to keep the helmet securely in place. A great option for children who prefer a more normal-looking helmet compared to the spiked mohawk version discussed previously.
Although not necessarily a skateboard specific helmet, this bike helmet has the class skate helmet shape. Although not certified to be a skate helmet, it does pass the test for CPSC bike certification. This helmet incorporates vents in the ABS plastic shell to prevent overheating and allow a cool breeze on your head as you ride. I don’t recommend this helmet to hardcore skaters who are pushing the limits with dangerous and complicated tricks on ramps and rails. However, if you casually ride a skateboard or longboard as a method of transportation and also sometimes ride bikes, this may be the perfect helmet for you.
This helmet from Retrospec is, of course, tested and approved for a variety of risky activities like skiing, skateboarding and biking. It features eight vents to keep you cool all day in warm weather and it comes with interchangeable pads for a more customized fit. There is a fully-formed ABS shell around EPS foam which ensures maximum protection on impact.
The color options are numerous and varied, so go wild as you choose! We like the wood-grain finish style! This helmet is meant ideally, for riders over the age of 13.
For a great price, this helmet offers a large selection of bright neon colors as well as the peace of mind of both ASTM and CPSC certifications. Unlike other company’s helmets, these colors will not fade from sunlight due to the sparkle metallic anti-flake paint. This helmet also offers a unique 13 vent cooling systems to prevent excessive sweating and allow for a cool and comfortable ride. Another great feature of this helmet is that instead of having different sizes, they include three different sized pads to accommodate small, medium, and large head sizes with the same helmet. Perfect for a growing teen, or if the helmet is shared among children with different head sizes!
Another versatile option for those looking for a helmet capable of handling multiple activities besides skateboarding. It’s safety certifications include EN 1077:2007 for Ski Helmets and CPSC 16 CFR, Part 1203 for bike helmets. It features 14 vents for unparalleled temperature regulation and an ABS exterior shell with an EPS foam interior for maximum safety and protection. It also features a goggle clip to keep your shades or corrective glasses attached, and removable ear muffs for warmth (and protection).
There’s an “ErgoKnob” adjustable dial at the back for head size adjustments, and it’s easy to operate with one hand – for a perfect custom fit. We like this helmet for its unmatched versatility.