Skate and Skateboard Helmets Buying Guide
In any sport , it's important to protect your body from injury. And in skating and skateboarding particularly, it's most crucial to wear a helmet while riding on hard, unforgiving surfaces like pavement, wood floors, cement and ice. Helmets can protect your head from minor injuries and bruises to concussions and potentially fatal blows, but not all helmets are created equal. Some helmets are designed specifically for skate sports , extending over your forehead, your ears and the back of your skull more so than other helmets might. To learn more about getting the proper fit, features and helmet design check out the rest of this guide. You'll be grinding rails and flipping ollies before you can say "dude."
Buying the Right Gear
Because some places have laws requiring that you wear helmets in skate parks at all times (and because you want to preserve your brain), it's important to invest in a good quality helmet that will last through some hardcore wear and tear. So how do you choose the cream of the crop?
- Unlike bicycle helmets , skateboard helmets aren't required to be certified. This doesn't mean that you should just opt for any brand. Look for a helmet that meets the ASTM F1492 standard.
- Do not buy a bicycle helmet for skating or skateboarding, as they don't offer the proper coverage you need. You can buy a dual-certified helmet that is appropriate for both sports, however, if the sticker inside reads both ASTM and CPSC.
- Make sure that your helmet is round and smooth, with no point edges that could potentially snag and injure you in a crash.
- Your skate helmet should fit snugly, with a chinstrap that keeps the helmet from twisting or shifting on your head. Some helmets even come with removable foam inserts to help you adjust the comfort and snugness of the overall fit.
- Vents are always a plus, since they keep your head cool (especially in the summer months). Just don't go picking a helmet with more vents than is absolutely necessary, since more vents equal less foam and thus, less protection.
- A skateboard helmet should work to soften the impact of a crash when the foam inside crushes or slowly deforms. One of the best foams for skating and skateboard helmets is Expanded PolyPropylene or EPP, which looks like bike helmet foam, but feels a bit more rubbery.
- The hard shell on skate helmets should be noticeably more durable that that of bike helmets. It is designed to hold up under multiple impacts, while thin bike helmet plastic will break the first time you hit the ground hard.
- Brightly coloured shells work well if you'll be skating around traffic. You want to be able to be easily seen at all times.