Free Shipping on Orders Over $50

How to Choose: Skateboard Helmet

The most important piece of protective gear required for skateboarding / longboarding is, without question, a skateboard helmet.

Scraped knees and elbows will mend. Broken bones can be reset. However, damage caused by a blow to your unprotected head can, in the worst case, be irreversible. These statements are not meant to scare you! They are meant simply to stress the importance of protecting your head in the unlikely event you
do hit it on the ground or on some other hard object.

 

 

#1: The Right Skateboard Helmet Depends on What You'll Be Doing.

 

General Skateboarding and Park Skateboarding:


For most skateboarding, a regular half-shell or open face skateboard helmet is appropriate. This type of bucket-shaped skateboard helmet will help protect the top, sides and back of your head (see image on right).


sk8-helmet-exterior-interior-vert2-image.jpgSkateboard helmets generally have a bucket-shaped, hard exterior shell. This shell can be made of:

  • ABS plastic
  • fiberglass composite
  • carbon fiber or
  • Kevlar
    • Skateboard helmets also generally have a soft, cushioned foam interior protective liner that is meant to slow the force of multiple low to moderate
      impacts,
      like the ones that are associated with falls while learning new tricks in the skate park.
    • Since wipe outs in trick skateboarding tend to occur at slower speeds than they do in other sports, and because they also tend to happen more frequently but with less force, the best skateboard helmet is one that is constructed with an exterior hard shell and interior soft foam protective liner that can resist multiple light impacts.
    • Skateboard helmets may or may not be ASTM F1492 certified. A skateboard helmet that has not achieved one of these minimum safety standards is not necessarily a bad helmet. There are manufacturers who do not seek to certify every one of their helmets because, like anything else, this certification can add additional cost to the price.
    • Although skateboard helmets are meant to be multiple impact helmets, it is important to inspect the exterior and interior for damage after a fall. If the exterior shell or interior liner looks damaged in any way, aside from surface abrasions, it would be wise to replace the helmet.
    • Skateboard helmets also generally have a soft, cushioned foam interior protective liner that is meant to slow the force of multiple low to moderate
      impacts,
      like the ones that are associated with falls while learning new tricks in the skate park.

     

    Skateboarding and Bicycling:

    If you want a skate-style helmet that you can ALSO use for bicycling, you should purchase a skateboard helmet that meets the CPSC safety certification for bicycle use.


    sk8-bike-helmet-exterior-interior-vert2-image.jpgBike/Skate helmets also generally have a bucket-shaped, hard exterior shell. This can be made of:
    • ABS plastic
    • fiberglass composite
    • carbon fiber or
    • Kevlar
      • The difference is in the interior liner: Bike/Skate helmet liners employ a light, but stiff styro-foam material called EPS foam. This protective liner is meant to condense, break, crack or fracture upon sustaining ONE MODERATE to HEAVY impact, so that your skull doesn't have to!
      • CPSC skateboard-style helmets typically have an EPS protective liner that meets the safety standards for skateboard AND bicycle use. More impact absorption qualities are found in helmets with EPS liners, since wipe outs in bike riding tend to occur at much faster speeds than just trick skating. They also tend to occur less frequently, but with MORE hazard.
      • The best helmet for a skateboarder that wants to maintain the skate-style look while participating in aggressive skateboarding and/or bike riding is one that is constructed with an exterior hard shell and interior EPS foam liner that meets CPSC standards.
      • Because Bike/Skate helmets are meant to be one impact helmets, it is important to inspect the exterior and interior for damage after a fall. If the exterior shell or interior liner looks damaged in anyway, aside from surface abrasions, manufacturers recommend you replace the helmet.

       

      Downhill Skateboarding:

      If your skateboard riding gets into high speed, downhill (longboarding), super-vert OR if you want to have additional protection for the front of your face, a fullface helmet may be a good choice. These helmets also meet CPSC safety standards, so you can use them for downhill mountain biking and BMX too.

      /sk8-ff-helmet-exterior-interior-vert2-image.jpg
      • Full face helmets are constructed with a thin, exterior hard shell that covers the majority of your head, minus your eyes and nose. The exterior shell can be made out of:
    • Hard plastic
    • A fiber glass composite
    • Carbon fiber
      • Full face helmets are constructed with a chin bar that extends across your face and offers protection for your chin, jaw, cheeks and parts of your face, as well as a visor to shield your eyes from the sun and wayward tree branches.
      • Full face helmets also have a plush interior with extra thick padding meant to further cushion the bumps and impacts your might expect when traveling at very fast speeds.
      • Most of the full face helmets we carry employ a lightweight, stiff protective inner liner made of expanded polystyrene (EPS). This protective liner is meant to condense, break, crack or fracture upon sustaining ONE MODERATE to HEAVY impact, so that your skull doesn't have to!
      • Again, because full face Bike/Skate helmets are not tested for multiple impacts, it is important to inspect the exterior and interior for damage after a fall. If the exterior shell or interior liner looks damaged in anyway, aside from surface abrasions, you should replace the helmet

      #2: A Perfect Fitting Skateboard Helmet is Key.



      man-how-to-measure-your-head-tiny-iconSkateboard helmets are usually sold with a different exterior shell size to accommodate the size of the wearer’s head, along with sometimes interchangeable fit pads to further customize the fit and snugness. Every skateboard helmet has a sizing table in its description that shows the head size (usually in centimeters for more accuracy) and corresponding helmet size (Small, Medium, Large, etc.)

       

      How big is your head?

       The first step in determining what size skateboard helmet you should by is the measure your head with our Helmet Sizing Guide.

      How should the helmet fit on your head?

      The way a helmet rests on your head is critical to how it will perform for its intended use. How many times have you seen the neighborhood kid riding his bike down the street with his helmet kicked way back on his forehead, so that he looks more like a comic strip character with an orb growing off the back of his head? Often, right? Right. This is NOT the proper way to wear a helmet.
      Proper helmet fit means proper head coverage. When you try on a helmet, the front of the helmet should sit down onto your forehead until just above your eyebrows. There should be room enough to slip on a pair of sunglasses, but not much more. A half-inch in most cases.

      Lastly, does the helmet feel comfortable when you wear it?

      Different manufacturers make their helmet molds differently. For you, the wearer, what’s important is that the helmet fits comfortably all the way around your head. If you think you've got the proper size, but the helmet is still a little roomy in a spot or two, that is not a big deal. You can add included fit pads where necessary to achieve a more secure fit. However, if you've selected what you believe is the proper size, but feel an uncomfortable pressure anywhere around the circumference of your head, then this helmet is probably too small for you. Try a different size or style of helmet from the same line or try a different manufacturer altogether.
      "By way of example, the writer of this article is a road cyclist with a large head circumference, a prominent forehead, and a tall crown (the measurement from the top of the ears to the top of the cranium). Giro Bike Helmet styles used to appeal to me most, but I've since discovered that Bell Bike Helmets fit me best. Before I started wearing Bell helmets, I used to buy Giro helmets, then carve out small bits of the EPS foam liner in front until they fit without pressure on my forehead. This is exactly the wrong way to fit a helmet."
      To find a helmet that fits you comfortably, start with XSportsProtective’s Helmet Sizing Guide, then use your head measurements to compare all of the different helmet offerings from the different manufacturers that appeal to you. Most likely, you will find a good selection to choose from.

      #3: Prices for Skateboard Helmets Vary and are Dependent Upon Extra Features.


      Generally speaking, skateboard helmets are reasonably priced. They can cost as little as $25.00 or as much as $100.00, rarely more. Most skateboard helmets we sell cost between $25.00 and $40.00. Price is driven by a number of factors. More expensive skateboard helmets can employ advanced features, features which you may or may not care about. So when considering a helmet purchase, remember that price is not the sole indicator of a helmet’s protective qualities. What is most important is that you choose the exact skateboard helmet that meets your needs while staying within your budget!


      What features will I generally find in a skateboard helmet in the $25-$30 range?

      • Helmet Construction: Hard shell construction is the process where a pre-molded interior protective liner as glued into a pre-molded exterior shell. These helmets tend to be a bit heavier and offer less venting capabilities. However, they are the most budget-conscious and are therefore usually the most popular.

      • Exterior Shell Material: Rugged ABS, hard plastic shell. ABS plastic provides relatively good protection from impact for an economical price.

      • Interior Protective Liner: Soft, cushioned foam liner OR a stiff, EPS foam liner that meets CPSC standards.

      What features will I generally find in a skateboard helmet in the $30-$70 range?

      • Helmet Construction: Hard shell construction is the process where a pre-molded interior protective liner as glued into a pre-molded exterior shell. These helmets tend to be a bit heavier and offer less venting capabilities.

      • Exterior Shell Material: Light-weight ABS, hard plastic shell.

      • Interior Protective Liner: Usually a stiff, CPSC and EPS foam liner that meets safety standards, but some higher end helmets in this price range have the soft, cushiony foam, skate only protective liner.

      • Extra features you may get:
    • Removable/washable, sweat-wicking fit pads
    • Pro rider or brand sticker packs
    • Limited edition graphics
    • What features will I generally find in a skate helmet in the $70+ range?

      • Helmet Construction: In-Mold construction is the process where the interior protective liner and exterior shell are molded together and fused simultaneously. These helmets are significantly lighter in weight and offer more venting capabilities.

      • Exterior Shell Material: Light-weight and ultra-thin carbon fiber/ fiber glass composite shell. It is the carbon fiber and Kevlar that makes these more expensive helmets protective, yet durable. For instance, the force of impact needed to crack or shatter a fiberglass shell molded with carbon fiber and Kevlar would need to be significantly greater than the force of impact necessary to crack or shatter an ABS plastic hard shell. We do not mean to imply that ABS hard shells are bad, but it has been proven that the combination of these more advanced materials in the hard shell does ultimately provide more comprehensive protection.

      • Interior Protective Liner: Stiff, EPS foam liner that meets CPSC safety standards.

      • Extra features you may get:
    • Multiple certifications for multiple sports
    • Extra fit pads for a customizable degree of comfort from day to day, season to season
    • Extremely light weight
    • More or adjustable venting capabilities
    • Pro rider or brand sticker packs
    • Limited edition graphics
    • #4: Venting and Color Choice on Your Skateboard Helmet Matter!

      Aside from personal style preferences, number of vents and color also contribute to personal comfort.

      sk8-helmet-venting
      • If heat is an issue where you live or if you tend to be a hot head you may want to consider a skateboard helmet that offers a lot of venting. More and bigger vents allow more heat to escape from your helmet, keeping you cooler. That’s a good thing for a sweaty head.
      • Conversely, if you'll be skateboarding in cooler temps and tend not to sweat as much, a smaller amount of vents may be preferable to keep your head warm.
      • Also, shell color in this piece of skateboard protective gear will make a difference too. Black looks really cool, but is definitely hotter than a white shell on a sunny, summer day.

      Shop our collection of skateboard helmets today!