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Helmets: Men’s or Women’s?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
What’s the difference in men’s or women’s helmets? Shrink it and pink it?

I am in the market for a new ski helmet. My old one - a Smith Variant Brim from around 2010 - is probably due to be replaced. No major impacts really but its had 10 seasons.

Having experienced a concussion previously, MIPS technology is appealing. A model with adjustable vents is mandatory and a brim would be nice. My goggles are Oakley Flight Deck XM.

It seems that now helmets are largely men’s or women’s. I have a fairly large head - I wear a 58-59 in hats. I’m fairly sure my smith helmet was unisex. It’s a medium. Just confused as to what to buy This time around. I hate pastel colors so the women’s helmets make me shiver a bit. I live in Atlanta and have pretty limited options to try on so online shopping has a far better selection. Stores have Holiday deals now too - Christy sports is offering $50 off $200.
I've noticed many of the womens helmets are the same as the mens, just different colors and often softer materials (think fuzzy fleece vs traditional fleece). I don't recall seeing size XL in women's because most women are smaller. My last helmet was men's in matte white. The women's version was gloss white. My husband and I have the same helmet (Smith Valence and Variance). Mine is wine and his is lime green. I have fizzy fleece ear pads, his is plain fleece. Have some measure your head so you have a size range to shoot for. Different brands use different head shapes (oval vs more round), so make sure to try a variety on for the best fit and take your goggles with you. I've tried a number of goggles that don't fit well with my helmet (they are too large and push down on my nose).
I’m not sure of the exact differences beyond the inner material and colors in some cases. However, I have a men’s Smith helmet because it just fit me better than the women’s.


Staff member
It's got to fit your noggin!! What I've seen in the shop is furry ears and colour. Furry ears are warmer and more comfortable. In most cases the rest is the same.

Find out what fits, then look for colour. Also if you have goggles take them too. They need to fit the helmet too.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I have a Smith Mirage and Oakley Flight Deck XM giggles. They fit perfectly with the helmet. It’s MIPS and very comfortable. I had tried an Oakley helmet and it was awful on me. I bought the Smith at REI. I’m not crazy about the color since it’s a pale grey/blue, but they had other colors like black and ink blue but not in my size. The only thing I don’t like about it is no brim to keep the snow out. I think Smith has one called Mission that has a brim. I’ve never noticed a difference between men’s and women’s sizes while shopping in store.


Certified Ski Diva
I ended up with a men's Smith quantum because I was able to hear better through the ear pads than the women's models. Otherwise, they seemed to fit about the same on me. I have a tiny noggin, so everything makes me look like a bobblehead!

It doesn't fit all that well under either of my jacket hoods, but I think I'll always have that problem because my neck is a little longer than average.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The women's helmets usually have fuzzy, fur/plush liners or ear pads while the mens often seem plainer. In the helmets I've tried I haven't noticed any fit difference between the mens and women's models--just the colors and fur. I like plain, so I gravitate toward the mens version.

Olesya Chornoguz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think that Smith Quantum may fit all of your criteria @Blondeinabmw I have bough one this summer and really like it so far, I only skied in it twice. In my opinion it has the most protective features - it's fully made of koroyd, the super strong carbon material and it has MIPS. It also has a brim and adjustable vents. It has a magnetic clasp which is convenient. I haven't noticed much difference between men's and women's helmets other than colors and fuzzy ears. I have been wearing men's helmet because it fits me better.
I’m a fan of the women’s Smith Variant Brim. I can’t wear it in white though, I look like a Stormtrooper. I was told by a Smith rep that some of the brim models come in round and egg shape. I was shown two helmets and sure enough they looked different to me. DH has a Quantum (round) and my Variant is more egg shape. Whooda thunk. I did a search and got oodles of helmet information. Enjoy!
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Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I have a Smith Vantage in the rose gold/pinkish color and black on the bottom. A friend's mom sold it to me for $100 after wearing it twice and not liking it! It has MIPS technology and vents and works great with my Anon WM1 goggles. Prior I had an Anon helmet that was just a plain old helmet, no fancy things. I really like the helmet a lot. It's not as "cool" looking as other helmets, but the safety features are there so that's all that matters! I think the Quantum is the big brother/sister to the Vantage and has better features.


Certified Ski Diva
Why are helmets gendered anyway? I get that men are more likely to need an XL, but other than size, are male and female skulls really shaped that differently? It's not like buying pants!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I don't think it's the sizing that is different in the women's vs mens helmets---it's the materials they use and sometimes the colors. The women's often have fuzzier/furrier materials for the liner or might have some sort of script type design/writing.
It's possible the the slightly puffier liner type material ends up affecting the way they fit, but I'd be really surprised if the helmet companies were using entirely different molds for the women's vs mens helmets of a specific model or shape.

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