Over the past year, thanks to a pandemic that led many people to find new outdoor hobbies, roller-skating and Rollerblading have experienced a huge boom. But as anyone who has picked up these hobbies knows, a set of wheels isn’t the only thing you’ll need. If you want to avoid getting injured — and who doesn’t? — a good helmet is a must. (A set of pads would be a good idea too.) “It is so important to wear a helmet while skating because you never know when a major accident involving your head will happen,” explains Kennan Scott, the inline skater behind YouTube’s Blading on the Brain, who suffered (and later recovered from) a traumatic brain injury while skating.
If you think you can get by with a bike helmet, the experts we previously consulted say to think again. Styles made specifically for skating or blading “provide much more protection than a typical bike helmet,” according to Teshia Robinson of RollATL. To find the best helmets for roller-skating and Rollerblading, we asked Scott and ten more experts about their favorites. When shopping for a helmet, Dave White of skate shop L.A. Skate Co. says, “For the greatest protection, look for helmets that have a CPSC, or Consumer Product Safety Commission, certification, which is rated by the U.S. federal government.” (All the styles on this list have it.) Fit is also important. “Helmets should fit snug, but not so tight it would cause a headache,” White says. Below, he and the rest of our experts share their nine favorite styles.
Best overall skating helmet
The S1 Lifer Helmet came up the most among both roller skaters and bladers. White told us it’s especially popular for more intense styles of skating, like roller derby. Jonathan Labez, the visual director and photo editor at Rollerblading magazine Be-Mag, adds that the California-based company tests its helmets at independent labs to ensure their safety. Roller skater Rebel RousHer, who posts skating tutorials on her YouTube channel, Queer Girl Straight Skates, explains that these helmets are “made with a fusion foam that is five times more protective than soft-foam skate helmets.” She says she has fallen and hit her head several times while wearing an S1 helmet, and it has always kept her safe. Roller skater Toni Bravo puts it even more simply, calling the helmet a “lifesaver.” She adds, “They are comfortably snug and make me feel like I can conquer anything in the bowl at a skatepark.” Caleb Austin Smith, a Rollerblade team skater and contributor to blading magazine ONE, is yet another fan and tells us the Lifer is “a great all-around helmet.” And Opie Tran, another ONE contributor, says this is the “most comfortable and coolest-feeling” helmet he owns. Many skaters who recommended it say the helmet is also stylish, with a retro look and different color options to choose from.
Best skating helmet for sweaty heads
Several skaters told us about the Triple 8 Sweatsaver Helmet, which Scott calls the best for those who tend to sweat a lot. ONE publisher and editorial director Justin Eisinger calls out features like “removable, replaceable liners and a lightweight feel” that make this option a “no-brainer” for anyone looking for a helmet that’s protective without some of the bulk that others can have. Blader Union co-owner Travis Stewart agrees: “Helmets are typically bulky and retain a lot of heat, but the Triple8 Sweatsaver is not nearly as heavy as some of the other options out there.” He adds that the helmet’s liner “captures sweat, keeping it out of your face and eyes” as you roll around. Bravo is also a fan of Triple 8’s Sweatsaver, which, she notes, recently released a helmet made in collaboration with skate brand Moxi, if you’re looking for a flashier style.
Best full-cut skating helmet
If you want a helmet that provides even more coverage, the experts say to look for full-cut styles that cover the ears. Both Smith and Scott recommend this full-cut helmet from Protec, a brand White says has been popular among skaters since the ’70s. Smith says it’s “both stylish and comfortable,” and Scott told us he “feels invincible, like Evel Knievel,” when he wears it because his “entire head is encased in a protective bubble.”
Best skating helmet with sun protection
Although Tran notes that this helmet isn’t as comfortable as the S1 Lifer (our best overall style), he says, “When I need sun protection, I use my BERN.” It has a built-in visor that’s kind of like the brim on a baseball cap. Roller skater Sojourn Wallace, a co-founder of the My Skate Pro app, is also a fan of the BERN brand because it “offers a variety of sizes,” from S to XXL, making its helmets more accessible to those with bigger heads or thicker hair.
Best skating helmet for kids
For helmets that protect the tiniest of noggins, Labez suggests the youth models from our best overall brand, S1. This is partly because of “the number of colors and designs they offer,” he says. Whether for skating (or biking), experts always say the best helmet is the one a kid will actually want to wear, and Labez says “S1 has a rainbow of colors” that should appeal to the most persnickety of kids.