Smith Session MIPS helmet review

Extra protection all-mountain lid

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Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £140.00 RRP | USD $160.00 | EUR €160.00
Smith's Session helmet

Our review

Fantastic cooling, great comfort and a stylish, well thought out overall package
Pros: Great cooling thanks to large vents; good, all day comfort; compatible with glasses and goggles; looks good on the trail
Cons: Fairly pricey
Skip to view product specifications

Designed for the all-mountain mountain biker, Smith’s Session helmet is built around two third-party protection technologies, Koroyd and MIPS.

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Koroyd technology uses welded tubes in a honeycomb structure in strategic places in the helmet’s construction. It’s designed to crumple in a controlled way to help absorb the forces created by an impact. Koroyd claims the way the tubes crumple also helps to protect against angled impacts.

Fitted with MIPS as well, which is designed to reduce the rotational forces transferred into the brain in an impact, the Session doubles up on impact protection.

It has an in-mould construction where the polycarbonate shell is a part of the EPS foam liner and is integrated with the Koroyd. There are 15 vents with internal air channels to help airflow. The padding is XT2 anti-bacterial.

The front vents feature glasses parking and the peak’s highest position means goggles can be stored on the front of the lid. The peak has three positions of adjustment.

The lid is compatible with light and camera mounts, and is designed with both goggles and glasses in mind.

The VaporFit retention system uses an indexed BOA-style thumb wheel so that the lid’s tightness can be tuned. The retention cradle also has three points of vertical adjustment.

The buckle is fastened using a standard clip and the chin strap splitters are vertically adjustable, locking into place.

The Session isn’t light on features, but only weighs 376g in a size medium, making it one of the lightest lids I’ve tested recently.

The Smith Session wasn’t included in Virginia Tech’s helmet safety impact tests.

Smith Session MIPS helmet performance

The Session feels comfortable to wear with a neutral but fairly deep fit. There were no pressure points or hot spots for the duration of the test period, even after long, hot and strenuous days in the saddle when faults with helmet comfort are quickly highlighted.

The Session proved to be one of the coolest helmets I’ve tested in recent times, thanks to the five large forward-facing and five upper-most vents that let air flow freely over my head.

These vents are linked with internal cooling channels furthering the effectiveness of the lid’s cooling. Luckily the Koroyd inserts didn’t cause any perceivable reduction in air flow across my head – some lids fitted with Koroyd can get quite hot.

However, the large front vents made it easy for flies and bugs to enter the lid, and the Koroyd-covered side and top ports reduced the chances of them exiting. Although this should only be a problem for people who, like myself, are follicly challenged.

The retention system was easy to adjust, both vertically and with the indexed thumb wheel, and when tightened, exerted an even pressure over the entirety of my head.

Over rough terrain and when worn with weighty goggles or glasses the lid didn’t bounce or wobble around, and I never found myself reaching for the fit adjuster to crank it up another notch.

Glasses were comfortable to wear with the lid and the retention cradle didn’t pinch or cause pressure points where the arms of specs contacted it.

Goggles also worked well, with ample space to stow them with the visor in its highest position on the front and, as long as the lid was in its highest cradle setting, enough room underneath the front rim for oversized goggles to not get pushed down onto my nose or for the lid to get pushed reward on my head. This was less of an issue for smaller-sized goggles.

The forward-facing glasses storage was a handy feature – where the ends of the glasses’ arms are poked through small holes in the outer-most front vents to secure them in place . However, on really hot climbs the glasses did steam up with the warm air coming off my head.

Although they stayed put when climbing, the one time I forgot to put the glasses back on my face and started descending, they flew out of their storage position when I hit some large bumps.

The padding isn’t especially luxurious and once it finally got saturated it did cause sweat to drip down my brow, but, because the lid is so well cooled, the point where you’re dripping with perspiration is so much further down the line than other lids I’ve recently tested.

I did find the MIPS liner and retention cradle occasionally pinched and tugged at my short hair, but I suspect this would be less of a problem for people with longer locks. And a quick re-adjustment of the lid cured the problem for the rest of the ride.

Smith Session helmet bottom line

The Smith Session has to be one of the coolest-running and, as a result, lightest feeling lids out there.

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With a host of features it represents good value for money and if all-day comfort is at the top of your wish list, the Smith Session should be, too.

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €160.00GBP £140.00USD $160.00
Weight 376g (M) – as tested
Brand Smith optics

Features

Features Sizes: S, M, L
Vents: 15
Features: Koroyd, adjustable peak, XT2 anti-bacterial liner, sunglasses and goggle integration, camera and light mount compatible
Colours (include): Black, Get Wild, Iris/Indigo/Jade, Mystic Green/Black, Sage/Red Rock, Tusk/Black
MIPS Yes
Helmet type Mountain bike open face