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If you’re competing in a triathlon, you’ll need a good helmet.
The triathlete’s helmet needs to provide excellent aerodynamics with high levels of comfort and ventilation. Of course, it should also afford high levels of protection in the unlikely event of an accident.
The ten helmets we’ve reviewed are all medium to high priced. There are no cheap and cheerful helmets on our list, but they all offer great value. We hope the best triathlon helmet for your needs is amongst them.
Let’s get started and take a closer look…
- Top 10 Best Triathlon Helmet In 2021 Reviews
- 1 Giro Vanquish MIPS Adult Aero Cycling Helmet
- 2 MET Manta Helmet
- 3 Giro Air Attack Shield Aero Helmet
- 4 Kask Protone Helmet
- 5 Giro Aerohead MIPS Adult Road Cycling Helmet
- 6 RUDY PROJECT Boost 01 – Titanium Matte
- 7 Kask Utopia Helmet Orange Fluo/Black
- 8 Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet Matte Red/White/Black
- 9 Kask Mistral Aero Cycling Helmet
- 10 Smith Optics Ignite MIPS Adult MTB Cycling Helmet
- Best Triathlon Helmet Buying Guide
- Before We Conclude
- Final Thoughts On The Best Triathlon Helmet For You
Top 10 Best Triathlon Helmet In 2021 Reviews
1 Giro Vanquish MIPS Adult Aero Cycling Helmet
Giro is one of the biggest names in the world of bike helmets. They’ve been around since 1985 and have been responsible for multiple design innovations. This is a brand synonymous with quality.
The Giro Vanquish is constructed using an in-mold construction with a progressive layered 4-piece interlocking hard polycarbonate shell. It also uses a Multiple Impact Protection System (MIPS) to ensure maximum protection and reduce injuries in the event of an accident involving rotational force.
The quality and safety of the Giro Vanquish is first class. It honestly doesn’t get much better than this.
The Gio Vanquish is a streamlined and aero helmet that still offers good levels of ventilation. It uses TransformAir technology to reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency.
The Roc Loc Air MIPS fit system keeps the helmet floating slightly above the head. This, together with the four large vent channels on the front, helps airflow to pass over the top of the head and enter through the vents at the back.
The fact is that although it isn’t as aero as a closed helmet, it still has excellent aero credentials. It’s a great choice on a hot day, over long rides, where comfort is key.
The helmet is relatively light and weighs just 305g. With the shield, it weighs 355g. We’d 100% recommend using the shield. The shield is made with the help of Zeiss. It works beautifully to protect your eyes and bring all the colors to life. It’s also very well vented and is fully magnetic so it can be quickly taken off and put back on again whenever required.
The Giro Vanquish is beautifully styled. Their logos are proudly emblazoned on the front and sides. Plus, it comes in a range of seven exciting and interesting colors.
- Uses MIPS.
- TransformAir Technology.
- 4-Piece interlocking shell.
- Zeiss magnetic visor.
- Well ventilated.
- Less aero than a closed helmet.
2 MET Manta Helmet
This is a helmet very much focused on aerodynamics.
Although it isn’t as aero as their fully-closed tri and TT helmets, it is still the most aerodynamic vented helmet in their range. The truth is that this is just about the most aero vented helmet you can buy regardless of manufacturer.
MET claims the Manta can offer a 10-watts saving at a speed of 50 kph. Not a number to be sneezed at.
What they haven’t done is reduce the size of the vents. A lot of helmets go down this route to increase their aero ability. The only problem being that the loss in ventilation makes them a poor choice for longer rides in warmer conditions.
What MET did was redesign the side vents and include a NACA crown duct near the top of the helmet. This helps to keep drag down and ventilation up—the perfect combination for a triathlete.
Together with making an aero helmet, MET has also been able to keep the weight nice and low. The MET Manta Helmet weighs just 200g. This is a very low number for an aero helmet. Compare it to the 305g for the Ciro Vanquish, and it becomes even more impressive.
For comfort and safety, the MET Manta helmet features a proprietary MET’s Safe-T Advanced Fit System. The system can accommodate all head shapes. But even better, it can also be altered for vertical and horizontal adjustment.
To further ensure your comfort, MET uses polyurethane padding to reduce pressure. This keeps weight low and helps the back of the head to breathe fully.
A couple of other features we like include the dual gel padding on the front of the helmet that keeps perspiration in check. Plus, its compatibility with the MET’s USB rear light. The light is sold separately.
- NACA aero vent.
- MET’s Safe-T Advanced Fit System.
- Dual gel pads.
- Poor color choice.
- It does not have MIPS.
3 Giro Air Attack Shield Aero Helmet
The Giro Air Attack is the predecessor to the Giro Vanquish.
Whilst there’s no doubt that the latest helmet is an advance over the Giro Air Attack Shield Aero Helmet, there’s also no doubt that this is still an excellent helmet. After all, this was the go-to choice for a large number of professional triathletes, and cyclists, for several years.
The good news is that now you can buy a Giro Air Attack at a great price. There are plenty of bargains to be had. This makes it the best value triathlon helmet in our line-up.
The helmet features a polycarbonate shell with an EPS liner. The webbing serves the dual purpose of keeping the helmet off the head to improve ventilation. Additionally, it helps to reduce the rotational force in the event of a glancing blow to the head.
The Giro Attack has been wind tunnel tested and is shown to be a full 17 seconds faster at 40 kph, over a 40 km course, compared to the Aeon. That might not sound like a lot, but trust us, it is!
The helmet comes with the same high quality magnetic detachable Zeiss lens that’s still to be found on the Vanquish. However, one advantage the Attack has over the Vanquis is that it only weighs 283 g. That’s 22 g lighter. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps.
The majority of the airflow comes into the helmet through the large two vents on the front of the helmet. These are vented out at the rear. The Giro Attack will keep you fresh when you’re pushing the pace. However, if you start slogging up hard climbs, it doesn’t function so well. It’s a helmet that needs to keep the air flowing to keep you cool.
One other great feature we liked is that, even at speed, this is quieter than a lot of comparable helmets.
For any ladies or gents for that matter, with a ponytail, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s ponytail compatible. Also, as it’s available in a choice of six great colors, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one to suit your look, your style, and your bike.
- Excellent value.
- Good aero properties.
- Great ventilation.
- The visor is not polarized.
4 Kask Protone Helmet
This is a high-quality Italian hand-crafted premium helmet.
If you need a vented helmet with a low drag coefficient, then this is it. The helmet has been wind tunnel tested at Jaguar’s facility. It has the top CX rating for a vented helmet. Additionally, it has superb levels of ventilation and heat dissipation.
To keep you even cooler, the Protone also uses a 3D dry technology padding. This uses multiple openings to help you keep you cool. It has seven massive vents at the front and another six at the rear. There are very few other helmets at this level to match this kind of ventilation.
Furthermore, when you need to, the padding can be removed and washed. We should point out that it also has an anti-bacterial coating to help keep things as hygienic as possible.
As well as being well-ventilated and aero, the Kask Protone is light. In fact, it’s one of the lightest in its class. For longer distances, where comfort begins to become increasingly important but where every second still counts, it’s a great choice.
For safety, nothing has been left to chance. The frame is specially reinforced to prevent fracture in the event of a severe accident. The polycarbonate cover uses MIT technology to add further strength and shock absorption.
In a crash, the Kask Protone has a floating cradle that reduces impacts from any angle and minimizes rotational forces. Furthermore, the OCTO Fit dial helps to create exactly the right tension to maintain a good fit whilst also maintain comfort.
The Kask Protone is a premium helmet that will keep you comfortable and safe in style. This is a good-looking helmet. What’s more, as far as color choice is concerned, this is the best trilithon helmet on our list. Happily, you have a generous 20 different colors to choose from.
- Highly aero.
- Highly vented.
- Excellent color choice.
- Anti-bacterial padding.
- Washable and removable padding.
- No visor option.
5 Giro Aerohead MIPS Adult Road Cycling Helmet
This looks so, so cool. It looks so good we want to wear one for our Sunday group rides.
One of the things we like about the Giro Aerohead, from a visual perspective, is that it has the looks of a closed TT bike helmet, despite the two discreet vents at the front and rear. Check out the black version if you want to go all stealthy. The vents on the black helmet are very difficult to pick out and, for our money, makes it the coolest choice of the five colors.
The outer shell is constructed from tough polycarbonate. This is molded with a high impact absorbing foam inner. The Giro Aerohead is also MIPS equipped. Since so many accidents involve glancing blows that can cause both life-threatening and life-changing injuries, it’s a welcome inclusion.
The Roc Loc 5 Air system ensures the helmet is suspended very slightly above the skull. This helps to improve ventilation and keep you cool. The active vents and two exhaust channels also work well to maintain good airflow.
Never the less, it should be noted that you won’t get the same level of ventilation as you will with the Kask Protone. Frankly, the Giro Vanquish, and a lot of other helmets, will give you superior ventilation.
Although this is a vented helmet, the size of the vents are small, albeit well-positioned, so they can only achieve so much. The smooth shape at the rear and cover at the back of the head make this more of a short course TT helmet than something you might want to use over a long distance. For rides longer than an hour, things could start to get very uncomfortable.
Finishing off on a positive, the vented Zeiss visor is pure class. It provides crystal clear visuals and protects your eyes fully. It also finishes off the look of the helmet to a tee.
- Highly aero.
- Tough polycarbonate shell.
- MIPS equipped.
- Vented Zeiss visor.
- It looks cool.
- Low ventilation.
6 RUDY PROJECT Boost 01 – Titanium Matte
This is a vented helmet with some impressive aero credentials.
It has been designed by the legendary John Cobb. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s the guy that first put a rider and a bike into a wind tunnel. This is someone with decades of experience in wind tunnel testing with bikes and equipment.
The RUDY PROJECT Boost 01 has become increasingly familiar in recent years as it’s now the helmet used by Bahrain-Merida. The only difference between theirs and the standard model is that they spray their helmets gold.
Well, of course, they do!
In a word, yes.
The RUDY PROJECT Boost 01 reduces drag when compared to a standard road helmet by 12%. Exactly what triathletes want. They’ve achieved this by redirecting airflow, via a Vortex Killer System, through the sides and out of the back of the helmet. The airflow is straightened and then pushed out at the back, past the shoulders and neck, at a different speed and volume compared to the arriving air from the opposite direction.
But this helmet isn’t only about aerodynamics—the core and shell of the helmet feature an EPS inner with a polycarbonate casing. There’s no doubt that this is a robust and sturdy helmet.
To keep it in place, the RUDY PROJECT Boost 01 uses an internal retention system. The helmet feels firmly in place without being uncomfortable or feeling overly tight. It also has sufficient airflow at the top of the inside of the helmet to allow for some airflow and ventilation.
The helmet can be paired with a built-in visor, though this model does not have one included. In this form, the RUDY PROJECT Boost 01 weighs 296 g. That’s around the same weight as the Giro Attack and Vanquish.
- 12% more aero.
- Strong polycarbonate shell.
- Good ventilation.
- Not MIPS equipped.
- Visor not included.
7 Kask Utopia Helmet Orange Fluo/Black
The Kask Utopia was designed in conjunction with Team Sky, or Team Ineos, as we now call them. As such, this is a helmet that has to perform well over long distances. Happily, the need for high levels of aerodynamics coupled with safety, comfort, breathability, and temperature control are well met by the Kask Utopia.
Extensive testing and design have produced a helmet that can save 6 watts, against its best competitor, at a speed of 50 kph. We do not doubt these claims from Kask. However, for us mere mortals, we’d be a lot more interested to see that figure at 40 kph.
The Kask Utopia is very much an all year helmet and has been designed to provide high levels of ventilation as well as aerodynamics. This is perfect for most triathletes. Having to consider buying a different helmet, according to the weather conditions or distance, is an expense we could well do without.
The skeletal brackets on the inside of the helmet ensure the very best fit. Once in place, the Octo Fit system can be tweaked, via the dial, to get the very best customized fit.
To keep you cool on those long rides, the helmet has a HyVent air vent system that directs airflow over the top of the head and blows out the exhaust thought the rear. The quick-dry padding and the fast-wicking material of the webbing further help to keep you cool.
The helmet has most of the same features as its competitors, including a polystyrene impact foam inner and a polycarbonate shell. However, despite this, the Kask Utopia Helmet manages to keep its weight down to a very respectable 235 g.
- Class-leading aerodynamics.
- All-round weather helmet.
- HyVent air system.
- No integrated visor.
8 Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet Matte Red/White/Black
This looks amazing.
This is taking aerodynamics one step further than the Giro Aerohead. The Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet has their two vents at the front, rather than on the side, and they are super, super small. There are two vents at the back, which are also quite small.
The Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet is as close as you’re going to get before you go fully closed. Consequently, don’t expect too much in the way of ventilation. This is a helmet probably best reserved for shorter tri-dash events.
It has a honeycomb-like Koroyd core to disperse energy and minimize force in the case of a crash. This is most useful in lower impact accidents. This is because, at lower forces, the impact may not be strong enough to compress the Styrofoam insert but can still be sufficient to cause head trauma.
Additionally, the helmet utilizes MIPS to further reduce injury, including injuries caused by rotational force.
To secure the helmet in place, there is a VaporFit system. This will keep the helmet comfortably in place.
The helmet does have minimal ventilation, but as we’ve already mentioned, it’s not great. However, the molded Aerocore construction, along with the vents, does help to dissipate heat to a degree.
The visor is integrated into the helmet and is vented to prevent fogging. The visor lens uses the same ChromoPop lens you find on their Smith Attack bike sunglasses. You, therefore, get the same high level of lens clarity and color filtration.
Unfortunately, because it’s pretty much a full closed helmet, there is a bit of a weight premium. The Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet weighs in at a slightly portly 360 g. It’s heavy, but for a TT-style helmet, it could be considered light.
- Koroyd core.
- MIPS equipped.
- VaporFit fastening.
- Super aero.
- ChromoPop visor.
- Looks like the coolest helmet in the world.
- Poor ventilation.
9 Kask Mistral Aero Cycling Helmet
This is another TT-style helmet and an excellent, albeit very expensive, alternative to the Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet. The Kask Mistral Aero Cycling Helmet, like the Smith helmet, is not fully closed but also offers very little in the way of ventilation.
The description boasts six vents at the front (which are tiny) and two exhaust vents at the back. Plus, 3D dry padding to wick away moisture. You might, therefore, be led to think you’ll keep nice and cool.
Let’s move on.
The helmet is predominantly about being aero, and on this score, it excels. Unlike the Smith helmet, the Kask Mistral Aero has a tail. This better allows airflow and significantly improves aerodynamics.
The helmet comes with an integrated visor that further improves aerodynamics. Once you have the visor down, you’ll also be surprised at how quiet everything is. Riding wearing the Kask Mistral can be a bit of a serene experience.
The main shell of the helmet is made from sturdy polycarbonate. The inner shell uses high impact polystyrene foam. In the unlikely event of a crash, the good news is that Kask has you covered.
There is a good choice of colors, and you also get a few decent accessories. These include, as well as the visor, a spare internal pad, and an insulating winter cap. Not that you’ll ever need the cap!
Possibly. But only for very short triathlon events. The Kask Mistral would be great for purely TT biking events, though.
Unfortunately, the problem with the helmet keeps coming back to its inferior ventilation. We think you’re better off exerting a few more watts and staying cooler in the process before your run, than preparing to start the final leg of your triathlon a hot, sweaty mess. In this regard, either the Kask Protone or Utopia might be a better choice.
- Best performing for aerodynamics.
- Hard polycarbonate shell.
- Integrated visor.
- Spare padding.
- Poor ventilation.
10 Smith Optics Ignite MIPS Adult MTB Cycling Helmet
This is a bit more of an all-rounder than the Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet we reviewed earlier. The cool thing is you get a lot of the same safety features. However, though you do get improved ventilation, you also lose some aerodynamic benefits in the process.
The helmet uses a Koroyd core to disperse energy in the event of an accident. It is most effective at lower levels of impact. This is because, at lower levels of force, the Styrofoam insert may remain intact, even though the impact can be sufficient to cause brain trauma.
In the event of a more substantial accident, the Styrofoam insert, the hard polycarbonate shell, plus the MIPS system, all work together to give your head excellent protection.
To keep the helmet firmly in place, Smith utilizes its proprietary VaporFit system. It will keep the helmet from being thrown off in the event of an accident. Additionally, it will keep you comfortable on long rides.
What will also keep you comfortable is the AirVac ventilation system. Coupled with 8 vents, it offers good levels of ventilation. For a fairly minimalist and aerodynamic helmet, we have no complaints about being able to stay cool.
A couple of other features we like about the Smith Optics Ignite is the integrated sunglasses storage and anti-bacterial performance lining. Additionally, the cool range of colors is another bonus.
- Good value.
- MIPS equipped.
- Koroyd core.
- Effective ventilation.
- VaporFit fixing system.
- Integrated eyewear storage.
- Anti-bacterial lining.
- Not the most aerodynamic.
- No visor option.
Best Triathlon Helmet Buying Guide
MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System.
Basically, this is a built-in slip-plane inside the helmet. Its purpose is to reduce rotational friction. This kind of force can typically occur as a glancing blow to the head caused by either being struck by a vehicle or with ground contact.
This type of accident can cause head trauma, but more usually will cause spinal injury. Death or severe disability can be caused if the rotational force is sufficient.
Rotational injuries are more severe in cyclists who wear helmets (without a MIPS system) compared to cyclists who wear no helmet at all. This is mainly due to the gripping action a helmet has on a hard surface. This is why having a helmet with MIPS is a jolly good idea.
Better quality helmets will have a tough Polycarbonate shell. Since all the helmets we’ve reviewed are middle to high quality, they all have this hard exterior.
Most of the inner shells use Polystyrene, or EPS as it’s also known. This serves to cushion the head in the event of an impact. If you do have a crash, you should always carefully examine the EPS shell for damage. There may be damage to the Polystyrene that isn’t immediately obvious. If in any doubt at all about the integrity of your helmet, throw it out.
Some helmets, like the Smith Optics Ignite and the Podium TT, add a further layer of protection. They use a Koroyd crumple zone. This is a maze of crumble zone cylinders that deform under impact to take the energy out of the initial hit. It works very much in the same way as the crumple zones in your car.
This system is designed for lower levels of impact that don’t damage the EPS core though they are still capable of causing brain trauma. If you have this type of technology, in the event of a minor crash, the manufacturers recommend you throw out your helmet.
It’s pointless having a helmet with great technology and protecting properties if it fits badly and is liable to fly off the first time you hit the deck. You need a good cradle, ratchet system, and straps to keep it in place and maintain your comfort.
Though all the helmets have sound fitting systems, we liked the MET’s Safe-T Advanced Fit System found on the MET Manta. We think it’s the ideal triathlon helmet for ensuring a comfortable and secure fit.
So, now we’ve got all the safety stuff out of the way lets have look at some of the fun stuff. And we’re sure you’ll all agree, it doesn’t come much more interesting and fun than aerodynamics.
All the helmets we’ve reviewed will give you the edge and real aero gains over a typical road helmet. There are a few that stand out as giving a significant aero advantage. However, in the name of aero advantage, they do unfortunately give up quite a lot, in some instances, when it comes to good ventilation and comfort.
There’s no doubt that a closed helmet with an aerodynamic tail will give you the best aero gains. Although not entirely closed, though almost, the Kask Mistral Aero Cycling Helmet is the most aero helmet of our review. The Smith Podium TT MIPS Helmet, with slightly more ventilation and no aerodynamic tail, was the second most aero helmet.
Whilst these aero gains are nice to have, in the real world, when you’ve just got out of the water, you have a long ride, and then a huge run at the end, shaving off even a couple of minutes from your ride is very probably not worth overheating for.
Compromise in a triathlon is the way to go. For that reason, we favor the Giro Vanquish and the Kask Protone as being able to offer excellent aero gains whilst maintaining your cool.
Ventilation is critical for a triathlete on the bike. Depending on your event, you could be spending a long day out. If you overheat on your ride, the chances are it won’t only wreck your performance on the bike, but will also wreck your run.
We think the Kask Utopia with is proprietary HyVent system is the best triathlon helmet for providing ventilation across a range of temperature and weather conditions.
We like the look and the idea of a visor. On the whole, a visor will decrease drag. However, it’s not always the case. Regardless, if it’s possible to buy a helmet with a detachable visor, we like the flexibility of that, as it can be used if the event or weather conditions dictate. Additionally, a visor will undoubtedly improve the protection given to your eyes.
Before We Conclude
If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may be interested in our reviews for the Best Triathlon Watches, the Best Triathlon Saddles, the Best Cycling Sunglasses, the Best Aero Bars, and the Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitors currently available.
Traveling far to get to your triathlon? Head to the Best Bike Travel Cases, the Best Bicycle GPS Trackers, the Best Bike Locks, the Best Trunk Mount Bike Racks, the Best 3 Bike Car Racks, and the Best 4 Bike Car Racks on the market.
Right, back to triathlon helmets…
Final Thoughts On The Best Triathlon Helmet For You
So, there you have it.
The fact is that there is no such thing as the perfect helmet for a triathlon. This is because every triathlon varies according to distance and weather conditions. In an ideal world, we’d have sufficient funds to cover all of these eventualities. In a world where we’re married, have partners, responsibilities, and limited funds, more commonly, one helmet will have to cover a broad range of needs.
With this in mind, we feel that the… Kask Utopia Helmet
… is best able to fill these requirements. It has some of the best aerodynamics in its class, the HyVent system makes it one of the best vented and comfortable helmets in its class, plus it’s relatively lightweight. Consequently, it was an easy top pick.
Enjoy your swims, your rides, and your runs.