Helmets & Protection

What is MIPS?

Getting to the bottom of what goes into your helmet

Arguably the most important bit of kit you’ll buy, your helmet is the only thing standing between you and a cracked melon. Gone are the days of helmets being a major fashion faux-pas, a sin committed by only annoying ski school kids and those weird old dudes who ski in jeans and woollen V-Necks. Most people now opt to slap a lid on, and there’s enough different styles for everyone to find something that they don’t hate too much.

When it comes to protecting your noggin, surely there can’t be a ‘too safe’, MIPS  (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System)  is designed to reduce the stress of an impact on your brain. You’ve probably seen the MIPS logo dotted on helmets all over the slopes and in shops, and probably at least one of your mates swears by it. So what actually is it? And what is it doing to help you?


We’re far from being brain doctors here at Whitelines, in fact I would go as far as to say that our brains are probably smaller than average, but here’s our breakdown of MIPS in bite size chunks that even we can wrap our heads around.

“Many people still suffered traumatic brain injuries, despite the fact that they were wearing helmets”

MIPS was the brainchild of Swedish neurosurgeon Hans von Holst after he realised that many people still suffered from traumatic brain injuries, despite the fact that they were wearing helmets. He looked into how rotational motion affected the brain and saw the need for a system which reduced rotational acceleration to the brain. Rotational motion happens when your head comes to an abrupt stop, which is caused by an angled impact, and when this happens the brain will move or stretch.

MIPS works by redirecting and absorbing the energy from an angled impact, that would normally be unleashed on your brain. MIPS allows the helmet and your head to rotate independently, there’s 10-15mm of movement between your head and the helmet in any direction at the moment of impact. This stops one specific part of your brain being subjected to the majority of the strain, and thus offers a better protection.

“MIPS is tested with a range of angles to better protect against a more realistic collision”

Generally normal helmets are tested with a vertical impact, they’re dropped vertically onto a flat surface, when in general thats not really how we would fall. Don’t know about you but we can’t remember the last time we fell directly onto the top of our head (memory loss from not wearing a helmet perhaps?). Either way, MIPS is tested with a range of angles to better protect against a more realistic collision. The current standard of helmet testing is good for head injuries, like a cracked skull, but doesn’t take brain injuries into consideration.

Inside your helmet you’ll see a thin yellow plastic layer and thats your MIPS, sitting between the helmet and your head. It’s attached with little bits of elastic, and thats what allows it to rotate between the helmet and liner. It’s small enough that it doesn’t make a difference to how your helmet fits or feels, especially if your helmet fits properly in the first place.

In a nutshell, MIPS allows your helmet to move a little bit, which stops loads of force smacking directly into your brain. So we’ll let the great helmet debate rage on, and whether or not you choose to slap a lid on is up to you (for now), feel free to drop us a message with your 2 cents on the issue. MIPS or no MIPS the only thing we will be clear on: No one over the age of 10 should be wearing a ‘wacky’ helmet cover. Ever.


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