What the hell is Mips?
If you've been looking for a helmet over the past few years, whether a ski helmet, bike helmet, or even construction helmet, you may have come across something called Mips. If you've not, you may have started to see a little yellow circle starting to appear on the back of more and more helmets when on the slopes, or out on a bike ride. The little yellow circle also says Mips in it. But what the hell is it?
Mips, or Mips BPS (Brain Protection System) is a multi directional impact protection system, that helps protect your brain from rotational motions which can cause brain damage. (Don't worry, we'll try and cut through what that actually means too)
So first off lets start talking about a standard helmet construction and what helmets are designed to do. If you crash, or lets say hit a tree, when this is head on with the impact straight at you, the construction of the helmet is designed to crush and absorb that impact rather than your skull, and they do a damn good job at it too. If you split a ski helmet, and a standard Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) helmet is crushed inside, you may well have a nasty headache, but the helmet will have no doubt saved your life. As to be blunt, without the helmet, that damage would be your skull and brain. But not all crashes are the same, and there's always room for improvement...
Most accidents, or crashes, don't actually have the impact straight on, with one big blow. Most accidents, and this is particularly relevant to skiing, happen in a fall and at an angle. It's that angle that makes Mips so important, and where it comes into play. This is because the angle causes one of the things that we mentioned before, a "Rotational Motion". Research has shown that rotational forces can have a huge impact, and do a lot of damage to your brain. This can cause serious injury, and brain damage. The technology in Mips reduces the rotational forces, through its motion, which in turn can reduce the risk of brain damage, as shown by the graphic above.
Now that we know what rotational forces are (sort of), and that we know these can cause damage to the brain, lets go back to the initial question, what is Mips, and how does it mitigate and prevent this damage to your brain. Well Mips is fairly simple in it's design. Yet hugely effective. Mips is just a thin layer that you could maybe class as a sort of exoskeleton that is right on your head, above your padding. This is then attached with little pieces of rubber to your helmet proper, but allows independent movement from the outer helmet. When in with your padding, you don't notice it, but on impact, or with a firm grip it'll allow your helmet to move between 10 and 15mm in any direction from your head and the Mips inner. This all allows rotational forces to be redirected away from your head, as in a traditional helmet, you are strapped to it, and moving with it, along with the impact. Mips allows your helmet to do its job of absorbing the impact, whilst your head can carry on moving slightly in the direction it want's to, away from the main impact zone.
With this rotational force redirected, the strain on the brain tissue is reduced. Mips have completed more than 31 thousand tests, which have received third party validated testing which confirm that Mips does add protection to certain types of impact. The evidence has been so overwhelming for industry leaders, that companies like Bolle who usually use solely their own technology have collaborated and incorporated Mips into a number of their helmets. Our brands here at Alpine Helmets and Goggles such as Bolle and Cebe have both teamed up with Mips, but any brand worth its salt has as well, from Giro, to POC, Smith, Lazer, you name it.
Many of the brands mentioned above of course incorporated Mips into their higher end helmets first. Our top of the line helmet this year for instance, the Bolle Ryft Mips at £258 has Mips in it, but not everyone wants all the other tech that comes with the Ryft. It's a serious helmet for backcountry and off piste skiing, so what about the middle of the line helmets, will they get Mips? Well yes they are, this year we're doing helmets with Mips for under £100. This is starting with the Cebe x Superdry Pow Mips that is retailing out at £95.70 (that's before we add any of our discounts), which will be arriving in at the start of October, prior to our main first drop of stock in November. So if you're interested, make sure to keep an eye out on the website in the coming weeks, or create an account so we can send you an email when they're in. (We'll stick an early season 30% discount code in too, so a helmet with Mips in, can be yours for £66.90). Said Helmet below:
For more info on Mips, visit their website for some much jazzier graphics than we can fathom on here. https://mipsprotection.com/