Expert Review: Smith Maze MIPS Helmet
This review is my honest opinion of the helmet, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the helmet, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2021.
The Smith Maze MIPS Helmet offers superb protection with a stylish look on the mountain. In addition, its functional helmet design features the best impact resistance system on the market.
About the gear I own
- Model Size: 2021 Smith Maze MIPS Helmet in size medium, 55-59cm head circumference. (Note: The 2021 and 2023 Smith Maze MIPS helmets feature the same construction and clean look.)
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 160 lbs
- Head circumference: 57cm (size M Maze Helmet/55-59cm circumference)
- Goggles: Smith Squad XL or Smith I/O Mag XL
- Experience: 22 years of snowboarding/skiing
- When I bought this helmet: January 2021
- Days tested: 100+
- Where I’ve used it: Killington, VT; Mount Snow, VT; Okemo, VT; Pico, VT; Mount Hood, OR; Copper, CO; Arapahoe Basin: CO; Jackson Hole, WY; Grand Targhee, ID; and Big Snow American Dream, NJ.
- How I’ve used it: I’ve used this helmet in a wide array of terrain, including skiing the resort, park, trees, and sidecountry and backcountry touring missions. I have skied this helmet both on the East and West Coasts.
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was on the hunt for a helmet with a lightweight feel that included a MIPS system and looked stylish for park skiing. I wasn't trying to break the bank and was looking for affordable options for the quality that also had detachable ear pads since I wear my goggles underneath my helmet.
Why I chose this gear
I decided to buy this particular helmet because of the affordable price point and the stylish look. I needed a new helmet for skiing in the park, and a MIPS system was a must for me, as I know I will fall often and need proper protection for my cranium. I considered buying other options like the Giro Ledge FS and the Smith Holt but, ultimately, decided on the Maze.
What I love about it
- Protection: The Smith Maze MIPS offers premier protection for any falls or impacts. I think the MIPS system does an amazing job at rotating the helmet to the area of impact so the helmet can take an impact squarely rather than on the side of the helmet/on the head. I have fallen many times, have dented this helmet, and have never had a concussion or a severe impact. Smith did a fantastic job integrating the MIPS system into this helmet. I always feel safe and protected when strapping the Maze on.
- Comfort: The Maze is a comfortable helmet with padded foam that can be taken out or adjusted for a better fit if needed. The helmet strap is padded, so it feels comfortable sitting on the chin. It fits comfortably out of the box. This helmet also comes in Round Countour Fit to match rounder head shapes better.
- Sizing: The Smith Maze fits quite well out of the box and has an intuitive sizing system, with head circumference values included by the side of the actual size of the helmet. (Medium: 55-59cm) I found this extremely helpful when purchasing, as I could actually measure for an accurate reading and be confident that the size would fit my head perfectly. I wear a Medium Maze and find it fits me very well, as my head is right in the 55-59cm circumference range.
- Fit system: The Smith Maze fits well out of the box, in my opinion, and the padding can be shifted around and added for a more precise fit. The Maze does not currently feature a BOA dial system, but it would be nice to see this incorporated in the future with the Maze. Padding can also be taken out where it is needed for a more precise fit. Overall, it fits nicely, as expected, and runs true to size.
- Liner: The liner that comes in the Maze is comfortable and durable even after use from multiple seasons. The liner helps maintain a good temperature when skiing, as I have never overheated from the liner and enjoy the feel of it. The liner packs out slightly and forms to my head with extended use.
- Earpads: The Snapfit earpads can be kept in or can be removed from the Maze MIPS helmet. I prefer to take them out for a more sleek and stylish look in the park, and taking out the earpads does not affect the helmet's functionality or comfort. The earpads are compatible with multiple audio systems and audio chips.
- Goggle compatibility: The Smith Maze fits my goggles perfectly, noting I only use Smith goggles with this helmet. I never have issues with goggle gaps, cold air, or rain/snow getting into the gap. I typically wear my goggles under my helmet, so I don’t take them off that often and prefer to take my helmet off first, then goggles. One can easily pull the goggles up if worn underneath the helmet. If goggles are worn over the Maze, expect an easy time when pulling goggles up, taking them off, or adjusting the fit. I’d imagine that the Maze is totally compatible with other goggle brands, as well, and would fit other brands just fine.
- Weight: The Smith Maze MIPS helmet is lightweight and durable and is a one-piece design. I really like the look of this helmet. It’s sleek and stylish while providing a lightweight feel. It has to be one of the lightest weight park-oriented helmets on the market, in my opinion.
- Durability: This helmet is extremely durable and has made it through so many impacts, falls, and banged-up times in competitions. The cosmetic finish on the top will scratch slightly over time and with exposure to elements and extended use. My helmet has a matte black finish, and it’s really hard to tell that the minor scratches are actually present because of the color.** **I’ve been pleased and amazed by the Maze's durability!
- Quality of Materials: The Smith Maze MIPS helmet is made with high-quality materials and is built to last. It’s extremely worth the price for the quality, materials used, and how durable the helmet proves to be. Smith proves to be an industry leader in helmet quality. I love their helmet and don’t really see myself switching back to another helmet brand anytime soon.
- Style: The Smith Maze MIPS helmet is a one-piece, lightweight helmet that is stylish and customizable for a precise fit. It’s low profile, sleek, and looks great on any skier or boarder out there. The style of the helmet is oriented for freestyle skiers/boarders and anyone riding in the park.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Breathability: The Smith Maze is breathable and has ventilation on both the front brim and at the back of the helmet, but often times when I crash and snow packs into those vents, it will not want to come out with force. Besides snow packing into vents and not coming out very well because of the shape/design of the vent, I do like the location of the vents and the airflow when skiing. Vents do not open or close on the Maze; they are built-in.
- Built-In Features: The Smith Maze does not have an incredible amount of built-in features or audio but is capable of housing many different audio systems. As expected, a park and freestyle-oriented helmet will not have the utmost features, like a BOA dial, closeable vents, etc., but the Smith Maze keeps things simple and provides all the features one needs. I’d love to see Smith develop this helmet a bit further and add a BOA dial and other “luxury” helmet features.
Favorite moment with this gear
This isn’t exactly my favorite moment with my Maze, but my most thankful moment. I was in the middle of competing in a rail jam in Vermont. I was hiking back up very close to a rail. Unknown to me, a skier was dropping in on this feature, and his ski hit me square in the side of the helmet at full speed. The skier was thrown to the ground, and so was I upon impact. It truly was a scary moment, and I expected a concussion, broken helmet, or worse, when the ski knocked me to the ground. However, I got up, was completely okay, and didn’t get my bell rung. No concussion, just a dent in my helmet where the impact occurred. I was amazed! My helmet didn't crack or break, and I had no head trauma from the incident. I ended up getting a new helmet because of the severe dent, but I was glad that the Maze protected my head in the way it did. I am so thankful that I wore a helmet that offers superior protection!
Value for the money vs. other options
The Smith Maze MIPS helmet has amazing value for its price point, in my opinion. The Giro Ledge FS MIPS helmet comes in at a slightly better price point, but it was too “boxy” of a helmet, in my opinion, and not as stylish as the Maze. The Maze MIPS falls right into the middle price point on MIPS helmets, with the Sweet Protection Looper coming in at a higher price point. The Maze is absolutely worth the money and will remain durable and trustworthy for seasons on end.
The Smith Maze MIPS is a sleek and stylish helmet option without breaking the bank. It’s comfortable to wear with or without goggles and will prove to be extremely durable.