Smith Helmets Review

21 Jan

smith optics helmet

Product Description:

You might be surprised to find that a company with a name like Smith Optics makes helmets.  They make a whole lot of eye protection gear, but at the time of writing, they also offer 18 different styles of adult helmets that keep your head safe when snowboarding or skiing.

Smith claims their helmets are made from one of three different manufacturing processes.  These processes (named in Marketing-speak) are Bombshell Construction, In Mold Construction, and Hybrid Shell Construction.  These are most likely just fancy terms for very standard manufacturing processes, which include injection molded ABS (a commonly used plastic that is used to make Legos) and high density foams like EVA (a commonly used foam, used in Nerf products).

I was puzzled about why Smith would make helmets, but it made sense to me once I realized that people want to make sure their goggles and helmets fit together.  If you make the goggles, you can design your helmets to fit those goggles perfectly.

American Alternative Review:

smith optics logoIn 1965, an orthodontist name Bob Smith started creating eye protection gear in his Sun Valley, Idaho home.  Smith Optics was born, and while they now have offices all over the country, they are still based in Sun Valley.  In 1996, the Italian Safilo Group purchased Smith Optics to expand the company’s eyewear offerings.  Today, Safilo is the world’s second largest eyewear company, but less than 8% of their total revenue comes from non-eyewear products like Smith’s helmets.

Helmets are not simple products.  They have many layers of protective foams and plastic, inner linings, straps, buckles, and decorative pieces.  For Smith’s helmets, we have confirmation from the company that all these materials as well as their packaging, are from Chinese sources.  In addition, all their helmets are made in China.

While Smith Optics is owned by a foreign company and manufactures its helmets overseas, it still does all of the design and testing in America, which scores it some points.

1/5 stars

It’s interesting that Smith is dominating Amazon’s list of top ten snowboarding helmets, with 9 of the 10 items being a Smith product.  You can see a few of them here, here, and here.

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