On January 31 at the SIA Snowsports Show in Denver, Colorado, sports design company Giro will introduce its first soft-shell helmet. Using new impact absorbing materials, Giro promises that this helmet will provide riders with durability and protection across a wide range of impact types, and even when the helmet takes multiple hits over the course of an event, a season, or even multiple seasons.
“We designed the new Combyn helmet for park and pipe riding where repeated impacts are the price of progression,” said Giro senior vice president Greg Shapleigh. “Giro is uniquely positioned to match snow sports’ rapid progression with equally advanced protection while maintaining style [true to] a sport design company. Giro introduced lightweight, in-mold helmets to the snow category back in 1999; now we are pushing helmet design forward again.”
The Combyn uses a patent-pending, impact-absorbing liner made with Vinyl Nitrile (VN) foam. The liner features two distinct layers of foam that allow the helmet to manage both high- and low-energy impacts across a wide range of temperatures. Unlike traditional expanded polystyrene (EPS) or expanded polypropylene (EPP) helmet liners, Vinyl Nitrile is soft and flexible. Layered with a proprietary shell material originally developed for football and hockey helmets, the result is a shell that delivers a comfortable and flexible fit with unmatched durability.
“We are excited to offer riders a new option in helmet construction,” explains Giro research and development director Rob Wesson. “From skiing powder in the backcountry to riding in the park, the mountains provide an incredibly diverse set of riding conditions. If multi-impact durability is important to you then soft-shell construction is something you should consider.”
There's no set number of impacts the helmet can take. Where traditional helmets are done after one hard blow, the liner in the Combyn basically never degrades. But if there's ever any doubt about how well it's holding up after numerous impacts, the user can send it back to Giro free of charge—Giro will pay for the shipping—to have it analyzed.
The helmet has eight stacked moisture channeling vents and a removable goggle retainer. Available in three sizes in August 2013, $120;giro.com.