MIPS Equestrian Helmet

Posted by Megan Maxwell on

Head injuries are the most common injuries equestrians face. In fact, 25% of injuries sustained by equestrians are head injuries. The MIPS equestrian helmet is considered to be one of the best equestrian helmets on the market. But, what exactly is MIPS and what makes riding helmets with MIPS so safe?

The MIPS is short for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, which is a protective layer built into the hardware of riding helmets. It is a low-friction layer of material between the riding helmet and the head of the rider that allows 10-15 mm of movement in many directions to protect the head from rotational force.

Protecting your head keeps your skull and brain safe from injury, so read on to learn more about the MIPS equestrian helmet.

What is MIPS?

To understand the benefits of a MIPS equestrian helmet, you first need to understand what MIPS is. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. It was created by both biomechanics and neuroscience at the Royal Institute of Technology and the Karolinska Institute in 1996. MIPS was developed after years of learning about the brain and how it can be protected.

The human brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal cord that keeps the brain safe by allowing it slide in the skull when it deals with impact on an angle. A MIPS equestrian helmet simulates this by creating a low friction sliding layer of material in-between the helmet liner and the head  which lowers the rotational force delivered to the brain on impact.

MIPS does not diminish design aesthetic or user comfort. You can distinguish a MIPS equestrian helmet from others by a yellow logo that says MIPS on it. 

Helmets for Equestrians 

Equestrians need helmets because horseback riding is a risky sport with a high probability of head injury. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries make up 25% of equestrian related injuries. These types of injuries can be prevented or reduced through helmet use. 

More specifically, the Modern American Society for Testing and Materials/ Safety Equipment Institute ASTM/SEI) which publishes safety standards and regulations for equestrian helmets, reported that helmets abiding by the standards lessened horseback riding head injuries by 30% and severe head injuries by 50%. 

MIPS equestrian helmets have scored higher than regular riding helmets when tested and compared to each other. A MIPS equestrian helmet provides a higher level of protection against trauma sustained from rotational falls specifically, preventing traumatic brain injuries, and concussion sustained from this type of fall making them the safest equestrian helmet in this type of situation. 

Here is a table that showcases the differences between a MIPS equestrian helmet and a traditional helmet:

MIPS Equestrian Helmet

Traditional helmet

Designed to withstand angled impact

Designed to withstand linear impact

More scientific research behind the technology than other helmet safety systems 

Not tested for performance with angled impact at all

Protects against concussion and other serious traumatic brain injuries 

May protect against concussion and it helps prevent traumatic brain injury


MIPS is a form of slip plane technology where two layers of material rotate against each other to simulate the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, as mentioned above. This action reduces the onset of rotational motion, which is what causes concussions to occur as well as traumatic brain injuries. A MIPS equestrian helmet is the best you can buy for head protection.

A MIPS equestrian helmet provides even more protection than a normal well-fitted helmet. A helmet that fits the head properly should be the first priority for any equestrian, because a helmet cannot protect your head if it does not fit well. MIPS combined with proper helmet fit provides a higher level of protection.

Best MIPS Equestrian Helmet

Of all the MIPS equestrian helmets, the OneK Defender Helmet with MIPS is one of the best equestrian helmets. OneK helmets are worn and trusted by many equestrians from amateur to professional, and the MIPS functionality they have makes them that much safer. The OneK Defender has the following features:

  • Matte Polycarbonate and Advanced ABS Composite Outer Shell
  • Injection molded shell design
  • Washable quick dry, moisture wicking, antimicrobial liner 
  • Stainless steel mesh
  • Comfort padded harness with synthetic suede lining 
  • Hook and loop adjustment with Fastex buckle 
  • 3 vents for maximum cooling and airflow 
  • ASTM ?SEI certified with extra MIPS protection

If you do not like any of the default helmet colors or designs, you can use the Create Your Own Helmet tool to design your ideal helmet complete with MIPS technology. There is the CCS color system that allows you to interchange the front shield, side rails, and top panel to suit your current style.

The OneK Defender also comes in two shapes: regular or round and long oval. The regular shape is for those that have nearly uniform front-to-back and side-to-side head measurements, while the oval one is longer from front to back than it is side to side. This is one of the only, if not the only, riding helmet like this on the market today.

OneK wants as many riders as possible to be able to wear the Defender and enjoy a safe and fun time with their horse. Although there are only 4 reviews for the Defender on the OneK website, they are all five stars and riders have nothing but praise for the helmet and how it kept them safe.

Here is a video that provides a visual representation of the OneK Defender with MIPS and the benefits it provides riders. A MIPS equestrian helmet is always the best choice you can choose.

Why is This the Safest Equestrian Helmet?

The MIPS equestrian helmet has been redefining head protection since it was created more than 20 years ago.  However, what about it makes horse owners and riders call it the safest equestrian helmet?

The patented low friction layer design inside a MIPS helmet has a design rooted in years of scientific research and an understanding that most head injuries when falling come from angled impacts with the ground rather than direct contact with it. The MIPS design allows 10-15 mm movement in multiple directions to lower the amount of rotational force the head experiences during a fall.

Rotational motion is bad for the brain because it can cause the brain tissues to stretch, leading to concussions and other serious brain injuries. The MIPS rotational layer is located on the inside of the helmet in between the EPS foam layer for protection and the helmet padding. The MIPS system is custom fit into every helmet that chooses to have one to ensure maximum protection.


The MIPS equestrian helmet is the safest equestrian helmet because it not only fits well, but provides 10-15 mm of multidirectional movement to prevent the onset of concussion and traumatic brain injury by protecting the brain from rotational motion.

The OneK Defender with MIPS is the best MIPS equestrian helmet on the market today because it not only has patented and science backed MIPS protection but also three vents for airflow, a polycarbonate and ABS composite outer shell, moisture wicking liner, and the ability for riders to customize the look of the helmet as they see fit.

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