What is MIPS? (Hint: It's not a muppet.)

Posted by Kirsten on 2023 Dec 21st

What is MIPS? (Hint: It's not a muppet.)

Sometimes we can catch ourselves existing in the ‘outdoor industry’ bubble where casually dropping a term like ‘Mips’ will completely un-phase us yet unintentionally send your brain on a mission to figure out what a Muppet has to do with helmets. Before we fall down the Muppet rabbit hole, let's talk about this adorable sounding term that has a very serious job.

So, what is MIPS?

First off, Mips is not a muppet. Sorry to dissapoint!

It stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and it is a safety system designed for helmets. Mips was developed by a team of Swedish neurologists and medical engineers. The Swedish brain surgeon who kicked off the research is Hans von Holst. He determined that helmets were not offering sufficient protection against brain damage and it was from his research that Mips was born.

How does it work?

When Mips is incorporated into a helmet, it means there is an ‘impact liner’ located between the padding and internal shell that reduces rotational impact forces and ultimately, aids in protecting the brain from trauma.

Helmets without Mips are tested for straight-on impacts, but not for rotational impacts. It is during those situations, also known as oblique impacts, when concussions and other serious brain injuries can occur. Mips functions by using the impact liner - or slip-plane - to prevent oblique impacts from affecting your brain in the event of a crash. It allows the helmet to move and dispense crash energy, therefore reducing the strain on the brain.

While any protection from a crash is better than none, it is important to note that oblique impacts are more common than direct impacts - especially in a sport such as Skiing.

How to tell if a helmet has MIPS?

Along with being included in the model name, you may also notice a small yellow sticker on helmets. This indicates that the helmet has been designed with the Mips® safety system. Several brands utilize Mips in their helmet designs including POC, Salomon and Smith Optics.

Time to choose a helmet!

Now that Mips has been added to your vocabulary, it's up to you if you choose a helmet with or without the technology. If you'd like to read more on the Mips safety system, take a look through our reference links below. To browse our current inventory of Ski helmets, click here.