Some unusual helmets

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but sport helmet design has really taken off the last five years. Here’s the one that prompted this thread, the Rawlings S-100 batting helmet:

Here’s another one that I saw during the Giants v. Saints game, the Riddell Revolution:

and the Schutt Ion 4D:

I think it’s really cool to see these kinds of products getting more sculptural and designed. Anyone else have some good picks?

I know there was a large outcry about the Rawlings baseball helmet from many of the players. Most felt it was both ugly, and too large. Even though this season there were 2 players seriously hurt over balls to the head, most don’t care as long as they look good.

I saw Dempster play with that batting helmet and it looked pretty cumbersome. He was one of the few players to wear it. The back story was his newborn daughter had some congenital problems which raised his concern about head injuries. It seems more and more batters are taking pitches to the head.
Concussions are a big topic this year in football.

most of these, like a lot of sports equipment look too stylistically overdesigned - like it belongs in some space video game.

FWIW, a looong time back (10 years or more) I was involved with a design firm as a consultant working on the first of these next gen football helmets for Riddell. Not sure if any of my concepts made it into it, or if the product went into production to become one of these, but it was the first at the time to incorporate EPS foam like a bike helmet with vents and all. was a fun exercise though in hindsight I think I also fell into the overdesign and crazy vent-type trap. (ah, to be a young and naive designer…)


Interesting. I know from working in the bike industry that bicycle helmets are designed for a 1 time crash. In fact, you shouldn’t even drop your helmet on the ground (try not doing that some time over 3-5 years)

I heard a columnist for the New Yorker suggest that in 10 years the game of (American) Football will look very different due to all the concussion research going on right now. There’s something like 5% or more of former NFL players that end up with dementia and have to be hospitalized for it. It’s pretty sad that they’ll risk so much for their fame and fortune.

As for the vents, etc. I don’t mind them. If you look at the graphic design of many of the NFL teams, they’re pretty “aggressive”. Bolts, jagged edges, 3 or 4 outlines of colors. I think aesthetically it’s fitting to have these kind of aggressive helmets. Not so much in baseball, but Hockey, Football, etc, it fits to me.

Not 1–% sure, but I believe sports helmets have similar recommendations (one time use). It’s not like a new $50 helmet is going to break the bank of a million dollar sports team.

I see your point about the fit in graphics to the helmets, but just suppose it’s the modernist in me. I’m not a sports guy anyhow, so don’t really “get” the team graphics and all that shouty NASCAR like elements. Give me a vintage pinstripe Yankees Uniform anyday if I were to ever pick up a bat.


I agree with R. These have highlights for highlights sake, they don’t look beautiful at all and distract from the logo. The Football one isn’t too bad, but the baseball one is horrible.

Seriously, the new batting helmet is as big as a beachball. It’s no wonder it hasn’t caught on. Baseball players are so crazy about their equipment in the first place. Half these guys are only wearing batting gloves to adjust the straps as part of their in between pitches routine. More upfront user considerations would have helped.

Contrast that with the fairly new hockey style catcher’s mask. Sure they may be garish and galumphing, but they’ve caught on, perhaps because of the same attributes & specific quirks that made the extreme power tools appealing

In that other photo, the batting helmet does look cumbersome. Why don’t they have straps either? I definitely think that batting helmets would be a good opportunity for a serious design research project. It seems like they simply took a baseball cap and made it in plastic. Now would be a good time to look at the problems of batting and design around that.

They’ve never had straps. They do fit pretty snug on your head, and they don’t fall off too often. But, basically all they did was make a plastic baseball cap. Batting helmets were invented early in the 20th century but not made mandatory until 1971, even after a player in 1920 was struck and later died from the injury. Some players even wore little plastic inserts under their hats before helmets were mandatory. As for the hockey style catchers helmet, there aren’t many painted up like that, but they’re easier to see and move with. But, there’s only a handful of players that use them.

Some of you may enjoy Although today it’s not looking so hot in Firefox, it looks correct in IE8. But, if you follow sports at all you’ll probably enjoy the commentary on sports uniforms from logos, colors, helmets, footwear, etc.

I was playing HS football as middle linebacker and full back when we first had access to the revolution. Previously the only other advanced helmet we only had access to was called the ultra light(of which we had only five). The ultra was much lighter than our standard cranium armor, but it was dangerous as it exposed much of the upper neck. Cervical vertibra anybody?

Once our school could afford small orders of the revolution, we wore them immediately. I think football players are much more willing to accept new and safer helmets because the player Constantly depends on the helmet to save their life. Baseball players wear the batting helmet less often than a football player, and gets hit less. In football your rewarded when wearing a superior helm immediately, It only takes one hit in a revolution to know it’s worth wearing.

There’s no doubt a more safe batting helmet is good, but as we all know if the user thinks it looks bogus, they won’t use it. This seems like a run of the mill athletic gear problem, advances go unused by the pro level athlete. Those new breathable baller shorts don’t work so well when layere three-deep to hide sweat. Here, a safer batting helm goes unworn when it looks like a Dune navigator is at the plate.

LOL, awesome.

How about LT’s Vader mask.

Second Gen.

I like that grille.

Visors are another thing. This has really spread since the McMahon days. Football visors and hockey visors are common place.

Hockey helmets long looked like this old CCM model (I believe still in production):

Jofa was a breath of fresh air with this model, I believe in the later '90’s:

Now we have this Reebok, I believe designed at CCM before they were bought. It features two finishes (the plastic and the inset metal). A designer I worked with at CCM told me that hockey helmet trends are 5-10 years behind sportsbikes. The CCM above, looking like an old Kawasaki, the new Reebok helmet looking like a 2000 Ducati.

I played Lacrosse (midfield) at Purdue in the '70s. Head gear was pretty basic; leather construction throughout; wire face guard.

Comparatively speaking, LX headgear exhibits the the greatest change in head gear design I can think of.




Due to the difference in Rules between men’s and women’s lacrosse, women do not play with helmets, only face guards. Which in no way infers that they approach the game with any less ferocity … . . and perhaps, thus unencumbered, quite the opposite is true.

The new Pango folding bicycle helmet by Dahon is an interesting innovation. It packs down to 50% of its full size for storing in your backpack or messenger bag between rides. You can see it reviewed here Will the first folding helmet turn heads? | Cycling | The Guardian

That folding helmet is pretty neat. Very attractive for a product that seems to be selling utility. I’m guessing that it’s a European company though, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.

Pretty clever design. I doubt it’ll be sold in the US though, due to the stricter crash standards here. Aesthetically, it kind of looks like a protective cup… not necessarily a good look for your head.