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Skate Helmets & Protection 2023 Retail Buyer‘s Guide

Protection is a must for new beginners to skateboarding, giving that extra bit of confidence and safety to push you forward. We take a look at what’s happening this year with the Source Retail Buyer’s guide for Helmets and Protection 2023.

There’s never not a time to wear protection when skating, be it beginner or veteran and pad & helmet companies have got you covered. As Michael Link-Product Manager at XION PG said “Whether you are a beginner or a pro, protection is always important.” The options available these days are much more varied than before, with more subtle pads for those who don’t want to show they’re padded up (for example). It looks like participation is steady again after the pandemic boom of interest and uptake. Noah Todaro – Marketing Manager at Triple 8 & 187 Killer Pads noticed that “Many newcomers have now dropped out and the demand is not as high as in the past two years. However, there are still all the long-time riders that remain, which has kept our demand even or slightly above where it was before the pandemic. “Dan McCashin – Co Founder at S1 Helmets & Pads added that “Our Industry is special in that it will always have ebbs and flows with regards to participation” but it sounds like the industry knows how to play this game, as the popularity of skating will always fluctuate.


The hardgoods overstock issues resulting from the pandemic are still with us, but brands are optimistic they can power through. Ben Kamlet -Marketing Manager at Bern Helmets said on the subject: “We, like others, are certainly feeling it, but we’re confident as we look ahead that overstock will not be as much of an issue moving forward.” Nadja Herger, Marketing/Communication at TSG foresaw the overstocking issues and said: “We have reacted to this by designating strong styles as carry-overs into the next season.” With forward thinking marketing like this, the industry looks safe and if the past few years have taught us one thing, it’s that anything’s possible to navigate. R.P Bess V.P. of Protec added that “We’re also seeing it start to open up a bit – with summer here anticipation of hardgoods picking up is happening”!


As mentioned earlier, some pad brands are now making undergarment protection gear – namely REKD and Xion PG. Michael from Xion said: “You want to be protected but keep your move-ability and don’t want others to see that you are wearing big protection gear, so adaptive low profile undergarment protection gear is requested.” As for skateboarding and roller skating – external pads are vital for knee-slides and such, and undergarment padding isn’t as sought after. In terms of trending styles, it’s always open to discussion as every rider wants something different to suit their own needs. Nadja at TSG said perfectly: “At the end the rider picks the product that suits best their needs (Vert Knee Pads for more protection, Thinner park pads or more cost sensitive sets) and offers a great fit.”



When buying protective gear, the customer wants to be assured that their purchase will be sufficient and safe, and brands are rigorously testing their products to make this a reality.
Certified safety equipment is something customers are looking into more and more now, and brands are communicating these certifications both on the packaging and their respective websites. Noah from triple 8 & 187 pads said on the subject: “We’re communicating that protective gear is the key to longevity… we all want to keep skating as long as we can, right?”
Dan from S1 proudly said that “S1 was the first skate focused company to stop selling non-certified helmets and educate the public to the difference between the two types of helmets.” Of course – to sell a helmet without this kind of certification is just plain irresponsible, so it’s reassuring to know these brands have our safety prioritised. This is especially the case with new starters, and as Andy from REKD said “We’re seeing trends of parent/ child learning together which is a great thing – Protecting people whilst they’re learning is the most important!” R.P Bess from Protec added that “With the Olympics requiring under 18 year-olds to wear helmets, it reinforces safety to the generation coming up and their parents.”


The advances in protective technology have led to thinner, lighter and safer gear to keep riders pushing their limits whilst keeping their bodies safe and not limiting movement. MIPS – the safety system ‘developed with the intention to reduce rotational motion to the brain in the event of a crash’ is somewhat vital in all sport head protection. Noah at Triple 8 said “MIPS is always the most popular tech to incorporate into helmets and we’re looking to expand on our MIPS offering. We’re definitely planning on incorporating that into our eRide helmet.” Ben at Bern Helmets said “In addition to using MIPS in our products, we have cold weather liners to be worn on colder days allowing enthusiasts to stay out there longer!”


It’s no surprise that a lot of protective brands cater to many different sports, and a lot of their products can be used across these different sports. Xion PG’s Michael said “Our products are worn in all kinds of extreme sports like biking, skiing and snowboarding.” On a similar note, Andy from REKD spoke of their new gem: “We recently introduced our Energy Crash Pants, designed to be multisport. We’ve seen a lot of snow accounts as well as indoor skatepark riders buying into them.” It’s not just skateboarding that benefits from this kind of technology! Nadja from TSG said “Our All Terrain helmet is literally made for all Terrains, convertible from a snowboard helmet to a skateboard or bike helmet and a wakeboard or foil surf helmet.” Protec also has a strong crossover sport program with designer Stacey Lowry combining traits from their sister company- The MTB brand 661 and how they’re using Kevlar in their pads. “One such area is using a Kevlar flex panel in our Pro Line knee, which is also being used in motorcycle suits” explained R.P Bess.
Profile-wise, it seems helmet brands are sticking to their guns with the classic half-shell style coming through as their best sellers. TSG, Triple 8, protect & S1 have been producing half-shell styles that many pro’s vouch for. Colourwise, it seems that the majority stick to bold simple colour ways, as R.P Bess at Protec said: “the bulk of the business is still in the top 3-5 colours, Black, Grey, Navy and White.”


So wrapping up our helmet & protection buyers guide for 2023, there’s a lot of promising protection coming to stores this year. Brands are clearly pulling out all the stops to give riders the protection they need, and with the rapid progression of things like skateboarding, it’s vital to protect that body! As discussed earlier, the Olympics is also pushing protective gear more into the public eye, and making it more normalised to wear when skating not only big
transitions, but street obstacles too.

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