What is MIPS Technology?

What Is MIPS Technology In Equestrian Riding Helmets?

What is MIPS helmet technology?

There has been a lot of talk over the last 12 months about MIPS helmets and MIPS technology. Just what is MIPS technology and is it better than traditional style helmets? All good questions we are going to try to answer today.

Let's start with the acronym MIPS -- what does it stand for?
Multi-directional Impact Protection System. MIPS is an additional brain protection system. The MIPS system was invented in 1996 in Sweden by Hans von Holst, a neurosurgeon, and Peter Halldin, a researcher from the Royal Institute of Technology. Oh! Why didn't you just say so? Seems pretty straight forward right? I didn't think so either, so let's dig a little deeper. 

MIPS is designed to add protection against the rotational motion (or kinematics) transmitted to the brain from angled impacts to the head, which is how most riders fall. 

Ok so it's not the helmet that's MIPS it's something INSIDE the helmet that makes it MIPS. Anyone who is a member of the shiteventersunited group on Facebook can completely vouch for the fact that unlike toddlers who fall and go boom, equestrians tend to add some theatrics - although unintended to our involuntary dismounts. 

Rotational motion is a combination of rotational energy (angular velocity) and rotational forces from angular acceleration that both affect the brain and increase the risk for minor and severe brain injuries.

This seems like a lot of science terms to me, let me break it down a little bit, when you are riding that super cute 4-year-old prospect and it suddenly breaks out into "Interpretive Dance Equestrian Edition" and tosses you like a rag doll- the MIPS positioning liner inside the helmet is going to help protect the part of your head that is going to see the greatest impact as you meet the ground.

I hear you over there in the back, "pshh my horse is broke to death and never spooks, I don't ride risky things." Insert personal analogy of my super broke gelding who trotted an average cross rail, cantered away, turned the corner  and grabbed his front shoe, and stumbled HARD. After attempting to regain his balance for several steps, gravity won the battle and we both went down like the Titanic. Proving my point that falls happen at the most random unpredictable moments when you least expect it.   

The MIPS’ added protection system has been proven to reduce rotational motion when implemented in a helmet by redirecting energies and forces otherwise transmitted to the brain.


How does MIPS work?

MIPS is an additional liner that is incorporated inside the riding helmet. (See, it's INSIDE the helmet, but I promise you won't even know that it's there, and it's not going to be the reason the helmet looks like a mushroom on your head, remember those? Fun times!!) 

This low-friction layer enables your head to move 10-15mm in all directions, which has been proven to reduce the rotational movement to the brain and therefore injury (particularly concussion and traumatic brain injury).

The core idea behind MIPS is to simulate and enhance the brain’s protection system, which uses the same principle of the brain being able to slide a little bit against the skull.

Ok more science stuff, here, let's check out this video of how it works and I promise it will all make sense!


There you have it, MIPS, in a nut shell, is just an extra, thin liner attached to the helmet between the shell and the liner. At the moment, the MIPS liner can't be fitted into your existing helmet that does not already have MIPS, it is only available with the purchase of a helmet designed with the MIPS helmet technology.

The MIPS liner is simply an extra layer of protection that may absorb some of the concussion in the event of a fall, and let's face it, if you are going to ride, sooner or later you are going to experience an involuntary dismount courtesy of Air Amateur. (Thank you for flying Air Amateur, please find exits at the front, rear and, sides of your horse.) The MIPS technology is simply another way to help prevent a serious injury. 

Check out these helmets we are currently carrying with the MIPS technology and check out another great post about our favorite and safest riding helmets


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I love my OneK MIPS helmet. I was disappointed to see its low Star rating from the Virginia Tech, especially because it rates high in European testing.

Lisa Palermo

Love this writer! I’m looking into this helmet now because of this article!

Teresa Jones

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