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The Three Best Football Helmets

Reducing Concussions Primary Focus


The Riddell Revolution Speed, the Schutt Ion4D, and the Xenith X1 football helmets are being touted by their respective manufacturers as elite products. All three helmets benefit from patented state-of-the-art technology, and each offers its own features to consider when shopping for new helmets.

Xenith X1

The newest entrant into football helmet market place is Xenith. The company was formed by a former Harvard quarterback who wanted to create a new helmet with the focus on reducing a player's chances of suffering a concussion. The result is the X1 helmet.

The X1 looks like a more traditional football helmet, but that is where the traditional ends. Air pumps are not needed, as inside the helmet shell, the patented Shock Bonnet instantly adjusts when the helmet is placed on the head.

Another innovation involves the chin strap, which connects to a cable woven around the Shock Bonnet. The cable tightens and assists in creating the 'no pump' snug fit. The shape of the air flow vents on the helmet’s shell is to provide a front-to-back cooling effect. Xenith faceguards are made of carbon steel.

The higher initial price of the helmet (over $300 per helmet) is coupled with additional costs incurred when providing spare helmet parts for sideline repair. Xenith provides online tutorials to assist equipment personnel to become familiar with the new helmet’s components.

Schutt Ion4D

The sleek look of the Schutt Ion4D will generate interest from players when submitting an equipment wish list to head coaches.

A prominent feature of the Ion4D is the Schutt Energy Wedge faceguard system, integrating the faceguard into the helmet shell. Schutt proudly claims this design makes it stronger and more durable than classic faceguards. The Quarter-turn Release system allows for easier faceguard attachment and detachment. The helmets faceguards are made of strong-but-light titanium.

The Ion4D has the Surefit Airliner, a two-piece liner with two inflation points, to provide custom fit. A new lock and loop attachment system locks inflation valves in place. This is a welcome improvement for coaches and equipment managers whom have struggled for years to keep the liner valves and helmet shell aligned.

The retail cost of the Ion4D is $250-$280 per helmet. The Quarter-turn release system of the Ion4D requires the purchase of helmet-specific replacement hardware.

Riddell Revolution Speed

Riddell, recognized for its patented Concussion Reduction Technology, offers the Revolution Speed. The Speed helmet retails for $250-$275 per helmet.

A primary feature of the helmet is the Revo Speed Quick Release faceguard system, which cuts in half the removal time of the cage when compared to the usual cage attachment design. The feature allows for quicker response time by team doctors and trainers in the case of on-field injury.

The removable moisture wicking anti-microbial overliner is Riddell’s answer to concerns of bacterial growth in football helmets. The inflatable areas in the back, neck, side liner, and crown liner, provide for a comfortable fit for players. The ‘push-in’ valves and retainers are also a nice feature of the Speed. With these numerous inflation points, players and equipment personnel must learn to check for proper fit on a regular basis.

Which Helmet to Buy

For those looking to purchase the latest innovative football helmets, each of these helmets offer unique qualities.

While all football helmets must meet the guidelines of NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment), the Ion4D, the Revo Speed, and the X1 focus on the ability to reduce the chance of players suffering a concussion.

The Schutt website includes information from independent research which states the Schutt Thermoplastic Urethane cushioning (available in Schutt helmets since 2003) outperformed the X1 bonnet system in head-to-head testing for heat management, hygiene, and absorbing impacts.

Similar to the Revo Speed’s overliner, the TPU cushioning design also offers resistance to mold, mildew, and other bacteria.

Price is always a consideration when making a purchase. Check with sales representatives for purchase quantity, early-order, or other discount program options.

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