Smith Session MIPS helmet review – well priced and comfortable trail lid

Koroyd technology plus MIPS makes the Smith Session helmet super-protective

Smith's Session helmet
(Image: © Jon Slade)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Comfortable and compact-looking lid featuring both MIPS and Koroyd impact protection to keep you extra safe on descents – at a price that won’t break the bank.


  • +

    Top-quality construction and tech

  • +

    Good all-round coverage

  • +

    Decent airflow

  • +

    Compatible with goggles

  • +

    Lots of color choice


  • -

    Minimal padding

  • -

    Small peak doesn’t shield sun/rain that much

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We\'ll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

The Smith Session MIPS helmet was introduced in 2018, and it’s still a front runner in the very popular all-mountain/enduro/trail lid market, thanks to offering great protection in a comfy and good-looking package. Smith is known for adopting Koroyd technology, and the Session features its distinctive protective honeycomb structure.

As with POC’s Kortal Race MIPS helmet, although this is a unisex lid we previewed it in our guide to the best women’s mountain bike helmets.

Smith's Session helmet

The MIPS liner is clearly visible as interior padding is minimal (Image credit: Shim Slade)

Design and specifications

The Smith Session helmets boasts all the usual features you’d expect with a lid of this high caliber: MIPS to add protection against rotational forces during angled impacts; a dial-adjustable retention cradle with three vertical positions; an adjustable peak; in-mould construction with the polycarbonate shell fully covering the EPS foam liner; and removable, washable pads. It meets the regular CPSC and CE EN 1078 helmet safety standards.

Smith's Session helmet

Large vents do a decent job of cooling your head (Image credit: Shim Slade)

Where the Session differs is in its use of Koroyd in the four side vents for added impact protection, but with little detrimental effect on weight or airflow. This is thanks to Koroyd’s construction: thin-walled tubes, resembling plastic straws, welded together in a honeycomb structure. These crumple on impact to absorb the forces created by both direct and angled impacts.

Smith's Session helmet

Koroyd adds impact protection in the two side vents. Peak is in high position (Image credit: Jon Slade)

The Smith Session uses a notably compact design so that the helmet snugly encases your head, making it look smaller and neater than many comparable headwear. It has extended rear coverage, but isn’t as deep dish as the POC Kortal Race, for example. Inside, the MIPS slip plane is clearly visible, more so because there is minimal padding just at the front with a second pad on the top of the head. The pads are made from an antimicrobial fabric containing silver ions, claimed to eliminate odor-causing bacteria so they need less frequent washing.

Ventilation is through 15 well-sized ports; five front, five top and five at the back, although four of these contain Koroyd. The helmet straps are fixed into the rim, feel comfortable against the skin and are easy to adjust, with slider clasps below the ears. Smith has designed the Session to be compatible with goggles, and you can easily stow them under the peak when it is in its high position.

Smith's Session helmet

With the visor pushed up the front ports are totally clear (Image credit: Shim Slade)

This model is available in three sizes, S-L, for heads 51-62cm in circumference. While Smith is known for its lairy colorways, the current crop of Session designs comes in eight relatively low-key options, most of them two-tone the one I've reviewed here.

Smith's Session helmet

In its medium and low positions, the visor partially obstructs the front vents (Image credit: Shim Slade)


Lifting the Smith Session MIPS helmet out of its box it feels fairly light, borne out by the scales showing my size small weighs 359g. When I put it on it didn’t feel as immediately comfy as some helmets, because when you press it onto your head you can feel the hard MIPS liner at the top, where there is a 1.5-inch gap between the padding. However, once you’ve done the straps up you don’t notice this, probably because the pads are just thick enough to lift it off your scalp. I happily wore the Session on long day rides.

Smith's Session helmet

The Session has generous rear coverage and a unique horizontal exhaust port above the four other vents (Image credit: Jon Slade)

The padding is markedly minimal so the lid doesn’t have a plush feel, and also my head felt noticeably sweatier than with the exceptionally well-vented POC Kortal, likely because there is less padding to absorb the sweat. Ventilation is still very good, though, with air being channelled over the top of the head and out of the horizontal exhaust port. The oval fit suits my head shape well and there were no niggles or hotspots, even after wearing it for several hours.

I like the three-position visor as it’s very easy to adjust one-handed while riding, but because it’s quite small it doesn’t offer heaps of protection against sun or rain. Also, my goggle strap does partly cover the rear vents, although Smith has designed the Session to integrate with its own goggles (and glasses) so maybe this wouldn’t be an issue.


If you like its small and compact aesthetic, the Smith Session is a very protective and amply comfortable all-mountain helmet with decent ventilation, although I think it could benefit from more extensive padding to make it feel plusher. The price is good considering its safety tech and top-quality construction, and Smith Optics’ US website currently has some color options discounted to $112.

Tech specs: Smith Session MIPS helmet

Price: $170 / £139.99

Weight: 359g (size S tested)

Sizes: S, M, L

Colors: Merlot/aloe (pictured); gray; black; orange; white/cement; matte spruce/safari; French navy/rock salt; draplin (ochre/green)

Shim Slade
Freelance writer

Shim first discovered MTBs when she moved to Bath in the mid-nineties and has been making up for lost time ever since. She started working on Mountain Biking UK nearly 20 years ago and also counts What Mountain BikeCycling and Bikeradar among the bike-related magazines and websites she's written for. She loves exploring technical singletrack, has ridden England, Wales and Scotland C2Cs and gets out in the Quantocks and the Black Mountains as often as possible. Other regular riding destinations are the Lake and the Peak Districts, and an MTB holiday in India is her most memorable, partly for its uber-steep tech. The odd trip to the Forest of Dean and Bike Park Wales inspires her to get wheels off the ground, but that’s a work in progress, helped by coaching with Rach at Pro Ride and formerly Pedal Progression