Choosing the right lacrosse helmet can be an overwhelming process. Luckily you’ve come to the right place! Lacrosse Chronicle is proud to present our guide that outlines everything you need to know about choosing a men’s lacrosse helmet and much more! From cage protection, padding, comfort, fitment, shell materials, and even helmet history – we’ve got you covered.
The number one priority when choosing a helmet is safety. The best way to protect your head from impacts is with a hard shell. There are helmets available that have an optional soft shell cover for more protection around the back of the head but they reduce ventilation and should only be considered by experienced players who can tolerate hot weather, perspiration, or both. When it comes to padding in a lacrosse helmet, use thin layers designed to absorb energy over thick foam designed to spread it out.
Most Lacrosse helmets come in two different sizes, Small/Medium and Large/XLarge. There are a few exceptions but these are the standards you’ll find on most lacrosse helmets. It is important that you measure your head to ensure an accurate fit when purchasing a helmet. In order to do so, take a tape measure and wrap it around your head where your hat would typically sit if you were wearing one. The helmet should feel snug but not too tight or uncomfortable. If it pinches or causes pain it is probably too small! If there is enough slack for finger between the front of the helmet and your forehead than it’s probably too big. Also keep in mind that sizes vary from brand to brand.
There are two types of sizing measurements that you can find on Lacrosse Helmets, circumferential and length-based sizing. In all cases, the helmet should fit snugly but not too tight or uncomfortable. Circumferential sizing is a measurement around the head where it would typically sit if you were wearing a hat on your head. Length based size, in most cases, takes into account how tall you are so the helmet will reach the back of your head when placed flat against your noggin. Look for foam pads or adjustable straps to help with fitment adjustments as needed!
Visor of the lacrosse helmet is a thin piece of plastic or metal that is connected to the front bill of the helmet. Most visors are usually adjustable and allow you to raise it up when playing indoors or lower for outdoor play. Lacrosse Visors help reduce glare from sun or stadium lights and help protect your face from pucks, sticks, birdie checks, etc. Lacrosse helmets without a visor can still be found but they are not as popular with college players and above as they offer less protection in this area.
Thick Internal Padding
Lacrosse helmets have many different types of padding. Some use thick high density foam to diffuse the energy from a blow while others opt for thin, light weight foams designed to reduce impact acceleration. Lacrosse helmets with thinner less dense pads are preferred by experienced players as they allow greater head movement and therefore faster reaction time and more control over your stick. More protective padding is better if you don’t have much experience playing lacrosse or sports in general!
There are two main Lacrosse helmet Materials, ABS Plastic and Polycarbonate. The most popular Lacrosse helmets on the market today are constructed from either ABS plastic or Polycarbonate. Both of these materials have their advantages and disadvantages. Lacrosse helmets made wholly out of hard shell plastic usually cost less than helmets that have a composite construction with at least part being polycarbonate. Lacrosse Helmets with only soft shells are more protective but they don’t breathe as well so will become very hot when in use for extended periods of time, especially indoors. Lacrosse Helmets made from hardshell plastics allow less head movement than polycarbonate or softshells but offer better protection against impact impacts to the head area
As Lacrosse has gained more popularity, Lacrosse helmets have taken on a different look. Some Lacrosse helmets now include metal face masks that are attached to the helmet rather than being removable like they were in years past. Lacrosse Face Masks offer better protection around the nose and mouth area but may be slightly uncomfortable at first. If you plan on playing Lacrosse for a long period of time it would probably be best to start with a Lacrosse Helmet that features an attachable plastic mask so that you can upgrade later when necessary!
Chin straps help Lacrosse helmet to stay in place on your head. Lacrosse helmets are equipped with a variety of chin strap types including plastic buckles, hook and loop fasteners, quick release clips, fixed snaps and other variations depending on the Lacrosse helmet model. A great Lacrosse Helmet should have a chin strap that is easy to use but also doesn’t come off easily when playing Lacrosse!
Chin Bars are a newer Lacrosse helmet safety feature that offer some Lacrosse players more protection around the jaw and chin area. Lacrosse Face masks never fully protect you from potential high impact checks to your face and Lacrosse helmets equipped with a chin bar give you an extra layer of protection especially if you like to play close defense!