The Best Bike Helmets To Keep You Safe During Socially-Distanced Rides

Whether you're the proud owner of a new bike or have dusted off your trusty ten-speed to get some exercise, it's no secret that biking has spiked in popularity as many people look for socially-distanced alternatives to public transportation. (May is also National Bike Month!)

However, since we always pro taking a "safety first" approach, we're doing a deep dive on all things bike helmets — because you simply shouldn't be riding without 'em.

"First off, make sure that your bike helmet is one that you will want to wear — odds are, if you don’t like the way a helmet looks or fits, you’ll be more reluctant to wear it," Jon Raymer, bike category manager at Smith, tells Refinery29. "It's a great time to be a consumer, as there are so many great options." And he's right: From streamlined commuter styles to ventilated, high-tech mountain bike helmets, brands are offering noggin protectors at every price point and aesthetic taste.

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As for how to find the right one for you? Follow Raymer's advice and consider foremost, what sort of biking you plan on doing (and what kind of wheels you're working with). "Brands typically design helmets to benefit different users for road biking, mountain biking, commuting, and riding around town," Raymer explains. "For example, a high-end mountain bike helmet will host different features than an entry level urban helmet."

Once you've got that sorted, you're going to want to ensure that you get one that fits properly. One size fits all helmets can sometimes work, but only if there are enough adjustment options for straps and padding. If possible, look for a helmet that has sizing options for a more secure fit: "We suggest measuring the circumference of your head with a pliable tape measure or a piece of string that you can measure after," Raymer says. "Place the tape measure slightly above the ear, and bring it across the mid-forehead, circling the head about one inch above the eyebrows. Take several measurements to make sure you have the largest size."

Ready to take a look at some of our faves? Keep reading for our editor picks and more shopping tips, ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. The product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet


In addition to finding the right size, properly fitting your helmet is key to keeping you protected. "After trying it on, adjust the fit system and the straps below your chin, so that the helmet fits securely and snug," Raymer says. "Ideally, it's best to try the helmet on, either at a bike shop or through an online retailer that would allow you to return the helmet if it did not fit correctly."
Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet, Lightweight Microshell Design, $23.87 Buy
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POC Crane Helmet


This extra sturdy helmet (aptly described by one reviewer as "cranium approved") is perfect for casual biking or skateboarding.
POC Crane Helmet, $119.95 $95.96 Buy

Mongoose Session Adult Bicycling Helmet


Another affordable pick is this Mongoose mountain bike helmet, which has plenty of airflow to keep you cool even on warm weather days.
Mongoose Session Adult Bicycling Helmet, black, $24.97 Buy

Thousand Adult Anti-Theft Guarantee Bike Helmet


Thousand's beautifully-designed helmets don't just look nice — they're outfitted with a patent-pending PopLock that allows you to securely attach your helmet to your bike lock, warding off anyone with the wrong idea. (In the event that your helmet is somehow stolen while locked up, or damaged, Thousand will replace it free of charge.)
Thousand Adult Anti-Theft Guarantee Bike Helmet, $89.00 Buy

Smith Session MIPS Helmet


You may be wondering why helmets can easily surpass $200, but think of it this way: "Typically, as the price increases, so do the features of the helmet," Raymer says. "As we offer from Smith, many brands offer a full selection of helmets that have unique features and price-points, which can range from systems that allow you to customize the fit, to protection capabilities such as Koroyd and MIPS." (BTW, MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, a top-of-the-line technology designed to offset rotational forces that can result from intense impact.)
Smith Session MIPS Helmet, $160.00 $119.98 Buy

Retrospec CM-1 Classic Commuter Bike/Skate/Multi-Sport Helmet


This top-rated Amazon bestseller has a minimal design and covers the basics for recreational riders. (According to one reviewer, it even saved one woman's life.)
Retrospec CM-1 Classic Commuter Bike/Skate/Multi-Sport Helmet, $24.99 Buy
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Zefal Women's Pro Gray Pink Bike Helmet


If you're going on more intense rides, there's a good (as in, guaranteed) chance that forehead sweat is going to happen. However, cleaning helmets isn't as easy as a couple of Lysol spritzes. "Bike helmets are typically made of material that can be damaged by many commonly available cleaners and solvents," Raymer explains, warning that petroleum-based formulas can actually damage a helmet's material and hinder its protective capabilities. "For best results, clean the helmet using a soft cloth or sponge, warm water, and mild soap." (This helmet has removable lining and pads, which can be washed with mild soap and water and air-dried.)
Zefal Women's Pro Gray Pink Bike Helmet, $24.97 Buy

Giro Adult Revel Bike Helmet


This highly-reviewed helmet is easily adjustable and has a visor to help you keep your eyes on the road. (P.S. Dick's Sporting Goods is currently running a 20% off helmet deal with any bike purchase.)
Giro Adult Revel Bike Helmet, $49.99 $39.99 Buy
Base Camp Adult Bike Helmet with Rear Light for Urban Commuter


A good helmet can last you a very long time, but if you're starting to see signs of wear, keep in mind that it may not protect you the way it should. "If the helmet is visibly damaged — cracked outer shell, crushed or cracked foam liner or other damage — don’t use it," Raymer advises. "Some or all of the helmet’s protective capacity is used up when impacted." His best advice? Replacing a helmet every three years or immediately after any major crash.
BASE CAMP Adult Bike Helmet with Rear Light for Urban Commuter, $45.96 Buy

Lazer Blade+ Helmet


This durable helmet is made with polycarbonate in-mold shell construction, with hidden dials that allow you to get a near-bespoke fit.
Lazer Blade+ Helmet, $79.99 Buy
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