Smith Optics Trace MIPS review - packed with safety features yet still breathable

We check out the the brand's best selling road bike helmet to see what all the fuss is about

The blue Smith Optics Trace MIPS helmet being worn on a women's head
(Image credit: Hannah Bussey)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

With no obvious USP, the Smith Optics Trace MIPS helmet takes a little time to understand why it's one of the best selling helmets. But drill down and you'll come across the safety features of MIPS and KOROYD that still gives the helmet decent breathability and doesn't pile on the pounds weight-wise. Its shape shifting versatility - due to the inability of being nailed to just one cycling discipline - makes the Optics Trace a decent bang for buck option, although it's not exactly at the budget end of the market.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Safety features of MIPS and KOROYD

  • +

    Barely there ride feel

  • +

    Breathable even in 30°C/ 86°Fdegree heat uphill

  • +

    All round rider appeal

  • +

    Up to ten colorways to choose from

  • +

    Priced well in market (but not cheap)

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Heavier than similarly priced helmets (although does have extra safety features)

  • -

    Requires Smith own brand glasses to integrate

  • -

    Lack of performance data

  • -

    Bulbus for small heads

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Trying to be stand out in a crowded space is a tough gig. Your USP (unique selling point) needs to be instantly capturing otherwise you risk losing your audience pretty rapidly.  

But as neither impressively aero, ultra lightweight or capable of performing a neat party trick, the Smith Optics Trace MIPS helmet has managed to do just that, gaining the brand's 'best seller' title and is seen by many riders as one of the best bike helmets on the market right now. 

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