Smith Route MIPS helmet review

The Smith Route helmet includes Koroyd inserts over the temples to absorb energy in an impact. We've tested the MIPS version of the brand's new mid-priced lid

(Image credit: chris catchpole)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Smith Route helmet is comfortable and fits securely. It has nice safety features, including Koroyd inserts and MIPS, but it is on the heavy side.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Koroyd inserts for extra impact protection

  • +

    MIPS liner

  • +

    Well vented

  • +

    Comfortable fit

  • +

Reasons to avoid
  • -


Most helmets use expanded polystyrene for impact protection, but the Smith Route helmet includes a material called Koroyd. It’s a plastic honeycomb structure that channels air towards the head. It’s also much more crushable than polystyrene and so will absorb more energy in an impact.

Its Overtake helmet has been around for a while and uses a layer of Koroyd all around the head, allowing Smith to reduce the depth of the expanded polystyrene and increase the size of the helmet’s vents, which it says reduces weight and at the same time increases impact protection.

Route helmet includes Koroyd inserts over the upper temples
(Image credit: chris catchpole)

In Smith’s new mid-priced Route helmet, the Koroyd layer has been reduced to two sections on the upper front sides of the helmet, where there’s most need of energy absorption in a fall. The rest of the helmet is made of conventional polystyrene.

>>> Smith introduces a new helmet and new sunglass tech

Cradle is easily adjustable for circumference and the Route is available with MIPS
(Image credit: chris catchpole)

The Route comes with a MIPS impact protection layer. It’s a system that uses a thin inner liner that is loosely connected to the helmet shell. This slides against the shell in a crash and is claimed to reduce the risk of concussion in glancing impacts to the head. The Route is also available without MIPS, saving £20 on its price.

>>> MIPS now available in over 90 helmets

Watch: Helmet buyer's guide

The Route is a comfortable helmet, with a good array of vents to channel airflow over the head – 18 in total. I found the size large fitted well and low on my head and felt secure with little tendency to move around.

>>> The Limar Ultralight +: is the world's lightest helmet Astana's secret weapon?

But coming in at 378g for the large, the Smith Route helmet is heavier than the competition at this price point. It feels weighty in the hand, although I didn’t find the weight noticeable once riding.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.