Giro Ledge MIPS
Size Tested: Medium (55.5-59 cm)
Color: Matte Mil Spec Olive
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Shell 424 g
- Liner: 70 g
- Total: 494 g
- Hard shell construction
- MIPS equipped
- Auto Loc 2 fit system
- Super cool vents, stack ventilation
- Removable goggle retainer
- Removable earpads
- Compatible with aftermarket Giro audio systems
- Seamless compatibility with all Giro goggles
Days Tested: 7
While there are plenty of expensive helmets that tout complicated bells and whistles, I have simple criteria when looking at brain buckets: Will it actually protect my head in the inevitable crash? Is it cheap enough to replace after that crash? Is it simple and sleek? Does it look like something a gaper would wear while skiing in jeans?
When Giro released their new Ledge MIPS it looked like it checked all those boxes, and when it showed up for our New Zealand trip I was inordinately excited about this $80 helmet.
Now after a week skiing in the Ledge MIPS I can confidently say this is my favorite helmet I’ve ever used used on several levels.
I’m a solid Medium in Giro helmets, and their slightly oval shape fits my head well. With the liner in the Ledge I was most comfortable close to the big end of its adjustment range. With the liner removed and just a thin mask inside the helmet I sat closer to the middle.
The Ledge doesn’t have a fancy adjustment knob like Giro’s more expensive helmets, so you can’t tweak it on the fly, but the fit is easy to adjust, and is flexible enough that most people should be able to set it and forget it.
We’ve talked a lot about MIPS here at Blister, Noah Bodman did a great job explaining the system and its benefits in his recent piece, and for even more on MIPS and Giro’s use of it, check out our podcast conversation with Giro’s Director of R&D, Rob Wesson.
Personally, MIPS just makes sense to me, and the fact that it’s trickling down to cheaper helmets like the Ledge MIPS makes it an even easier choice.
The Ledge MIPS is not the most vented helmet around, but it does have 9 fixed vents that do a good job keeping me from boiling over. It’s significantly better vented than the Smith Gage I used to ski in, and comparable to the other skate style ski helmets I’ve used. I absolutely hate adjustable vents on helmets, so I don’t mind the Ledge’s fixed vents, and it breathes well enough that I don’t anticipate any overheating issues. The only time I would want more vents is when climbing lines in the backcountry while wearing a helmet, and in those sorts of situations I’d opt for a more backcountry focused helmet anyway.
Like the Giro Zone the Ledge uses a nice, breathable liner that attaches to the MIPS layer with velcro patches. The one annoying thing about these patches is that the hook side is on the MIPS layer, so if you do use the helmet without a liner, you’ll need to throw tape over them to keep them from sticking to your hat and goggle straps. I used the Ledge without a liner for the duration of my test.
The Ledge’s ear flaps have pouches for speakers, and they button securely into the shell. I really appreciate this, since I’ve dealt with too many helmets where the ear flaps have a tendency to slide out.
Since I wear my goggles inside my helmet I find myself removing goggle clips pretty often. The Ledge’s is pretty clever, it clicks in and out securely, and is easy to remove or replace based on your preferences, without losing any tiny screws.
So far I’ve tried the Ledge with a range of goggles from Giro, Smith, Anon, Julbo, and Spy, and it’s integrated well with all of them. As always, go try your goggles on in the shop with the helmet if you’re worried about this, but the Ledge has a very neutral shape that should work well with a wide range of goggles.
I’ve skied inbounds and toured 7 days in the Ledge so far, and have no complaints. I adjusted its size once, and it stayed put. I haven’t found myself overheating, it works well with all of my goggles, and in my opinion looks really good. I haven’t taken a head hit yet, so I have nothing to report there, but I’m confident in its ability to keep me from a vegetative state.
Who’s it For?
If you absolutely need to have a high-zoot adjustment system, built-in GoPro mount, adjustable vents, a magnetic strap and all the other bells and whistles you can jam into a helmet, there are plenty of other helmets competing for your money, and Giro’s Zone and Range both come to mind as more expensive and complex options.
But, it’s important to remember that a helmet’s first job is safety, and if you crash in your expensive lid and can’t afford to replace it, that safety is compromised. I can literally crash in, and replace the Ledge three times for the cost of just one Smith Vantage MIPS($260), Pret Carbon X ($250), POC’s Receptor MIPS ($260), the $240 Giro Range MIPS, or the Sweet Protection Igniter MIPS ($240).
While I (and my editors) pray that I’m not dumb enough to have three helmet comprising crashes in one season, that value proposition is especially compelling over a few years. The fact that it has MIPS ups that value even more since most other manufacturer’s entry-level, non-MIPS helmets cost about the same, or more than the Ledge MIPS
If you’re looking for a helmet exclusively for ski touring there are lighter options like the Salomon MTN Lab. However, for shorter days, where there is a higher chance I’ll be hucking my meat, the Ledge will definitely be strapped to my pack.
The Giro Ledge MIPS is exciting because it’s simple. It’s got high-end safety technology, the right features, and very clean styling for about the cost of most other entry-level, non-MIPS helmets. Right now it’s at the top of my list of ‘gear I’d recommend without any sort of reservation to just about everyone.’
There are more expensive helmets available, with flashier styling and more features, but for my uses the slightly understated Ledge is the obvious choice, enough so that I’m throwing a custom paint job on mine since I plan on spending most of the winter in it.