I’ve used the Zone with a mix of goggles from Giro, SPY, Smith, Anon, and Zeal, and had no compatibility issues with any of them. If you’re unsure about goggle compatibility, I’d recommend taking yours into a shop and trying the helmet on.
I used the Zone both inbounds and touring over the course of a few weeks at the end of last season, and came away impressed. It fit me well, and all the little features combined to make it very convenient and easy to use.
Unfortunately, I need to retire the helmet when I forced it into action and made it protect my head from catastrophic damage.
On a warm spring day when the skiers I usually take pictures of were stuck in class, I caught a hankering to spend some time in front of the camera rather than behind it. That was my first mistake. My roommate and I skinned out a little way before we decided to build a jump over a creek. Since my roommate’s knee was recovering from injury, I was left to guinea pig the jump.
A few backslapped landings later, and I was feeling comfortable with my speed and the lip, and decided to send a backflip. I over rotated my first two attempts, backslapping hard, and whacking the helmet into the slushy landing. On my third attempt, I decided to go for a flat three with a Japan grab to try to slow the rotation down. Unfortunately my 3’s are even worse than my backflips, and I didn’t get anywhere close to grabbing Japan. Instead, this happened:
As you can probably imagine, I hit my head pretty hard. Fortunately, it was encased in the Zone MIPS, and instead of getting knocked out (like I should have), I just saw stars for a few seconds. Having resolved to leave the jibby photo stunts to the youngsters, I skied home.
But after that impact, I knew it was time to retire the Zone — it did what it was designed to do, save my head with minimal damage. The impact did snap one of the small plastic arms that holds the adjustment system to the shell, but the helmet was otherwise intact.
So while I didn’t get to spend a full season in the Zone, I can say that, without it, I’d probably be even closer to a vegetative state than I already am.
At $200, the new Giro Zone MIPS isn’t cheap, but it has all of the features and details that justify its place as a top-of-the-line helmet. And it’s actually less expensive than a number of other MIPS helmets, including the Smith Vantage MIPS ($260), the Pret Carbon X ($250), POC’s Receptor MIPS ($260), the $240 Giro Range MIPS, and the Sweet Protection Igniter MIPS ($240).
If you’re looking for a high-end helmet with all of the features that come with that, and your head is a good fit with Giro helmets, the new Zone MIPS is a great choice. Its simple-but-useful features, adjustable venting, and MIPS system all combine to make for a safe, versatile helmet. And if you’re looking for something cheaper with more of a park sensibility that still features MIPS, stay tuned for our review of the new $80 Giro Ledge MIPS.