Skate Helmet vs Bike Helmet: What Are the Major Differences?

If you're puzzled about what makes skate and bike helmets different? Read our comparison of these two and find out what is a perfect option for your activities.
John Watson
John Watson
John is an experienced cycling enthusiast and a great asset when it comes to writing skills. He's a Bachelor of Arts and a talented journalist. John is in charge of our blog read more
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Jessica Kingston
Jessica Kingston
Expert Consultant
Jessica is our expert consultant on all things connected to biking - gear, technique, you name it. Being a pro cyclist in the past, she knows exactly how things work in and read more
Last updated: August 12, 2023
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Safety should be a primary consideration for skateboarders and cyclists because they are at risk from a wide variety of injuries. Investing in good protective gear can make all the difference, and a helmet is absolutely essential. Head injuries are unpredictable in nature, and even a minor bump on the head can have serious consequences that you cannot see. To protect yourself against concussions and other injuries, you may have wondered about skate helmet vs bike helmet differences. This is especially true if you take part in both activities and you want to use a bike helmet for skateboarding and vice versa. Are they the same? Let’s find out.

Differences Between Bike Helmets and Skate Helmets

The first thing to understand when you consider skateboarding helmet vs bike helmet choices is that they are very different. The main difference is that a cycling helmet such as the Giro Fixture MIPS Bike Helmet is designed to withstand a single significant impact. A skate helmet is more rugged, and it can take multiple impacts Trusted Source GET A HEADS UP ON
Skateboard Helmet Safety
While there is no concussion-proof helmet, a skateboard helmet can help protect your child or teen from a serious brain or head injury.
before it’s rendered useless. Bike helmets have a foam liner designed to compress during a serious impact to protect the head and after, this will not expand again.

Helmet Type Head Coverage Primary Certifications Ventilation Visors
Skateboarding helmet ​Top and back of head
  • ​​Federal CPSC certification
Not many vents
Biking helmet
  • ​Downhill Mountain & Aggressive BMX: full face
  • ​Mountain & BMX: top and back of the head
  • ​Road: the top part of the head
  • ​Safest Models:  Federal CPSC certification
  • ​ASTM certification
  • ​BMX: limited number of vents
  • ​Mountain: moderate to many vents
  • ​Road: many vents, except in most aerodynamic models

Head Coverage

If you look at the inline skate helmet vs bike helmet differences, you can see that the visors, vents, and head coverage areas are distinctive. When you’re researching how to teach a kid to ride a bike or step on a skateboard for the first time, this will be an important topic. Both helmets are specifically designed to handle different types of falls, impacts, and collisions.

Within each broad category, there are specialized helmets too. A prime example is the downhill mountain bike helmet which features full face coverage. Although this type of helmet offers excellent protection for serious speeds and jumps, most people would automatically assume that the helmet could withstand multiple impacts. These are tougher helmets, but they are not a good fit for general use because they are hot, heavy, and less comfortable for riding.

A road bike helmet lacks lower head coverage at the rear because the riders don’t tend to fall off the back of a bike and lead to an impact with their head.

A mountain bike has lower head coverage at the back because the impacts and falls tend to be more diverse than in road riding.

A skate helmet such as the Triple Eight Helmet has coverage at the lower back of the head too, because BMX riders and skaters can fall in any direction.

StyleSkate Helmet vs Bike Helmet: What Are the Major Differences?

Some casual road cyclists, commuters, and mountain bikers may prefer a skate helmet because it looks good. But, the skateboard helmet vs bike helmet decision is easier for skateboarders, and most would never wear any style of a bike helmet.

Skate helmets have a youthful aesthetic appeal, and the wearer won’t look out of place as they take part in a wide variety of activities, including skateboarding, roller skating, in-line skating, snowboarding (with an appropriate liner), and casual bike riding. But, safety should be the primary concern, and stylish helmets are available in multiple styles.

Inner Materials

Skate Helmet vs Bike Helmet: What Are the Major Differences?

In a direct roller skate helmet vs bike helmet comparison, one of the biggest differences is in the inner material choices. Skateboarding helmets have two common interior materials: comfort liners and EPS foam. The comfort liner makes the helmet snug for comfort, and the EPS foam layer compresses to protect the head during an impact. Cycling helmets are made with one of two materials: expanded polystyrene Trusted Source Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) The word Styrofoam™ is often used to describe expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam; however, ‘Styrofoam’ is actually a trademarked term for closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam made for thermal insulation and craft applications. EPS foam is the correct term for any form of expanded polystyrene and expanded polypropylene Trusted Source Expanded Polypropylene Expanded polypropylene (EPP) is a recyclable closed-cell moulded foam with an impressive set of properties that you would struggle to find in another material. . These are designed to expand too, but they crumple like car panels to improve the protection capabilities, and they cannot be reused after a major impact.

Outer Shell

Skateboard helmet exteriors are typically made from ABS plastic, which is sufficient to resist lower-speed first-hand impacts and scratches. More expensive variants may use kevlar or a fiberglass composite carbon fiber material. A budget-friendly cycling helmet may have a plastic (PET) coating and more expensive models use polycarbonate.

Collision Tolerance

A skateboard helmet is designed to counter multiple head hits because it would be pretty worthless if it could only take a single impact on a skatepark. So, you may also wonder how to know whether your bicycle helmet still has those protective functions and we have a prepared answer in our complete guide when bicycle helmets expire. A single significant collision will crumple the inner liner and probably crack the outer surface too. Don’t worry about recognizing the signs that it’s time to change a cycling helmet because it’s usually obvious.


The vents are required to cool the head; road bikes tend to have more because the helmets can heat up more during a long ride. More holes mean less material which makes these helmets more expensive because that material needs to be light and tough. The most expensive road bike helmets can have aerodynamic designs with fewer vents to reduce drag. Classic BMX and skate helmets are round and smooth with only a few vents.


Road bike helmets don’t have visors, but mountain bike helmets do. This is because road bike riders tend to wear sunglasses that are lighter and they don’t cause drag. Mountain biking can take place in the shade where the wearing of low-light lenses or sunglasses would impede their vision. So, when they emerge into the sunshine a visor is far more useful to get some sun shade. Skate helmets don’t tend to have visors, but certain manufacturers do have small visors built into their helmet designs.

Pros and Cons of Skateboard and Bike Helmets

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of skateboards and bike helmets.

Bike Helmets

Pros Cons
  • These helmets have comfortable padding for longer rides.
  • They tend to have aerodynamic designs to reduce drag.
  • There are more vents to keep the rider cool for longer loops.
  • Certain helmet staples have less protection for the rear head area.
  • These helmets are designed to protect against a single impact.

Skateboard Helmets

Pros Cons
  • These helmets are designed to reduce head injury risk like skull fractures.
  • Protection is offered against multiple low-impact bumps and mishaps
  • The back protection and cushioning are better than bike helmets.
  • This is not a great helmet for high-impact survivability.
  • The interior foam is softer, and the compression properties are minimal.
  • There are fewer vents than on bike helmets.


Can you use a skateboard helmet for biking?

As we said at the beginning of this article, many people believe that these helmets are interchangeable, but they are not. That said, some riders do wear a dual-certified helmet with CPSC and ASTM stamps the certify protection. So, if you have a helmet certified for skateboarding and biking, it can work well for you. But, a dedicated helmet is always the better choice for practicality and safety.

Why is the risk certification important when it comes to helmets?

Certifications are vital if you want to minimize the risks of a serious brain injury and/or skull fracture when you’re skateboarding. There is some good news, every bike helmet manufactured after 1999 must meet Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Although a certified helmet is not a guarantee that you won’t be concussed, it can improve your chances to avoid serious head injuries. If the helmet is designed for cycling and skateboarding, it is still a multi-impact helmet. But, it’s always a great idea to check because you don’t want a skateboarding helmet that crumples after one impact.

Activity Helmet Type Standard
Kick Scooter Riding
Roller and In-line Skating – Recreational
Bicycle ASTM F1447, F18981; Snell B-90A, B-95, N-942; CPSC
BMX Cycling BMX ASTM F2032; CPSC
Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Downhill ASTM F1952; CPSC
Roller and In-line Skating – Aggressive/Trick
Skateboard ASTM F14922; Snell N-942

When should you replace a helmet?

Because a helmet is an important part of your safety gear it’s a good idea to understand when it should be replaced. This is equally true if you’re wearing a dedicated bike, skate, or multi-use helmet. The lifespan of your headgear can be extended if you learn in our article how to clean bicycle helmet surfaces and check for damage. In many cases, the deeper damage can be hidden and you may only see surface scratches on the helmet. But, the interior components may show signs of obvious compression if the helmet is working as intended. Remember, if the foam compresses, it will never decompress, and the helmet is then worthless as a safety device. To stay on the safe side, it’s a great idea to simply replace the helmet after any type of high-impact collision.

  • Cracks, fading, and signs of aging on the inner shell surfaces.
  • Failing straps and buckles.
  • Bumps, scrapes, and cracks on the outer shell surfaces.
  • Problems with the adjustment mechanisms.

If your helmet displays one or more of these signs it’s probably time to replace it. If the interior foam is degrading, this is a sure sign that you need a new helmet. Even if you have not been in a high-impact collision, it’s advisable to change your helmet every three years.

This time interval should be based on the manufacturing date, which should be printed on the helmet interior. When you’re thinking about a replacement there are three key factors that you need to consider. They are:

Does the helmet still fit?

Are you storing the helmet properly?

How often do you wear the helmet?

After all, the helmet can become distorted, and the size or shape of your head may have changed over the past three years. It’s important to be comfortable and stay safe to enjoy your cycling and skateboarding. Proper storage of your helmet is essential because if it’s caught under heavy items for a long time, this will increase the pressure on the inner foam. This is important in a bike helmet because you will rely on the compression properties of that foam during a high-impact collision. So, when you store the helmet, keep it up high on a shelf to avoid unnecessary impact risks. Finally, how often you wear the helmet is important because if you wear it regularly, it should be checked and replaced more frequently.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, a direct skate helmet vs bike helmet comparison is impossible. These are both effective pieces of safety gear, but they are designed to fill a very different set of needs. Dedicated cyclists and skateboarders both train hard, but they are exposed to different risks and this is reflected in the helmet designs. The multi-use helmets are a reasonable choice for casual users, but they are not a replacement for a dedicated helmet. The key thing to remember is that stake helmets can withstand multiple low-level impacts and bike helmets are designed to survive one high-impact collision. If you change your helmet every three years, you will improve your cycling and skateboarding safety.


While there is no concussion-proof helmet, a skateboard helmet can help protect your child or teen from a serious brain or head injury.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
The word Styrofoam™ is often used to describe expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam; however, ‘Styrofoam’ is actually a trademarked term for closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam made for thermal insulation and craft applications. EPS foam is the correct term for any form of expanded polystyrene
Expanded Polypropylene
Expanded polypropylene (EPP) is a recyclable closed-cell moulded foam with an impressive set of properties that you would struggle to find in another material.

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