Find Your Fit: Are You Wearing the Right Helmet Size?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jul 10, 2019 | Helmet, Safety Gear | Posted in Safety | Never miss an article

Hey, you. Yeah, you. What size helmet do you wear? No, this isn’t a trick question, and we don’t recommend taking a guess. At worst, a helmet’s fit can be a matter of life or death. At best, it’s the difference between comfort and discomfort.

Here, we present a somewhat extreme example right from the staff of GRM. We love J.G. but, yeah, even he admits that his head is rather bullet-shaped. According to his hat size, he should wear a medium helmet. In reality, though, he was recently fitted with an XXL–and loves it, we should add.

Head shapes and face shapes differ,” says Patrick Utt, president of RaceQuip, “so trying on a helmet before purchasing is definitely the best way to ensure proper fit.”

But how do you get yourself in the ballpark? Utt offers the following tips for finding the right helmet size for your head.

1. Find a cloth measuring tape. Don’t have one? Hint: They’re often sold at supermarkets, drug stores and such, usually in the notions section.

2. If you normally wear a head sock, grab it and put it on. That seemingly thin piece of material can add 1 to 1.5 centimeters to the diameter of your head.

3. “Using a cloth measuring tape, measure your head circumference 1 inch above the eyebrows,” Utt says. “Obtain the largest measurement in centimeters.”

4. Write down this number and keep it in a safe place.

5. Look up the sizing chart for your preferred helmet manufacturer. It’s probably on their website.

6. “If the size chart shows centimeters, inches and hat size, use centimeters for best accuracy,” Utt advises. “Inches get rounded to the nearest eighth inch, and hat size is just a guideline.”

7. What if you find yourself between two sizes? “You should really find a way to try on both,” Utt recommends. “Otherwise, go with the larger one. You can always adjust by wearing a single-layer or two-layer head sock.” Some helmets, he notes, come with removable cheek pads that allow for a customized fit.

8. Time for the test fit: Don your head sock (if applicable), slide on the helmet, and cinch the chin strap. Utt describes how to evaluate the fit: “It should sit down all the way onto the crown of your head and be snug on your forehead and on your cheeks. If it’s squeezing your forehead to discomfort, it’s too small. The cheek pads should be snug, and they will break in a little bit once you begin to use the helmet and sweat.”


Open-face helmets have largely faded from automotive use, although some drivers still wear them at track days and autocrosses. “An open-face helmet tends to be tighter on the cheeks because it doesn’t have a full chin bar to help maintain its shape,” explains Patrick Utt, president of RaceQuip. “This is why you get chipmunk cheeks when you wear a properly fitted open-face helmet.”

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View comments on the GRM forums
te72 Reader
7/10/19 9:06 p.m.

Always good info to have out there, thanks for posting David.


Worth noting, I think the gal on the opening picture might be measuring it wrong...

USGUYS New Reader
7/10/19 9:44 p.m.

Great explanation on getting the right fit.
May we post a link to this article on our website under Prep.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/11/19 8:08 a.m.
USGUYS said:

Great explanation on getting the right fit.
May we post a link to this article on our website under Prep.  

Of course. Please share away!

Thank you. 

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