SMITH Optics has been dominating the helmet market for quite a while now. Their line of helmets are affordable, durable, and provide the necessary comforts and protection for the beginner snowboarder. The SMITH Optics Holt snow sports helmet is one of the top sellers for this year for a wide variety of reasons and in this review, we will go through all of them while also comparing it to its biggest competitors…
For more of my thoughts on some of the best snowboard helmets for 2020, click here!
Overview & Features
The Holt, with its half-shell construction, is incredibly versatile and can check most boxes with ease. It is safe, durable, well-designed, works well with goggles, provides proper thermal insulation while not allowing your head to sweat up. All that comes in a package that isn’t as expensive as one might think. In fact, the Holt is one of the cheaper helmets out there and it brings a true high-grade feel to the table. Let’s start with a brief overview…
The design of the Holt is pretty straight-forward with its bombshell construction. It doesn’t have rigid ear protection, although the removable muffs are comfortable enough. There are small vents both at the front and the back as well as 6 bigger ones at the top. At the back, there is a removable goggle lock to have your goggles secured in place and the fit system is self-adjustable. That, combined with the passive venting, allow for multi-seasonal use but this helmet truly excels when the temperatures drop and you are at the slopes.
Materials & Durability
In terms of its durability, this helmet brings a familiar SMITH Optics rigidity to the table. It is fairly lightweight while maintaining a solid upper shell. While other helmets from the SMITH family are definitely lighter, this one is one of the more durable ones.
The ventilation here is okay and is definitely somewhere at the bottom compared to most other SMITH Optics helmets such as the Maze, Liberty, Code, and others. This is due to the ventilation being fixed here and with not that many vent holes, while the other helmets either have more vents or have the option for adjustability.
Another thing that adds up to the proper ventilation is its compatibility with goggles. The design at the front is made specifically with goggles in mind and it combines the helmet’s vents with the vents on most goggles to create a unified system that takes the hot air away from your face. Still, SMITH has an ever more advanced version of this called the AirEvar system which isn’t available on the Holt.
The insulation here is mainly consisting of the padded earmuffs. They are soft and tuck well into their place, providing warmth. Still, they are only good for colder climates otherwise they can quickly overheat your head. The inner top part of the helmet is padded with its shock absorption material and does a good job of keeping you fairly warm while maintaining low humidity. However, the helmet struggles to vent everything away in warmer days.
The shock absorption of the Holt is one of its strongest features and it uses the new Koroyd system by Smith. What it does is basically have a layer of countless of co-polymer extruded tubes that are thermally welded to one another and create a consistent shock-absorbing surface that is engineered to provide maximum damage control. That patented system is truly what makes SMITH helmets so good right now. And since all of the components of this surface are tubes, they don’t get much in the way of breathability. Thanks to the open-cell construction, hot air is evacuated from inside the helmet while cool air is allowed in. That is one of the main reasons I think you don’t need anything higher than the Holt helmet when you’re a beginner since other models just aren’t such a good value for your money.
Fit & Adjustability
In terms of its fit, there isn’t much to this helmet since it has the auto-adjustability feature. All you have to do is choose the correct size based on SMITH’s chart and your head measurements and use the buckle closure to adjust the chin strap. The chin strap, luckily, is very easy to use and is also well-padded.
Sizes & Weight
As I mentioned a few times already, this helmet isn’t the lightest and is, in fact, one of the heaviest out there, especially for a half-shell. There are five available sizes which makes this helmet ideal for both younger and older snowboarders. In terms of colors, however, the Holt truly shines with it having more than 15 different colored options including some pretty vibrant ones.
If you’re new to snowboarding and want to learn some cool tips and ideas for your first ride down the slopes, head over to my full article on the topic! Now, let’s go through some of the most important pros and cons of the Holt Snow Helmet…
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Excellent price for its value
- Good ventilation
- Proper shock-absorbing
- Can be used in all climates
- Easy buckle closure
- Top-shelf materials
- Comes in a lot of colors
- Doesn’t have the more expensive AirEvac system that other SMITH helmets have
- The ventilation here cannot be adjusted
SMITH Optics Holt vs Giro Ledge Snow Helmet
The Giro Ledge Snow Helmet is very similar to the SMITH Optics Holt since it is also a half-shell helmet with no MIPS and no adjustable ventilation. Both of these helmets, however, are a great bang for your buck and are both ideal for beginners and intermediate snowboarders. The Giro Ledge is slightly cheaper but also has worse impact protection. Where it excels is its venting. Although the vents are fewer, they are much bigger and do a great job of keeping your head cool. The Giro helet also has 5 size options as well as many styles and colors to choose from.
Conclusion & Rating
If you are looking for an affordable helmet that has solid impact protection and is super easy to use then the SMITH Optics Holt Snow Sports Helmet is definitely something you should at least consider. It doesn’t have adjustable ventilation, although its vents are made to work in coordination with your goggles, removing the risk of fogging them up. There are many sizes and colors you can choose from and the price of this helmet is extremely competitive compared to other models from top brands. Still, if you want something better, you can always choose something higher in the SMITH Optics range of helmets. As a whole, I gave the Holt a solid five out of five stars rating thanks to its value and impact protection.