Oakley has always pushed the edge of innovation, whether it be sunglasses, goggles, or helmets. The Oakley MOD 5 MIPS is no exception. It sports Oakley's Modular Brim system (hence the MOD title) that allows you to swap out the brim with included alternate pieces to accommodate smaller or larger goggles better. The MOD 5 also incorporates the Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), which is rapidly becoming the standard in effective helmet technology. MIPS essentially allows for movement between the inner and outer shells of the helmet, reducing the effects of serious impact and thus minimizing catastrophic injury. As if that wasn't enough, the engineers at Oakley have redesigned the airflow system in the MOD 5 MIPS as well. All this in a sturdy, well-made package makes the MOD 5 MIPS truly cutting edge. It is another high-end helmet, best suited for avid and experienced skiers.Editor's Note: The Oakley Mod5 MIPS review was updated on February 25, 2022, with extra tips on what products we would buy and more in-depth comparisons between different helmets.
Oakley Mod5 MIPS Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Can be fit to any size goggle, modern, innovative venting system
Cons: Heavy, custom fit is back-heavy
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Oakley Mod5 MIPS
|Price||$130.00 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Can be fit to any size goggle, modern, innovative venting system||Comfortable, warm, vents well, style points, compatible with most goggles||Magnetic buckle, ventilation, protection features, style, BOA-adjustable fit||Protective features, lightweight, adjustable ventilation, versatile||Affordable, adjustable vents, MIPS, adjustable dial|
|Cons||Heavy, custom fit is back-heavy||Pricey||No adjustable vents, price||Earpads are challenging to remove, dial hard to use with gloves, style||Heavy, larger profile|
|Bottom Line||This ski goggle manufacturer enters the ski helmet market in their typical, innovative way and style||Deemed best of the best by our testers, there isn't a better combination of performance available from any model we have tested||A lightweight, comfortable, and feature-rich skate-style helmet that is great for those who traditionally prefer not to wear one||Equally at home on the skin track as the resort, we reached for this friendly-priced helmet frequently on ski tours||Equipped with MIPS, adjustable vents, and an adjustable dial, this model has high-end features and strong performance at a stellar price|
|Rating Categories||Oakley Mod5 MIPS||Smith Vantage MIPS||Anon Logan WaveCel||Smith Mission MIPS||Giro Ratio MIPS|
|Goggle Compatibility (10%)|
|Specs||Oakley Mod5 MIPS||Smith Vantage MIPS||Anon Logan WaveCel||Smith Mission MIPS||Giro Ratio MIPS|
|Measured Weight (in ounces)||21.2 oz||17.7 oz||17.1 oz||16.9 oz||21.7 oz|
|Adjustment System||BOA 270 Fit System||Boa Fit System||360° Boa Fit System||Adjustable Dial Fit System||In form dial|
|# of Vents?||11||20||10||18||10|
|Number of Sizes||3||3||4||4||4|
|Removable Ear Covers?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Certifications||ASTM F2040 and CE EN1077||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B||CE 1077B & ASTM 2040||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B||CE EN 1077|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The MOD 5 MIPS works hard to be groundbreaking, and in most instances, it succeeds. It is top-of-the-line, innovative headwear with some truly interesting features.
The fit of the MOD 5 MIPS is snug but comfortably so. The earpads are cupped with a thick layer of padding around the edges, so your ears feel more cocooned than smashed once you buckle the chin strap. We didn't find quite the loud wind-tunnel roar that the Giro put out.
The chin strap padding is relatively standard, and the buckle is the more modern Fidlock, a magnetic connector that cyclists will find oddly similar to clipless pedals. You can personalize the inner fit of the helmet with the Boa Fit system, essentially a click wheel at the back of the helmet that tightens or loosens the inner liner for a more specific fit. Most of our top helmets employ a similar feature. Oakley's version, while effective, seems to cinch more at the back of the head than a more complete and uniform tightening. The fit is still OK; it's just noticeable that the cinching is very much geared toward the back.
Oakley's integrated venting system (more below) doesn't have a plethora of open vents. Of the ones it does have, the two on the top can be closed when the temperature drops and the two on the back are aerodynamically designed to minimize the cold air that can penetrate when traveling forward/downhill. We did find that the ear pads could be a bit drafty on a cold day. Not enough to send you into the lodge for hot chocolate every other run, but certainly noticeable. It's certainly still a warm helmet, but if you're prone to cold ears or live in a seriously arctic environment, consider wearing a balaclava and adding base layers.
The MOD 5 MIPS scored well for ventilation, but perhaps not as well as Oakley would have you believe. The MOD 5 has an integrated venting system. Essentially, instead of having the standard vent holes and relying on simple airflow to do the job, Oakley has tried to harness the flow of air to do more than just vent the helmet. There are two more traditional vent holes on the top of the helmet that can be opened or closed with a switch. Then, some vents go up from under the brim and exit via two small, slit-like vents at the front of the helmet, another small slit in the middle, and two afterburner-ish vents (think the back of Tom Cruise's fighter jet in Top Gun) at the back of the helmet. The idea is that air flows up through the bottom of your perfectly matched goggles (thank you, MOD system), into the vents under the brim, and then out the other vents throughout the helmet, thus helping to keep your head cool and your goggles fog-free.
It's a novel and somewhat out-there idea, and for the most part, it works. We didn't have any fog issues in testing the MOD 5, and when we took it out on a reasonably warm day, we didn't come back in looking like we just finished the Bermuda Marathon. It's certainly not the most ventilated helmet we tested, but it's not bad. On those uber-warm spring days, you might get a little sweaty, but beyond that, you should be fine.
Weight is the biggest drawback to the MOD 5 MIPS. At a husky 21.6 ounces, it's one of the heavier helmets we tested. On the one hand, most resort skiers won't really notice the weight. If you're of reasonable build and spend the majority of your days riding lifts and then letting gravity do its thing, it's unlikely the heft of the MOD 5 MIPS is going to be a dealbreaker for you. However, if you have a smaller body build, frequently find yourself shopping for clothes in the petite section, or spend significant time going uphill under your own power, you should probably give this helmet a test run at your local retailer before going all-in on a $240 top weight. If a heavy weight is a deal-breaker for you, the Smith Vantage MIPS is a lightweight alternative to consider.
This area will make a great many people true believers in the MOD 5 MIPS. Gone are the days when you have to match up your goggles and helmet beforehand to make sure they fit well together — no more matchmaking. Oakley's patented Modular Brim System allows you to swap out the brim for one that fits your goggles the best. The helmet comes with two separate, removable, and interchangeable brims, one for smaller goggles and one for larger. Changing the brims out takes a couple of minutes and a small screwdriver. The hope is that you can adjust the brim to create a smooth seal with the underside of the brim to maximize the effect of the ventilation system (described above). Of course, it also just makes you look more like the local pro too, so there's that. In short, it works. It's a small but potentially crucial feature that improves this helmet's functionality.
The MOD 5 MIPS has a very modern, space-age look. It fits with many of Oakley's futuristic designs. It's a ski helmet with a little bit of jet plane mixed in for good measure. The only minor downside, at least to our sense of style, is that the brim, while wholly functional, does make the MOD 5 MIPS look a little bit like Erik Estrada's old helmet from CHiPs. But, hey, it was a popular show, and as we recall, Estrada was quite the catch in that helmet. All that said, the overall design is clean, smooth, and definitely slick.
Should You Buy the Oakley Mod5 MIPS?
You know how the latest, greatest cell phone, laptop, or other techy gadgets always seem to cost an arm and a leg? There's a little bit of that same principle in play in the Mod5. That's not to say it's a bad value, just that you're paying, in some part, to be the first. The MOD 5 MIPS has a ton of great features and several genuinely unique ones to boot, so you're unlikely to be disappointed in this snazzy helmet. But at $240, this isn't the kind of helmet you buy for your one weekend trip of the year. We recommend it to those more concerned about comfort, convenience, and goggle compatibility than anything else.
What Other Ski Helmets Should You Consider?
The MOD 5 MIPS is the most unique helmet we tested. It's well-built with many great, new features that meet Oakley's long-standing image for innovation. But if you are more of a casual skier or are have to purchase other ski gear and are trying to stick to a budget, there are options that may work better for you. The Smith Mission MIPS is our favorite budget option. It costs significantly less and scored higher overall in our testing.
— Wes Berkshire
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