News From Roy’s Lab: MIPS

15 August 2018

As the leader in equestrian safety helmet technology, Charles Owen is nearing the pinnacle of total protection for the rider and innovative ways of adding protection have become necessary. After two years of evaluation and the development of a new set of biofidelic headforms by the HEADS consortium* in Europe, we have now developed a set of helmets that allow us to reduce injury a little bit more by incorporating MIPS technology.

What is MIPS**?

  • MIPS is the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System;
  • MIPS is a brain protection system;
  • Rotational motion can cause brain injuries;
  • The low friction layer of MIPS allows a sliding motion 10-15mm, in all directions, reducing the tangential forces transmitted to the brain during impact; and
  • MIPS adds protection.

Charles Owen’s interpretation of MIPS:

  • MIPS mimics the action of the scalp and protects in a similar way;
  • Shearing forces can cause brain injuries that are not attenuated by traditional helmet construction; and
  • MIPS adds protection to helmets already tested and certified to reduce in jury in relevant sports.

What is the benefit of MIPS in a Charles Owen helmet?

Charles Owen is known globally for producing riding helmets with multiple certifications to multiple international safety standards. By testing and certifying to several standards, Charles Owen has the opportunity to address multiple accident scenarios in their helmets, thereby increasing protection in a fall and reducing injury.

The addition of MIPS technology will essentially add a ‘top up’ to the already high performing head protection offered by the brand and Charles Owen’s mission has always been to produce helmets that are more effective against injury. It is important to note that multiple standard protection is found in each Charles Owen helmet, meaning the Ayr8® helmet purchased in Germany will have the same certifications as the one purchased in Great Britain and the same as the one purchased in the United States. This is how Charles Owen is a standard above its competitors.

The MIPS layer will add protection against tangential forces from typical impacts to the head. It will not replace the coverage already held by the helmet safety standards, but instead add to them.

How will MIPS be incorporated into Charles Owen helmets?

Charles Owen has been producing helmets for Polo that incorporate MIPS to understand the applicability of this technology in the real world. MIPS will be incorporated into three new helmets for availability in January 2019 – the My PS, the My PS with Wide Peak and Ms1 Pro for race riders.

Each helmet will carry an SEI certification to ASTM F1163-15, Kitemarks to VG1 01-040 2014-12 and PAS015:2011 and a CE mark to VG1 01-040 2014-12. The addition of the MIPS layer will be certified by the MIPS test house in Sweden.

How has the R&D team at Charles Owen interpreted the recent Folksam test results?

Swedish insurance company Folksam has published a Best in Test report using 15 of the most popular equestrian helmets***. Charles Owen helmets performed well and filled the third, fourth and fifth spots in overall results without the MIPS layer. While oblique tests measuring rotational kinematics are new, they simulate another accident situation. However, limiting radial force is the most important to protect riders against serious brain injury, a reason why helmets have reduced injuries often fatal such as contusions and skull fractures. The Folksam report over emphasized the importance of tangential forces by using a grippy test head that has no scalp, using an impact surface that is not typical for equestrians and then doubling their influence.

Looking Forward

Charles Owen is increasing the number of multiple certified helmets that incorporates MIPS technology as a way to extend protection against injuries such as bleeding of the brain.

Whilst MIPS technology is not adequate protection in itself for riders, it does give additional coverage against head injury similar to the addition of airvest technology on top of traditional foundation body protection.

*The HEADS consortium to further head protection in sports was funded by the European Commission and is composed of the universities of Dublin, KU Leuven and KTH, Sweden and industrialists of Charles Owen and Lazer Sport and AGV.

MIPS specialises in helmet-based safety and protection of the brain. Based on an ingredient brand model, MIPS Brain Protection System (BPS) is sold to the global helmet industry. MIPS solutions are patented in all relevant markets and are based on more than 20 years of research and development together with the Royal Institute of Technology and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. MIPS is the world leader in this field. The company’s headquarters, with 25 employees in research and development, sales, marketing and administration is located in Stockholm together with the test facility. For more information, visit

***Download the report with the test results at

Charlotte Dujardin
I trust Charles Owen to take care of me with safety and style.
Charlotte Dujardin CBE