Our story

About Charles Owen

Four Generations of Making Helmets For a Safer World

World famous for raising the bar in safety, Charles Owen is a leading British manufacturer of riding helmets with a history dating back over 100 years.

When Charles Owen himself founded the company in 1911, his mission was to make products ‘for a safer world’.

The company has remained within the same family for four generations, today under the direction of founder Charles Owen’s great-grandson.

The early days revolved around manufacturing military helmets for the British Army. The company transitioned into the equestrian market 17 years later with racing helmets for jockeys and quickly established itself as the gold standard for safety.

Charles Owen was involved in creating the very first equestrian helmet safety standard, and in 1983 the company created the first dual-standard riding helmet in answer to Pony Club’s demand for safer riding gear.

One year later, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded Charles Owen the Royal Warrant as protective headgear supplier to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.

From the first patent granted in 1924 to improve ventilation and fit through the Microfit system found in all Charles Owen helmets today, the company has always prioritised correct and comfortable fit.

Today the company name is deeply ingrained within the global equestrian industry as a trusted brand known for safety, quality and prestige fashion.

Our Factory and Workforce

Each Charles Owen product is handmade by highly skilled technicians using the highest quality materials at our award winning, state-of-the-art factory in Great Britain.

The 80,000 square foot premises is situated on Croesfoel Industrial Park in Wrexham, North Wales. The local Civic Trust identified the factory as a major contributor to the local community, which is a rare event, as it was the only commercial building to be chosen in over a decade.

Inside the huge space, the workforce is organised into small teams that create the products from start to finish. Quality is paramount when it comes to safety. Getting it right the first time, every time is the mantra of the production team.

Safety Standards

All riding helmet manufacturers have to produce helmets to meet one of three international safety standards or marks – the PAS015:2011, the VG1 01.040 2014-12 and ASTM F1163-15. Some may even produce helmets to meet all of them as we do at Charles Owen.

We feel strongly that a helmet that meets multiple standards has been proven to provide the most comprehensive protection and cover a wider range of the potential accident scenarios a rider might experience.

safety standards

Achieving the perfect fit

Charles Owen has dedicated thousands of hours to understanding heads and their many varied shapes and has developed a diverse collection of helmets that allows each person to find the helmet that best fits their head.

Charles Owen helmets contain a unique adjusting system that allows each helmet to mould itself to conform to the rider’s exact
head shape. This Microfit system avoids the need for oversized helmets and, in the hands of an expert helmet fitter, can allow
a helmet to be individually customised for the safest and most comfortable fit.

Every Charles Owen helmet is sold with a complimentary professional helmet fitting, and the company offers refits of its helmets for the duration of each helmet’s functional life.

Charles Owen’s dedication to keeping every rider in a correctly fitting helmet is born of years of research that proves how imperative correct fit is to maximise safety.

Professor Roy Burek

The company and its worldwide reputation for the safety and quality of its products is indebted to the late Professor Roy Burek, who passed away in 2019.

The grandson of Charles Owen, Roy Burek brought more than 37 years of personal experience in the safety industry to his position as the Managing Director of Charles Owen.

After receiving a chemistry degree from the University of Oxford, Roy pursued a career in the corporate world before realising that his true interest lay in making a difference in peoples’ lives.

He returned to the company founded by his grandfather and achieved his ambitions of making the world a safer place for horse riders.

Roy was dynamic in leading industry research and setting new standards for safety technology. He has been recognised by ASTM and the British Horse Society, and he has served on the European Standards Committee and co-chaired the task group that sets ASTM standards.

In recent years, Roy increasingly dedicated much of his time to wider research surrounding traumatic brain injury and finding better materials to reduce concussion. Charles Owen’s design engineers continue to innovate and develop new exciting products using his research and expert knowledge.

Likewise, the factory and its skilled workforce continue to deliver the quality of product for which the business has been renowned under the new direction of Roy’s son, Owen Burek.


Equestrian safety products can only protect riders if they work in real life situations. All Charles Owen helmets are tested and worn by top riders to ensure the products suit the job of riding horses.

To see how our products work in everyday riding as well as competition, please click below to visit our video site.


Keeping it in the Family

It doesn’t take much imagination to see how Charles Owen became aligned to our other brands inculding Airowear body protectors; they share so much in their commitment to deliver brilliance and performance.

Realising the passion that is infused into each and every product is not easy.

“It became so obvious that there was a need to create a distribution structure that mirrored the passion encapsulated in this group of equestrian products. We needed to educate that second best is not an option and that the products needed to be widely available and supported by the best possible customer service,” said Roy Burek.

In today’s world of cuts and efficiencies, it is truly inspirational to think that islands of brilliance still exist. By experiencing these products, you too will engage in a partnership that will encourage you to new heights of excellence from three of the finest European manufacturers today.

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