Smith Maze Helmet Review

The Smith Maze is a lightweight helmet that offers good durability. It has a slick, attractive look, and skiers of all levels will appreciate its simplistic design.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: REI, Amazon, EVO
  • Best for: Skiers looking for a warm, well-rounded helmet that offers strong protection. Also great in light to moderate conditions.
  • Pros: This helmet has a lightweight shell, which allows you to add protection without a ton of extra weight. The construction is solid, the fit is comfortable, and it has great durability. All of that then comes in at a more-than-reasonable price point.
  • Cons: The vents are fixed, which significantly limits the helmet’s versatility and temperature control. While the fit is decent, it’s also not the easiest to adjust.
  • Alternatives: Smith Vantage, Scott Symbol 2, Giro Zone

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching the Smith Maze helmet and its different characteristics.

Detailed Review

Though Smith makes a range of advanced helmets outfitted with modern advancements, they’ve kept it simple with the Maze. The helmet has a clean appearance, which perfectly matches the rather simple design. It’s minimalistic, functional, and incredibly reliable thanks to the sturdy, well-made construction. Those traits make it solid for both the backcountry and the resort.

Less Weight, More Durability

In terms of weight, the Maze is incredibly light. Some people might want a beefier model when it comes to feel, but I’m happy anytime I can shave weight. Fewer pounds on your head also cuts down on the chance of injury during a crash because it means you’re much less likely to get whiplash when you fall.

Many people hear “lightweight” and think “weak construction.” That’s not true with the Maze. In fact, that’s the number one thing I like about the model. Though it feels a bit more flimsy than many skiers would undoubtedly like, it has a solid construction and is incredibly well made. You’re going to be protected when wearing this. In the end, that’s the most important aspect when evaluating any helmet.

Mixed Fit and Comfort

I’m a big fan of the Maze’s fit, but that only goes so far. Out of the box, the sizing feels right. It has a nice shape that’s particularly well-suited for rounder heads. Unfortunately, there’s no adjustment system, which means you don’t get a lot of versatility. The lack of a BOA hurts here.

Smith outfitted the Maze with foam pads that you can put it or take out to create a better fit for your head shape. These do work to a certain point, but they aren’t anywhere close to the reliability seen in other helmet designs. Losing the adjustment does help in that it adds to the simplicity, but it hurts in a lot of other relevant areas.

The lack of a true adjustment system also affects the Maze’s comfort. The helmet is quite nice if it naturally fits your head, but it’s never going to give you a perfect shape if it doesn’t. The padding and warmth are solid, as is the weight. In that way, it’s right in the middle ground when it comes to comfort. Not the worst, but there are better options out there.

Warmth and Ventilation

The Maze has fixed vents, which is a big mark on what it is otherwise a tight, clean design. There’s nothing inherently wrong with fixed vents, I just vastly prefer adjustable systems. The biggest reason for that is the warmth. Fixed vents helmets can only give you so much insulation, and it’s definitely noticeable on cold days.

The extra air allowed in by the Maze is nice when you’re overheating or getting extremely sweaty. It becomes a problem when temperatures drop. Luckily, you can always mitigate that by wearing a beanie under the helmet. This is another area hurt by a reliable adjustment system, which would have allowed you to make room for extra headwear when it was needed.

It’s worth noting there are removable ear flaps in the Maze. Taking them out and putting them in does give you a way to affect temperature regulation. These also allow you to get some extra warmth when things get too hot or cold. That versatility is something I can truly appreciate.

Excellent Style and Goggle Compatibility

It’s no surprise that, when it comes to eyewear compatibility, the Maze works best with Smith goggles. However, the goggle clip gives you a lot of versatility and enables you to hold many different brands in many different ways. It securely keeps your eyewear in place no matter what style you want to wear them in.

Speaking of style, the Maze has a great appearance that I really like. The no-frills design comes through here, giving you one of the cleanest looking models around. It’s not quite as modern as similar options, which some will like and others won’t. However, there are many different colors so you can always fit your personal style.

Price and Value

If you want a more affordable helmet, the Maze won’t let you down. Its reliable construction means it will last for quite a while. Not only that, but the minimalistic design works with the vents and fit to ensure you get something capable in any environment. The lower price mixed with the ability to wear this both on and off-piste make it easily worth the cost for people who need an all-in-one option.

What I Like

The weight-vs-construction balance is one of the Maze’s stand out features. This helmet is not intrusive, and doesn’t put you at risk. The tough construction will give you great security, but you don’t have to worry about extra bulk. That combination is wonderful and helps give it even more value for the low price.

I also like the minimalist approach Smith took with the Maze helmet. You won’t find a lot of extra features or modern advancements in this item, but that’s ok. This helmet has a slimmed-down approach, giving you everything you need rather than cluttering up the design. That’s not something everyone will appreciate, but I always like when companies can do more with less.

What I Dislike

If there’s one aspect I don’t like about the Maze it’s the vents. I am a huge fan of adjustable systems, and being locked into one form of ventilation hurts. They do a fine job of cooling you off when things get warm, but you don’t have the option to reduce that air flow when things get cold. A beanie mitigates that issue, but that then affects the fit.

I would have also liked a better adjustment system. The Maze is not an uncomfortable helmet, but the fit you get is largely the one you’re going to get. The padding system just doesn’t quite have what it takes to mold the design to your head shape. That’s a bit of a bummer, especially for skiers who need to adapt to different environments.

The Alternatives

The Maze is a solid lightweight option. If you want something with a bit more bulk, or if your goal is to find a comparable model that offers something else, these are great choices:

  • Smith Vantage – If you don’t mind paying some extra money for a quality helmet, the Smith Vantage is a good piece of headgear. The premium item gives you the reliability of the Maze with some fun extra features and a slick look. The ventilation is great, as is the insulation. It’s also compatible with just about every goggle on the market.
  • Scott Symbol 2 – If comfort is your main and only goal, the Scott Symbol 2 is a solid helmet to look at. Though it runs small and is definitely heavier than the Maze, it shines in the fact that it has excellent ventilation and is easy to adjust. I always value versatility, and this has a ton of it.
  • Giro Zone – The Giro Zone is a well-rounded helmet that can do a little bit of everything. It doesn’t excel in any one area, which can put some people off, but it’s stylish, warm, and comfortable. In my opinion, it has one of the best fits around. It also gets high marks for the innovative Thermostat Control adjustable venting.

FAQs

Does this helmet come with an adjustment wheel?

Unfortunately, no. The Smith Maze has no such feature.

Can you mount a GoPro on the Maze?

Though it’s not inherently built for an extra camera, you should have no problem equipping a GoPro with the correct mount.

Does this come with Bluetooth Speakers?

No. However, the ear flaps have a space for adding in speakers.

Is the liner removable or permanently attached?

The Smith Maze comes with a removable liner. That enables you to cut down insulation and hand wash it when needed.

Final Verdict

The Maze is a tough lightweight helmet with powerful protection. Though it might not feel as well put together as similar, more expensive models, don’t let that fool you. It has a strong construction that will keep you safe in the event of an accident or fall. There aren’t too many premium features, but it doesn’t expect you to pay a premium price.

The helmet’s clean design is something that every skier will be able to appreciate, no matter if they’re just starting or have decades under their belt. There’s almost no wasted space here. The vents and fit could be better, but it’s a good choice if simplicity is your main goal.

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