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Smith Nexus Ski Helmet – Test and Review

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Updated April 9th, 2024

Smith Nexus ski helmet review

Manufacturer and Model: Smith Optics Nexus
List Price: $325


The Smith Nexus is the flagship helmet from Smith Optics. It is packed full of features and safety technology. It has MIPS and lots of Koroyd honeycomb. It is a very comfortable helmet to wear. The Nexus is one of the best ski helmets available today.

What we liked:

  • Very comfortable fit and feel
  • Dual zone adjustable vents
  • Goggle defog vents
  • Has MIPS
  • More Koroyd honeycome construction for better crash energy absorbtion
  • Fidlock magnetic buckle
  • Available in regular and round head fits
  • BOA adjustable fit system

What we didn’t like:

  • Not quite as much ventilation as Smith Vantage
  • High cost

Smith Nexus MIPS product image


  • Construction – Hybrid in-mold with Zonal Koroyd honeycomb
  • MIPS – Yes
  • Weight – 1 lbs 3 oz
  • Ventilation – Adjustable, dual zone
  • Goggle Defog Vents – Yes
  • Audio Compatible – Yes

Smith Nexus Ski Helmet Review and Test

The Nexus is the latest high end ski helmet from Smith Optics replacing the short lived Quantum model. It is posititioned above their very popular Smith Vantage helmet and adds some features such as more Koroyd and a magnetic fidlock buckle. The Nexus is a larger helmet and does not size small like the Vantage. Is the Nexus really worth the extra $55 beyond buying a Vantage? What do you really get for the extra money?

The list below contains the most significant changes between the Nexus and Vantage.

  • Bigger sizing
  • More Koroyd honeycome around the sides and top
  • Fidlock magnetic buckle
  • More smaller sized vents
  • 1 oz heavier weight
Smith Nexus front view chairlift

1 – Style

The Nexus nails it it with styling and is a helmet that has just amount the right amount of flare to it without looking gawdy or overdone. The vents and mold lines give it a dynamic look. The brim is large enough to be useful without looking too big. They did a nice job with the 2 tone mold separations with just enough of the second color.

Nexus front side view
Nexus back view

2 – Construction – (9.5/10)

The Nexus has every advanced feature that Smith could throw at it. It has more Koroyd honeycomb than the Vantage. The honeycomb wraps most of the way around the head with just just a ring of EPP foam around the bottom. There is some EPP foam at the very top where the vent sliders are. The polycarbonate shell is divided in 2 parts with the lower and upper portions. The helmet uses a Fidlock magnetic buckle and BOA size adjuster.

Nexus inside no liner
Nexus fidlock buckle

The Nexus comes with a storage bag. The bag feels cheaper and not as nice as the mesh draw string bag that Smith helmets use to come with.

Nexus helmet bag

3 – Safety Features – (9.5/10)

Smith went about creating one of the safest helmets out there with the Nexus. They started using more Koroyd which has better energy absorbing than EPP foam. Tke Koroyd covers most of the side and top of the head now. All Nexus helmets have MIPS to help with angled, off-center and glancing blows. The Nexus is certified to ASTM F 2040 and CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B.

4 – Comfort and Fit – (10.0/10)

Comfort is one of the highlights for the Nexus. It is hands down one of the most comfortable ski helmets I have worn. The ear pads have enough padding to be comfortable. They are wide enough to easily work with helmet speakers without squeezing my ears. The helmet liner has a little padding on the sides and top. The chin strap has just enough padding without having a spongy feel to it.

Nexus inside with liner
Nexus liner

Let’s talk about sizing for a second. The Smith Vantage was a tight fitting helmet that sized small. The Nexus has a much more relaxed fit that sizes bigger. I wear a size XL Vantage and it still feels tight on the sides and I’m near the upper limit for the size adjuster. I can’t wear it with helmet speakers without feeling too much ear pressure and getting headaches weaering it.

The Nexus feels completely different. I got a size XL based on my experience with the Vantage. The Nexus is nice and roomy. I’m wearing it at about 50% of the size adjuster range. A size Large would probably have worked for me. It feels wide without any squeeze on the side of my head or ears. There is plenty of chin strap length. I’ve still got a couple inches of extra strap left after adjusting everything.

5 – Warmth (10.0/10)

The Nexus has a comfortable big feel to it. The earpads wrap around the back of the helmet which reduces airleaks into the back and sides of the helmet. With both vents closed it makes a very warm and cozy helmet on colder days. It’s got enough extra room to work well with a thin hat underneath too.

6 – Ventilation (9.0/10)

I count 24 vents on the helmet. It has smaller vents than the Smith Vantage but more vents. Overall the vent surface area looks a bit less than the Vantage. The higher quantity of vents makes for more efficient cooling since the heat and moisture does not have to travel as far under the helmet to get to a vent. It allows for very even feeling cooling and helps keep sweat away. All the vents, vent through Koroyd honeycomb except the front goggle vents and the lower rear vents. This does reduce the air flow a little bit.

The helmet has 2 AirEvac goggle defog vents on front to help pull air through your goggles and keep them fog free.

Nexus top vents and Koroyd

7 – Weight (8.0/10)

The published weight for the Smith Nexus is 1 lb 3 oz. My size XL Nexus weighed in at 1 lb 5 oz. This is about 3 oz heavier than my Smith Vantage size XL. The helmet is much larger and roomier which explains 1 to 2 ozs of extra helmet weight.

8 – Goggle compatibility

The Nexus is designed to work well with all Smith Optics goggles with minimal gap. The AirEvac vents will help keep the goggles defogged. I have been using the Nexus with my Smith 4D Mag goggles. They make a great looking combo together. The brim is flat and will work well with most current popular ski goggles without turning you into a Gaper.

The helmet has a bungee attachment at the back for holding goggle straps. It’s got a large enough tab to be easy to use while wearing the helmet. It does a good job of holding goggle straps in place.

Smith Nexus 4D Mag side view
Nexus 4D Mag front view

9 – Audio compatible Ear Pads

The Nexus is designed to work with ski helmet speakers. There is a zipper pocket that unzips from earpad to earpad making installation easy for speakers with a wire running between them. The earpads have 2 square pieces of foam that can be removed to make room for the speakers.

I have been using the Nexus with a set of Aleck Nunchucks. They are square shaped to fit the cutouts inside the Nexus. The buttons are easy to press through the outside of the ear pads.

Aleck Nunchucks installation

See our guide to the best ski helmet speakers to learn more.

10 – Recycled Packaging

My Nexus showed up in Smith’s new recycled packaging. They are now selling almost everything in plain brown boxes. We throw out a lot of packaging here after reviewing items. I like any brand that uses more sustainable packaging.

Smith Nexus packaging

Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?

The Smith Nexus is very comfortable to wear with advanced safety technology. It has features such as dual zone vents. It works well with helmet speakers. It’s one of the best ski helmets available for resort skiing or freeride.

Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.


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