A football helmet is the single most important piece of equipment a player can wear when out on the field. There is no doubt that you should get the absolute best helmet you can find in today’s market.
With so many available options, finding the right helmet can feel overwhelming. Therefore, we have researched and curated the best football helmets from reputable brands to help aspiring and professional football players out there.
In this article, we’re putting our focus on two of the best football helmets from two leading helmet manufacturers – the Riddell SpeedFlex and Schutt F7 football helmets. We’ve written a comprehensive Riddell vs Speedflex top-rated flagship football helmet comparison below! Read on to find out which helmet suits your preference and needs!
An Overview of the F7 and SpeedFlex Helmets
Both the Riddell SpeedFlex and Schutt F7 are ideal for Varsity and Professional athletes who want the very best protection, while also considering customization. They are both each brand’s flagship helmets that were rated as 5-star quality football helmets by the Virginia Tech.
Riddell SpeedFlex vs Schutt F7: Standard Features
Now that you’ve read a brief overview, let’s dive into the features of both helmets to gauge its capability of providing your needs.
With a titanium faceguard, the F7 weighs just 4.4 pounds. While the SpeedFlex is a slightly lighter helmet, checking in at just under 3.5 pounds.
The SpeedFlex was designed with players’ wants and needs in mind, so while both helmets provide top-notch safety and protection, the SpeedFlex feels weightless, allowing the wearer to perform to the standards that he/she expects.
The shells of both the F7 and SpeedFlex are made using durable polycarbonate material, though the F7 has re-engineered its helmet shell to increase the offset in key impact areas (the front, rear and size impact zones) to improve impact absorption and performance.
The Riddell SpeedFlex has the Patented Side Impact Protection encased into the shell, mitigating the force of impact from blows to the side.
Additionally, Composite Energy Management prevents the strategically placed padding inside the helmet from shifting or dislodging during games and practices.
While the durable polycarbonate material of the SpeedFlex does adequately fortify your head on impact, the F7 also uses polycarbonate and a number of other technologies to give you a secure, locked-in feeling inside the helmet.
Engineered into the back shelf and temporal side wings of the F7 shell is a Flexural Resistance shell design. This improves the strength and durability of the shell while increasing the area for TPU Cushioning so that those high impact areas are further protected with the most advanced impact absorption material on the market.
As a bonus, the F7 also has great ventilation from front to back to keep the wearer cool during the intensity of the game.
The F7 is one of the most comfortable helmets on the market. The liners inside feature a number of inflatable pods, and the SUREFIT under layer is an all-new Radian Diffusion System Liner.
This improves the independent movement of the liner, TPU cushioning and the head, resulting in reduced force against impacts that cause the head to rotate.
The SpeedFlex, likewise, has flexibility engineered into the padding of the helmet and inflatable fit liners and jaw pads that can be customized to help provide the perfect fit.
This means that both the SpeedFlex and F7 are some of the top choices for safety and protection.
However, the F7 also includes a Helmet Stabilization System (HSS) which, along with a more comfortable jaw pad configuration, utilizes internal and external stabilizers as well as high performance impact foam wrapped in soft but durable leather.
This means that the padding on the inside of the F7 frames to your face a bit better than the SpeedFlex. The F7 also has a two-piece TPU pad molded to the front to add another layer of comfort.
In other words, no pump is necessary to get the perfect fit!
In terms of providing protection from rotational impacts, the F7 and SpeedFlex both provide high-quality offerings, but the F7 provides a better fit and comfort.
The most commonly used facemask on the SpeedFlex is the SF-2BD Facemask. It is a versatile, wide-ranging facemask that offers an excellent field of vision, which is why it is worn by wide receivers, defensive backs, and quarterbacks at all levels of competition.
The SF-2BD facemask is light, durable, made of stainless steel and will last multiple seasons.
Due to its compact size, the facemask is compatible with a number of high-quality visors, including those from Oakley, who are the leading manufacturers of visors.
Furthermore, the SpeedFlex is built precisely with customization in mind, as quick all-points release make attaching and detaching facemasks easier to falling on a fumbled football.
Overall, this facemask is perfect for skill positions and any ball-hawking or play-making players.
The F7, on the other hand, has a redesigned faceguard line that is exclusive to the F7. The Anti-Friction Facemask Points feature re-located attachments to improve the overall performance of the helmet.
On top of that, the F7 offers five different face mask options, all of which are customizable to match the team’s colors.
The most standard F7 facemask is the EGOP-NP Carbon Steel faceguard, which offers eyeglass and oral protection. With its No Brow design, this is a classic facemask that integrates optimally with the F7 helmet to provide a wide field of vision and standard protection.
#5 Chin Strap:
The F7 helmet includes the Schutt Elite Hardcup chin strap, as well as two pairs of jaw pads for an ideal fit.
The Elite Hardcup chin strap is a high performance polycarbonate hard cup with an integrated soft cup for a perfect balance between protection and comfort.
Like the helmet, the Hardcup chin strap is customizable, with various colors to match your team’s colors, and three sizes to securely fit any chin shape.
The Riddell Hard Cup chin strap also features a solid, polycarbonate casing, but is lined with a hypoallergenic inner padding to offer maximum protection.
Moreover, the Hard Cup strap includes stainless steel buckles, mid/high hook, and four vent holes to aid in ventilation.
#6 Testing: Virginia Tech Helmet Study
The Virginia Tech Rating System is the de facto arbiter of helmet safety. The STAR rating system assigns numerical values to a helmet to indicate its ability to absorb impacts and reduce concussion risks.
Helmets are then ranked from best to worst and grouped into categories labeled by stars, with five stars, of course, indicating the most protection.
Both the Riddell SpeedFlex and Schutt F7 are 5-star rated by Virginia Tech, but the F7 has a protection score of 0.75 (the best ever) while the SpeedFlex clocks in at 4.49.
This alone would indicate that the F7 is the better helmet, however, the truth is that the VA STAR system oversimplifies the science of safety.
This is because the science surrounding helmets remains inconclusive, and helmet manufacturers are still not entirely sure what causes concussions.
That is to say, there are too many variables involved in concussions, and no two concussions are alike.
Velocity, mass, age, position of head, whether an athlete got enough sleep the night before, and level of protection are all variables that make it hard to assess the risk of concussion.
Riddell SpeedFlex vs Schutt F7: Stand Out Features
Schutt F7 Football Helmet
3-Dimensional Movement Tektonic Plates
Industry-First LTD Anti-Friction Facemask Attachment Points
Professional Grade Protection
Riddell SpeedFlex Football Helmet
Patented Side Impact Protection
Composite Energy Management
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The stand-out feature of the SpeedFlex helmet is to reduce dangerous impacts using the PISP which generates flexibility into the helmet, thus better absorbing hits from the side which can cause rotational acceleration, or “snapping”, of the neck.
All helmet manufacturers heed a warning that scientists have not reached a consensus on the cause of concussions, and therefore cannot guarantee with certainty that any helmet system can prevent concussions or eliminate the risk of serious head or neck injuries while playing football.
This, of course, does not mean that Riddell helmets are not safe, just that safety cannot be 100% guaranteed.
Xenith is considered the third-leading manufacturer after Riddell and Schutt. However, the Xenith Shadow XR and Xenith X2E+ are currently rated higher by the VA STAR system than any Riddell helmet.
A solid, polycarbonate material is a good start to make a football helmet safe. Polycarbonate absorbs the impact of blows to the head and evenly distributes the shock across the helmet, mitigating the effects of collisions.
Moreover, look for a rounded shell, as the structure of the shell can deflect hard hits.
A good-quality helmet will also have inflatable pads inside the helmet to protect the face, lower jaw, temples, and the base of the skull.
1.Riddell SpeedFlex Helmet. Retrieved from https://www.riddell.com/shop/on-field-equipment/helmets/riddell-speedflex-helmet.html
2.Schutt Store, F7 LTD. Retrieved from https://www.schuttsports.com/football/vengeance/f7-ltd
3. The Truth About the Safety Ratings That Sell Football Helmets. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-01-28/the-controversial-safety-ratings-that-sell-football-helmets