Ranked near the top of the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings in terms of safety, itís no surprise that the Riddell SpeedFlex and the Schutt Vengeance VTD II are two of the most popular football helmets on the market today.
While both helmets are rated five stars and worn on fields at all levels of football, there are some important differences to consider when selecting which helmet is right for you.
First and foremost is fit. Every head shape is different and that means every helmet will feel differently to a specific player. If possible, try on helmets from teammates or your school to see which one feels best for you. Both will feel slightly different on your head as the SpeedFlex uses a velvet-like cloth overliner and the VTD II relies on the TPU liner for comfort. Both helmets include inflation points to allow you to adjust the fit and feel in the crown and lateral portions of the shell. Additionally, the SpeedFlex features inflatable jaw pads to adjust the helmet to your face shape. The VTD II comes with TPU jaw pads and are available in different thicknesses.
The SpeedFlex is the slightly heavier helmet, checking in at just under 3.5 pounds, while the VTD II weighs in at 2.9 pounds. Both weights donít include facemasks. The SpeedFlex facemasks are made from high-strength stainless steel to keep the weight down, while the Vengeance facemasks are offered in carbon steel and titanium models for varying levels of weight.
The chinstrap and its integration with the helmet are different on both. While the VTD II uses a traditional strap that buckles to the outside of the helmet shell, the SpeedFlex has a Ratchet-Loc system specific to that helmet. The Ratchet-Loc system is fixed to the upper part of the helmet, while the lower strap clicks into place to give you a more secure fit.
Although much is different between the two helmets, the one similarity is that both Schutt and Riddell focused on upping the protection in the front of the helmet. The SpeedFlex accomplishes this in a bold fashion, integrating a flex panel into the front of its shell which can move up to a quarter of an inch to absorb blows. It also makes the helmet one of the most recognizable in the game. Schuttís upgrade is more subtle. The VTD II features a different front cushion than the original VTD model, along with different thicknesses in the TPU cushioning that lines the shell. The difference was seen immediately as the VTD IIís Virginia Tech STAR value was 0.033 points lower than its predecessor.
Both helmets are trusted at the top levels of football and offer top-of-the-line protection from industry leaders. Either choice is a great one, but the helmet you choose should reflect your own personal preferences. The choice, ultimately, is up to you.