Oakley’s ARO3 Endurance MIPS helmet is a versatile all-rounder that’s lightweight, well-vented and relatively affordable, discovers Charlie Allenby…
Oakley ARO3 Endurance MIPS Helmet
$135 / £110, amazon.com
- Impressive ventilation
- Front vent eyewear storage
- Size comes up a bit small
Extra features: 4/5
Oakley might be famous for its sunglasses and goggles, but the American giant also does a range of helmets that cater to its snow and cycling specialities. The ARO3 Endurance is the cheapest of its road- and gravel-focused lids (which top out at the $205 / £170 ARO5 Race), but that doesn’t mean features have been sacrificed to reach its £110 price point. It’s ideal for wearing while riding the best e-bikes.
MIPS is included as standard, while 19 vents should help keep things cool and comfortable, regardless of the training intensity, terrain or time of year. Visually, its low profile and polished coating make it one of the best-looking cycling helmets around too. But how does it stack up when wearing?
Oakley ARO3 Endurance MIPS performance
There are two distinct styles of vents found on a road cycling-focused helmet – the long, wide variety that stretch their way from front to back (the Smith Network MIPS is a prime example) and create clear channels of airflow over the head, and the more strategically placed ones like those found on the ARO3 Endurance.
To the naked eye, the former would seem the better ventilated, with less material blocking the intake of cool air. But somehow, the 19 vents of the ARO3 Endurance trumped all, and it was one of the best-ventilated helmets I’ve ever tested. On cooler starts, its superior airflow did leave me reaching for the additional layer of a cycling hat, but I’d rather it this way around than a helmet that wilts in the heat of the mid-summer sun.
Other plus points for the ARO3 Endurance were its low weight and profile, and its subtle-yet-stylish design. Unlike some road-focused helmets, it didn’t feel out of place on a ride to the shops in normal clothes, while it looked the part with its mirrored, pearlescent finish when lycra’d up in a cycling jersey and bib shorts.
Oakley ARO3 Endurance MIPS fit
The only downside I could find with the ARO3 Endurance was its size. A medium (55-59cm) struggled to fit my 59cm-diameter head and the adjustable dial was unable to solve pressure points above the temple that became quite uncomfortable on longer rides. If you’re in the middle of sizes or have a lot of hair, I’d recommend going for the larger size to avoid any discomfort.
One thing that the ARO3 Endurance’s fit didn’t have issues with was its sunglasses storage. Grippers on the widest front vents held a variety of different cycling sunglasses (and not just Oakley branded) in place without the arms digging into the top of my head.
Oakley ARO3 Endurance MIPS value
While it’s not the most affordable MIPS helmet I’ve reviewed (see the pocket-friendly Specialized Align II), its £110 price puts it at the lower end of mid-range models. Its superior design and handy features like the great sunglasses storage make this something of a steal, while its good looks and versatility mean this could be the only helmet you need in your armoury.