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A Look at the STX Aero Helmet

The Ohio State Men’s Lacrosse program has recently given lacrosse enthusiasts a sneak peek at the new STX AERO helmet through their social media channels. The rumor mill had been buzzing with speculation about a new STX helmet for quite some time, considering that the STX Rival was announced nearly six years ago in April 2018.

When the Rival was first unveiled, it received its fair share of criticism. Many people expressed their discontent with the helmet’s round design, especially compared to Cascade helmets’ more aggressive aesthetics. It took some time for lacrosse programs to figure out how to incorporate the Rival’s design into their team colors and decals. Eventually, public perception of the Rival improved, although it didn’t necessarily translate into increased sales.

In the lacrosse community, it is a common sight to see players rocking Cascade helmets. At the same time, the STX Rival struggled to gain a foothold in the market, despite being more affordable. The affordability of the Rival was attractive for many college programs, especially those sponsored by Nike, as STX is owned by Nike.

However, something unexpected happened as the 2023 men’s lacrosse season kicked off. Teams like Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Duke, which had been wearing the STX Rival for multiple seasons, suddenly made the switch to Cascade helmets after the holiday break. This left many lacrosse enthusiasts wondering about the reasons behind this abrupt change, especially right before the start of the season. Meanwhile, programs like North Carolina and Ohio State continued to stick with the Rival, further adding to the confusion.

It became evident that STX was preparing to unveil a new helmet, and leaks began to surface. Instagram account Art or Lax did an excellent job of keeping the lacrosse community informed about all the updates regarding this mysterious new helmet. From leaked factory images to sightings on college fields during fall ball, Art or Lax became the go-to source for all things related to the STX Aero.

We got glimpses of the helmet a few months ago as college teams began their fall ball seasons. Cornell had a few players wearing the new Aero, although we didn’t get a clear look since there weren’t many photos released on the team’s social media. The Aero gained more visibility when UNC started sharing practice photos on social media, featuring several players wearing Aero helmets alongside the familiar Rivals.

Initial reactions to the Aero suggested that it shared some visual similarities with the Rival but also incorporated more aggressive features reminiscent of Cascade helmets. The public appeared excited about the prospect of a new helmet on the market but remained skeptical due to the Rival’s earlier public perception.

Then, to everyone’s surprise, the entire Ohio State Men’s Lacrosse program received brand new white Aero helmets for the 2024 season. Thanks to Ohio State’s excellent social media team, we now have multiple shots of the helmet to examine closely.

In addition to its more aggressive design, the Aero features increased ventilation, which should address one of the major complaints about the Rival—the weight. There also seems to be a size adjustment strap on the back, similar to Cascade helmets’ “one size fits all” approach. This would be a significant improvement as players wouldn’t have to worry about determining their head size before purchasing a helmet.

Overall, the Aero appears to be a step in the right direction, offering a visual upgrade over the Rival. As more information about this helmet becomes available in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how the public responds once it becomes widely available. Of course, the overall quality and feel of the helmet can’t be accurately judged based solely on pictures.

It’s quite likely that multiple STX/Nike-sponsored schools will start using this helmet in the upcoming season, even if it means making a midseason or tournament appearance. While it may be challenging for the STX Aero to compete with Cascade’s market dominance, the introduction of a new helmet is undoubtedly good news for the game of lacrosse.