K2 Virtue ReviewAugust 15, 2018
- Secure, universal fit (no hotspots)
- Built-in audio feature
- Low-key & lightweight
- Ear pads didn’t fully cover ears
- Goggles don’t clip-in
- Scuffed easily
The K2 Virtue is a women’s specific, lightweight winter helmet with a hybrid construction that uses both in-mold and hardshell technologies. It’s been updated from the last version of the Virtue, with a compression-formed liner that can be removed, along with removable the ear pads.
The K2 Virtue fit all testers and was felt comfortable from the first time we buckled in. Throughout the day, the helmet didn’t create any hotspots or headaches. The dial-fit system helped secure the helmet around testers’ heads without any specific pressure points, and overall, the helmet had a good shape that didn’t generate any gaping near the top or sides of the head. On warmer days, the K2 Virtue vented well and protected us from the elements, but on windy or snowy days, the Virtue was lacking. For all testers, the ear pads sit just slightly farther back on the head and ears, so that wind easily got in and kept our ears cold. When first putting the helmet on, the difference in earpads wasn’t noticeable, but soon became apparent as the day went on. Even though the earpads didn’t fully cover testers ears, there was still some hindrance of hearing, though they were not the most muffled of all helmets tested. When feeling with our hands, the inner liner felt thinner and not as soft as some of the other liners in the helmets, but didn’t feel any different when on.
The K2 Virtue by manufacturer’s weight is the second lightest of helmets tested (430 grams) and did feel that way when on. Throughout the day, it didn’t feel clunky or too heavy, nor did it hinder any movement. Testers found it easy to move their head around to look in all directions, without any of the sides, front, or back of the helmet getting in the way. From an aesthetic standpoint, the K2 Virtue did look less rounded and bulky than other helmets tested, unlike the Sweet Protection Switcher or the round Roxy Angie.
The K2 Virtue has a similar, adjustable venting system as the Sweet Protection Switcher and the Smith Vantage. The front has five, non-adjustable vents, while the back has six adjustable vents and the top has 12 total adjustable vents. Similar to the Sweet Protection Switcher, the top and back venting system can be adjusted minutely, but all the vents adjust together, rather than each side adjusting separate. The K2 Virtue uses a small tab lever to open and close the vents, which is easy to get fully opened or closed with gloves on, but hard to adjust more specifically. The inner lining didn’t feel too hot or sticky on warm days with the large amounts of vents. Both the lining and ear pads are easy to remove. With the K2 Virtue ear pads, the entire side and back lining comes out (from the left ear pad, around the fit system, and to the right ear pad) rather than just the ear pads themselves, which makes it useable for other sports.
Ease of Use
Both the dial-in fit system and the adjustable vents were easy to use with and without gloves, but the classic buckle was a little trickier to undo with gloves on. A variety of goggles fit well with no gaper gap, though the slight brim made getting goggles on and off a bit difficult. The K2 Virtue doesn’t have a goggle strap or loop, but rather has retaining tabs on either side above ears that guide and hold the goggle strap in place. All testers preferred the goggle strap or loop, as goggles fell completely off the K2 helmet when removed or bumped. The helmet has a two-tone colorway with matte and shiny styles; the matte front and top scuffed fairly easily.
The K2 Virtue uses a hybrid construction with both in-mold and hardshell technologies to protect your head. Unlike any of the other helmets, it has a built-in audio system with speakers in the ear pads and a jack that connects to your phone with a cord that has on-cord controls for easy use.Continue Reading
A runner, hiker, yogi, snowboarder, and adventure journalist, Mattie Schuler lives in Boulder, Colorado, where her apartment is slowly being overcome by gear.