The Shuffle is feature packed and offers great protection for your kiddo
From a distance the Specialized Shuffle Child LED MIPS looks just like an adults helmet, and that’s because really it is just a miniaturised big lid.
Anyone with kids will have had the Great Helmet Battle at some point, cajoling, threatening, bribing — perhaps even wrestling — your child into wearing one. The Shuffle has a powerful weapon that could throw the battle your way, an LED light on its back that had my toddler desperate to don it. That light is also genuinely useful for picking out your child in the gathering dusk of a pump track or path and despite the extra weight of the light the helmet is well balanced and doesn’t tip back on the head.
It uses the same in-moulded shell design common to most trail helmets, and the Shuffle also boasts extended rear coverage to protect the back of the head. There’s no full wrap to the shell, leaving a band of EPS exposed to abuse, but it shaves a few grams off the weight. There’s a detachable peak, and the helmet uses the Specialized 4th Dimension Cooling System we like on the brand’s adult lids — it’s basically a series of vents designed to channel air through. This is the MIPS version of the Shuffle, so it benefits from the added slip-plane protection technology that’s become ubiquitous on many high-end designs.
One of the best features of the Shuffle is again borrowed from the adult’s range, it’s the TriFix splitter that sends the straps wide enough to skirt round the ears, lending the helmet more comfort. The basic buckle lets the helmet down slightly though, the webbing loosens and slips through it after a few rides — I looped it through twice to stop the slip. Previous versions of the Shuttle used a magnetic closure, I’d love to see this come back. You do get a proper retention system though, adjustable via a dial at the back of the head that proved easy enough for little fingers to twiddle.
The Shuffle is feature packed and offers great protection for your kiddo, with excellent venting, and it looks like a proper little mtb helmet too. There are some flaws to it — you pay a premium both in terms of weight and in cost for the MIPS system, although I think it’s worth paying, and the buckle needs revising. But I can forgive those flaws because the Shuffle fits better than any other helmet we’ve tried and stays in place better too.