We sometimes are offered opportunity to review products, usually running-related ones. Some are unrelated, or so at first it would seem, but, hey, we’re running to work here, gang; we’re doing something outside the norm. We can look at some seemingly-unrelated-to-running products and review them in that light.

And so I offer for your consideration Skulltec.


Hall dons the Skulltec and becomes a French Popeye with a claimed 25-percent reduction in likely brain injury.

Skulltec is like an old-timey football helmet, only rather than leather and fire-retardant filling, it is composed of three rectangular gel inserts (made from 100 percent soybeans, I’m told), stuffed into a synthetic beanie. There are two mesh vents between soy-gel slabs for ventilation. Skulltec was not uncomfortable on my dome but felt incredibly awkward.

The beanie purports to be a “new and innovative safety product that fits comfortably under any sports helmet and lessens physical impact drastically.” Its site shows high-impact and extreme sports in action, first and foremost hockey, but also football and white water rafting. Also from the Skulltec site:

Sports suggested for usage: Football, Hockey, Baseball, Cricket, Baseball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiling, Ice Skating, Cycling, Motocross/Motorcycles, Skateboarding, Skydiving, MMA, Boxing, Cheer, Gymnastics, Wake-boarding, Boating, Jet Skiing, Kayaking, River Rafting, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Racquetball, Basketball, Shooting, Hunting, Rock Climbing, Spelunking, & Jumaring!

The cap can also be utilized in the Medical, Construction, Military, Police and Emergency Fields. Areas of specific interest are: Epilepsy, Brain Surgery, Elderly, Newborn, Oil & Gas, Fracking, Demolition, Excavation, Structural, Field Battle, Heavy Equipment Operation, S.W.A.T., Coast Guard, Fire Personal, and State Employees.

You, like me, likely had this reaction to the list above: “What is ‘Jumaring’?” and got thee to Googling post haste. You also noticed running was not included on this list of recommended sports. I fit two of these categories: cyclist and State Employee. Naturally, I tried it with my cycling helmet, but Skulltec would not fit underneath it: too thick. I took a few laps around the neighborhood with Skulltec as my helmet.

My head began sweating very quickly, more so than under my helmet regularly. Too, I again felt awkward. I’ve no problem riding without a helmet and will do so in the neighborhood, or for short stretches, but there was something about Skulltec that made me feel out of place. I attribute this to its being something new, but to which I would in time become accustomed.

Hall cannot mask his feelings.

Me, too, buddy. Me, too.

As a State Employee, I sought to test its impact. Inspired by this product video and others like it, the first thing I did upon receipt of Skulltec was don the beanie and bashed myself in the head with a stapler. I don’t know how that product tester’s hand escaped being pulverized to a mangled claw, because my head felt for the day’s remainder like it exuded cartoon lightning bolts. (Caveat: this is neither a typical State Employee activity, nor is such action indicative of the sense or quality found in State Employees — at least in my state, and at least in my agency.)

In the end, short of testing this through Mixed Martial Arts, S.W.A.T., Cricket, or the Elderly, I am unable to render a testimonial or opinion on its efficacy in reducing brain injuries, or in protecting that precious goo. I can say with certainty that it has application to neither running nor run commuting. Josh is expecting a newborn come July, though, so we’ll see how it works with Newborn.

(Disclosure of Material Connection: we received Purinize for free from Purinize as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication.)