NFL’s safest helmets absorb impact with 3D printing instead of foam

San Francisco 49er defensive end Nick Bosa’s helmet is unremarkable from the outside. On the inside, though, are pads custom 3D-printed to the shape of his head that are shown to reduce impact injury better than any other helmet in the game.

The Zero2-R Matrix ID Trench helmet from equipment maker Vicis features customized 3D-printed padding instead of foam that the NFL’s own testing lab has rated as the best player head protection available in 2023. It isn’t just the 3D-printed padding, though — the helmet has other innovations that contribute to its high safety ranking. Yet, 3D printing gives a better fit and a lighter weight that makes a safe helmet even safer.

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