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BTD: Shadow XR Football Helmet

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July 14th, 2023

Keenan Crow

Shadow XR is Xenith’s most advanced helmet, featuring cutting-edge protection and comfort to help elevate your performance on the field. Incorporating Xenith’s enhanced polymer shell, proprietary rate-dependent energy management cells, and our renowned helmet technology, Xenith Shadow XR takes protection, fit, and comfort to the highest level.

For this “Behind the Design,” I spoke with Kyle Lamson, Director of Xenith Product Design, and Ron Jadischke, Chief Engineer at Xenith, to learn more about the development of Xenith’s Shadow XR football helmet.

Adaptive Energy Management

In developing Shadow XR, Xenith’s Product Development Team combined geometry and a proprietary rate-dependent material to create a high performance helmet that intelligently controls energy from a wide range of impact forces.

“The focus from the beginning was to create a helmet that still utilized all of Xenith’s flagship helmet technology - Shock Bonnet®, Adaptive Fit, etc. - but provided a performance boost at all levels of play,” said Ron Jadischke.

“We really focused on mitigating impact from those thousands of low speed hits a player might experience in a season, all the way to that 1/1,000, or 1/10,000 hit, and the way we did that was by leveraging a high performance rate-dependent material and combining that with the unique geometry of the cells found throughout Shadow XR. The combination of the two gave us a soft, tuned performance for low speed hits, as well as a stiffening, tuned performance for those high speed hits that might happen,” Ron explained.

Ron explained in further detail how the rate-dependent material, blended with each cell’s unique castle shape, functions to achieve intelligent energy control.

“We started with a castle shape because we knew it offered certain buckling features that we were looking for, where the top is softer and as you get further down in the column it gets stiffer. But we started with a base castle-like shape and then optimized from there to find the ideal heights, size, and weight, and how that all affected the overall balance of the helmet.”

Ron also confirmed that Shadow XR utilizes three varying height shocks throughout the helmet’s shell, which the Product Development Team learned during development of X2E+ made BIG dividends in energy management and impact performance.

Enhanced Polymer Shell

Xenith’s Shadow XR helmet utilizes an advanced polymer shell that offers several benefits compared to other materials on the market. For one, it’s a super tough material offering a combination of stiffness and flexibility, which actually increases the helmet’s durability. Picture something flexing and then returning to its original shape; that is what the advanced polymer shell material used in Shadow XR is able to do. In conjunction with the rate-dependent cells, and the Poron XRD comfort pads, this Virginia Tech 5 Star helmet isn’t just safe - it’s incredibly comfortable and secure.

Another benefit to the advanced polymer shell material is that it’s lighter than typical polymers on the market. Given how the shell is the farthest object from a player's head, that becomes critically important in achieving a balanced, locked-in feel. From Youth to Adult athletes, this elite-level helmet is built to help you buckle in and feel protected on the field.

3D Printing

The other interesting fact Ron and Kyle pointed out to me during our conversation, was how Shadow XR became the first mass produced football helmet that leveraged 3D printing technologies. Kyle Lamson explained how innovative 3D printing techniques played a crucial role in the testing and development of the rate-dependent cells.

“The geometry of the cells is very complex and could not have been made with traditional manufacturing techniques,” he said. “3D printing allowed us to go through rounds of iteration much faster than ever before, and it’s a big part of how we got so far so fast,” Lamson explained.


The Xenith Shadow XR Football Helmet represents a significant leap forward in helmet performance. With its groundbreaking materials, Xenith’s renowned helmet technology, and cutting-edge design, Shadow XR is built to deliver athletes that look-good, feel-good confidence all season long. Xenith’s commitment to constant innovation is evident in Shadow XR, cementing its place as a game-changer in football helmet technology. As the sport evolves, Xenith is setting a new standard for impact performance, inspiring confidence and enabling athletes to excel on the field.

Shop Xenith Shadow XR, and the complete lineup of Xenith helmets now.