Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets – 2020 Ultimate Guide

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Leather motorcycle jackets are a popular choice for biking in terms of both style and the protection they offer.

Here are our top choices for these jackets, as well as some additional information to help you make an informed decision when you go shopping.

Our Top Picks for Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets

  • Versatile jacket
  • Strong, durable
  • Quick fit
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  • Lasts longer
  • Easy to fit
  • Safe storage
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  • Best for the Money
  • Lots of storage
  • Strong, durable
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Comparison of the Best Motorcycle Leather Jackets

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • It is available in different colors for versatility
  • Made from high-quality leather to last longer
  • Comes with a strong and easy to close zipper for easy fit
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  • Made from very strong leather materials
  • Comes with waist half belt included for a secure fit
  • Lots of secured zippered pockets for safe storage
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  • Best for the Money
  • Lots of secured zippered pockets for safe storage
  • Made from high-quality leather to last longer
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  • Best Womens Leather Motorcycle Jacket
  • Made from premium cow-hide leather to last much longer
  • Comes with a lot of storage pockets with safe zippers
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  • Best Indian Motorcycle Leather Jacket
  • Comes with stylish design and decorative lace
  • Twin-snap wrists and snap collar for quick and easy fit
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  • Best Mens Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket
  • It is available in different colors for versatility
  • Quick and easy to fit zipper for quick fitting
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  • Best Hooded Leather Motorcycle Jacket
  • Made with windproof materials for added protection
  • Made with a stylish design and is available in different colors
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How Should a Leather Motorcycle Jacket Fit?

All leather motorcycle jackets should fit snugly, but not to the point that they actively squeeze on your body. The fit is particularly important around the shoulders, elbows, and back, which are particularly likely to get hit if you take a tumble.

However, sizing these jackets isn’t as simple as comparing their external fit in front of a mirror. Most motorcycle jackets have interior padding, which means they can be a little smaller on the inside than they appear at first glance.

Manufacturers may offer sizing guides to help you determine which of their products will fit best. When possible, reference these throughout your shopping process, particularly if you want to buy your jacket online.

Viking Cycle Angel Biker Jacket (Source)

How To Shrink a Leather Jacket

You can shrink a leather jacket in several ways. Here are the most effective options.

Shrinking Jackets in a Bathtub

Buy a plastic tub large enough to submerge your jacket (usually ~33 gallons or 125 liters), and place it in your bathtub. Fill the container halfway with water. Do not put your jacket directly into the bathtub because it may leak chemicals that can ruin the finish on your tub.

Keep the jacket submerged for five to ten minutes, and run one of its sleeves over the entire surface. This helps remove more dye and promotes shrinking.

Wring the jacket dry over your plastic tub, then dry it on a towel for two days. Replace the towels occasionally, and flip the jacket, to ensure each area dries evenly.

Take it to a Tailor

This is the best way to shrink a leather jacket. A professional tailor with experience in leather clothing can adjust a jacket to your exact size. This is particularly useful if you don’t want to shrink your jacket evenly because you have a slightly different body shape.

For example, some people have thicker shoulders and don’t want to shrink that part of a jacket even if they want to shrink the rest of it. Tailors are more expensive than shrinking a jacket yourself but offer better and more predictable results. We recommend using a tailor unless you have a lot of experience shrinking leather yourself.

Do Leather Motorcycle Jackets Stretch?

Leather jackets don’t stretch, as such. However, most of them can get a little softer and more pliable after you wear them for a little while. This feels a lot like stretching the jacket out and can make it more comfortable. If your jacket is any tighter than just a bit too snug, it probably won’t change enough to get better no matter how long you wear it.

Don’t try to force a leather jacket that’s too small for you. That might start ripping its seams and reducing its functional lifespan. Instead, take it to a tailor for professional enlarging, use some weight-loss strategies to change your body size, or get a different jacket.

Why Do People Wear Leather Motorcycle Jackets?

People wear leather motorcycle jackets for several reasons. Here are the main ones.

Protection

Contrary to popular belief, leather outfits aren’t just about style for bikers. Instead, leather offers significantly better protection compared to regular clothes while riding motorcycles, which even die-hard fans agree is fundamentally dangerous. Without the cages on cars, motorcyclists are at a significantly higher risk of tumbling down and sliding along a road.

Here, we should note that even most leather jackets won’t protect you during an extended slide or from a particularly bad collision. As with all protective equipment, there are practical limits. However, leather can take the first few seconds of a slide before tearing, which also tends to be the worst part of the slide.

Aside from the protection in the case of slides, properly-treated leather is also waterproof and can keep you dry if you get caught in a storm. Remember that leather is only water-resistant all by itself, so it needs additional care over time if you want to make (and keep) it waterproof.

Style

The other main reason that people wear leather jackets is for style. Manufacturers recognize that the majority of bikers prefer leather, so they constantly come out with new styles and designs to appeal to different groups.

Many bikers prefer creating a cohesive look, either to match other members of a biking group or to match the overall appearance of their bike. Leather jackets and other protective garments are a key part of creating such looks.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Leather Motorcycle Jacket? 

Here are the main things to look for when you’re buying a leather motorcycle jacket.

Styling

Leather jackets come in different styles and, aside from the fashion aspects, these styles also suit different types of bike riding. Cruising down largely-empty roads is a very different experience from off-roading or racing, so it’s always better to get leather jackets that fit the style of riding you do.

Safety Ratings

Finding safety ratings for motorcycle jackets can be difficult because American-made products don’t have the same labeling requirements as products from other countries. This doesn’t mean that American-made jackets are unsafe products; companies usually have strict internal testing standards. It just means that they aren’t labeled as clearly.

The main rating to look for is the CE mark, which is the European Conformity standard. CE1 is the lower level of protection, while CE2 is the higher level. Remember that safety ratings are only for situations like sliding and don’t address other forms of protection, such as waterproofing or soundproofing.

Visibility

Extra armor and padding are good, but nothing protects you better than features that can stop a collision from happening in the first place. Leather jackets with reflective panels and similar protective measures are fundamentally safer than single-color jackets, regardless of how cool the jacket looks.

Quick Take - Best Motorcycle Leather Jackets

Hoping to cut to the chase? Below are the three best motorcycle leather jackets:

  1. Flavor Men Brown Leather Jacket
  2. Event Biker Basic Motorcycle Jacket
  3. Viking Cycle Angel Biker Jacket

Review of the Best Motorcycle Leather Jackets

Here are our choices for the top leather jackets to wear while riding motorcycles.

FLAVOR Men Brown Leather Motorcycle Jacket with Removable Hood (Small (US Standard), Brown)

PROS

  • Many pockets
  • Has a removable hood
  • Adjustable cuffs and hem
  • Has a thick liner and filling for extra protection
  • Store pages have a comprehensive sizing chart

CONS

  • Relatively expensive
  • Some zippers don’t lead to pockets

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers consider this a comfortable jacket that fits quite well with most buyers. However, opinion is split on whether to consider this a true motorcycle jacket, with some buyers believing it doesn’t quite meet that standard.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out to us as an extremely comfortable jacket that’s suitable for most buyers looking for a high-quality leather jacket with some excellent style and function. It’s easily on par with many jackets that are several times more expensive.

Bottom Line

This jacket isn’t suitable for racing, but for casual motorcycle riders, it offers the right balance of protection, style, and general quality.

Event Biker Leather Men's Basic Motorcycle Jacket with Pockets (Black, X-Large)

PROS

  • Zippered cuffs
  • Reasonably affordable for real leather
  • Offers a half belt and side lace detailing for improved fits
  • Provides a plain back so you can attach your own patches
  • Made with 1.2mm-1.3mm leather, which is a good thickness for motorcycle jackets

CONS

  • Zippers can be weak
  • Can run a little small, requiring you to order a larger size

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers think this is a reasonably high-quality jacket, but quite a few agree that it’s not true to size, and you’ll need to order a bigger size. This happened often enough that the manufacturer should re-evaluate their production.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This jacket stands out as an affordable option for buyers who want to get a leather jacket without paying a premium price. It’s not quite as protective as a better jacket will be, but it is thick enough to help you during regular rides.

Bottom Line

While this isn’t a true top product, it’s good enough for most people who are shopping on a budget. Its classic look also goes well with a variety of bikes and outfits.

Viking Cycle Angel Fire Nomad USA Classic Cowhide Leather Motorcycle Biker Jacket for Men (Black, X-Small)

PROS

  • Heavy-duty zippers
  • Made of genuine cowhide
  • Zippered wrists provide a snugger grip
  • The flexible belt offers easier adjustment
  • More affordable than most other options

CONS

  • A little thin for a motorcycle jacket
  • A bit smaller than the sizing chart suggests

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers think this jacket is comfortable and reasonably solid, but it does run a little small on the sizing. However, it’s a bit tough to walk around when it’s zipped up, so it’s not quite good for colder weather.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This jacket stands out thanks to its excellent blend of style and affordability. It’s thinner and weaker than a more expensive option, but you probably won’t find anything better in this price range.

Bottom Line

This jacket looks impressively similar to our runner-up, and it’s a little more affordable as well. This isn’t ideal if you want to maximize your protection, but for style, it offers a lot of potential for customization.

Best Womens Leather Motorcycle Jacket:
Milwaukee Leather Jacket

LC2701 Ladies Black Basic Classic Motorcycle Premium Leather Jacket with plain sides,X-Small

PROS

  • A little longer than usual
  • Has extra pockets for storage
  • Surprisingly warm for its thickness
  • Made with 1.2mm cowhide leather
  • Offers a collar and lapels that snap down

CONS

  • Pockets are a bit small
  • Could be thicker for this price

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers feel that this is a stylish jacket, both heavy and warm for winter riding. The leather is a little on the thin side for a motorcycle jacket, though. It’s not thin enough to be a pure fashion jacket, but a little thicker would be better.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This jacket stands out as one of the best jackets for women currently on the market. Women’s jackets require a different cut than men’s, and there aren’t as many on the market, so it’s not as easy to find a great jacket as it can seem at first.

Bottom Line

This jacket is an excellent balance of style, affordability, and protection for women. While the pockets could be a bit bigger, it’s still comfortable and warm enough to wear in most cooler temperatures. 

Best Indian Motorcycle Leather Jacket:
Indian Motorcycle Women's Adeline Jacket

Indian Motorcycle Women's Casual Leather Adeline Jacket with Studs and Lace Detail, Black - XS

PROS

  • A women’s cut jacket
  • Distinctively stylish design
  • Has extra studs for both appearance and safety
  • Laced side seams allow for expansion if needed
  • Has a lightweight cotton lining for summer wear

CONS

  • Relatively expensive
  • Straight center zipper doesn’t offer quite as much flexibility

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers like the overall quality and size of this jacket, though, like many others, it can run a little small. The smartly-placed seams also allow for creative expansion as needed.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We felt that one women’s jacket was too few for this list, but we managed to find another that offers a distinctively different look from classic motorcycle jackets. This particular jacket has a mid-range price, but it’s also easy to tailor to your body shape.

Bottom Line

This jacket is a little more expensive than some other choices, but its snug fit and reasonable thickness make it a great choice for both casual wear and bike rides.

Best Mens Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket:
WULFUL Faux Leather Outwear

WULFUL Men's Stand Collar Leather Jacket Motorcycle Lightweight Faux Leather Outwear Black-S

PROS

  • Highly affordable
  • Has an inside pocket
  • Available in several colors
  • Has a comfortable polyester lining
  • Simple style offers plenty of room for custom patches

CONS

  • The zippers are relatively low quality
  • Slim fit, so thicker buyers may not be able to wear it

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers feel that this is a stylish jacket, with many reporting that they got compliments on it. However, it’s not particularly warm and you’ll get what you pay for, which in this case isn’t much.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is kind of a cheat for our list because it’s faux leather instead of real leather, but we wanted to include one of these as a comparison for other products. It’s cheap enough that you could buy several versions of this jacket for the same cost as one real leather jacket, and for style on a budget, there’s a lot to love here.

Bottom Line

While this isn’t leather and won’t provide protection during a particularly serious fall, it’s affordable and comfortable. We recommend that motorcyclists buy it large and wear a protective layer beneath it.

Best Hooded Leather Motorcycle Jacket:
Wantdo Men's Jacket with Removable Hood

Wantdo Men's PU Leather Jacket Lightweight Hooded Biker Coat Small Black(Heavy)

PROS

  • Several exterior pockets
  • Available in several colors
  • Windproof, with extra closures to help seal in warmth
  • Waterproof, when most of the options on this list aren’t
  • Has a removable hood that doubles as a standing collar jacket

CONS

  • Faux leather
  • Not particularly durable

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers feel that this is a well-made coat, with enough warmth and versatility to make it useful in many environments. However, most agree that it’s a cheaper product, and it won’t last nearly as long as a genuine leather jacket should.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Despite being faux leather, this jacket stands out for its warmth and versatility. Aside from being available in several colors, it’s quite affordable and ideal for longer autumn rides.

Bottom Line

As with all faux leather products, this jacket trades durability for affordability. However, with an inner liner for protection, it can easily get the job done. Just make sure to take care of it so you can maximize its lifespan.

Motorcycle Leather Jacket Types

Here are some of the most common types of jackets you may see for sale.

Biker Jacket

Pioneered by motorcyclists, the biker jacket is a cropped leather setup that typically has studs and asymmetrical zippers. The unusual cut makes it easier to lean over on a bike without having the fasteners press into your body. Between that and its practicality, this jacket is still the first choice for many bikers today.

Bomber Jacket

A little more stylish than most of the competition, the bomber jacket tends to accent the upper torso while having a lot of folds around the arms instead of falling straight. These folds help provide extra flexibility, which is useful when you need to move around on your bike.

Field Jacket

This isn’t as popular as the biker jacket, but it’s a solid choice for bikers who want a multipurpose jacket. Originally designed for military situations, this jacket has extra pockets at the front, belts at the waist, and falls lower on the body than most other jacket styles. It’s a particularly good choice in northern areas where the winter chill encourages thicker clothing.

Racer Jacket

Not to be confused with the biker jacket, racer jackets tend to use heavy leather and a strong main zipper to provide added protection. It tends to flatten the overall shape of your body, which works out well for riders with broad shoulders. 

Leather vs. Textile Motorcycle Jackets - Comparison Overview

Leather and textile jackets have widely varying traits. Here’s what you should know about how these compare to each other.

Leather

Leather jackets are usually made from cow, goat, or kangaroo hide. Cowhide is the most popular option because it has an outstanding cost-to-abrasion-resistance rating, and it’s also quite affordable in most markets.

Some leather jackets have accordion-style stretch panels, which offer greater comfort in some riding positions. They may also come with thermal or waterproof liners for added versatility, though you’ll still need to care for the jacket. Caring for a jacket can add significantly to its price over time.

Also, leather isn’t quite as good in extremely hot or extremely cold environments. Textiles tend to be best in one of those temperature situations but significantly outperform leather in the right environment.

Textile

Textile jackets are exceptionally versatile. They can provide airflow, waterproofing, warmth, and more without much difficulty. You may even find jackets suitable for all seasons, though most of these fall off a little in particularly warm areas.

Textile jackets tend to be more affordable than leather, and that’s before you start considering the costs of caring for leather. You could realistically buy several textile jackets for less than the cost of a great leather option, giving you the versatility to wear different things in different situations.

These jackets are more protective than they used to be, but leather still outperforms most textiles when it comes to protection. The main exception to this is extremely high-end racing gear, but that’s far more expensive than most people want to pay for.

How to Care For Leather Motorcycle Jackets

Leather motorcycle jackets require regular care if you want to maintain them in optimal condition. Here’s how to care for them properly.

  1. De-Salt It: Salt from sweat can damage leather on the inside of your jacket, a place most people don’t clean as often. Start by getting a salt-removing cleaner from a leather-focused manufacturer and follow the directions on the bottle (most of which involve spraying the cleaner on, then rubbing it in).

  2. Shampoo It: Next, apply leather shampoo with a clean rag and clean any areas that have excessive dirt or grime buildup. After that, clean the rest of the jacket exterior with your shampoo. You don’t need to use this product on the inside of your jacket.

  3. Condition The Leather: Using a leather conditioner, spray it on and then work it into the jacket with a sponge. Buff it with a clean rag afterward. You should do this step every two months or so, while you can do the first two steps once a year.

Be sure to refer to the video below for a more in-depth explanation of how to care for leather. Your jacket will probably get dry and brittle if you don’t care for it, and if that goes on for too long, it won’t protect you during a crash. Fortunately, cleaning a leather jacket only takes a few minutes.

How to Clean Bugs Off Leather Motorcycle Jacket

There are many ways to clean bugs off of leather motorcycle jackets. We prefer cleaning these marks with saddle soap, which is a robust cleaner that helps moisturize the leather and keep it supple. This works well with the conditioning process we described above.

Saddle soap can also help clean other stains from your jacket, not just bugs, so its versatility makes it a good go-to choice for bug splatter.

Outside of saddle soap, you can put a wet rag over a bug spot and leave it there for about 30 minutes. The bug should wipe off easily at the end of that time, but this isn’t as effective as using proper saddle soap.

Conclusion 

As you can see, no jacket is suitable for all people in all circumstances, so there’s no universal option. If you want a leather motorcycle jacket, the best thing to do is consider how you want to use it, then look for the jacket that matches your lifestyle.

People Also Ask

Here are some other questions people ask about leather motorcycle jackets.

How Thick Should a Leather Motorcycle Jacket Be?

The best leather motorcycle jackets are about 1.0mm to 1.6mm thick. Anything below this point is considered “fashion leather”, which is too thin to provide real protection during a slide. Anything thicker is probably too stiff to be comfortable, so it would be more for decoration than wearing.

Are Motorcycle Leather Jackets Waterproof?

Most leather motorcycle jackets are not inherently waterproof. You can make them waterproof by adding extra liners or waterproofing material on the surface, but most are not waterproof directly from the manufacturer. We say most because some companies make waterproof jackets. These aren’t the majority, but they do exist.

Are Leather Motorcycle Jackets Warm?

That depends on their style. Leather is not a particularly good insulator, which is why you can see some people wearing them during the summer. However, leather motorcycle jackets with interior lining can be significantly warmer, even to the point where they’re viable in winter.

Factors like the material used for the lining (cotton vs. wool, etc.) and the thickness of the leather all play a role in determining whether or not the jacket will be warm.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Leather?

Fake leather (normally some type of plastic) tends to be significantly smoother than real leather. Real leather also stretches slightly, while fake leather doesn’t stretch at all. The best way to learn how to spot the differences is to spend a lot of time feeling both types. Once you do that, you’ll be able to tell whether any particular jacket is real or fake leather.

Are Leather Jackets Good For Motorcycles?

Leather jackets are a great option when riding motorcycles, as long as they fit and offer enough protection. Some leather jackets are not appropriate for riding motorcycles. The most suitable jackets fully cover your torso at a bare minimum, and preferably your arms as well.

What Do You Wear Under Motorcycle Leathers?

You should wear something appropriate for the season. For cold weather, this means things like long-sleeve shirts and warm socks. For hotter times of the year, something that pulls sweat away from the skin is more appropriate. Remember, a leather motorcycle jacket is a jacket. It should not be your only layer.

How to Wear Motorcycle Leather Jackets

Putting leather motorcycle jackets on is easy, and rarely consists of anything harder than putting your arms through the sleeves and zipping it up. However, many jackets come with additional clasps and buckles that you can use to adjust the fit. You can, and should, use these as necessary to get a snug fit.

Remember, the jacket should not slide around on your body. If it does, that could lead to significant rashes or burns when you slide. If your jacket is too big, you may need to stiffen it with one or more interior layers.

Why Are There no Collars on Leather Motorcycle Jackets?

That’s a strange question because many leather motorcycle jackets do have collars. However, those that don’t usually leave them off to ensure they don’t conflict with your motorcycle helmet.

What Kind of Leather Should I Look For in a Motorcycle Jacket?

While you can look for exotic leathers if you want to, the common cowhide leather is more than appropriate for most people. It’s both affordable and reasonably resistant to abrasion, which are the two main things we want out of leather.

Can You Wear a Leather Jacket in the Rain?

Yes, but only as long as you take care of your jacket to keep it resistant to the weather. If you don’t dry it properly afterward, it may become stiff or even rotten. However, if you condition your leather properly, you can wear it at any level of rain without worry.

What is a 3-in-1 Leather Motorcycle Jacket?

A 3-in-1 jacket consists of two separate layers that you can wear together or separately, for a total of three options. For leather motorcycle jackets, this includes the leather outer layer and some type of inner layer, which is frequently a hoodie.

Can You Buy a Bullet Proof Leather Motorcycle Jacket?

Yes. Plenty of manufacturers sell bulletproof leather motorcycle jackets, with or without sleeves. These tend to be somewhat thicker and heavier than normal leather jackets, making them more comfortable during winter.