Best Motorcycle Protective Riding Shirts – 2021 Ultimate Review

Troy
| Last Updated: February 6, 2021

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Choosing the perfect riding shirt is a tough job. There are so many factors to consider that it can get a bit stressful if you don't know what you're looking for.

Fortunately, this buying guide will instruct you on exactly what you need to know to get your protective shirt fitting properly, the type of materials that may work best for you, and some of the most widely acclaimed shirts currently on the market. Read on to get one step closer to the perfect riding shirt for your body and style. 

Our Top Picks for Motorcycle Protective Riding Shirts

  • Better air flow
  • Improved safety
  • Easy to clean
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  • High-quality materials
  • Secured storage
  • Easy to clean
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  • Best for the Money
  • Long shirt design
  • Resist chafing
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Comparison of the Best Motorcycle Protective Riding Shirts

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 3DF foam fit for much better ventilation
  • Front and back is impact tested for improved safety
  • Impact foam can be removed to easily clean
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  • High stretching nylon materials used
  • Secure storage with many zippered pockets
  • Shirt can be washed in the machine
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  • Best for the Money
  • Designed to be long enough to tuck into pants
  • Will not easily chaff without seam design
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  • Moisture wicking materials used
  • Protective inserts included at different points
  • Fiber panels are abrasive resistant
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  • Can be machine washed for easy cleaning option
  • Made from breathable mesh for better air flow
  • Added security with built-in thumb loops
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What Size of Riding Shirt Do I Need?

No matter how high-quality your motorcycle protective riding shirt may be, a poor fit will eliminate its protective qualities. 

If your shirt is too small, you risk leaving parts of your body exposed to the elements and vulnerable to injury in the event of a collision. Further, protective shirts that are too tight can lead to chafing and discomfort while you ride.

On the other hand, a shirt that is too large will be far too baggy and shift too much to protect your body. If your shirt happens to have armor, these components will move around and could end up in the wrong location while you ride, significantly reducing the shirt's protective potential. 

To ensure your shirt fits appropriately, you'll need to grab a buddy and a measuring tape and follow the instructions below:

1. Chest Size 

Face your friend and stand with your arms held up and out toward your sides. Your friend should then wrap the measuring tape around your chest, underneath the armpits, and rest the end of the tape to the middle of your chest to find the accurate size.

2. Arm Size

Now, turn to the side and slightly bend your arm forward as if you're casually holding something in front of you. Your buddy should place the end of the measuring tape at the top of your shoulder and bend it to match your arm's position, stopping at the wrist to see the precise measurement. 

3. Waist Size

As you face your friend again, they'll wrap the measuring tape around your waist, just above the beltline, essentially stopping at the belly button to get your size. 

When you pick out a shirt that meets these measurements, have a professional double check how it fits you to ensure you walk out the door with the best, safest gear possible. 

Why Did These Motorcycle Shirts Make Our List?

The protective shirts featured below are inarguably the best of the best.

Armor 

Nearly all of them feature CE Levels 1 and 2 armor, the most trusted qualities for maintaining your safety when out on the road. Yet, even while providing the highest safety and security level, this gear does not compromise on style and comfort. 

Abrasion and Impact Protection

Whether you want to wear your protective shirt under or over your clothing, you can be sure that you'll not only look your best when out on the road but that you'll enjoy the most abrasion and impact resistance provided by almost any gear in the industry. 

Versatility

Further, the shirts here are incredibly versatile and can be worn for casual riding around town or racing. Women can enjoy this gear as well - especially the Knox Urbane Pro women's shirt that is perfectly designed to match the curvature of your body (while also providing great pocket storage space!). 

Quick Take - Best Motorcycle Protective Riding Shirts

Hoping to cut to the chase? Below are the three best motorcycle protective riding shirts:

  1. Leatt 3DF AirFit Body Protector
  2. Knox Urbane Pro Shirt
  3. Moose Racing XC1 Body Armor

Review of the Best Motorcycle Protective Riding Shirts

There are thousands - maybe millions - of motorcycle protective riding shirts on the market. It can be dizzying to attempt to look through all of what's available to you and make the right decision to preserve your safety when out on your bike. Below you'll find direct access to the best protective shirts available now to speed up this process. 

PROS

  • Sleek, lightweight design
  • Leatt neck brace integration
  • CE level 2 certified back and chest armor
  • Perforated 3DF Airfit impact foam provides optimal ventilation without compromising protection
  • MoistureCool fabric secures armor in place while simultaneously wicking moisture for optimal thermoregulation

CONS

  • Doesn't feature any protection for the sides of the rib cage
  • Some bikers have found that the elbow pads shift on impact

What Recent Buyers Report

Riders are overwhelmingly happy with this protective shirt. Although some do have some hang-ups on the available padding, most bikers attest to how the comfortable, lightweight design does not take away from its high level of protection.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Not only is this one of the most aesthetically pleasing protective shirts on the market, but its functionality and reliability are out of this world. The sleek, lightweight design allows it to fit perfectly underneath any motorcycle jacket

Plus, the integration of high airflow without reducing the CE Level 1 and 2 padding's defensive strength is outstanding. This is all available at a great price (most riders agreed that this was great for getting the most bang for your buck).

Bottom Line

The Leatt 3DF AirFit body protector is an incredible example of the perfect protective riding shirt. Everything you can dream of in a motorcycle shirt is here in this product, and those who have already worn this gear assure you that you can't go wrong with this purchase.

PROS

  • CE Level 2 armor on the back
  • Incredibly comfortable, fits like a "second skin"
  • Very casual design, looks like a light zip-up sweater
  • Includes CE Level 1 armor on the shoulders and chest
  • Material provides simultaneous breathability and abrasion and tear resistance

CONS

  • Some complained of a tight fit, even when sized correctly
  • Abrasion resistance applies to a select few regions of the shirt

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers are pleased with this protective shirt's performance. Many appreciate the ease of maintenance thanks to the removable armor and machine wash compatibility. 

When out on the road, bikers love the look, comfort, and protective qualities of the shirt all wrapped into one. Reportedly, the primary thing to watch out for is how tight-fitting this shirt can be (it's led some riders to get numb fingers after only half an hour).

Why it Stands Out to Us

Nothing beats a high-quality protective riding shirt that is both reliable and great to look at. Bikers are raving about the Knox Urbane Pro Shirt's versatility as a functional, lightweight jacket with style.

Despite the streetwear aesthetic, the Knox Urbane Pro does not compromise on protection, thanks to the CE Level 1 and 2 armor in the shoulders, chest, and back. If you're looking for outstanding strength without the bulk and showiness of a standard riding jacket, look no further than this protective shirt. 

Bottom Line

Although this shirt does, admittedly, fit a bit snugly, few others compare to its defensive capabilities and its great aesthetic. Rated as a Class A garment, this shirt is the perfect solution for those who want to maintain style awareness while keeping themselves safe on their bike. 

Best for the Money:
Moose Racing XC1 Body Armor

PROS

  • Low chance of chafing 
  • Spandex for optimal comfort
  • Elbows feature a 3D spacer mesh panel
  • Budget-friendly compared to most high-end protective riding shirts
  • CE Level 1 dense foam, removable armor on the back, chest, elbows, and shoulder

CONS

  • Some find the arms to be a bit too snug
  • Only CE Level 1 armor, you may want CE Level 2

What Recent Buyers Report

Though a handful of riders don't appreciate the tight fit on the arms (forearms especially), most love the protection and breathability that the Moose Racing XC1 body armor offers. Many have attested to the high comfort levels provided by the spandex and out-seam construction and are thankful for the all-in-one functionality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a great, budget-friendly option for bikers looking for high-quality protection without having to break the bank. It’s 100% flexible mesh construction offers maximum airflow while keeping you safe with the CE Level 1 armor throughout the protective shirt. 

Bottom Line

The Moose Racing XC1 body armor is undoubtedly one of the best options for riders who need the most possible assurance for road safety without a tall financial commitment. Even with the tight arm fit and exclusively CE Level 1 armor, you'll be happy with the incredible protection you experience with this body armor.

PROS

  • D3O armor included at the shoulders, elbows, and back
  • Hydradry chassis is perfect for wicking up excess moisture
  • Consistently comfortable, especially during warm weather
  • Features DuPont Kevlar panels for maximum abrasion resistance
  • Sleek design helps it to fit perfectly underneath a motorcycle jacket

CONS

  • Some bikers are unhappy with the tight fit
  • A few have reported that they'd like more padding or will swap out the armor altogether 

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers love this Iconic Field Armor compression shirt. Many have praised its breathability, and have verified that it is one of the most comfortable protective shirts on the market. The only hang-ups are with the armor, but those drawbacks are few and far between.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a great protective shirt for the casual rider who either wants to cruise around town or is looking to get into some racing. It's perfectly designed to fit under a motorcycle jacket or street shirt without being too imposing or bulky and provides optimal protection with little compromise. 

Plus, you can be confident that you'll be comfortable at all times when wearing this body armor, thanks to the abrasion-resistant Kevlar panels and thermoregulating moisture-wicking Hydradry chassis.

Bottom Line

The Icon Field Armor compression shirt is the perfect solution for nearly any type of rider who wants protection, comfort, and style all at the same time. It's perfectly suited to keep you happy on the road, whether you're just cruising or racing.  

PROS

  • Rated a Class A garment
  • Four pockets (2 interior, 2 exterior) for maximum storage
  • Extremely comfortable thanks to the "second skin" design
  • CE Level 1 and 2 armor on shoulders, elbows, back, and chest
  • Mesh panels are stretchable to create the perfect fit to your form

CONS

  • Tight fit in the arms and neck
  • Some reported difficulty with getting the cuffs off

What Recent Buyers Report

Most biker ladies are very happy with the Knox Urbane Pro women's shirt. Many reports that, once it's on, you can hardly tell that it's armor thanks to the great aesthetic design and beautiful fit. You can be confident that it'll stay in place and retain its protective potential throughout your ride.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It can be challenging to find the perfect protective gear as a female motorcyclist. Thankfully, Revizilla has knocked it out of the park again with the Knox Urban Pro women's shirt. 

The fit is perfect, and the shirt even provides ventilation, high-level protection with the CE Levels 1 and 2 armor, and storage all in one piece of gear! When you need to increase your safety on your bike and cut down the amount of bags you bring with you on the road, look no further than this amazing shirt. 

Bottom Line

The Knox Urbane Pro women's shirt is the perfect solution for female bikers looking to max out their protection, style, and storage all in one go. 

Types of Motorcycle Riding Shirts

The main types of motorcycle protective riding shirts you will encounter while shopping for gear include the following:

1. Leather:

This is the most common type of jacket that most people - bikers and non-bikers alike - tend to think of when imagining classic riding gear. These offer the most protection and durability for motorcycling shirts compared to the alternatives. However, these are typically much heavier and less breathable than other kinds.

2. Mesh:

These protective shirts are the best option for people looking for a relaxing ride around town now and then with maximum comfort and breathability. Mesh protective riding shirts are even better for ventilation, as they typically feature panels on the front and back for optimal airflow.

           Note: Please understand that, by choosing a mesh riding shirt, you will likely be compromising some protective qualities. For this reason, these are best suited for riding short distances, especially during hot weather.

3. Textile:

For more ventilation, ease of wearing, and greater environmental protection, you may want to opt for textile protective riding shirts instead. These provide far more flexibility in the type of riding you can do, yet don't (generally) compromise on the level of impact and abrasion protection integrated into the design. 

As mentioned, these jackets may come in various styles as well. You will normally find motorcycle protective riding shirts as either armored overshirts or undershirts. As an overshirt, your gear is intended to work as a standard motorcycle jacket without the bulkiness and with a bit more style and aesthetic appeal. 

On the other hand, undershirts place a little less emphasis on the fashion end of things. Instead, they are designed as compression shirts with visible armor, designed to be worn underneath a street shirt or armor-less motorcycle jacket. Because of this, protective undershirts are often considered to be far more versatile than the alternative. 

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Riding Shirt

Studies have shown that, as some of the most vulnerable motorists on the road, bikers benefit significantly from wearing not only high-quality protective shirts but armor, too. Researchers found that armored gear is essential to the prevention of spinal injuries and mitigating the chances of death in a motorcycle collision. 

(Specifically, the types of armor that offered the most protection included hard shell and back protectors.) 

Additionally, you can enjoy the following advantages when wearing high-quality protective gear like riding shirts:

  • A lower chance of being admitted to the hospital in the event of a crash 

  • 23% less of a chance to incur injuries in any sort of accident, especially to parts of the body covered by armor

  • 63% less likely to leave an accident with open wounds (e.g., lacerations, abrasions, etc.)

Your choice of riding shirt is nothing to take lightly. Give yourself the appropriate amount of time to determine which fit and type are right for you to protect your safety and wellbeing when out on the road. 

Conclusion 

When you know what to look for and how to measure your motorcycle gear, there's nothing that can stand in the way of optimal protection, comfort, and style for you and your riding style. With these guidelines and the tried-and-true shirts listed above, you are now perfectly prepared to choose the best motorcycle protective shirt for your next ride. 

People Also Ask

A lot of information comes into play when deciding which protective riding shirt is right for your style and body. To ensure that you make the right decision, consider these last bits of information while you shop.

Are Motorcycle Back Protectors Useful?

Current research shows that back protestors are strongly correlated with reduced rates of spinal injuries, for one. With this in mind, they can offer significant protection to your back in the event of an accident. However, the science is not yet set in stone and further studies are needed to determine a clear number on just how much protection back protectors provide. 

What is D30 Armor?

D30 is a type of motorcycle armor that ranges from CE Levels 1-2. Its design emphasizes lightweight protection with maximum breathability and flexibility. Its applications in motorcycle riding are quite versatile, and you can use it for many riding styles, from casual street gear to extreme touring.

Troy

Hi, my name’s Troy. I started riding motorcycles with Clay mid-2020 and soaking up his vast knowledge of bikes. I have been writing for a few years and decided it was a good time to start writing about what I’m passionate about - motorcycles. No matter how bad your day is, a bike will always make you feel better, that’s my motto.