LAST UPDATED: April 19, 2021
Best Motorcycle Jackets: Stylish Leather & Textile Jackets With Superior Protection
The top motorcycle jackets to make your ride safe and enjoyable.
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PUBLISHED ON April 19, 2021
When you ride, you need proper gear, including a high-quality motorcycle jacket. You can take your bike out practically all-year round if you have the appropriate outerwear, which is why it's a good idea to choose a jacket that is suitable for the climate in which you live. Some jackets are designed for three/four-season use, while others are dedicated summer jackets. It can be tough to choose one because there are so many options available. Check out our guide below for some of the best motorcycle jackets available on the market.
This jacket accommodates three/four season riding and is great for adventure and sport-touring riders. It has multiple pockets, vents, and other convenient features.
- Back, chest, elbow, and shoulder armor
- Plenty of airflow
- Adjustable for comfort
- No liners
- Zippers can be tough to open with winter gloves
Casual, good-looking, and lined. It has CE-certified armor in the shoulders, elbows, and spine.
- Textile fabric provides ventilation
- Removable liner
- Too warm for summer weather
- Collar may feel scratchy
This jacket is designed for spring/summer riding due to its breathable properties. It includes CE-certified armor and is abrasion and tear-resistant.
- Moisture wicking
- Excellent airflow
- Multiple pockets
- Won’t stick to your body
- May feel tight if you have large arms
- May feel a little stiff until you break it in
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle Jackets
- Be safe. It’s important to wear a jacket even in the summer. Shorts and a t-shirt don't provide adequate protection to your extremities in the event of a crash. Whether it’s cool or warm outside, the best protective motorcycle jacket will shield your body from harm.
- Be comfortable. Top-rated motorcycle jackets will give you an extra layer of protection against the weather. If it's cold outside, a jacket will keep you warm. If it's raining, it will keep you dry.
- Be stylish. Leather jackets are often regarded as the most fashionable type of biker outerwear, but you can also opt for a sporty look by choosing a stylish textile jacket.
Types of Motorcycle Jackets
Cruiser-oriented jackets tend to be more fashionable and comfortable than other types of motorcycle jackets. They are not the best motorcycle jackets for protection because they don't have body armor. These casual, classic jackets are versatile and can be worn on and off the bike.
Sport jackets are either leather or abrasion-resistant textile, and contain advanced armor and impact-absorbing materials for protection. The best sport motorcycle jacket is form-fitting and has an aerodynamic design to accommodate high speeds and mobility on the bike. These jackets are often made of high-quality materials and are rigorously tested to provide optimum performance.
If you do a lot of long-distance riding, you need the best motorcycle touring jacket. These jackets tend to be quite comfortable and often have several features that make them convenient if you're riding for an extended period of time. Typically, they have removable liners and layers, multiple pockets, and a waterproof exterior. Some premium touring jackets even have built-in heating systems.
Adventure riders are exposed to unpredictable terrain, so they require riding gear that is tough enough to withstand a variety of conditions—both on asphalt and more rugged forest roads. Adventure jackets are typically made of a strong, nylon shell that keeps you from getting scraped or bruised. These jackets are also constructed of breathable and waterproof materials.
Off-road motorcycle jerseys are primarily built to provide abrasion protection on loose dirt surfaces, and breathability in physically-demanding track sessions. They are lightweight and offer unparalleled mobility, but they also offer very little protection. Jerseys are meant to be worn over off-road armor, such as a chest protector and neck brace.
The best leather motorcycle jackets provide comfort, style, and safety. Leather motorcycle jackets protect your body against road rash caused by sliding across asphalt better than any textile option. They are usually made of cowhide, but some use alternatives like goat or kangaroo leather. These more exotic leathers are thinner and softer, but still strong. Perforated leather offers increased ventilation in hot weather and strikes a compromise between the protection of leather and the comfort of textile.
Textile jackets offer less abrasion resistance than leather. However, they offer advantages in breathability and water resistance. The best textile jacket is often made of nylon and polyester, which is very lightweight and preferable on hot and rainy days. These jackets are good for sport, touring, and adventure riders.
Mesh jackets allow air to flow directly onto your body, and they're best to use in the summer. A mesh jacket will provide the most ventilation, but they offer little crash protection. Most mesh jackets include padding on the chest, back, and shoulders. Even when equipped with armor, mesh material is often not strong enough to hold it in place during a serious crash. They tend to be less expensive than leather or textile jackets.
Many motorcycle jackets incorporate or are compatible with armor, typically located in the shoulders, elbows, and forearms. Some jackets have built-in pockets to accommodate back and chest protectors. Durable foam armor is designed to absorb impact to vulnerable areas. Hard composite or metal armor, sometimes found on sport jackets, is designed to slide easily to protect against road rash and prevent a rider from tumbling after impact with the ground. Some new materials are even soft until struck, at which point they become rigid. The very best jackets now offer inflatable airbag systems designed to activate in the event of a crash. It’s important to match your riding style with the appropriate level of protection, and understand the CE rating system used to evaluate motorcycle armor.
Due to the lower speeds and more dynamic nature of off-road riding, dirt-oriented armor tends to be more focused on impacts than severe abrasion. Strong chest protectors, neck braces, knee braces, and padded undergarments are designed to protect against broken bones and torn ligaments caused by crashes or collisions with other riders.
Based in Irvine, California, Firstgear has been in business for over two decades. It designs adventure gear so riders can hit the road regardless of the weather. Products include jackets, pants, gloves, and boots.
Klim is a company that makes motorcycle and snowmobile riding gear that's based in Rigby, Idaho. Its product lineup includes motorcycle jackets, pants, boots, and gloves. The company will even replace damaged Klim gear free of charge if you're involved in a motorcycle accident within five years of purchasing specific products.
Joe Rocket was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in California. Its products have FreeAirTM mesh technology for riding in extreme summer heat without sacrificing protection, as well as the SureFitTM adjustment system, which provides protection in an impact. One top product is the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Men's Mesh Motorcycle Riding Jacket.
Lino Dainese founded this company in 1972 when he was 20 years old. Based in Vicenza, Italy, it manufactures advanced protective head-to-toe gear for motorcycling, winter sports, cycling, horse riding, and sailing. Its products are made with cowhide, kangaroo skin, aramid, carbon fiber, and titanium. One recommended product is the Dainese Men's Super Speed Tex Jacket.
Leather craftsman Sante Mazzarolo founded Alpinestars in the small Northern Italy town of Asolo in 1963 as motocross started gaining popularity in Europe. The company manufactures a variety of road racing products, including boots and leather suits. One popular product is the Alpinestars T-GP Plus R v2 Air Jacket.
Tourmaster’s parent company, Helmet House, got its start in the late 1970s. Tourmaster designs and distributes helmets, luggage, rain suits, jackets, riding boots, and bike covers. One recommended product is the Tourmaster Advanced Men's Textile Motorcycle Jacket.
Motorcycle Jacket Pricing
- Under $100: Some jackets are pretty inexpensive, but they're not as protective as pricier options. Jackets in this price range may not include armor and are often made of sub-par materials that won't protect you in a crash.
- $100-$200: If you spend a bit more money, you can find some decent motorcycle jackets. They are available in many different styles and materials, and many feature protective elements for safety.
- $200 and up: For the best all-around protection, expect to spend a couple hundred dollars. Many of these jackets can be used nearly year-round, and they are often waterproof with CE-certified armor. These premium jackets can be costly, but they are high quality and have superior ventilation, removable liners, and other features that make them stand out from the pack.
The type of rider you are will dictate what material is most suitable for your motorcycle jacket. If you're a casual rider, synthetic materials may work just fine. If you ride more aggressively or at high speeds, leather will be a better option because it provides superior protection in a crash. If you ride a sportbike, armored jackets built for performance and crash protection are the top pick. There are also jackets that are made of fabric that’s more suitable for summer or rainy conditions.
It's essential to choose a jacket that fits properly. If it's too snug, you're less likely to wear it. Sometimes jackets with armor feel a little tight, so make sure you check the sizing chart. If the jacket is too large, it can also be a problem—it may flap around in the wind at high speeds, which can be very distracting.
- Ventilation. The best motorcycle jacket will provide sufficient ventilation. Some materials can be very warm, thick, and dense. Without proper ventilation, these types of jackets can be very uncomfortable. Fortunately, the best motorcycle jackets for men and women have perforated leather, breathable textile panels, or air vents that you can zip open and close for airflow.
- Armor. The best armored motorcycle jacket is typically constructed with CE-certified armor on the elbows and shoulders (you often see CE or “Conformité Européene” apparel on the race track). Some of these jackets feature armor on the back and torso as well. Armor can be flexible or rigid. The former has foam padding, while the latter has a hard shell with padding underneath. Flexible armor is more comfortable but doesn't provide as much protection.
- Fit. The best motorcycle jacket will have a contoured fit and may allow you to add layers underneath in cold weather. The sleeves should be long enough to reach your wrists while in the riding position. If the jacket contains armor, the pieces should fit properly on your elbows and shoulders. The best motorcycle jackets will have a variety of adjustments for your waist and sleeves.
- Additional Features. You may want a jacket with reflective strips on the shoulders and back so other people on the road can see you better at night. The number and placement of pockets may also be important, depending on what you carry with you when you ride. Also, some jackets have inside liners with pockets and media outlets for phone or headphone cables.
- Style. People ride different types of bikes, so they wear different kinds of gear. If you ride a sportbike, you're probably not going to wear a black leather jacket like Fonzie used to favor. If you are an adventure rider, you need a jacket that will stand up to the elements. Jackets come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, so choose one that matches your style.
Best Motorcycle Jackets Reviews & Recommendations 2021
The Firstgear Kilimanjaro Jacket is a great option that you can wear nearly all-year round if you're an adventure or sport-touring rider. This waterproof jacket can tolerate various weather conditions and features numerous pockets and vents, providing airflow in warmer temperatures.
It has armor in the back, chest, elbows, and shoulders, and adjustable straps help with ventilation. It's made of 420D abrasion-resistant nylon and has three interior pockets and five exterior pockets. You can adjust the position of the armor for more comfort, and there's an adjustable waist strap for more customization. Other features include a neoprene collar, hidden-under-helmet hood, articulated sleeves, and a drop tail. Users report that it's comfortable and not too bulky.
One downside is that it doesn't have any removable liners. Also, the vent zippers can be challenging to open with cold-weather gloves.
The Klim Induction Jacket is ideal for warm-weather riding due to its breathable construction. It has a moisture-wicking mesh comfort liner and Klimatek cooling stretch mesh in the elbow and shoulder pad pockets. Also, the mesh is UV-resistant. It is abrasion and tear-resistant, and the elbows and shoulders are reinforced for added protection.
It also includes CE-certified armor in the back, elbows, and shoulders. Other features include a fleece-lined collar, reflective elements, quick-adjust forearm straps, multiple pockets, and Klim Rhino-Stitch construction technology. Overall, it's a great spring/summer jacket due to its airflow, and it doesn't stick to your body as some other brands do.
However, the elbow area may be a little tight if you have larger arms. It can also feel a bit stiff overall until you break it in.
The REV'IT! Eclipse Women's Jacket is an excellent summer option for women because it's breathable and lightweight. Available in four colors, it features large mesh panels that promote airflow.
It has Knox Flexiform CE-certified armor in the shoulders and elbows, and you can purchase a back protector separately. The 600D polyester is abrasion-resistant, and it has adjustable straps for a more custom fit. The jacket also has several pockets, including an interior one. Users report that it fits true to size, the zippers move smoothly, and the mesh is ultra-fine looking. It's stylish, comfortable, and provides good protection.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stretch, so it's critical that you choose the proper size. Also, you have to pay extra for the back protector, which drives up the cost.
If you like the look of leather but want a little airflow, the Alpinestars Brera Airflow Jacket is a good option. It features perforated panels on the front, back, and sleeves that provide ventilation in warmer weather. This café-style jacket is made of full-grain leather and features a slim fit.
It is durable and abrasion-resistant, yet it feels comfortable and soft. Plus, it includes CE-certified armor in the shoulders and elbows, and you can add a back protector for even more protection. The sleeves are pre-curved for comfort, and it has zippered hand pockets and an interior pocket. It's a great spring/fall jacket, and the shoulder gusset allows you to comfortably stretch out when you're in a riding position.
One downside is that it doesn't have a removable liner. Also, the arms may be a little long for some bikers.
The Scorpion EXO 1909 Leather Jacket looks so good that you don't need to be on your motorcycle to wear it. It's made of distressed leather, which feels good against your body.
It has elbow and shoulder armor with a pocket on the back that can accommodate a back protector. The elbow areas are reinforced with leather overlays, and the underarms and sides of the jacket are perforated for airflow. Two zippered rear vents provide even more ventilation. Other features include four external pockets, two internal mesh pockets, adjustment tabs on the waist, zippered closures on the cuffs, and a removable EverHeat liner with Kwickwick panels. It feels great in temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and is high quality overall.
However, the armor may feel a little stiff and uncomfortable for some riders. Also, the snaps on the liner may separate from the fabric if you're not careful.
This motorcycle jacket offers crash protection worthy of track use, in addition to comfort and breathability. It’s a contender right out of the box, but we like that you can add features later—up to and including Alpinestars’ inflatable airbag protection system—for what is possibly the most safety available on two wheels.
Premium, 1.3 millimeter cowhide leather provides high-speed abrasion resistance that will scuff and slide while your skin stays safe. Perforated panels in the front add much-needed ventilation to keep this jacket cool. A mesh liner and padded collar facilitate airflow and prevent rubbing. Leather accordion panels in the back and stretch fabric under the sleeves allow this jacket to flex as you change body position. Composite hard armor protects the shoulder and elbow areas. An aerodynamic speed hump not only reduces drag in the tuck position, but also draws heat out of the jacket for improved air circulation.
There are few jackets that we’d rather have during a crash, but that doesn’t make this the best choice for every rider. Its price puts it out of reach for many, and its track-ready image and fully-committed features are too flashy and bulky for most daily riding situations. Casual riders will want to look at our picks for best value and honorable mention.
Joe Rocket’s take on retro styling is a safe bet for cruiser and café riders alike. This jacket offers quality construction, understated styling, and compatibility with aftermarket crash protection. An accessible price point makes this a great value that most riders can afford.
Leather construction uses cowhide between one and 1.2 millimeters thick to create a strong barrier between you and the road. Pouches in the elbows, shoulders, and back accommodate body armor that can be purchased separately. Outside, two low pockets provide storage for items like a phone and wallet, two top pockets are a great place to put your registration and insurance, and a small pocket on the sleeve is perfect for keys or a toll pass. Two additional pockets are located inside the jacket. A zip-in liner makes this a versatile option that can be worn comfortably in warm or cool weather. Heavy-duty stitching and zippers throughout ensure this jacket is ready to stand the test of time.
The Classic ‘92 is not ventilated, so it can get uncomfortable in hot climates. While this jacket is well-built and uses rugged materials, safety-conscious riders will want to purchase armor. Other jackets include armor, but leaving it out does make this option more affordable and let you choose your own. We can appreciate that.
Adventure and touring motorcyclists need specific features in their jackets, and the Sand 3 delivers. It’s packed full of details that make sure you’re ready to take on a cross-country trip or off-road adventure whenever you want.
The outer shell incorporates four types of rip-resistant, flexible synthetic materials. Reflective panels increase low-light visibility. A removable waterproof liner protects against rain, and a removable insulated liner keeps the cold out. A series of vents can be unzipped for warm weather riding. CE-certified armor adds crash protection, and you can add a compatible back protector or neck brace for even more security. We love that REV’IT made this jacket modular, so you can add and remove components to create the perfect jacket for any ride. Better yet, this jacket is compatible with the brand’s other products, so you can create a cohesive adventure suit complete with riding pants, gloves, and boots. Choose from five color schemes and seven sizes.
This jacket is incredibly capable and versatile, but it comes at a price. Buyers on a budget may prefer a simpler and more affordable alternative. All those features also make it fairly bulky.
- When selecting a motorcycle jacket, make sure it fits well both when you're standing and when you're in a riding position. Also, don’t buy one that’s too tight or you won’t be able to put layers underneath it.
- Not all jackets will work in all weather conditions. A great leather jacket may be too hot for summer, and a textile jacket may not provide the same level of crash protection as a leather jacket. You may need more than one jacket based on the climate.
- The collar of the jacket should be snug enough so the wind doesn't pass through. If you ride often in the rain, select a jacket that has a watertight layer beneath the zippers so rain doesn't leak through.
- The more pockets, the better. It's preferable to have a few pockets in the front and at least one inner pocket. Also, your jacket should have at least one pocket you can utilize without opening a zipper (which can be challenging when wearing gloves).
- If you want to be really visible at night, choose a bright-colored jacket. Some come in bright yellow and orange, and others have panels made of reflective material.
- Make sure the zippers are easy to open and close. The best motorcycle jackets will have zippers covered in fabric so they don't cause extra harm during a crash.
- For safety purposes, leather jackets should not have a lot of seams on them. For example, the chest and back should be made of a single piece of leather, not several stitched together.
- Sleeves should be long enough so they reach your wrists when your arms are extended towards the motorcycle's handlebars. If possible, you should be able to wear the sleeves both over or under your gloves.
Q: What’s the best type of motorcycle jacket?
It depends on several factors, but safety is number one. Select a jacket that will protect your body in the event of a crash. Also, you need to choose a jacket based on the type of rider you are (casual, adventure, or sport, for example).
Q: How do I clean my motorcycle jacket?
If you have a leather jacket, you can purchase a cleaning kit specifically geared for the material. You should also regularly treat it with a leather product to protect it and keep it durable. You can spot clean Gore-Tex and textile jackets with a moist cloth or stiff brush.
Q: Can I wear my favorite everyday leather jacket to ride a motorcycle?
It's important that the leather jacket you wear for riding a motorcycle is designed to be a motorcycle-specific jacket. Even the best-made street clothes are no match for a high-speed crash.
Our pick for the best motorcycle jacket is the Firstgear Kilimanjaro Jacket. It's a good, all-around jacket that you can wear nearly all year long. Plus, it has armor, which will protect you in an impact. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the stylish Speed & Strength Off The Chain 2.0 Textile Jacket.