Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets: Stay Stylish and Safe on the Road
Head out on the highway and look for adventure with these high-quality leather motorcycle jackets
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PUBLISHED ON October 29, 2019
If you ride a motorcycle or are considering getting one, you need a tough leather jacket to keep you safe and warm. They make you stand out and add a bit of style that can match the look of your bike. Leather jackets also act as a barrier between your skin and the pavement if you ever have a crash. Plus, they hold all of your accessories inconvenient and easy-to-access pockets. Here are the best leather motorcycle jackets to consider for your next ride.
- Best OverallHarley-Davidson Men's Command Leather JacketSummarySummaryThis buffalo leather jacket features the official Harley-Davidson logo on the chest, sleeve, and back. There are bold stripes that extend down the sleeves to accent the jacket.ProsProsVertical vents in the back have stretch panels in them for increased comfort while riding. There are also two straps on the inside back of the jacket so you can connect it to pants. Body armor offers greater protection. The high-quality leather also provide superior abrasion resistance.ConsConsThe leather feels thin and not as protective as other leather jackets. The liner is polyester which can have a cheaper feel. It’s less comfortable fit and not as breathable.
- Best ValueJoe Rocket 'Vintage' Leather Racing JacketSummarySummaryThis cowhide jacket is tailored to fit the body and also has a retro styling. The zip-out lining inside of the jacket is a diamond-pattern stitched liner made of satin. The outside of the jacket has external pockets for easy access while riding.ProsProsThere are internal pockets at the shoulders, elbows, and back to let you insert CE-certified protectors for increased protection. The liner is also removable, which makes it easy to clean.ConsConsThe armor is sold separately, so if you want to add shoulder, elbow, or back protectors, that’s an additional cost. There’s also no venting in this jacket, which can make it quite warm to wear.
- Honorable MentionNew AXE Leather Motorcycle JacketSummarySummaryThis modern motorcycle jacket is developed out of genuine cowhide leather for enhanced durability and safety. There are five removable armor shells located throughout the jacket in the shoulders, elbows, and back. There is also a fully removable quilted full-sleeve liner.ProsProsIt comes with reflective stripes on the sleep and back for added safety and visibility. Includes robust YKK zippers and is designed out of a sturdy, soft, and padded leather. Features armor in the shoulders and has excellent ventilation. Works great in warm and cold temperatures.ConsConsThe interior liner isn’t that insulated but can be removed. It may run snug. The arm zippers aren’t the greatest, and the sleeves may be a bit too long.
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Benefits of Leather Motorcycle Jackets
- Safety. There’s no denying that leather will protect you while riding. If you happen to crash while riding, the leather will protect your skin from abrasions. It will also protect you from rain, debris, and the sun.
- Warmth. Being that leather is a natural material, it works well to keep you warm when temperatures start to drop.
- Cool Factor. When people think of motorcycles, they think of that cool guy in a leather jacket. So why not be that guy? Throw on your leather jacket and instantly look cooler.
Types of Leather Motorcycle Jackets
If you ride a cruiser, these are the jackets designed for you. They also happen to be the jacket most non-motorcycle riders picture when they think of a leather motorcycle jacket. These jackets are comfortably loose but not too loose on the body. They support a more upright riding position.
These motorcycle jackets conform to your body when you ride your sportbike. They’re designed to be comfortable when you’re in an aggressive riding position. The jacket should fit close to your body and have a wide range of motion in your shoulders and arms. You’ll also find more reinforcements at the impact points to provide increased protection during impact.
These are some of the most versatile jackets on the market. They are protective in all weather conditions. There are plenty of pockets for storage and are meant for wearing for long periods of time. As an adventure rider, these jackets will protect you from the elements and off-road hazards that you may encounter.
Cafe racer bikes are compact and a bit minimalistic, and these jackets match that. They tend to have a retro look and simple lines. You could almost compare them to a bomber style of jacket. They have a shorter cut through the torso.
When it comes to American motorcycle tradition, Harley is the king for both motorcycle production and creating the best motorcycle jackets. Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903, Harley-Davidson is known for producing some of the loudest cruisers on the market. These days, purchasing a Harley isn’t about buying a bike—it’s investing in a lifestyle. This Victory Lane Men’s Leather Jacket is one of its most well-known leather jackets.
The Milwaukee Motorcycle Clothing Company has operated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for 40 years. It specializes in quality leather apparel and gear for cruiser riders. Its distinctive style features a tough look that is synonymous with the stereotypical “biker style.” This ladies leather motorcycle jacket features that biker jacket style.
Alpinestars was founded in 1963 and produces gear for distribution worldwide. Its headquarters are located in Torrance, California. This is one of the top sport rider gear brands. It specializes in creating gear that’s perfect for someone who sits in a more aggressive riding position. While beginners will buy this brand, it’s more commonly used by those who have a few years of experience and know what they’re looking for in a leather jacket. The Specter Black Leather Jacket is a perfect example of Alpinestars packing the latest innovations into their gear.
Dainese was founded in 1972 in Molvena, Colceresa, Italy. If you’re an experienced sportbike rider or enjoy time at the track, then this is one of the top brands you need. It specializes in leather jackets, pants, and suits that have a ton of safety features. The Zen Evo Motorcycle Leather Jacket is an excellent option for race quality in a street-ready jacket.
Leather Motorcycle Jackets Pricing
- $100 to $300: These are quality entry-level jackets that will provide you with basic protections and features.
- $300 to $750: In this range, you’ll find softer and higher quality leather, more features like venting throughout, removable liners, and removable CE-certified shells.
- Above $750: Anything in this price range will feature the highest quality leather. These jackets tend to have more tapering to make them fit the body perfectly. In addition to the features of the $300 to $750 price range, they also have waterproofed seams, stretch zones, pant connectors, and electronic systems.
Higher-quality leather is lighter, softer, more comfortable, and stronger. As a general rule, lower-quality and cheaper priced jackets use lower-quality leather. You want a jacket that has leather that will conform to your body and act as a comfortable second skin. Buying a jacket with better quality leather will last you longer and have stronger stitching.
Because leather can get hot, you want to look for a leather jacket that has adequate venting. Typically these will either be mesh inserts or zippered vents that you can open and close. Look for the vents to be located on the front in the shoulder/armpit area and back. This will create a flow of air through the jacket.
Lower-quality jackets won’t have a liner, or if they do, it won’t be removable. This will be fine until you wear your jacket on a hot day and sweat a lot. Then you’ll have to get your jacket professionally cleaned. Higher-quality jackets have a removable liner for easier care at home.
- Climate: Buy a leather jacket that’s designed for the climate you intend to ride in. Leather is inherently warmer, so you’ll need a jacket that’s accommodating. Wearing a winter leather jacket in the heat of summer is a fast way to experience heat stroke and can prematurely end your riding day.
- Ride Style: Don’t get caught up in the look of the various leather jacket options. While you want to look good wearing your jacket, it also needs to be functional for your riding style. Narrow down your search to the type of bike you ride.
Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Harley-Davidson Men's Command Leather Jacket
This buttery soft buffalo leather motorcycle jacket from Harley-Davidson will protect you while riding your cruiser. The leather looks almost black and features bold white striping down the sleeves for increased visibility. There are two vertical vents and two tabs in the back, which make wearing this jacket more comfortable.
A standout feature of this cruiser jacket is the body armor pockets in the shoulders, back, and elbows. This enables you to slide CE-certified shells in them to give yourself even greater protection at your main impact points.
The polyester liner isn’t removable, making this jacket harder to clean and care for. The polyester can also become uncomfortable against your skin. You may also find that this jacket is hotter than other leather jackets on the market due to its lack of adequate venting.
Best Value: Joe Rocket 'Vintage' Leather Racing Jacket
This Joe Rocket leather jacket is made of cowhide leather, which makes it durable. It’s also lined with a quilted liner that will increase warmth and comfort. There are plenty of pockets for storing your belongings on both the inside and outside of the jacket.
One standout feature is that the liner zips out. This makes it easier to care for and clean the jacket. It also has pockets on the interior of the jacket for safety shells at your impact points. This gives you increased protection in the event of a fall.
A major drawback to this jacket is that it doesn’t have any venting. This may be acceptable in cold winter conditions but will become unbearable in warmer temperatures. The entire jacket also has a slim fit through the body, so if you have a few extra pounds, it might feel tight. Also, armor is an additional cost.
Honorable Mention: New AXE Leather Motorcycle Jacket
This sportier-style jacket is a good general use riding jacket. Its simple design offers versatile appeal for both cruisers and sportbike riders alike. It’s made of genuine cowhide leather and has a removable quilted full liner. On the upper arms is reflective striping to increase your visibility.
One important feature of this jacket is the five-section removable armor that is located in the back, shoulders, and elbows. The shoulders and elbows guards are made from injected molded plastic with foam, while the back piece is made from double density foam. The zippers are YKK to add to the high-quality feel of this jacket.
The interior liner of this jacket isn’t insulated, so you may find this jacket isn’t as warm as other leather options. The sizing runs small for this jacket, so be sure to size up. You may also find that the sizing is off with the sleeves being too long. The zippers also have a tendency to get stuck.
- Keep in mind the type of weather you will be riding in. If it is extremely cold, you may need to dress in layers to keep warm. Make sure there is enough room in the jacket to wear multiple layers.
- If you do a lot of your riding in warmer weather, get a jacket with the best amount of ventilation to stay cool on the ride.
- Find the best pockets for your accessories, such as a cell phone, keys, and wallet, before starting your ride. It can be annoying and dangerous if the gear pokes through the material and jabs your skin. It needs to be comfortable and set in place before you set off.
Q: How do I wash a leather motorcycle jacket?
A: Leather isn’t meant to be washed in a washing machine, so it is best to clean it by rinsing the material with warm water or using a wet towel mixed with soap. You can also take it a dry cleaner and have a professional clean it. When it doubt, consult the manufacturer to see the best way to properly clean the leather so you don't ruin it.
Q: What can I do to find a motorcycle jacket that fits?
A: Finding the perfect fit can be difficult, especially online, so make sure you consult the manufacturer's sizing chart before making a purchase. Leather tends to run a bit snug, so you may want to order a size larger than normal.
Q: What other clothing should I get to go along with a motorcycle jacket?
A: A motorcycle jacket is great for protecting your upper body and keeping you warm and safe, but you should also consider getting a pair of motorcycle gloves and leather pants. The gloves may be the most essential as they will keep your hands safe and allow you to better grip the throttle and handlebars for additional control.
For one of the best leather motorcycle jackets to protect you and enhance your style, consider the Milwaukee Leather Classic Side Lace Police Style Motorcycle Jacket.
There’s also the Viking Cycle Angel Fire Premium Grade Cowhide Leather Motorcycle Jacket, which is less expensive and comes with thick padded leather and plenty of pockets for your gear.