LAST UPDATED: February 10, 2020
Best Motorcycle Chaps: Wrap Your Legs in Leather
Protect your legs while riding with a pair of high-quality leather chaps
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON February 10, 2020
Nothing protects you better than leather when riding your motorcycle. However, wearing a full leather suit or pants can get quite hot, so chaps are the perfect solution. You can throw on your favorite pair of jeans and then your chaps over them.
While riding, your leather chaps will protect your legs and keep them warm. Then, when you get to your destination, you can take them off and wear just your jeans. Here are three options for high-quality leather chaps.
The soft milled leather of these chaps is 1.2 to 1.3 mm thick. There are two zippered pockets for storage. The bottoms are unfinished and detailed with four snaps.
The unfinished bottoms and four snaps make altering these chaps easy. Then the zippered pockets give you storage convenience since the chaps block your jeans pockets.
The legs tend to run small, so size up so that the chaps can fit over your regular jeans. You might find the zippered pockets awkward to use if you have items in your pants pockets under the chaps.
These chaps have some flair with braided detail down the legs. The leather is heavyweight split leather, while the hardware is silver-toned.
There is a full lining to improve the comfort and warmth of these chaps. The front of these chaps features small pockets for convenient storage.
The front pockets don’t have a zipper closure. This can increase the risk of your items falling out. The manufacturer also warns that your chaps may run small.
Premium cowhide leather and top-notch stitching are used to make these chaps. There are two side pockets for carrying your items.
These chaps are easy to put on and take off with the full-length outer seam zipper. They’re incredibly protective, thanks to the high-quality cowhide leather. They also have stylish detailing with braided trim.
The cowhide leather can make these chaps quite stiff, so plan for a break-in period. You’ll also struggle with the size chart as it is inaccurate to the sizing of the chaps.
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Benefits of Motorcycle Chaps
- Protection. Chaps provide your legs with another layer of protection. This could be from wind, rain, and road debris while riding, or road rash from a fall off your bike.
- Warmth. Leather chaps will help keep your legs warm while riding. Due to wind chill, it can feel significantly colder on the bike than when stopped. Chaps help you stay warm while riding and give you the freedom to take them off when hot.
- Style. There’s no denying that chaps will give you a certain instantly recognizable biker style. Look for chaps that have extra detailing such as zippers, braids, and embroidery for even more style.
Types of Motorcycle Chaps
Full Leather Chaps
Full leather chaps cover your entire leg from the top of your leg down to your ankle or even the bottom of your boots. They have zippers or snaps that extend the entire length of your leg so that you can easily take them on and off. You’ll find the leather quality to vary, but they’re typically made from cow or buffalo hide. The vast majority of chaps are black, but you can find brown too.
Half Leather Chaps
Half chaps extend from just below the knee to your ankle or the bottom of your boots. They can zipper, snap, or lace up. They give you the same level of protection on the bottom half of your legs without being as hot as wearing full chaps. They also take up less room in your saddlebag if you plan to take them off and stow them away.
You can find chaps in other materials if leather isn’t your taste or style. Ballistic nylon is a common material that will provide you with protection. They may not be as warm as leather options. There are also vinyl options that are lower cost and quality. These look like imitation leather.
Founded in 1991, Milwaukee Leather produces traditional leather riding apparel. The company uses high-quality leather that is both protective and stylish. It incorporates modern touches like touchscreen compatibility. Check out the Milwaukee Premium Buffalo Deep Skin Leather 3 Pocket Chaps for a high-quality piece of riding gear.
Established in 2000, Vance Leather manufactures motorcycle apparel and accessories. Based out of Daytona, Florida, the company strives to produce quality products at an affordable price. Check out the Vance Leather Basic Deep Pocket Leather Chaps.
Founded in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Harley-Davidson produces motorcycles, apparel, and gear. If you ride a Harley, then a matching set of Harley chaps is perfect to complete your biker look. These Harley-Davidson Men’s Stock II with Embossed Graphics Chaps are the perfect piece of gear to complete your look.
Motorcycle Chaps Pricing
- Under $70: Chaps in this price range are basic leather. They lack finer details and tend to be lower-quality. You’ll find imitation leather, weak stitching, and zippers that won’t last.
- $70 to $110: Most chaps fall into this price range. You’ll find genuine leather, stylistic details, and high-quality materials. Some chaps have more features, like pockets.
- Over $110: These are the finest quality chaps. They have high quality, supple leather, strong zippers, and many features.
Getting chaps in the right size is tricky because they need to fit over the motorcycle pants you intend to wear while riding. This means the sizing will be bigger than your standard clothing. You also need to check each model’s size chart; they all differ. To help with sizing, look for chaps that are adjustable. This will help you get a custom fit. Plan to trim the bottom of your chaps to the right length. This is normal.
Better quality leather is more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It’s easier to break in and will conform to your body better. There are also chaps made out of materials other than leather. Look for highly durable materials that are abrasion-resistant. Check the zippers for durability. The zippers will be under stress, so they need to be strong.
Look for additional features in your chaps. A common one is zippered pockets. This is nice because chaps block the access to your pants pockets, which makes accessing your items virtually impossible while wearing chaps. You should also look for accents like lacing and buckled straps. These allow for custom adjustments.
- Style. While safety and comfort are important, the biker chaps you choose need to appeal to your personal sense of style. If you think the chaps are ugly, you won’t want to wear them. They won’t do you any good left in a closet at home. Pay attention to how they’re cut and the detailing they have to find a pair with a style that you like.
- Value. Real leather motorcycle chaps are an investment. You need to get what you pay for and get plenty of use out of them. Compare the quality of the materials and construction when considering the price. Balance your investment with your planned volume of use.
- Type. Would half or full chaps work better for you? You need to think about the climate where you’re riding, the look they create, your comfort level, and the functionality of each pair. Many people choose warmth and protection as the most important, so they choose full chaps. However, riding in warmer weather may lead you to choose half chaps.
Best Motorcycle Chaps Reviews & Recommendations 2020
These are soft milled leather chaps that have 1.2 to 1.3 mm thick leather. They have two zippered pockets, one on either side. The bottoms of the chaps are left unfinished so you can trim them to the perfect length.
There are four snaps on the bottom that allow you to get that perfect fit over your boots. Then the zippered pockets make stowing away small items easy and keep them within reach.
Unfortunately, the legs of these chaps tend to run small. This means you’ll need to size up. The pockets can also be awkward if you try to use them when you also have items in your pants pockets.
The leather of these chaps is quite thick, and they are trimmed with silver-toned hardware. Down the side of each leg is braided leather detailing to give them a bit of extra flair.
These chaps are fully lined, which adds to their warmth and comfort. They also have small pockets on the front of them for storing small items. The front has a buckle closure, and the back has a lacing adjustment.
Unfortunately, the pockets don’t have a zipper closure. This makes them unsecured, and you risk whatever you put into them falling out. You’ll also need to size up because these chaps run small.
These chaps are made from premium cowhide leather and use top-notch stitching to hold them together. There is one front pocket for storing small items. The legs have braided detailing down the outside of the leg. At the bottom of each leg are four snaps.
The premium cowhide leather is high-quality and is highly protective. The braid on the outside makes them beautiful and more stylish than plain chaps. The buckle on the front makes them adjustable.
The leather used to make these chaps make them stiff, and you’ll need a longer break-in period than other chaps. The size chart is also inaccurate, which will make buying the right size a challenge.
- Look for chaps that have an unfinished bottom. This will let you customize them so that they are the perfect fit. You want your chaps to extend down over your boots without dragging on the ground.
- You should also look for pockets. Chaps will cover or block your access to the front pockets of your jeans. Therefore, having pockets on your chaps will give you easy access to your items.
- Pay attention to the type of leather used to make the chaps. Thicker leather will provide you with more abrasion protection but will be hotter and stiffer to wear. Thinner leather will break in faster and be more flexible.
Q: How do I know what size to buy?
A: Start by measuring around your waist. Then measure the largest part of your thigh. Measure around your thigh while wearing your jeans so that you can account for the increased width. You also need your inseam measurement. Measure from your crotch to the floor, keeping in mind that chaps will ride up while you’re on the bike. Use these three measurements to compare to the chaps manufacturer’s sizing measurements.
Q: Why should I wear motorcycle chaps?
A: Chaps are one option you can choose when it comes to protecting your legs while riding. You could wear leather pants or overpants. Chaps offer convenience when it comes to taking them on and off. They also tend to be more affordable and lighter than full leather pants.
Q: How do I take care of my chaps?
A: To have your chaps last for years, you’ll need to take care of them and keep them clean. Use some water and saddle soap to work the dirt out of the leather. Keep rinsing your cloth or sponge to avoid grinding the dirt back into the leather as you clean. Once the leather is clean, condition and moisturize it to keep it supple.
The Milwaukee Leather Zippered Chaps are a high-quality pair of chaps that are both functional and protective.
If you’re on a budget, the Hot Leathers Heavyweight Leather Chaps offer safety and affordability.