Functional Fashion: The Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets

John Burns
by John Burns

Theres still nothing better than leather

If there’s a piece of apparel most associated with motorcycling, it’s undoubtedly the leather motorcycle jacket. The leather jacket is part of our uniform, but even non-riders search the bins for cowhide when it’s time to dress up for Halloween, or down for any occasion that calls for cool. No matter what you ride, the best leather motorcycle jackets are versatile enough to look at home nearly anywhere, and on nearly anything. A premium leather jacket will never go out of style, and the more you wear a quality one, the more comfortable it will feel – there’s just something about leather that other materials can’t match. Bountiful and ubiquitous, with seemingly endless options to choose from, it would be impossible for us to feature every single jacket out there. So here we’ve gathered a small sampling of the best leather motorcycle jackets the market has to offer, listed in alphabetical order.

Table of Contents

Aerostich Transit 3 Waterproof Leather Jacket

From our favorite Duluthian comes this waterproof and breathable leather jacket made from a new CORIUM+ material, which combines specially treated high quality leather with an integrated waterproof laminate. CORIUM+ leather contains a proprietary treatment that keeps it from absorbing water; millions of micro-vents let your personal moisture right out, even as it keeps even the heaviest deluges from soaking in.  Only the most supple, luxurious and flexible cow hides are selected for the complicated processing and tanning technology that makes that possible.

Inside, six carefully fitted, easily removable TF armor systems provide superior energy absorption in key areas with minimal physical restriction. Design updates of the latest ‘3’ version include waterproof underarm vent zippers, a slightly larger pocket on the right forearm, a fold-away reflective cover over the dual-slider zipped back vent, and a near-full circumference (270°) pant-to-jacket zipper. Available in black or Hi-Viz yellow.

Bottom Line

  • Wish it rained in California so we could wear this

Alpinestars Dyno v2 Jacket

The original Dyno jacket from Alpinestars was one of the first leather jackets the company ever made. It became a best seller, and the updated version 2.0 carries on the tradition. Fully CE-approved, the Dyno v2 is made from supple leather with stretch panels across the chest for greater mobility. Two exterior pockets are paired with a waterproof internal pocket, and snaps at the waist help make for a better fit. CE certified Bio-Armor sits in the shoulder and elbow pockets for impact protection. A modern take on a vintage-ish jacket, the Dyno is classically understated but still has plenty of pop.

Bottom Line

  • Italian stallion

Promoted Product: The Jacket Maker

The Jacket Maker is an interesting addition to this list, as we aren’t focusing on one specific model. Instead, the business as a whole is what makes this company unique. The Jacket Maker has hundreds of affordable leather jackets to choose from, each offered in eight sizes to fit most anybody. But what really sets them apart is the ability to choose a made-to-measure jacket so you can get an absolutely perfect fit with only a nominal upcharge (just $30).

If you want to take things to the next level, the Jacket Maker also offers a bespoke service. They will work with you to get exact measurements and you can choose from a wide variety of patterns, fabric/leather, embroidery, and more so you can build the jacket you’ve always wanted.

Every jacket produced by the Jacket Maker is handmade with full grain natural leather and features premium components like YKK zippers. The Jacket Maker manages to keep prices low with a direct-to-consumer approach.

This is a promoted product placement.

Belstaff Ivy 2.0 Jacket

From the absurdly expensive department comes the Ivy 2.0 from Belstaff. At $1650, it’s the most expensive jacket on this list, and could be useful for showing your SO what a bargain the $500 jacket you really want is, if nothing else. But what does a giant wad of cash get you? In short, extravagance. Bull leather construction from 1.0-1.1mm thick hide, the Ivy 2.0 also gets cotton/viscose lining. The diamond pattern on the shoulders and elbows (along with CE approved armor underneath) is a signature Belstaff feature, while the collar is corduroy-lined, with hardware made from vintage nickel. There are two zippered side pockets and an embroidered logo on the sleeve. Visually, the classic leather jacket look is clearly still there, with the offset zip being a clue to the classic design. The Ivy 2.0 is a little shorter than the version 1.0 to make it better suited for sportier motorcycles.

Bottom Line

  • Dress to impress

Dainese Lola 3 Women's Jacket

Dainese is code for slim-fit Italian fashion and top-notch protection. Iride matte leather, S1 bielastic stretch panels, and Pro-armor impact panels come together in a vintage-inspired ladies’ jacket. A TechFrame internal liner provides increased air circulation on hot days. Safety stitching and reinforced construction help the Lola 3 meets prEN 17092 motorbike protective jacket certification, and there’s a pocket for an optional back protector as well. (For the latest in protection, google up Dainese’s D-Air line of airbag-equipped gear.)

Bottom Line

  • Safety and bellissima

Dainese Sport Pro Perforated Jacket

Summertime is prime time for most of us, and it doesn’t appear summers will be getting cooler anytime soon. That’s why you want a perforated jacket; you’ll be surprised how much air flows through those tiny holes if you’ve never ridden in one. The Sport Pro comes in a non-perf version, too; in a perfect world you’d have both. Not only is the premium cowhide in this jacket perforated, it’s also got zippered air vents and extractors for even more airflow as needed. Also Pro Armor inserts at the shoulders that combine with the interchangeable aluminum shoulder plates for excellent protection. Dainese says metal offers excellent abrasion resistance, does not degrade during a slide and does not trigger any dangerous rolling or twisting of the joint. Good to know.

Do you work out? You’ll love this jacket’s athletic Italian fit and its sleek ergonomics, comfort, and lightness.

Bottom Line

  • Gelato for your body

Icon Hypersport 2 Prime Jacket

Icon has a good rep for high quality at reasonable prices, and the Hypersport 2 Prime is at the top end of its performance envelope. Thick, 1.1-1.3mm TracSpec cowhide, designed with strategically sewn accordion leather flex zones, results in Icon’s “Attack Fit,” for high speed work. Your D3O impact protection package handles impact absorption – and an internal waist zipper connects to the matching Hypersport Prime pants. Deep chest pockets double as chest vents. Reinforced perforation zones let the breeze in as needed, and the microfleece-lined collar adds, ah, comfort.

Bottom Line

  • Good bang for buck

Rev’It Vintage Glide Jacket

The REV’IT Glide Vintage Jacket contains modern protection – CE-Rated armor at the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket for an optional back protector – inside an understated, vintage-inspired old-school jacket. MotoGP-inspired, the jacket incorporates a connection zipper to attach to any REV’IT pants. The standard removable sleeveless liner makes this a three-season jacket as well as one that looks great off the bike.

Bottom Line

  • Euro chic

Roland Sands Design Maven Leather Women's Street Motorcycle Jacket

Styled after RSD’s popular Ronin jacket, the Maven is a basic cafe racer style jacket form fitted for the female anatomy. Airbone leather is RSD’s premium cowhide offering. Pre-curved sleeves, relaxed collar and a dropped back are all part of the performance riding fit; an adjustable zip waist and comfort flex panels under the arms are designed to let women further tailor the Maven to their form. Inside, there’s a satin poly lining. If you want impact protection, though, you’ll pay a bit more for armor to fit into the jacket’s shoulder, elbow, and back protector pockets.

Bottom Line

  • SoCal fashion forward

Rukka Aramen Jacket

They know a thing or two about wet and cold in Finland, which is Rukka’s country of origin. The Aramen caught our roving eye; it’s constructed from the same type of waterproof Corium leather as the Aerostich Transit. Specifically, this is perforated aniline calf leather Corium+ Platinum laminate, which is claimed to be wind and waterproof, as well as breathable – which means it should keep you comfy in all kinds of conditions, and there’s a removable thermal liner as well. CE-approved Rukka D3O LP1 shoulder and elbow protectors, and a D3O Air XTR All Back Protector are included, along with a long list of features.

Bottom Line

  • Finnish with wet and cold

Schott Perfecto Steerhide Leather Motorcycle Jacket

Remember the jacket Marlon Brando wore in The Wild One? This is it. The Original. The Perfecto. Schott and Brando defined the leather motorcycle genre with this jacket. Constructed from U.S.-sourced drum-dyed, hand-cut, heavyweight 3-3.5 oz. steerhide leather, the Perfecto is the standard by which all other classic American jackets are judged. For example, the offset zipper and slash cut front zip pocket are now iconic, just like the huge back panel design, Other signature touches include the snap-down lapels and attached belt with nickel plated buckle. There’s not actually any armor or padding inside, but for many people, especially ones who don’t ride, that may not be an issue.

Bottom Line

  • What are you rebelling against today?

Spidi Premium Jacket

High in Italy’s Chiampo Valley, where they’ve been tanning hides for 600 years, is where Spidi sources the large panels of 1.1 to 1.3mm-thick cowhide for its aptly named Premium jacket. Flex and accordion panels running the length of the jacket give the jacket an excellent fit for both ecto and mesomorph body types, along with freedom of motion. CE-approved elbow and shoulder add impact protection, and the optional Warrior back protector will slot right in. Zippered vents at the chest offer relief from summer heat, and a removable thermal liner makes the Premium a viable three-season garment.

Bottom Line

  • Italian flair, real-world protection

Vanson AR3 Jacket

An iconic American brand, Vanson is known for its leather jackets. Go to the company website and prepare to be bombarded with a variety of different options. The AR3 is Vanson’s first leather jacket, but updated with CE-approved F.A.S. armor at shoulders and elbows, and the ability to accept the optional backpad. The action back segues into a dipped back and kidney panel for a windtight fit. Hardware is brass, zippers are metal. Vanson uses a specially formulated hot wax recipe dating back before WW2 to give it its distinct sheen and look. To quote Vanson, “This is a living material that changes with use and time all the while gaining a fine patina from use.”

Bottom Line

  • A MO and crowd favorite


Will a leather jacket protect you on a motorcycle?

The short answer is yes. Leather is windproof (though there are perforated versions of many jackets to keep you cool when it’s hot), some kinds of leather are waterproof, and leather is also tough enough to shrug off pebbles, bugs, and other small projectiles. Furthermore, good leather is highly abrasion-resistant, which means it will protect you from the dreaded road rash should you find yourself sliding down the road. Good motorcycle jackets also contain padding in the elbows, shoulders, and back to protect from impacts.

What makes a good leather motorcycle jacket?

Real motorcycle jackets use leather at least 0.8mm thick in impact areas (elbows, back and shoulders). The fewer the seams the better, and the critical ones should all be sewn with heavy-duty thread and top-stitched: ie., the seam is sewn, then folded over and sewn again. High-quality zippers that won’t burst open, particularly the main zipper, are required. And the safest jackets have closed-cell foam armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back, or at least pockets to accept armor.

How should a good motorcycle jacket fit?

It kind of depends. If you’re riding an unfaired motorcycle, or one with no windshield, a nice snug jacket that won’t flap around in the wind is critical. If you’re on a big touring bike with a windshield, a looser-fitting jacket won’t be a problem. Ideally, there’s room under even a snug jacket for at least one insulating layer when it cools off (some jackets come with a thermal liner). On most motorcycles, a jacket with a “drop back,” or a rear section that’s a bit longer, is nice for keeping drafts out of where they don’t belong low and six o’clock. Sleeves a bit longer than usual are good for reaching forward to handlebars, and an “action back” or sleeves gusseted at the rear, also allow you to more easily reach forward. Lately, air vests are becoming a thing, and some jackets are built to be air vest compatible. The air vest inflates with air to protect the rider’s upper body when it senses a crash.

Recently updated: August, 2022: Rukka Aramen jacket added, Spidi Super R jacket replaced by Spidi Premium jacket

Additional Resources

MO Tested: Dainese Racing 3 Perf. Leather Jacket And Delta 3 Perf. Leather Pants Review

MO Tested: Spidi Carbo Rider Jacket Review

Best Motorcycle Airbag Jackets

Best Women’s Motorcycle Jackets

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John Burns
John Burns

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2 of 19 comments
  • Amber Amber on Sep 11, 2023

    The Men's Western Jackets are the perfect addition to any motorcyclist's wardrobe. And if you're looking for a functional and stylish jacket, then the Yellowstone jacket is the one for you. Made from high-quality leather that is waterproof and breathable, this jacket is perfect for riding in any weather condition. The CORIUM+ material adds an extra layer of protection, keeping you dry even in the heaviest downpours. The six fitted, easily removable TF armor systems provide superior energy absorption in key areas, making it safe and comfortable for long rides. This jacket is a must-have for any motorcyclist who wants to look good while staying safe on the road.

  • Mic77860846 Mic77860846 on Oct 27, 2023

    I ordered this jacket from America Jackets and I must say I am amazed with the high quality and fit. You guys can also try it.