The Best Motorcycle Jeans To Keep You Safe And Look Stylish

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Denim you can wear on or off the bike

UPDATE 2/7/2023: We’ve since published a huge three-part motorcycle denim buyer’s guide that features 34 different pairs of denim, with selections for both men and women. Some of them are featured in the story below, but you can see them all by clicking over to the Buyer’s Guide.

It’s a little strange that, considering how long people have been wearing jeans and riding motorcycles, the idea of riding denim is still relatively new. Nonetheless, we’re happy apparel manufacturers far and wide have developed jeans we can wear both on and off the motorcycle. In case you’re not aware of why this is important, allow us to fill you in. Your standard pair of Levis may be really comfortable, but regular denim is terrible at protecting you if you fall off your motorcycle. When denim meets asphalt, it shreds to pieces in seconds. Not to mention that it provides no impact protection to your knees or hips.

Riding denim addresses these issues by incorporating some kind of reinforcing fiber to greatly bolster the jean’s ability to withstand road rash. Built-in pockets are made to accept different levels of armor to protect your knees and hips from impact with the ground. The tradeoff is a slightly heavier garment with a little less airflow, but overall riding jeans are a more comfortable alternative than dedicated technical riding pants.

Below are our picks for some of the best motorcycle riding jeans on the market today.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Pick: ScorpionExo Covert Jeans

Universal style and brazen protective capability make the Covert jean a uniquely versatile riding pant. With motorcycle specific features that include an abrasion-resistant fiber lining made with Kevlar and knee armor pockets, the Covert Jeans are as comfortable on the bike as they are on a Saturday night out on the town. For the fashion-forward rider who doesn’t want to sacrifice good looks with real-world protective precautions, the Covert jean is worth a look.

2. Aerostich PROTEKT Jeans

People know Aerostich for its world-famous Roadcrafter coverall suit. But did you know Aerostich makes jeans, too? These are the Protekt jeans, and while the name might be spelled a little weird, the overall fit, finish, and quality are top notch. We even wrote a review of the Protekt jeans. But if you want the elevator pitch for them here it is, straight from Aerostich:

Clean, simple, old school straight leg blue jeans…with a great trick: TF3 Impact armor-holding pockets at the knees (sold separately), accessed via a hidden zipper. Armor is removed or replaced in seconds, easily, while wearing the pants. All the rest is classic denim jean spec., with fit and cut similar to Levi’s 501s.

Specifically, these are carefully sewn of unwashed dark blue 100% cotton 14 oz denim fabric, which is a bit heavier-duty than the more common 10-12 oz denim, but it still shrinks-to-a-custom-fit after a wash or two, which makes these pants extra comfortable and wear a lot longer.

For protektion there are three generous hidden areas of abrasion resistant Breathable-Waterproof HT 500D Nylon (…as used in many Aerostich suits) located at the seat and knees. For ‘commando’ comfort this extra-abrasion-resistant fabric is backed by soft 100% cotton.

As you’d expect there are five traditional pockets, five belt loops and a reliable metal fly zipper, too. But as you wouldn’t expect, the hidden seat-protective breathable-waterproof abrasion layer means you can sit on a freshly rain-wetted saddle and not get a wet butt. Nice!

The optional knee armor is positioned in the correct location when riding, and when you’re off the bike it’s comfortably flexible and easily removable.

Stitching is double and triple wherever needed, and a crotch gusset provides extra ease and comfort that’s great when mounting up and also as you move around in the saddle.

3. KLIM K Fifty 1 Riding Pant

Klim has got an excellent reputation for its off-road apparel, but did you know the company makes riding jeans, too? With the K Fifty 1 riding jeans you get heavy-duty Cordura denim construction that combines nylon and cotton for a comfortable yet durable finish. It has a stonewashed finish and a YKK fly zipper to keep things closed. For abrasion protection, the Fifty 1 jeans feature Kevlar-reinforced panels and integrated D30 hip and knee armor to protect against impact damage. These have five pockets like normal jeans with belt loops along the waist to fine-tune the fit. There’s even a sweat-wicking comfort liner to help keep the rider comfortable.

4. Oxford Super Leggings 2.0

Technically these are not jeans, but we’re willing to give the Oxford Super Leggings 2.0 a pass. Any yogi will tell you how comfortable yoga pants are and these are the next best thing you can get to yoga pants while still having some protection on the motorcycle. They’re called Super Leggings because they are fully lined in Aramid fiber for abrasion resistance. But they also feature internal pockets for knee and hip armor, and include CE level 2 knee armor. While these leggings can be worn on their own, their thin nature allows them to be worn as a base layer under casual clothing to provide a hidden layer of protection.

5. Street & Steel Oakland Jeans

Street & Steel might not be a familiar name to some, but the Oakland jeans are a solid offering in the riding denim category with a very affordable price to boot. The traditional design blends denim with elastane to give some stretch for a comfortable fit. Aramid reinforcements throughout the seat, hips, and knees provide a huge amount of protection against road rash, while CE knee armor mitigates impact damage. The five-pocket design splits the difference between a boot cut and a straight cut, so keep that in mind before deciding.

6. REAX 267 Jeans

The slim, straight fit of the 267 Jeans from REAX achieves that classic denim look many riders want. But it also sports the traditional appearance with its 5 pocket design. But the beauty of the 267 Jeans is that it only uses a single layer of 12 oz denim to help keep it as light as possible. The denim is then blended with Dyneema and elastane for abrasion resistance and comfort. In fact, the 267 achieves a “AA” slide rating while also being super comfortable. Impact areas are triple stitched, and the included CE Level 2 knee armor uses hook and loop fasteners for full adjustability. Roll the cuffs up to six inches to expose the pantleg’s inner reflective trim – boosting nighttime visibility.

7. Bull-it Horizon Tactical Straight Fit Women's Jeans

This version of the Horizon Tactical women’s denim is actually version 2 of the popular women’s jeans, and it improves on the previous design with new recovery yarns in the stretch element of the denim. This has the double whammy of providing a better fit with superior strength. This single layer jean has been tested to CE EN17092 and comes standard with AA abrasion resistance throughout the jean’s construction.

8. Fly Racing Women's Fortress Jeans

Fly Racing began as a manufacturer of motorcycle handlebars and helmets. Since then, the brand has quickly developed into one of the fastest-growing powersports apparel brands in the market. With the women’s Fortress jeans, we have a pair of jeans cut specifically for a woman’s shape. Made from heavyweight 12-ounce Kevlar-reinforced denim with over 70% coverage, these jeans will stand up to abrasion. Impacts are absorbed with CE Level 1 knee armor. There are also pockets for detachable hip armor (sold separately). Plaid pockets add to the interior trim detail, as does the key chain attachment in the front pocket.

9. Rev'It! Victoria 2 Women's Jeans

Rev’It! makes some of the best apparel on the market, no matter your gender, and the Victoria 2 Women’s jeans are no exception. Cut specifically for a woman’s body, these jeans are constructed from 12.5oz Cordura denim and look like they belong both on the bike and off. They feature a mid waist and fit slim. The extra stretch provided in the material allow the rider to move freely no matter what kind of motorcycle they’re riding. CE level 1 knee and hip protection is included. 3M Scotchlite reflection is used to add a little more visibility to you when riding at night. Double-layer construction is something to consider if you plan to primarily wear these jeans in hot weather as they flow less air to the rider.

10. Klim K Fifty 2 Jeans

You can guess from the name that the Klim K Fifty 2 Jeans are the successor to the original K Fifty. Slight changes have given the new version stout abrasion resistance, impact coverage and style. Heavy-duty Cordura denim is backed by DuPont Kevlar panels to keep the pavement from coming through. D3O EVO knee and hip armor provide CE-level impact protection, rounded out by Poron XRDA at the tailbone. All these protective features are cleverly hidden within the pant. The Klim K Fifty 2 jeans lack any telling seam on the outside of the pants that would hint that these jeans are designed to protect motorcyclists, making these the perfect jeans to wear practically anywhere and not stand out.

Are regular jeans OK for motorcycle riding?

The short answer is no, but wearing jeans is better than wearing shorts. The reason why regular jeans are not a good choice for motorcycle riding is because denim on its own has very low tensile strength. This means regular jeans will shear and disintegrate almost immediately if you were to fall off your motorcycle at speed. This is obviously a bad thing. Jeans specifically designed for motorcycle riding are infused with materials that stand up much better to abrasion and won’t fall apart instantly.

Also, regular jeans don’t have any pockets for knee, hip, and/or shin armor that many riding jeans have. Even if you don’t fall down, this armor works great at protecting your legs, knees, and shins from any debris that might get kicked up from cars or motorcycles in front of you.

What do I need to pay attention to when choosing motorcycle jeans?

All jeans are basically the same, right? Wrong. When it comes to motorcycle jeans, there are a few details to pay attention to. First of all, make sure you’re getting dedicated riding jeans. If you’re not sure, then just pick up a set. Dedicated riding jeans are typically substantially thicker and heavier than regular denim. This is because riding denim is reinforced with some sort of material (usually Kevlar but not always) to give abrasion resistance in a crash. As we mentioned at the top of this article, regular denim will disintegrate in a flash once it makes contact with asphalt. Riding denim usually also has knee armor to mitigate impact damage between your knee and the ground. Some also have hip protectors, and if they don’t, it’s usually available as an option. Lastly, pay attention to the cut of the jeans as they may not fit over your riding boots. If you typically wear your boots over your pants this may not matter.

What should I be aware of before washing my motorcycle jeans?

Washing motorcycle jeans is a lot like washing regular jeans. In this case, be sure to remove any internal padding or armor first. Then zip or button everything that can be zipped or buttoned. Turn the jeans inside out, stick it in the wash, and set the temperature to low. Once finished let the jeans line dry. Don’t dry clean or use bleach. It’s also important to keep the Kevlar layers away from direct UV sunlight, as it can degrade the Kevlar over time.

Recent Updates: Products updated and/or replaced, FAQ added, additional resources and recent updates added

Additional Resources

MO Tested: Massive Riding Jeans Buyer’s Guide – Introduction

MO Tested: Massive Riding Jeans Buyer’s Guide – Part 2

MO Tested: Massive Riding Jeans Buyer’s Guide – Part 3

MO Tested: Massive Riding Jeans Buyer’s Guide – Part 4

Dainese D6 Denim Riding Jeans Review

MO Tested: Reax Gloves, Jacket, And Jeans

MO Tested: Riding Jeans Buyer’s Guide

MO Tested: Bull-It Jeans Review

MO Tested: Dainese Bonneville Jeans

MO Tested: Pando Moto Steel Black Jeans Review

MO Tested: Aerostich Protekt Jeans Review

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Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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2 of 6 comments
  • Alex Alex on Nov 08, 2020

    I will second Joe's recommendation of the Hood Jeans from the UK.
    First because they are tailored to your measurement.
    Second because you can specify what protectors you want or order a mix as I did (a set of lvl 1 and 2 for hips and knees so i can switch depending on what I am doing that week)
    Third because they have a full pant reinforcement unlike many of the models here but still do a good job of not overheating.
    Fourth because they beat or match the Klim at 70% of the price.

    I ordered mine on a Friday and received them within a week (shipped from UK to Romania.)

  • TC TC on Nov 10, 2020

    Don't forget the grandaddy of kevlar jeans, Draggin' Jeans. Also, if you are going to plug your sponsor's product, include the price.