The best motorcycle riding jackets are as handsome as they are protective and practical. A motorcycle jacket’s primary purpose is to protect you from elements and physical harm in the saddle (and out of it), so choosing one simply based on looks is a bad idea. But that doesn’t preclude you from finding one that’s both safe and stylish.
Picking the right riding jacket starts with assessing your riding needs, and it’s entirely likely you’ll need more than one jacket depending on the kind of riding you’re doing (street, touring, adventure) and the weather (hot, dry, wet). Keep in mind that when it’s hot outside, pretty much any proper motorcycle jacket will be uncomfortable when you come to a stop–especially leather jackets. But if safety is a priority, then you’ll make sacrifices. Riding style, conditions, and comfort will play the biggest roles in determine the cut, materials, and properties of the right motorcycling jacket for you.
Also, keep in mind that the more comfortable your riding jacket is, the more likely you are to actually wear it, and that’s the whole point. It doesn’t do you any good to plunk down hundreds of dollars and have it just hang in your closet while your bacon goes unprotected.
The Best Riding Jackets You Can Buy Right Now
Dainese Sheffield D-Dry XT
Nobody really likes riding in the wet, but it happens. This is where a good waterproof jacket can keep your focus on the road ahead and the conditions all around you. The Sheffield D-Dry XT is both waterproof and breathable thanks to the excellent D-Dry XT membrane. It’s also provides excellent mobility in the saddle via the stretchy fabric. On top of that, there’s a zip-in thermal lining for colder climes. The numerous pockets are also waterproof, so your precious gear won’t get soaked. Finally, and most importantly, there are Pro-Shape 2.0 certified soft protectors on the shoulders and elbows, but you’d never notice from looking at it, which makes the Sheffield great for wear even when you’re not riding.
The Divide Jacket is easily one of the best long-range adventure riding jackets on the market. Not only does it provide CE-certified D30 armor, but it also has double-layer fabric at vulnerable points to bolster protection. To boot, most of the jacket is highly adjustable including cinchable neck gaiter and hem, adjustable arm and waist tabs, and wind cuffs. You can even open and close the front of the Divide with one hand on the integrated thumb loops. There’s also reflective piping on the back and sleeves for excellent nighttime visibility. Add the Divide Pants, and you can zip them into the jacket for a full body suit. It’s one of the few ADV moto jackets that looks both utilitarian and stylish, at the same time.
Roland Sands Clash Jacket CE
We love the vintage styling that Roland Sands puts into its leather moto jackets. The Clash mimics 1950s moto style with its asymmetric front zipper and sublime quilted stitching on the upper arm and lower back. The body is made with premium GT racer top-grain oiled and waxed cowhide leather that looks especially good in the brand’s signature Tobacco color. It even gets metal riveted elbows for protection and style (and self defense?). Comfort comes by way of rotated and pre-curved sleeves and a relaxed collar that won’t bind when it’s fully closed. This is one jacket that seems tailor made for riding a vintage café racer. Finally, the Clash CE is so named for its CE-certfied SAS-TEC flex elbow and shoulder armor, so it’s far more than just a stylish leather jacket, but it’s nicely outfitted to protect you, as well.
The Crosby is a classic British motorcycle jacket that looks equally good in the saddle and out. The four pocket, hip-length field jacket is crafted from waxed cotton and then bolstered by a waterproof membrane for inclement weather riding. There are plenty of external pockets, a soft cotton lining, an adjustable cuff gusset with snaps, and even rubber-coated lower snaps to avoid scratching your trusty steed. On the safety side, there are CE-approved removable soft protectors at the shoulders and elbows, and there’s also a back protector pocket. You can even snap in Belstaff vests for added insulation to extend the riding season.
Rev’it Airwave 3
If it’s a summer riding jacket you need, this is it. It’s made to manage hot weather riding while still providing ample protection. The mesh ventilation panels in the chest back and sleeve panels provide excellent levels of airflow as you ride, and the heavy-duty ripstop nylon at the shoulders and elbows is highly protective against abrasions. The Airwave 3 also has Seesmart CE level 1 armor and can accommodate Seesoft back and chest protectors for added protection. The style is clean and unobtrustive with slit chest pockets and subtle but practical adjustment straps for a good fit.
Merlin Chase Jacket
The clean styling of this leather moto jacket is inspired by street tracker bikes from yesteryear. The trim cut cowhide leather looks great on or off the bike, and its classic styling means it will look good for years. The pinback collar, four external pockets, and the zip cuffs add practicality and moto polish. The Chase might not look like more than just a fashion statement, but it houses a removable thermal vest for added warmth, CE level 2 shoulder and elbow armor, and a rear pocket for a supplemental back protector if so desired. You don’t have to suffer when it gets hot, nor do you have to compromise your safety in the process.
SPIDI Originals Enduro
Italy’s SPIDI Originals Enduro is another excellent summer motorcycle jacket that’s imbued with a blend of touring and café racer style in a hip-length high-tenacity textile jacket. The mesh liner provides good airflow for hotter riding conditions, and the level of protection provides more than just peace of mind. It gets Warrior Lite shoulder and Forcetech elbow removable protectors and a space for optional Warrior Back protectors are optional. Four large snap closure exterior pockets provide room for necessary gear, and reflective piping keep you visible in traffic.
Schott NYC Racer Black Horsehide Leather Motorcycle Jacket
If you’re not keen on wearing armor, you can go with a classic motorcycle jacket that’s made of incredibly tough and durable horsehide. Schott takes the classic Perfecto café racer and adds horsehide leather to change up the look and feel. The thick, smooth leather takes time to break in, but the quality and construction are peerless. The single back panel is made from a huge piece of leather, and the snap collar and adjustable waist tabs ensure a great fit. The Bi-Swing back and underarm footballs add mobility, and the quilted lining brings both comfort and warmth. This is one moto jacket that will get worn all the time.