You don’t need a motorcycle—or even a motorcycle license, for that matter—to wear one of the best leather biker jackets for men. It’s something that everyone should own at least once in their lifetime, because no single item of clothing can kick your confidence and charisma up a notch quite like a great leather moto. From the skintight downtown cool of the Ramones to the steely grit of Arnold in The Terminator, the leather biker jacket comes imbued with an aura of gasoline-soaked bravado you just can’t get anywhere else.
But what separates the absolute best leather biker jackets from the rest of the pack? It all comes down to material. The last thing you want is to be the guy in the squeaky, cheapo leather—you want a jacket so supremely well-made and recognizably luxe that it looks like it’ll long outlive you. You want full-grain leathers, the richest of suedes, and vegan leather substitutes that won’t do more harm to the earth than the genuine article. That’s exactly what you’ll find on this list. Whether you’re after a Brando-esque classic, a far-out spin, or something in between, we’ve got 21 of the absolute best leather biker jackets for men right here and ready for the taking.
The Real-Deal Original Pick
When you hear the words “motorcycle jacket,” this is the one you picture. Schott invented the leather motorcycle jacket in 1928, near the dawn of the modern motorcycle itself, and has been making the quintessential version ever since. The New York label’s iconic Perfecto jacket—the very moto Brando wore in The Wild One—is as practical as it is handsome: the asymmetrical zip allows for one-handed use while riding; the collar snaps keep them from flapping in the wind; the angled chest pocket is large enough to hold a map; the cuff zippers and waist belt help keep the elements out; the bi-swing shoulders allow for a full range of motion. Add in Schott’s signature heavy-duty steerhide, and you’ve got yourself a jacket built to last decades—if not longer—and never once feel out of style.
The Modern Grail Pick
Back in 2013, in his very first collection for Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane absolutely nailed the designer biker jacket. His updated take on Schott’s Perfecto style was slick and streamlined and all kinds of luxe, and it instantly found legions of famous fans, from Daft Punk to Jeff Goldblum. When Slimane took the reigns at Celine in 2018, he brought the silhouette with him and improved it even further: the cut is a touch more relaxed and classic, the calfskin is rich and lush, the hardware is gleaming and heavyweight and tough as all hell.
The Outlaw Pick
We’ve written before about this legendary jacket’s badass credentials—how it was once nearly banned from competitions by the American Motorcyclist Association, and how it went on to directly influence the likes of Supreme and Kapital. But what truly makes it special is, ahem, in the bones. Vanson still crafts all of its jackets by hand in its Fall River, Massachusetts workshop, which means a highly-skilled craftsperson single-handedly sews on each intricate detail of the skeleton with exacting precision. It takes a whole lot of time and effort to look this impossibly mean.
The Bang-For-Your-Buck Pick
Buck Mason’s Bruiser jacket might sound tough, but its supple, lightweight lambskin outer actually lands it among the easiest to break in and wear on this list. This relatively affordable banger has been specially tanned and dyed to keep getting better with age: over the years, a beautiful brown patina will slowly reveal itself beneath the black top layer. The silhouette takes cues from vintage classics like the Schott Perfecto, but it’s cut just a tad longer for a more modern fit.
The Green-In-Every-Sense Pick
This jacket is as green as it gets—and we’re not just talking about the alluring color. It’s made from organically-grown cactus plants, a far eco-friendlier option than the polyurethane (read: plastic) textiles that are often branded as “vegan leather.” The result is a durable material that is remarkably similar to leather, with a buttery hand and soft, pliable feel. To top it off right, Deadwood also fashioned the silky smooth lining from recycled plastic bottles. If you’re looking for a jacket that’ll make you feel as good inside as it does out, this is the way to go.
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