Can you get stylish leather motorcycle jackets with armor?

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The leather jacket has been a style icon for bikers and those who embrace the on-the-road lifestyle for decades now, loved for its versatility, protection, comfort and cool looks.

Genuine leather motorcycle jackets don’t just look the part for bikers - they also act as an extra layer of protection against abrasion from the road in the event of an accident. To ensure greater safety, many motorcycle leather jackets nowadays are fitted with impact-absorbing armor, making them the ultimate combination of style, comfort, and protection. 

This article explains more about leather motorcycle jackets with armor, and offers advice on how to find the best option for you and your riding style. 

Why wear a leather motorcycle jacket? 

Leather motorcycle jackets are one of the most widely recognised pieces of biker clothing. The hard-wearing nature of leather, combined with its abrasion resistance and ability to be waterproofed with waxes or oils have made this the material of choice for almost a century. 

Nowadays, leather jackets also offer additional protection, with impact-resistant pads built in to protect key areas such as the back, shoulders, elbows, and chest. Many motorcyclists see a leather jacket as an investment, both in terms of style and protection while out riding. The durability, comfort and safety offered by leather jackets makes it easy to see why they’ve remained popular.

Why choose a leather motorcycle jacket with armor?

Although leather will keep motorcyclists safe from most cuts, scratches, or other abrasions in the event of an accident, it does not offer protection from impact on its own. Armored leather motorcycle jackets have lightweight, flexible impact protection pads placed in the areas most vulnerable in the event of a collision, such as the back, chest, shoulders and elbows. 

This protection makes it less likely for motorcyclists to experience serious injuries during a crash, such as bone fractures or extensive soft tissue damage, without hampering their enjoyment or performance on the road. Choosing a leather motorcycle jacket with built-in armor, you can enjoy your time on the bike, look good, and stay protected. 

How to find the best leather motorcycle jacket with armor 

It's essential that you purchase a genuine motorcycle jacket to stay comfortable and protected on the road - not a high-street lookalike. Wherever possible, visit a motorcycle store or research brands online to make sure you find the best option for your needs. A few things to keep in mind while on your search include:

  • Impact protection. Depending on the type of riding you plan on doing, you will need different levels of support and protection. Look for D3O® impact protection and motorcycle-specific technology that is designed and tested to offer the correct levels of safety in the event of a crash or fall. This is especially important if you’re planning on venturing out into tough terrain or riding at high speed on the track. Check you have impact protection in your jacket that covers the back, shoulders and elbows as a minimum. If it doesn’t come with impact protection included, this can be bought separately. 
  • CE and UKCA certification. This indicates that the padding conforms to the relevant protection standards. CE Level 1 offers a more standard level of protection (suitable for commuting and casual riders), whereas CE Level 2 is the highest level of safety, used by track racing motorcyclists and others who require a higher level of impact protection. Choose the level that best suits your needs. 
  • Comfortable fit. Although you might think that one-size-fits-all when it comes to leather jackets, there are plenty of styles out there to suit your look. It’s important to make sure the impact protection is in the right place, so choose a close fit that offers optimum coverage without restricting your movement. The jacket should come right down to your hips, sleeves should cover your wrists, and the collar should secure comfortably.
  • Extra details. Zip closure storage pockets, removable thermal linings, choice of colors, and reflective strips all offer extra bonuses, just don’t sacrifice substance for style. Safety should be your number one priority when purchasing a motorcycle jacket.


The best leather motorcycle jackets with armor

With so many brands, options, and styles, it can be hard to find the leather motorcycle jacket with armor for you. Fortunately, D3O partners with the best in the business to offer high levels of protection and timeless biker style. 

Furygan Shana Jacket

Made from 100% waxed cowhide leather, the Shana jacket has all the style and durability you’d expect from a classic leather jacket. Its soft-touch, shiny finish and slim fit make it a comfortable and cool choice for female motorcyclists. A removable thermal lining, waterproof outer, and abrasion-resistant materials make this jacket suitable in all weather. Rated AA and CE EN1621-1 for protection, it features D3O® impact protection in the shoulders and elbows, and a built-in back pocket that’s Furygan D3O® back protector-ready for extra reassurance. 

Harley-Davidson Big Sur Leather Jacket

From one of the heritage motorcycle brands comes the classic Big Sur leather jacket. Constructed from midweight flexible buffalo leather, it features fit-and-forget D3O® Ghost™ Level 1 shoulder and elbow armor, with a pocket to insert a back protection for extra peace of mind. With a boxy rugged silhouette and pre-curved sleeves, this jacket is comfortable and stylish to wear, with retro flair in the embroidered brand name across the back and shoulder. Subtle reflective piping adds an extra safety element, while zippered cuffs allow extra ventilation and adjustment. 

Rukka Yorkton Jacket

If you love urban riding, you’ll love the Yorkton Jacket. Adjustable hems and sleeves, accordion stretch panels and two internal and external pockets make this comfortable and practical to wear. Easy to clean and with high abrasion resistance, the cow leather outer is supported by D3O® Level 1 shoulder and elbow protectors, and a pocket for optional back protection. A perfect choice for casual and commuter riders looking for everyday wear and the best in protection. 

Richa Laura Jacket

For a stylish leather motorcycle jacket with a luxurious finish and sporty fit, the Laura jacket is a perfect option. Stretch panels help to give the jacket a close, secure fit, with adjustable straps and soft collar and sleeve finishes for extra comfort. A removable thermal lining, perforated leather for ventilation and mesh inserts make the leather breathable in hot weather and warm in the cold, so it can be used all year round. With extra safety stitching, built-in level 1 D3O® shoulder and elbow protection, and optional back and chest inserts, this jacket is durable and protective as well as biker-chic.  

Rokker Commander Leather Jacket

If you’re looking for the latest in protection included as standard, together with the classic biker look, you can’t go wrong with the Rokker Commander leather jacket. This premium motorcycle jacket features uber-popular D3O® Ghost™ level 1 body armor at the shoulders, elbows and back, offering fit-and-forget protection. Rated AAA for overall safety, the Commander jacket is 100% flexible waxed cowhide leather, and features pleats and an ergonomic shape designed for maximum comfort while riding. 


How to wash a leather motorcycle jacket

Although leather motorcycle jackets can take a significant amount of wear and tear before they need cleaning, to keep them looking their best, it’s important that motorcyclists care for their jackets regularly. Leather motorcycle jackets are not machine washable and should only be cleaned using specialist wipes and products. 

To clean your jacket, first take out any liners or removable armor. Check their labels or care instructions to find out how to keep them clean. As a general rule, it is recommended that D3O® protectors are removed carefully from the garment and are wipe-clean only, using a damp cloth. Use leather care wipes to get rid of any dirt or grime from your jacket, before applying leather cleaning products in small amounts with a soft microfibre cloth and leaving it to air dry. Apply conditioning creams or oils after cleaning to protect the leather and keep your jacket in top condition, looking good and protecting you against the elements for the long run. 

Are leather motorcycle jackets waterproof?

Although leather provides some natural water resistance, this will only be effective for light or occasional rain showers. In some cases, extra waterproofing through products can be added to a leather jacket, but this won’t keep motorcyclists dry in the case of a heavy downpour. To have complete protection from wet conditions, having a light, fully waterproof layer to wear over the top of a leather jacket is recommended. 

Do leather motorcycle jackets stretch?

Leather is a tough and strong material. This means that, although it has some flexibility, it doesn’t offer much stretch. If you’re choosing a leather motorcycle jacket, you need to make sure it provides a comfortable fit that’s large enough to allow free movement without being too heavy or loose. A poorly fitted jacket means protective armor won’t be in the right place.