Best Motorcycle Jackets in 2020: All the Wind-Protection You Need

Last updated: April 07, 2020
Best Overall
Windproof, Well-Armored and Adjustable
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Best Budget
Reflective, Breathable and Water-Repellent
Read Review
Best Leather
Stylish, Resistant to Cold and Lots of Storage Space
Read Review
Best With Armor
Unmatched Protection, Light and Comfortable
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Best Waterproof
Affordable, Warm and Resistant to All Elements
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Your guide

Having the proper gear and equipment when riding a motorcycle is of the utmost importance. All other things aside, this is a potentially dangerous activity. Proper training, experience, and riding carefully can minimize the chances of an accident – but if the worst comes to pass, you want the best possible protection.

You’re already aware of the importance of wearing a helmet or using a motorcycle chain lube – but a good jacket is no less important. Specialized motorcycle jackets go way back – nowadays, they are cutting-edge pieces of equipment, tailor-made for maximum comfort and safety. 

So with all of that in mind, it’s obvious that regular jackets just won’t cut it. This is an important purchase – an investment that can pay off in ways that go far beyond getting your money’s worth. 

Top 5 Motorcycle Jackets

Motorcycling goes far beyond a hobby or fun pastime – it’s a lifestyle, a world of its own, with a rich, alluring subculture that has something for everyone. It takes time, dedication, and skill – but those that take the plunge don’t ever seem to regret it.

motorcycle jacket helmet and gloves

It’s a wide, wide world – from commuting and motocross riding to trail riding and adventure touring, motorcycling comes in all shapes and sizes. But no matter if you’re a casual rider, or a committed, diehard biker, some things always take precedence. The most important of these is safety.

Well-made motorcycle jackets are comfortable, breathable, and resistant to the elements. But above all, they offer safety. Protection is the name of the game – it’s the one area that differentiates a motorcycling jacket from a regular one. We wouldn’t recommend even getting on a motorcycle without a good jacket. All things considered, it’s a small investment – and our reviews can help you make your choice. 

We looked at materials, comfort, resistance to the elements and price to bring you a list of the five best motorcycle jackets. So, without further ado, let’s meet our contenders.

1. Best Overall - BORLENI

Specifications:

  • Weight →  3.62 lb
  • Material → 600D polyester fabric
  • Armor → EVA
  • Armored Segments → Shoulders, elbows, back

Key Features:

  • Windproof cotton liner
  • 5 armor inserts
  • Adjustable cuff and collar 
  • Built-in belt

Borleni Motorcycle Jacket Review

Different motorcycle jackets fill different niches. Some are more suited to casual riding, some are a great choice for bad weather, and some are quite heavily armored.

Depending on your needs, any number of jackets could be a great choice. But most products tend to focus on one or two areas, while the rest can easily seem like an afterthought.

So, what if you simply don’t want to compromise? Well, you’re in luck. Plenty of manufacturers take a holistic approach, focusing equally on all features. These jackets don’t have any drawbacks when looking at the bigger picture.

For our best overall pick, we’ve selected a jacket that does it all. Borleni’s motorcycle jacket is a fantastic all-rounder that covers all the bases. Let’s take a closer look.

Design and Materials

Borleni’s jacket has a striking, remarkable design, reminiscent of professional racing gear. The jacket is available in two-tone red/black and blue/black, as well as full black color.

The outer shell is made from a high-performance abrasion-resistant and windproof 600D polyester fabric. Weighing in at 3.62 pounds, the jacket isn’t heavy or restrictive, and the polyester mesh cloth lining is quite snug and comfortable.

The jacket features an adjustable belt to improve fit. A set of two buttons per arm allows you to regulate tightness in that area, and the cuffs have velcro straps to maximize wrist comfort.

The low-profile design of the zipper might make it seem as if  this area was neglected, but the zipper is quite ergonomic, robust, and durable. The collar is fastened with a simple two-button strap.

Borleni’s motorcycle jacket also comes with a removable windproof cotton liner. The liner provides excellent heat retention. The jacket features two large external pockets that provide ample storage space.

Soundly designed and utilizing high-quality materials, Borleni’s jacket is a durable, comfortable, and sturdy piece of kit that will last for a very long time.

Versatility and Protection

Now let’s move on the performance side of things. Borleni’s jacket offers versatile performance – it isn’t quite an all-season jacket, but it can still handle most weather conditions easily. It’s best suited for autumn and light winter, due to the fantastic thermal liner, but removing it can just as easily make it a great jacket for warmer months.

Once the liner is removed, the jacket is decently breathable, but nothing too extraordinary. Still, the combination of comfort, adjustable hem, cuff, collar, and arms, together with that breathability, makes for very enjoyable spring or summer biking.

Borleni’s motorcycle jacket features several pockets that are meant to hold the armor inserts. These five pieces are made from EVA materials and protect the elbows, shoulders, and back. The foam inserts are light, sturdy, and unrestrictive, so the range of motion won’t present an issue.

The armor inserts are well-made and offer a decent amount of protection, but seeing as how they are inserted into dedicated pockets, the jacket can also be used with some more heavy-duty armor.

A good choice no matter the season, this form-fitting jacket is a trustworthy companion for the road. Ready to meet any challenge, Borleni’s durable jacket doesn’t compromise – from fit and comfort to armor and durability, absolutely nothing about this jacket is subpar. If that sounds appealing to you, be sure to give Borleni’s jacket a closer look.

Pros
  • Solid armor
  • Great for cold weather
  • Adjustable fit
  • Ergonomic and comfortable
Cons
  • Average breathability
  • Velcro straps on wrists slightly short

2. Best Budget - Ironside

Specifications:

  • Weight →  3.9 lb
  • Material → 600D Polyester Cordura mesh fabric
  • Armor → CE approved
  • Armored Segments → Shoulders, elbows, upper & lower back

Key Features:

  • Reflective piping
  • Armored segments
  • Zippered ventilation vents 
  • Adjustable waist and cuff Velcro strap 

Viking Cycle Ironside Jacket Review

We firmly stand behind every jacket on this list – and although they may be reasonably priced, some might just be out of your price range. But there’s no need to worry – if you’re on a tight budget, we’ve got you covered. 

Viking Cycle’s Ironside jacket is a great piece of kit – breathable, ergonomic, light, and armored. But the price makes it stand out – perhaps more than any other jacket on this list, this one truly is a high-value purchase.

If you don’t have a lot of cash to spare, or simply want to dip your toes in the water, so to speak, then the Ironside is for you.

Design, Materials, Comfort

Viking Cycle’s jacket features a simple, clean-cut design. The primary color covers the torso and back, while the siders, shoulders, back of the arms and chest pockets are in black. The Ironside is available in three colors – silver, red, black, and high-visibility fluorescent green.

Speaking of visibility, the piping on the shoulders, chest, and back is reflective. The jacket features a simple zipper closure system, together with two zippers on the chest area. The Ironside features four roomy pockets in total – two on the outside, and two on the inside.

The Ironside is made from a light, durable 600D Polyester Cordura mesh fabric. The sizing, design, and material lend themselves to a snug, form-fitting feeling. 

You won’t have any issues with maneuverability – this is a light, flexible jacket that allows for a full range of motion. Comfort-wise, the Ironside shines – at times, it’s easy to forget that you’re wearing a jacket at all.

One thing that we particularly appreciate is the adjustability of the Ironside. Velcro straps on the wrists – that’s to be expected, but this jacket also features an adjustable waist strap and snap button closures on the arms.

It might seem minor, but these features allow for a lot of versatility – you can customize the fit to a great degree, tweaking individual segments to your liking.

Breathable, Armored, Water Repellent

So, how does everything up to this point translate into performance? The Ironside was made with cooling as a priority – the mesh portions cover the strategic areas which are key to good ventilation – the torso, arms, and back. 

This is further improved by the two zippered ventilation vents which are located on the chest. They can easily be opened with one hand, and allow you to comfortably ride even on the hottest summer days, without the distraction of sweat.

The Ironside also features several armored segments that can help keep you safe from harm should the worst happen. These CE approved armor segments are form-fitting and light – and aren’t bulky in the slightest. 

This is a tradeoff – the armored parts aren’t restrictive or uncomfortable, but won’t provide as much protection as a bulkier jacket. Thankfully, the reinforced parts are well-placed, protecting the upper and lower back as well as the shoulders and elbows.

With not that much armor to go around, the design wisely prioritizes protecting the spine and joints.

The 100% 600D Polyester Cordura PU coated fabric is wrinkle-free and water repellent. It can handle light and medium showers easily – but keep in mind that waterproof and water repellent aren’t the same thing.

If you get caught in heavier rain, you will absolutely get soaked – thankfully, your phone and anything else that may be in your pockets will be kept safe.

The Ironside truly is a solid all-rounder – it excels only in comfort and breathability, and lacks only in armor. But for most things, and looking at the bigger picture, it’s a great jacket overall.

A more than decent entry-level product with a very affordable price point, this great value purchase is one you should consider if you’re on a tight budget.

Pros
  • Extremely affordable
  • Breathable
  • Pocket space
  • Great adjustable fit
Cons
  • Not extensively armored
  • Can’t handle cold temperatures

3. Best Leather - Milwaukee

Specifications:

  • Weight →  5.6 lb
  • Material → Full-grain cowhide
  • Armor → N/A (Leather is only abrasion resistant)
  • Armored Segments → None

Key Features:

  • Classic retro design
  • Side lace
  • 1.3mm thick leather 
  • Full sleeve thermal liner

Milwaukee Leather Motorcycle Jacket Review

When we think of motorcycle jackets, the first thing that comes to mind is leather. The classic, leather jacket-wearing image of a biker is impossible to escape.

Leather jackets are a staple and a classic – for good reason. Durable, tough, and resistant to cuts and abrasions, leather jackets fill a particular niche in the world of biking gear.

We’ve chosen the Milwaukee leather motorcycle jacket as our pick in this category. The classic, timeless look is made even more impressive with a few modern adjustments. If you’re gunning for that old-fashioned, vintage look, but don’t want to sacrifice performance, consider this jacket.

Classic Design

First, let’s cover the design. Milwaukee Leather’s features a zipper that isn’t centered but rather pulls to the right. 

The jacket is made from premium milled full-grain cowhide leather and has some weight to it. To be more precise, the jacket weighs 5.6 lbs – this might sound like a lot, but we wouldn’t call the jacket heavy.

You’ll definitely notice it’s there, but the weight doesn’t restrict – in fact, we’d wager to say that it helps inspire confidence.

The jacket also features two short zippers at each wrist, allowing you to adjust it for more comfort. The two lower zippered pockets are quite spacious, and the jacket also has an additional, snap-close ticket book pocket. Milwaukee Leather’s jacket also has a built-in waist belt and belt buckle.

The jacket also has a corset-like side lace detail that can help you achieve the proper fit. And speaking of the fit, make sure to order one size up – this is a recommendation from Milwaukee Leather themselves, and they know best.

Overall, this is a very well-designed jacket. Durable, comfortable, and with plenty of storage space, Milwaukee Leather’s jacket blends both style and utility into a single package.

High-Quality Materials, Useful Features

The premium milled full-grain cowhide used in the jacket’s construction is 1.2 – 1.3mm thick. That is quite thick – meaning it’s also durable and long-lasting.

The jacket also features a good amount of insulation, owing to the full sleeve zip out thermal liner. Naturally, this means that the jacket will require some breaking in – but all leather does.

The thickness of the jacket, together with the thermal liner allows it to help you retain a lot of heat. It won’t be able to handle the coldest winter periods, but the jacket is very warm.

To make this boon even greater, we recommend treating the jacket with a water-proofing leather conditioner to help it combat the effects of rain.

The zippers, pockets, and side laces are very robust and built to last. The belt is the only part of the design which has a drawback – it isn’t as durable as the rest of the jacket.

If you pick the proper size, the leather is very form-fitting and isn’t too restrictive despite the weight. There is one important note to make here – leather jackets might be a staple of biking culture, but they don’t offer adequate protection from falls. 

Leather can offer abrasion protection for your skin, but the lack of armor means that it won’t protect your spine, joints, or arms from impacts. With that in mind, leather jackets are still a fantastic choice for commuting, particularly when it’s colder.

We’re very impressed with this jacket. With just one tiny drawback – the belt, this is still a fantastic product, made even better by the price. Most leather jackets can easily cost more than $300 – this jacket offers the same, and in some respects an even greater level of quality, for a much more reasonable price.

Pros
  • Stylish
  • Warm
  • Lots of storage space
  • Great price
Cons
  • No armored segments
  • Not waterproof on its own

4. Best With Armor - GuTe

Specifications:

  • Weight →  2.3 lb
  • Material → Synthetic mesh fabric
  • Armor → PE and EVA
  • Armored Segments → Chest, shoulders, elbows, forearms, back

Key Features:

  • Articulating spine protection
  • High-density padding
  • Comfortable synthetic fabric 
  • Large, adjustable belt

Gute Protective Jacket Review

On average, any type of motorcycle jacket will offer more protection than your standard-fare jacket. But if you’re engaged in the more challenging forms of biking, or simply want to make sure that you’re as safe as possible, you want to go with an armored jacket.

Jackets of this type are very well-padded and feature a lot of hard-shelled surfaces that can help absorb the impact of a crash or fall. We’ve chosen GuTe’s armored jacket – a true modern-day suit of armor, fit for any motorized steed. Let’s take a look at the factors that went into our decision.

Comfort and Fit

Before we move on to the actual armor and its properties, let’s handle the basic questions all jackets face. Is GuTe’s intimidating-looking jacket comfortable underneath all that armor, and does it fit well?

Short answer – yes. If you want the long answer, keep reading.

The interior of the jacket is made from light, elastic, and durable synthetic mesh fabric. The soft mesh is very comfortable and breathable, combatting both sweat and stiffness. 

At the same time, the high-density foam padding is quite elastic and ergonomic. The padding isn’t too heavy either – it doesn’t sacrifice protection and manages to retain both comfort, mobility, and good resistance to cold temperatures.

The adjustable velcro belt allows you to optimize fit and pressure at the stomach and kidneys, while the collar and cuffs are made from a blend of elastic lycra and mesh fabric.

The zipper is made from polyformaldehyde – that might sound scary, but it only translates to a lot of durability. The zipper has been approved and tested to last for ten thousand uses without suffering any wear or tear.

The jacket also features thumbholes at the ends of the arms, allowing for a somewhat more stable grip and a secure, fixed, but relaxed hand and wrist position on bike handlebars.

As per the manufacturer’s advice, we’d recommend you order 1 or 2 sizes up from your regular size – but thankfully, the sizing chart can help you figure out exactly which size you need.

Protection, Protection, Protection

So, let’s move on to the main question, concern, and selling point – the armor. As soon as you look at GuTe’s jacket, it’s clear that it isn’t just an armored jacket – it’s a heavily-armored jacket.

One thing we haven’t talked about yet is the weight. At first glance, it might seem as if the jacket were a titanic behemoth – sturdy and robust, yes, but also heavy and encumbering.

You can put your mind at ease – the jacket weighs only 2.3 lbs – less than half of the weight of our best leather jacket pick. 

Though even 2.3 lb is nothing to scoff at, and the hard shell armor segments definitely make you notice the jacket – it truly isn’t heavy or encumbering by any stretch of the imagination.

The armor segments are made from high impact PE plastic and EVA materials. The armor segments cover the chest, back, shoulders, elbows, and forearms. 

The armor is tough, solid, and firm – when combined with the internal padding, it offers an enormous amount of protection.

The back segment also features a series of articulating plastic shields for added protection. If you so wish, you can also remove the back part using the two zippers and velcro strap which secure it – but we wouldn’t recommend doing so for any reason.

So, to sum our impression up – GuTe’s product is a comfortable, breathable, and heavy-duty jacket. This stylish, futuristic-looking suit of armor is just as impressive as it looks. If you’re after the maximum, protection-wise, look no further.

Pros
  • Unparalleled protection
  • Ergonomic and light
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Spine protection on the stiffer side
  • The padding is great – but could stand to be slightly thicker

5. Best Waterproof - HHR HWK

Specifications:

  • Weight →  4.2 lb
  • Material → 600D Cordura
  • Armor → CE approved
  • Armored Segments → Shoulders, Elbow, Back

Key Features:

  • Waterproof Reissa membrane
  • Ventilation panels
  • Insulated thermal lining 
  • Waist zipper

HHR HWK Motorcycle Jacket Review

The open road is just as appealing whether it’s snowing, raining, or scorching hot. But not all weather conditions are created equal – some are lovely, some are simply nuisances, and some pose a much higher risk than others. Rain poses some of the biggest challenges in biking.

Slippery roads and low visibility are bad enough on their own – but getting soaked can be a huge safety risk. Retaining a firm grip and not being distracted when you’re completely wet is nigh-impossible.

But this can be solved – a waterproof motorcycle jacket goes a long way in counteracting these problems. Let’s take a look at our top pick in this category.

Premium Design

The HWK motorcycle jacket features a simple yet eye-catching design. Available in black, blue, grey, and red, the jacket’s outer shell is made from a polyester 600D Cordura fabric.

This comfortable jacket features a waist connection zipper, allowing you to seamlessly connect it to your motorcycle pants of choice for added comfort and resistance to the elements. All of the jacket’s zippers are well-made and durable.

On the other end of the jacket, the neoprene-lined and velcro-adjustable collar is quite comfortable, minimizing the chances of rashes or irritation. The cuffs also feature adjustable velcro straps.

The HWK jacket also has a set of arm and waist adjusters, allowing to achieve the desired fit as if it was specifically tailored for you. 

The HWK logos on the chest, arms, and back are reflective, and so is the piping which stretches from the wrists to the collar – giving you a slightly larger degree of visibility. 

The shoulder areas feature two ventilation panels, which increases breathability. Speaking of breathability, the mesh lining in the interior is quite breathable by itself.

We’re also impressed with the storage space – two zipper pockets on the outside, and two quite roomy internal pockets.

This is a comfortable, well-designed jacket. As far as fit goes, the manufacturer recommends choosing one size larger than your regular – but only if you’re between sizes.

A Versatile Waterproof Jacket For All Seasons

Let’s move on to the meat of the matter. Although we chose HWK’s jacket as our pick for the best waterproof category, this is an all-season jacket. There’s not much to explain there – it’s a good choice no matter the season – but let’s expand upon that point to see why that is so.

The HWK motorcycle jacket features removable insulated thermal lining. The lining does an impressive job of keeping you warm, and removing it further improves breathability for the hotter periods of the year.

The polyester 600D Cordura outer shell has a waterproof Reissa membrane sandwiched between it. The resin-coated membrane is extremely thin but durable and highly resistant to both rain, wind, and snow at the same time. The HWK jacket holds up equally well in all possible weather conditions.

The jacket also features CE armored shoulders and elbows. While the armor is decent and solid, it isn’t too thick. The armoring doesn’t affect maneuverability, but also doesn’t offer too much protection – but it is a welcome bonus nonetheless.

Likewise, the high-density foam padding on the front and back isn’t too robust but still helps with overall safety.

And we would be remiss not to mention the price – such a well-made, all-around solid and waterproof product could easily fetch a pretty penny, but HWK’s motorcycle jacket is insanely affordable when you look at the value, quality, and versatility that you’ll be getting.

Pros
  • Resistant to all weather conditions
  • Good armored segments
  • Comfortable padding
  • Adjustable fit
Cons
  • Average breathability overall
  • Velcro could be more durable

Motorcycle Jackets: Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of Motorcycle Jackets?

Motorcycle jackets are made with biking in mind, so they provide a host of benefits. They’re durable and sturdy and often feature breathable and reflective materials.

The rugged materials and armor used in these jackets provide protection from abrasions, impacts, wind, rain, and low temperatures. There’s no comparison between such jackets and regular ones - unsurprisingly, motorcycle jackets are the only jackets fit for biking.

How Do I Measure My Size When Picking a Jacket?

Use a measuring tape, measure the fullest part of your chest, which is just underneath the arms while standing normally. Keep in mind that you should be wearing the sort of clothes you will be wearing underneath the jacket - depending on the season, that could be a regular t-shirt or even several layers of clothing.

Once that’s done, do the same thing but measure the fullest part of your stomach, just slightly above the navel. These two measurements should be all the information you need. Always check the sizing charts, and check the jacket’s fit - a lot of companies are aware and will let you know if their product tends towards the smaller or larger side.

Is Wearing a Jacket Without Armor Ok?

Ideally, a motorcycle jacket should have armor. One common exception is classic leather jackets - but these aren’t exactly motorcycle jackets per se, though they do often take on that role.

If you’re not intent on purchasing a leather jacket, don’t bother with products that don’t have armor. If you do purchase a leather jacket without armor, make sure to purchase elbow guards or pads, and look into strap-on armor pieces.

How Should Motorcycle Jackets Fit?

There’s no easy way to gauge or define this but focus on comfort. Even the best motorcycle jacket is worthless if you’re not comfortable while wearing it.

Motorcycle jackets should provide a secure, snug fit with a full range of motion. If you’re considering a leather jacket, also keep in mind that leather has to be broken in. In simple terms, think snug and comfortable, but not tight.

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