A quality leather jacket is a worthy investment -- and yes, if it’s quality, it will be an investment. If you’re browsing leather jackets this season, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of options. That’s why we’ve compiled our Leather Jacket Buying Guide: to help you focus on what matters when choosing a leather jacket, for yourself or someone (very) special on your gift list.
Choose a timeless style of leather jacket so your choice outlasts anything overly trendy. Here are our 3 favorite types of men’s leather jackets:
Leather Racer Jacket
Also called a moto jacket or a cafe racer jacket, the leather racer jacket is reminiscent of the classic biker jacket -- but a bit more clean cut and versatile. A stylish leather racer jacket features soft leather, zip front closure, front zip pockets, side pockets, and a snap-over band collar.
Leather Aviator Jacket
The oldest and original of all styles of leather jackets is the leather aviator jacket (also called a bomber jacket or flight jacket). This jacket was originally designed for WWI pilots who needed to stay warm at high altitudes. Classic aviator jacket details include a relaxed fit, standup collar, front slit or flap pockets on the chest, and side zip pockets. The best quality are the ones with full grain leather.
Leather Trucker Jacket
One of this season’s best types of men’s jackets is theleather trucker jacket. You may recognize that denim jackets are often constructed in the trucker jacket style. The instantly recognizable features of trucker jackets include the waist-length cut, button front closure, buttons on the sleeve cuffs and front chest pockets, and the trademark vertical or slanted seams that run from the front chest pockets to the waist. But we can assure you: leather trucker jackets beat denim trucker jackets every time for comfort, style, and durability.
Spoiler alert: if you choose the best type of leather jacket, but buy it in a poor quality material, you’re not going to get the most out of your purchase. A leather jacket ought to get better with age, feel better the longer you wear it, and look even better with time. Here are some of our favorite types of leather for jackets.
Although cow leather used to be the gold standard for leather jackets, lambskin is much more common now because it is so soft. A qualitylambskin leather jacket feels luxuriously broken-in from the beginning.
Goatskin is softer and offers more stretch than cowhide leather, but it is not quite as soft and supple as lambskin. The strength and weight of goatskin makes it a good insulator, and its stretch adds flexibility. A qualitygoatskin leather jacket will age well and easily stand up to rugged, everyday wear.
Nothing beats full grain cow leather in terms of insulation and strength. Yes, lambskin and goatskin are fantastic options -- but full grain cow leather has been the gold standard for a reason. Make note, though: full grain and top grain leather are the only way to go, or the quality of the leather drops drastically. A full grain cow leather jacket offers durability, versatility, and timeless style.
Full Grain Leather Jacket
Full-grain leather jackets are the epitome of leather craftsmanship and quality. They are crafted from the top layer of the hide, featuring the tightest and most intact grain pattern. This results in jackets that showcase the leather's natural character, including its unique imperfections, marks, and blemishes. Rather than concealing these features, full-grain leather celebrates them, giving each jacket a distinct personality and a timeless, rustic charm.
In contrast to full-grain leather, other leather types like top-grain or genuine leather may undergo processes that sand away imperfections or apply surface treatments. While these processes can create a more uniform appearance, they often sacrifice the leather's natural texture and character. Full-grain leather jackets retain the original grain and strength of the hide, making them exceptionally durable and capable of developing a rich patina over time. This patina, a unique hallmark of full-grain leather, deepens with age, adding character and enhancing the jacket's overall appeal. So, if you're seeking a leather jacket that not only exudes quality and longevity but also tells a story with every wear, full-grain leather is undoubtedly the superior choice.
Don’t forget to check the interior of the leather jacket you’re considering!
Be sure your leather jacket includes a lining that is comfortable, breathable, and durable.
Also consider if the leather jacket has features like an interior chest pocket or stylish branding details.
There you have it! As you shop for leather jackets, remember: the best men’s leather jackets are made of fine leather and quality construction, both of which get even better with age. As we said before: a fine leather jacket is a worthy investment. Shop Buffalo Jackson’s collection of leather jackets here.