Whether you choose our soft, genuine lambskin leather or premium, full grain cow leather, you’ll find that our bomber leather jackets have all the essentials – classic aviator style delivered with first-class attention to detail.
If you opt for the Ranger, you’ll immediately love the broken-in feel of the lambskin leather. The soft brown leather has a distressed finish, a quilted interior lining, and a well-worn, vintage feel right from the start. The Ranger is reminiscent of the iconic G-1 and features a synthetic sherpa collar (which we have made detachable), a full zip front closure, and perfectly placed pockets, both inside and out.
The Rebel bomber leather jacket features rugged full grain cow leather in black, also with a distressed finish for a vintage look. This leather bomber jacket is cut in the iconic style of the the MA-1, removing the flap collar and instead featuring an elastic knit collar, sleeve cuffs, and waist ribbing. You’ll also find well-placed exterior and interior pockets and comfortable, quilted interior lining.
And, don’t miss our Legacy Leather Flight Jacket. Crafted with premium brown, full grain cow leather, this timeless jacket features the leather collar of the A-2, full zip closure and bi-swing back of the G-1, and it ditches the knit waistband like the B-3. It’s an inspired blend of all the best features of these iconic jackets.
THE HISTORY OF BOMBER JACKETS
THE FIRST FLIGHT JACKET
In 1917, “flight jackets” for WWI pilots were created by the US Army Aviation Clothing Board. Consider that the cockpits in WWI fighter planes were open-air and uninsulated, so special jackets were necessary to protect from the bitter cold conditions. The original flight jackets were crafted of horse leather or sealskin and lined with fur.
Many advances occurred in aviation following WWI, including the shape of the cockpit. Cockpits were becoming narrower and more crowded with technology, so frankly, there was simply less space to accommodate a pilot’s bulky coat. Enter: the US Army Type A-1, which had a more streamlined shape than its predecessor. The insulated leather bomber jacket was typically made with goatskin, sheepskin, or horsehide and featured a button-up closure and knit collar, cuffs, and waistband.
The next evolution of the leather bomber jacket came in the early 1930s: the A-2, worn by WWII’s Air Corp daredevils. It was a lined leather jacket – similar to the A-1 in many ways – but this version introduced a zip closure with a wind flap and a high collar. You may note that closed cockpits had been introduced by this time, but bomber leather jackets continued to optimize for open air cockpits. For this reason, they kept the knit cuffs and waist to offer insulation against the cold.
The B-series jackets were technically the first true bomber jackets, as they were the first flight jackets designed specifically for high-altitude bombers. The B-3 was introduced in the mid 1930s. The bomber leather jacket was crafted of sheepskin and lined with heavy-duty sheep fur. Notably, it did not have a knit waistband (a feature reflected in our Legacy leather flight jacket), but it had two leather straps that allowed the pilot to close its wide sheepskin collar. This was a return to a bulky coat that was specifically designed to keep bombers warm above 25,000 feet.
The G-1 was actually introduced to the Army and Navy sometime in the 1930s, but it didn’t replace the A-2 among Air Corps pilots until 1943. These leather bomber jackets kept the zip front, removed the wind flap, and introduced the bi-swing back and fur collar. This iconic cut and style is reflected in our Ranger leather bomber jacket. (And yep, that was a G-1 style jacket in Top Gun.)
1943 also saw the introduction of the B-6. The B-6 leather bomber jacket maintained much of the warmth offered by the bulky B-3, but in a lower profile. Cockpit temps and conditions were improving by this time, so the B-6 could afford to lose a bit of insulation in favor of a more wearable fit. It maintained the sheepskin and sheep fur combination – just a bit less of it.
The B-10 – another 1943 introduction – ultimately phased out the previous B-series jackets. This time, rather than a leather bomber jacket, the B-10 was a cloth jacket lined with alpaca fur. The B-10 also had an alpaca fur collar, a zip closure, and similarly designed pockets to the G-1. This version only had a very short reign as “the” bomber jacket.
1944 birthed the jacket that many recognize as a “proper” bomber jacket: the B-15. The B-15 brought back the mouton fur collar and the knit waist and cuffs, but instead of leather, the shell was crafted of various materials including cotton (and later, nylon). The B-15 also introduced a few new details including leather straps for holding oxygen masks, a pen pocket on the upper left arm sleeve, and slash pockets on the front.
In 1949, the B-15 was upgraded to the MA-1, which continues to be the most replicated style across all types of leather bomber jackets (including our Rebel bomber leather jacket). A fur collar was no longer necessary for warmth, so it was replaced with a knit collar to better accommodate parachute harnesses. At the time, the MA-1 shell was normally made with nylon since the material was budget-friendly, easy-to-clean, and would keep the pilot warm and dry. (Fun fact: the original interior lining was bright orange, which could be reversed and exposed to aid rescue visibility in case of a plane crash.)
1950s, ‘60s, and Beyond
The MA-1 went on to appear in Europe in the late 1950s. By the late ‘60s, bomber jackets – leather and otherwise – had found a place in civilian wardrobes and around the world. The evolution of leather bomber jacket styles reflects growth, adaptation, and the combination of military precision, everyday comfort, and cultural phenomena.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LEATHER BOMBER JACKETS
EXPLORE OUR SUITE OF LEATHER JACKETS
Different styles in our leather jacket collection are crafted using various types of high quality leather. These include lambskin and sheepskin leather, goat leather, bison leather, and cow leather. Each type offers distinctive properties for our different leather jacket styles, including texture and appearance. One thing they all have in common: you will love to wear them.
Buffalo Jackson leather jacket styles include leather bomber jackets, leather puffer jackets, leather motorcycle jackets, and more. Whether you’re heading down the road or the runway, trekking through the city or the field, riding a Harley or on horseback, we have a leather jacket for you.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How do you care for leather bomber jackets?
To get the most out of your leather bomber jacket, you have to do some upkeep. Here is our simple guide to cleaning leather jackets. You can also browse our collection of leather care products, formulated to tackle dirt and stains while preserving the look and feel of your leather jacket or bag. Did you get caught in the rain? Check out this article for details on what to do when your leather bomber jacket gets wet.
2. How do you store leather jackets?
You probably won’t be storing your leather bomber jacket a whole lot because you’ll be wearing it everywhere! But seasonally, it’s normal to store it for a while. Storing it properly will help keep the leather healthy and the jacket in good shape.
- Clean it first. (Simply follow the steps in our leather jacket cleaning guide.)
- Stuff the insides of your leather jacket with acid-free paper. (Stuffing the jacket helps to keep its shape, and the acid-free paper helps create a barrier for dust, dirt, and moisture.)
- Wrap your bomber jacket in a breathable fabric. Do not wrap a leather jacket in plastic, and avoid folding it when you wrap it.
- If you have the space, hang the jacket on a wide cedar or padded hanger. (Do not use thin wired or plastic hangers.) If you don’t have space to properly hang it, you can place your leather bomber jacket in a wooden (preferably cedar) trunk or even a suitcase. Like when wrapping, be sure to lay it flat without folds or creases, and do not store leather in a plastic container.
- Store the jacket in a dry, cool area away from direct sunlight. Exposing a leather jacket to too much light or warmth can cause the leather to discolor, expand, dry out, or crack. Moisture is also a major cause for concern as it can cause mildew and mold to grow. Placing silica gel packets in the jacket pockets can help absorb moisture.
3. How should you style a leather bomber jacket?
Really, however you want. But, here are 3 of our favorite leather bomber jacket outfits:
- Jeans + Tee Shirt - What is more timeless than a leather bomber jacket with a black or white tee and a pair of jeans?
- Sweatshirt - This will feel too casual for some occasions, but a well-fitting hoodie (not too baggy) under a leather bomber jacket is a great look.
- Plaid Button Down- This combo is a sure winner. You can’t go wrong with a leather bomber and plaid. (Check out this article for more ideas.)
4. How do you break in a leather bomber jacket?
Here are 3 easy tips to get you started:
- Wear it. The best way to break in any leather jacket is the old fashioned way – just keep on wearing it.
- Roll it into a ball. Simply use your hands to tightly roll your leather jacket up into a ball. Release and repeat.
- Move and flex in it. Repeat simple moves like arm circles and pushups to accelerate the “wearing” effect. (Check out this article for a few more tricks.)