Here’s a brief hypothetical that illustrates the raw power of the best leather jackets for men: Let’s say you’re going to a party. You aren’t even dressed yet, and your anxiety is already begging you to stay put, hoodie up, and introduce your old pal Thai food to your new pal, Mr. Bougie Edible. But here’s a better idea: you slip on an immaculate leather jacket, give yourself a couple of Fonz thumbs in the mirror (aaaayyyyy), and then proceed to charm the living daylights out of everyone you encounter for the rest of the evening.
The Best Leather Jackets Shopping Guide
- The Leather Jacket You Were Already Thinking Of: Schott NYC Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket, $1,260
- The Best Cockpit-Ready Leather Jacket: Golden Bear Westwood Shearling-trimmed Leather Jacket, $1,280
- The Right-Now Leather Jacket: Deadwood “Bruno” Patch Leather Jacket, $500
- The Best Anatomically-Correct Leather Jacket: Vanson Leathers Bones Flat-track Jacket, $1,249
- The Hog-Wild Leather Jacket: Belstaff Trialmaster Panther Leather Jacket, $1,695
- The Affordable Suede Jacket to the Stars: Banana Republic Suede Trucker Jacket, $500
That’s just what the best leather jackets for men do. They make you stand a little taller, speak with a little more conviction, and seem altogether more alluring. They’re like the pill Bradley Cooper takes in the movie Limitless, only they unlock genuine cool instead of psychotic ambition.
Of course, confidence of that magnitude doesn’t come cheap—the best leather jackets generally cost $500 or more. Any cheaper, and you’re getting shoddy workmanship, bad leather, suspect manufacturing—or some combo of the three. (Though we’ll admit we’ve begrudgingly sourced a leather jacket from Amazon, because we know some of you are true sickos for two-day shipping.)
If you’re ready to invest, we’ve pinpointed 15 of the men’s leather jackets worth your hard-earned dough, from everyday icons to galactic-level flexes.
The Leather Jacket You Were Already Thinking Of
Here it is: the jacket Marlon Brando wore in The Wild One. It’s also the leather jacket you’re probably thinking of when someone says “leather jacket”. Schott’s been making the appropriately named Perfecto jacket for generations right here in the U.S. using top quality leathers and sturdy hardware.It looks great with a plain white tee and jeans (Harley optional). But it’s ridden so far beyond its motorcycle associations that you can wear one even if you don’t know how to ride a bicycle. Throw it over a hoodie, wear it over a button up and proper trousers. Or go full leather lad with calfskin pants and burly boots.
The Other Leather Jacket You Were Already Thinking Of
And here’s the second leather jacket you had in mind. Schott’s cafe racer is sleek, sexy, and nearly as iconic as the Perfecto. Made from supple black leather, it’s one of those jacket styles that’ll add some edge to whatever you’re currently working with, whether that be a pair of busted Converse and chinos or sturdy denim and your finest Chelsea boots.
The Best Winter-Ready Leather Jacket
Golden Bear is an OG in the outerwear game, slingin’ some of the finest leather jackets on the planet from its San Francisco factory for going on 80 years now. This gorgeous bomber jacket is as classic as it gets, rendered in supple, subtly distressed brown leather, with a couple of handy front pockets and an attachable shearling collar for those days you feel like throwing on your aviators and going full Maverick.
The Right-Now Leather Jacket
The men’s leather jackets we’re really feeling right now at GQ look like this: black, boxy, clean, and cropped. Not only does Deadwood nail the assignment, the label goes for extra credit. The Swedish brand crafts classic jackets using high-quality upcycled and deadstock leathers, which means its not creating more waste (or culling more livestock). What you get is an on-point, paneled jacket that’s a pinch more approachable—and versatile—than the moto-inspired stuff above.
The Best Anatomically-Correct Leather Jacket
Vanson’s impossibly badass Bones racer jacket is an honest-to-god icon: it’s been reinterpreted by Supreme, referenced by Kapital, and was once nearly banned by the American Motorcyclist Association for its supposed “outlaw” connotations. But it’s not just about the looks. Fashioned using extra-tough cowhide and heavy-duty hardware, it’s designed for the road and built to last. And given that Vanson cuts and sews every jacket by hand—yup, all those bones are intricately stitched on one at a time—it’s a relative bargain for the price. Throw it on over a white T-shirt and jeans and let it do all the talking.
The Hog-Wild Leather Jacket
This one goes out to Ewan McGregor and Ewan McGregor only. Belstaff’s legendary Trialmaster jacket was perfect in waxed cotton, but this all-leather rendition has us shifting the goal posts back. And when you’re riding your hog, flying down the highway, the smell of leather pairs really well with gasoline.
The Suede Jackets to the Stars
You’ve seen the suede trucker on guys like Tom Holland and Ryan Reynolds. It’s buttery, it’s cut like a damned dream, and this specific one, from Tom Ford, is undeniably the best iteration of the superstar suede trucker on the face of the earth. As a result, it costs a Tom Ford amount of money. On the bright side, if you have Tom Ford money, you can probably get all four colors.
Then there’s this joint from Todd Snyder, which is by no means cheap—but in relativistic terms, more affordable. Outerwear is among Snyder’s (many) strong suits, and the “Dylan” jacket is another A-list favorite. You’ve seen it on Tom Holland—the man loves his suede truckers!—and tons of other very famous guys. Soon, they’ll be able to say they’ve seen it on you, too.
Again, we’re not saying $500 is couch cushion change, by any means. But this is about the lowest we’d be willing to pay for a suede trucker worth putting on your back, and a lot of that is due to our trust in Banana Republic. Economies of scale mean they can source better suede than a smaller shop, plus the brand’s recent return to its more quality-oriented, archive-inflected roots has the mall brand back on top of its menswear game.
The Best Not-Leather Leather Jackets
First off, the term is “faux leather”—don’t you dare say “pleather.” Second, the once-scorned textile has made the jump from its tofurkey-level impostor era to become a playground for some great upstart brands. You’ve got two strong options for those who want to spare the cows, both hitting that cropped-and-boxy shape we can’t get enough of right now. The first, from Carb Studios, is simple and soft, and—in Cali parlance—hella affordable. The second, from Andersson Bell, is like if Willy Wonka (Timmy version) got into the collabs game. Swirls of off-white, black, and chocolate brown faux leather stitched together make for a funky take on the truncated trucker jacket.