Everyone knows that leather jackets have always and will for a long time continue to be a fashion staple. From our favourite celebrities to the biker next door, it would seem that everyone fancies a leather jacket. Leather jackets are favoured in fashion not just for their durability but the sophistication it gives the wearer. In motorcycling spheres, it is worn to provide protection from abrasions in the event of an accident.
So where exactly does a leather jacket fit in, the fashion world or the world of motorcyclists?
5 Things to Know Before Buying a Leather Jacket
Types of Leather
- Buy quality. It’s true that in order to buy a quality leather jacket you may have to spend a little more money than you would if you opted for fake leather but real leather has a long life span. Whether your reasons for buying a leather jacket is fashion or motorcycling, always go for quality.
- Colour: When in doubt, go black. Black leather jackets go with every colour in your wardrobe but you don’t have to be limited to black. Brown leather jackets can also be worn instead of brown. Bikers should choose leather jackets with a reflective material as it can serve to protect against collision with motorists who may not see them driving in the dark.
- Comfort: Your leather jacket should fit like a glove and you should be comfortable wearing it. There’s no point spending good money to get a leather jacket and feel uncomfortable wearing it. Fitting is even more important when purchasing a leather jacket for cycling. A jacket that fits is less likely to hike up during a slide. Keep the shoulder length in mind as jackets with small shoulder lengths would restrict your movement. On the other hand, a shoulder length that is too big would look uneven on you and can be dangerous for riding. Also, keep in mind that good quality leather usually has higher armholes which allow the arms to move freely.
- This is specifically for buyers who intend to use their leather jackets for motorcycling. Your motorcycle jacket should have protective padding on the chest, back and arms. The padding on your jacket should also be elastic enough to distribute energy in the event of a crash. Leather jackets do not only protect from abrasion but from harsh weather conditions. Your leather jacket should not only offer you protection from rain (especially if you live in an area where it rains frequently) but breathability. Going for leather jackets with quilted interiors can provide additional warmth when riding in the cold.
- Length: The length of your jacket can play a major role in comfortability whilst driving. Mid-waist length is an ideal length for bikers as anything longer than this would hike up in your lap and make riding an unnecessarily arduous task.
There are a variety of hide from which leather is made. Each one has its own characteristic, strengths and drawbacks. The common types are discussed below
Caring For Your Leather Jacket
- Cowhide: It is the most common type of leather used in the production of motorcycle jackets. It is a tough material and can take a while to wear-in. It is readily available and cheap and makes for affordable leather jackets.
- Goatskin: It is softer, more pliable and lighter than cowhide. Goatskin is renowned for its ability to age well.
- Lambskin: It is known for its suppleness and smoothness. It is expensive and not as tough as the materials above making it prone to tearing. Lambskin provides insulation and is ideal for cold climates.
- Calfskin: It possesses a supple texture similar to lambskin but is more resistant to abrasion than the lambskin.
- De-salt your leather: It is not uncommon to sweat while wearing a leather jacket. However, this can cause your jacket to be smelly and the salt left behind can result in stiffness and can eventually ruin the liner and stitching. In order to get rid of the sweat and salt, all you need is a good leather de-salter. It would help with the smell and deposited salt.
- Shampoo your leather: Think only the hair on your head needs a good shampooing? Then think again. Leather shampoos help get rid of the dirt, smog and grime that have settled on your jacket. What you have to do is work in the shampoo and gently scrub the stains away with a clean rag.
- Condition your leather: Yes, not only can leather be shampooed, it can be conditioned too. Conditioning your leather helps maintain the pliability and suppleness of your leather. For warm climates you should condition your leather about twice a month after desalting and shampooing.
Although leather jackets can be bought as a great addition to our fashion pieces, it is also one of the best protective gears for motorcycling. There is a huge difference between the leather worn for fashion and the one worn for protection. For one, those worn for protection are thicker than the fashionable ones. They also have protective padding covering vital areas of the body such as the chest, back and arm. It is important to know what your priorities are and shop accordingly. Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to motorcycling and leather is one of materials that offer the best protection against abrasion.