Leather Motorcycle Jackets Under 500

10 Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets Under $500 [2023 Edition]

Everyone knows leather offers the best abrasion protection - but what jacket is best? Let us help you with that!

If you’ve been following the recommended path for gearing up to start your lifetime riding adventures, you will already have the perfect helmet for your head. The next most important piece of gear is the one that keeps your torso safe, the ever-evolving and no-shortage-of-choices motorcycle jackets.

Leather jackets, if made properly and with motorcycle-grade leather, are the highest protection, and a requirement if you are going to be attending track days, riding at higher speeds, riding on roads that are made of chip seal, and/or all of the above. Leather tends to be less versatile in terms of cooling, riding seasons, and adaptability.

As well, your budget does enter into the equation. Many leather jackets cost well over $500, but not everyone has the bankroll for a $2500 race suit. With that in mind, we present to you our picks for the top 10 leather jackets under $500 for 2022. See also: the 10 best textile jackets under $500.

 A Note on Sizing…

Sizing for jackets can vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. To simply the sizing, we will use the following descriptions:

  • Sport: Expect a tighter fit, precurved arms, and should feel comfortable in a tuck or three-quarters position
  • Touring: Designed to fit a little looser so that the rider can comfortably ride sitting upright in a standard posture, but tight enough to not be billowing or flapping in the wind
  • Cruiser: A relaxed fit that fits comfortably around the shoulders and waist, allowing for great reach forwards to the handlebars.
  • Tight/Moderate/Generous: 
    • Tight fit is when the jacket will feel like it’s compressing you ever so slightly.
    • Moderate fit is where you have good range of motion, but may feel tight in some areas that are reinforced or designed for protection.
    • Loose fit is when the entire jacket feels loose in all areas of your torso without being too far from the body.

First Manufacturing Top Performer

First Manufacturing Top Performer Leather Motorcycle Jacket

  • For: Men
  • Price: RevZilla ($329.99 – $359.99) | Amazon
  • Fit: Cruiser / Touring – Generous

Classic cruiser styling with fantastic reviews from real riders and industry professionals alike.  The style of the First Manufacturing Top Performer jacket is what will initially catch your eye, but the long list of features is what will really surprise you. Note: “generous” cut means extremely generous – size down one level (example: from Large to Medium) from your normal jacket/shirt size.

A leather chassis lends itself to the best abrasion resistance you can get and increased durability for everyday use. The shoulders, elbows, and kidneys are padded, but CE rated armor is not included, so you’ll need to upgrade if you want exceptional impact protection.

A mandarin style collar is comfortable for all-day wear and keeps you focused on the road ahead. A removable full sleeve liner is included, keeping you warm in cooler weather and allowing some versatility when the temps increase.

Most impressive when it comes to the First Manufacturing Top Performer Jacket is the plethora of 5 star reviews from riders and industry professionals alike. That speaks volumes and puts this jacket on our favorites list for Winter/Spring 2022.

Merlin Odell Air

Merlin Odell Air Jacket Men’s Leather Motorcycle Jacket

  • For: Men
  • Price: RevZilla ($349.99)
  • Fit: Cruiser/Touring – Moderate

The Merlin Odell Air jacket is a champion at adapting. It can transition from cool to warm weather thanks to venting and perforation, which provides generous airflow in the heat, and a thick thermal vest liner, which helps to battle the cold.

Besides protection from the weather, the Merlin Odell Air jacket has a full grain cowhide chassis that will stand up to the test of time and/or an unexpected spill. CE Level 1 shoulder and elbow armor are also included, but back armor will need to be purchased separately and added to complete the package. A pants-to-jacket zipper is also included.

Retro style can be found in the zippers and hardware, which help with the overall vintage look. This jacket is comfortable and allows room for movement on all types of bikes. It even made the staff pick list at Revzilla – score!

Icon Contra 2 Perforated

Icon Contra 2 Perforated Men’s Leather Motorcycle Jacket

The original ICON Contra and Contra 2 jackets have been best-selling textile jackets for 10 years. Building on that success, the Contra 2 Perforated Leather jacket offers all the same features with the added benefits of a second skin. A strong full grain cowhide chassis covers all impact and abrasion zones. As always, ICON’s standard full suite of CE Level 1 D3O shoulder, elbow and back armor is also included. Max protection for the right price.

The Icon Contra 2 Perforated Leather Jacket features pre-curved arms and a ratchet waist closure, allowing for a more tailored fit. Ballistic textile is included in non-impact zones to add extra breathability and enhanced movement. Vents can be found in the front, back, and cuffs, as well as laser perforation throughout the jacket’s chassis. For cooler weather, a removable insulated liner is included.

If you aren’t riding in the heat, check out the non-perforated ICON Contra 2 Leather jacket for the same exceptional price.

Cortech Apex V1

Cortech Apex V1 Men's Leather Motorcycle Jacket Cortech Apex V1 Women's Leather Motorcycle Jacket

When it comes to sport/track leathers under $400, this might very well be the only track-specific leather jacket (and matching pant option) at this price for both men and women. Track-ready leather for $300 is nearly unheard of and immediately contributes to the exceptional value of the Cortech Apex V1 jacket.

CE Level 1 impact protection is reasonable in the shoulders and elbows, but back protection does not come standard and must be purchased separately. Hard TPU on shoulders and elbows encourage a slide, rather than a tumble and/or ripping of seams in impact zones.

A full-circumference zipper for connecting to pants creates 360-degree torso protection in case of a slide and is even required at most tracks. At $299 (before optional back protector), the Cortech Apex V1 is the best value for a track-level leather jacket.

REV’IT Ignition 3

REV’IT Ignition 3 Men's Leather Motorcycle Jacket REV’IT Ignition 3 Women's Leather Motorcycle Jacket

The chameleon of the list, the REV’IT! Ignition 3 jacket can adapt to different temperatures and weather while still providing protection. The jacket features a full grain cowhide chassis where it counts, and mesh in non-impact areas. Seeflex CE level 2 armor is stitched to the outer shell of the jacket in the shoulders and elbows, keeping it in place in case of a fall. A back protector or internal armor will need to be purchased separately to complete the impact protection package.

The REV’IT! Ignition 3 Jacket also comes with both a removable thermal liner and removable waterproof liner.  Basically a go-anywhere, do-anything leather jacket – just don’t forget to bring all the extra liners with you when you roll out for the weekend.

Cortech Lolo

Cortech Lolo Women's Leather Motorcycle Jacket

The Lolo is comfortable, generous, and curvy. The plus sizes are even more generous and are perfect for cruising and touring riding positions. Zippered gussets in the waist allow for even more hip room if needed.

The Lolo features standard thickness full-grain leather which offers exceptional abrasion resistance. CE level 2 armor in the elbows and shoulders offer great impact protection, but you’ll have to purchase a quality back protector separately. Protection from the elements is limited, and there’s no reflectivity on this already dark jacket, so keep that in mind when riding at night.

Scorpion EXO 1909 Leather Jacket

Scorpion 1909 Leather Jacket

First off, what does 1909 stand for? That is the year the Indy Motor Speedway opened and these jackets are offered as a tribute to the IMS. The Scorpion EXO 1909 Leather Jacket is a vintage leather jacket that could pass for a night out, but it is loaded with features and safety requirements in the modern era that make it a great candidate for our list.

The 1909 vintage leather jacket is made from 1.2-1.4mm premium cowhide leather that is distressed by hand and with Scorpion’s Exo-Stitch internal safety stitching on all critical seams. The comfort features include a removable EverHeat thermal liner for colder weather and perforated inner arm/torso panels, two zippered rear vents for the warmer months. Ribbed accordion stretch side hems panels conform to the increased waistline during the holiday season.

Besides protection from the element and abrasion, this jacket also protects against impacts with the included state-of-the-art viscoelastic SAS-TEC CE Level 2 armor at the elbows and shoulders.

Richa Toulon 2

Richa Toulon jacket

  • Price: $449.99
  • Buy: RevZilla
  • Fit: Regular (targeted at cafe and cruising)

Not a lot of jackets out there on the market are targeted towards the classic cafe and cruising style without seeming to also want to teleport protection back to the 1960s and 1970s. RICHA of France set out to change that with the original Toulon jacket, and with the Toulon 2, they have one of the best jackets that can be bought for under $500.

Full grain, hand-treated cowhide leather makes up the entire protective surface of the jacket, which is lined with RICHA’s own vintage cotton style, and includes a phone pocket. The lining is non-removable, as the jacket is designed for the Spring and Fall of France, where it can be wet, windy, and cold. To combat that cool air when you’ve arrived at your destination and helmet comes off, a removable hood is there to keep the elements at bay.

In terms of armor, the Toulon 2 has a full suite of D3O in the elbow, shoulder, and back. The leather is 1.0 to 1.2 mm thick depending on the zone of the jacket, with the thicker hide in the probably sliding areas. Some adjustment is available with side straps at the waist, and a short universal connection zipper in the lower back allows you to join the jacket to your riding pants. One of the most highly reviewed new jackets of 2022, it has even earned a RevZilla staff pick for its value for money and features.

Joe Rocket Classic ‘92

Joe Rocket Classic 92 jacket

Joe Rocket has had a long history in the motorcycle gear business, starting in 1994, but with the Classic ‘92, they’ve come full circle back to where it all began. Based on one of their first jacket designs when the Canadian company was producing gear, the Classic ‘92 has all the charm and retro looks one could want from a classic jacket, but with modern features included. It should be noted that while the jacket has existed since 2013, the one linked in our Buy area is the latest version.

Full-grain, drum dyed cowhide makes up the main chassis of the jacket, with thicknesses varying from 1.0 mm to 1.2 mm. While it does not come with armor preinstalled, it has pockets for shoulder, elbow, and back protectors. In case of riding in colder weather, as the company is Canadian, a fully insulated, removable thermal liner is included. The jacket also features an adjustable collar and adjustable zip-up cuffs, with all being durable YKK zips.

Cuff vents are the only main vents on the jacket, as there are four front pockets outside, and two utility pockets inside the jacket. As the jacket was designed for cooler weather, there is also a 1.5 inch storm flap behind the zipper to prevent any chilling winds from penetrating. A very well reviewed cool to cold weather leather jacket, this is meant to be a mainstay of early Spring and Fall riding, while keeping a retro look at the same time.

Street & Steel Athena Women’s Jacket

Street and Steel Athena women's jacket

  • Price: $299.99
  • Buy: RevZilla
  • Fit: Regular

Street & Steel has a winner on their hands with the Athena. There are so many features that there is no use talking about anything else!

Made of drum dyed 1.1 mm buffalo hide leather for the main chassis, there are sections of mesh airflow material rated to 500D to keep the jacket comfortably cool even in hot weather, on top of some perforated leather sections. CE Level 1 rated armor is included in the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket for a back protector. An exaggerated shoulder gusset to the back chassis allow for the jacket to not pull and tug tightly due to the natural body shape of a woman, as well as allow for airflow coming from the perforated leather on the inner side of the arms to exhaust from the jacket without needing a zippered vent.

For that touch of style, the shoulders and upper arms feature a quilted design that is not only fashionable, but functional. As those two areas are likely slide zones should you unfortunately become separated from your bike, the diamond quilting also adds structural stability, increasing abrasion resistance across multiple smaller areas instead of one big one. The design and features of the jacket are so perfectly tailored to female riders that the ladies at RevZilla have slapped the Staff Pick badge on the jacket!

Icon Motorhead3

Icon Motorhead3 jacket

  • Price: $350.00
  • Buy: RevZilla
  • Fit: Sport Fit

Now in its third generation, the Icon Motorhead jacket has been a budget-friendly-but-very-good leather jacket for almost a decade and a half. Designed for every riding position from standard to aggressive sport, Motorhead3 is an evolution of the original concept of keeping superior protection affordable.

Most jackets on the market today come with shoulder and elbow protectors. Where the Motorhead3 distinguishes itself is by also including a back protector, and all three zones are kitted out with Icon’s D3O armor. On top of that, the leather of the jacket is Brazilian cowhide, with the stretch panels and textile portions having a rating of at least 400D.

On top of that, the jacket is perforated for airflow, has three pairs of zipper vents at the shoulders, cuffs, and back, and comes with a full waterproof liner and an insulated vest liner. To put the cherry on top of the proverbial cake, the jacket is certified as EN 17092-3:2020 Class AA protective equipment, making it a single class step down in the latest certifications from a racing jacket.

And it’s only $350. Value for money, anyone?