Shift Airborne Jacket Review

Shift Airborne Motorcycle Jacket Review

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The summers in California can get pretty hot especially when you are riding a motorcycle. Some riders choose to ride around in shorts and a T-shirt instead of any protective motorcycle gear. Just a couple weeks ago a coworker of mine who regularly rides around in normal clothes crashed his motorcycle at around 40 mph. That medium speed crash has put him out of work for a month, broken a leg and given him some nasty road rash on his legs, chest and arms.

To avoid a fate similar to his I always wear my gear even if it is hot out, and this SHIFT Airborne jacket has made that much more pleasant. I’ve owned mesh jackets before so I sort of new what to expect when I got this in the mail. I was happily surprised when I opened the package and found that the jacket had hard armor in the shoulders and the elbows. My previous mesh jacket only had soft armor and I always felt a little nervous riding at over 65mph with it. Having the CE approved hard armor really increased my confidence in the jackets ability to protect me in case of a crash.


Another difference between my old mesh jacket and my new jacket is the sizing. The FirstGear mesh jacket was my very first item of protection that I purchased besides a helmet, and at the time I didn’t really know how it should fit. I ended up buying a medium when in reality I probably should have gotten a small. With this experience under my belt I didn’t make the same mistake with the SHIFT jacket (I got the small) and I found that it fit me perfectly. It was tight in all the right places, but not so much so that it would prevent movement or increase fatigue. You really want motorcycle gear to be as close fitting as possible that way it doesn’t move around when you are sliding across the pavement. I ordered the white Airborne jacket to help reflect some of the heat that would have been be absorbed had I chosen a darker color. If white isn’t your thing they also offer a version in black and a version in red as well. All the jackets come with reflective piping for added visibility when you are riding at night.

Hot days and cold nights

The added hard armor as well as the ballistic nylon panels prevent this jacket from having airflow as good as one with soft armor and no additional panels, but the added protection is a trade off I am willing to make. When it is really hot outside I have 2 or 3 jackets I can usually choose from, and 9 out of 10 times I will reach for the SHIFT jacket because it is safer, more comfortable, and it gives me peace of mind. The only thing that I don’t like about this jacket is it’s lack of a removable inner liner. This limits it to only hot days, and you have to hope that when the sun drops down that the temperature doesn’t lower too much or you are in for a cold ride. I’ve solved this problem by keeping a sweatshirt with me if I expect to be out late, but this also negates the reflective piping that is nice to have at night. For only being $99 I think this jacket provides a lot of quality at a low price. It would be a great second jacket, or even a first if you plan on riding only during the summer, or in a place where it doesn’t get too cold. Once again another great product from SHIFT!

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  • Fits well and looks great.
  • Hard armor and Ballistic nylon panels offer great protection.
  • Very inexpensive compared to the quality of jacket you receive.


  • No removable windbreaking liner.
  • Had a pocket for back protector, but you have to buy that separately.


  • Vented mesh main body fabric construction
  • Articulated design for superior comfort
  • Removable CE approved shoulder and elbow armor
  • Ballistic nylon panels for additional protection
  • Integrated back padding for additional protection
  • Reflective piping for added visibility
  • Integrated pocket for a back protector
  • MSRP: $99.95

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