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Motorcycle clothing: leather or textile?

When you start looking for a new motorcycle suit you quickly come to a difficult decision, do you go for a leather suit or a textile one? For vegans, this dilemma is quickly solved. But for the general public, this remains a difficult choice. Leather motorcycle clothing has traditionally been known as the best option as far as safety is concerned, but is the difference with textile clothing really as great as we think? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of textile/leather motorcycle clothing? In the blog below, we will explain further so you can find the clothing that suits you best.

Why leather motorcycle suits?

Leather naturally has a high level of abrasion resistance and has long been the most common material in motorcycle clothing. Just think of the MotoGp riders and even the ''all American free spirits'', they all wore leather jackets in the 60s/70s. This is because leather naturally has a high combustion temperature so it can withstand the high temperatures created by friction (a slide over asphalt) very well.

But time has not stood still, and there are now plenty of textiles on the market that are just as, if not more abrasion resistant than the old and trusted leather. Is leather now completely out of date? No, even after all those years and developments of wear-resistant fabrics, the familiar leather race suit will not be replaced by a textile race suit in motor sports. Textile clothing is often much looser (some would say much more comfortable). This causes reduced aerodynamics and increases the chance of shifting protectors. Whereas a leather race suit really does fit like a second skin and is therefore much more suitable on the race track. But also on a chopper, cruiser or similar type of motorcycle, a leather jacket with retro looks just look great!

Why textile motorcycle clothing ?

Not everyone who gets on a motorcycle is going to ride Route 66 or make a kneedown in every corner. The above mentioned advantage of a leather motorcycle suit is actually its biggest disadvantage. When you have to hoist yourself into a one-piece racing suit for 30 minutes on the way to work, you might not be very happy about it. Adventure/tour riders who spend entire days in the saddle need more freedom of movement and comfort, and that's where textile clothing comes into its own.

The properties of leather and textile at a glance?

As discussed earlier, leather is naturally very durable, but a good textile jacket is no less so nowadays. So what exactly are the properties that make the difference and can help you make a choice between either one?

A leather motorcycle garment is:

  • a natural product

  • like a 2nd skin, and therefore hardly moves at all in a crash

  • a bad temperature regulator, for warmth & coldness

  • water absorbing, and may dry out

  • badass

A textile motorcycle garment is:

  • more practical, generally more comfortable

  • more practical, with many storage options

  • more practical thanks to the possibilities for ventilation zippers

  • more practical, thanks to an often present waterproof membrane

  • more practical, and can sometimes be found a bit boring....

As you can see, textile motorcycle clothing is primarily more practical than leather clothing. Which in no way negates either one, it simply meets the needs of different consumers. But make no mistake, there are also some very nice urban/street clothes like jeans and hoodies on the market today that you can just keep on while sitting on the terrace or at your desk.

Advice we would like to give ?

In general, leather jackets have a slightly higher starting price than a textile jacket. However, a leather jacket will last just as long as a textile one, as long as you take good care of it with the right maintenance products. So whether you should go for a leather or a textile motorcycle suit depends entirely on your wishes and riding habits. Whatever you choose, with approved motorcycle clothing you are always on the safe side. If you are looking for user-friendly clothing that is rainproof, take a look at our textile jackets. If you still have questions after reading this blog, please contact our customer service or come and take a look in our store.

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