Ah yes, motorcycle pants; the most neglected category of gear when it comes to purchasing new threads for riding. Typically when getting into riding, this will be the last piece of equipment that you’ll buy. Why? Let’s face it, we’ve all heard the famous-last-words of “a good pair of jeans will get you through the season, get the pants next year” touted by some jean-wearing skull-cap adorned cruiser-riding badass. Unfortunately, that’s not me.
Although jeans offer more protection than say, sweatpants, they sure aren’t going to stop your legs from being shredded down to the bone when you get pinned under your low-sided motorcycle at 70 miles an hour. That’s what leather pants are for.
Riding-specific leather motorcycle pants will offer you the maximum amount of leg protection possible when braving the harsh realities of a concrete jungle or racetrack. Often built with protective armor and reinforced in all the key ‘shred-zones’, this will be your best option to combat road rash and bruised hips.
We’ve collected a list of what we think are the best leather riding pants to buy in 2020, split into three categories: casual, sport, and finally some great options for women riders. Not only are they split into those three subcategories, but each category has two products selected at two separate price-ranges in the event you’re looking for something on the higher end or are perhaps a first-time buyer not looking to break the bank with your initial round of gear purchases.
Best Casual Leather Pants
A protective legwear option that is safe and also stylish can be very enticing to some riders. Having the ability to walk into your local coffee shop without needing to strip-down to enjoy an hour of reading over a refreshing beverage is always a plus.
Here’s a little scenario for you; you’re cruising with your motorcycle buddies to grab fish and chips somewhere. Do you take your $1500 Dainese full-leather racing suit off when you get there? Where do you put it?
You shouldn’t have to bother with any of that, because thanks to this blog post you now have a great pair of casual leather pants that are both comfortable and safe, negating the need to remove them at your destination so you don’t look like a Power Ranger getting a drink on his day off.
Street & Steel’s Richmond Leather Chaps are the perfect pant for getting the job done when a pair of jeans simply aren’t going to cut it when it comes to your safety standards. Chaps can be a great option because they give you the ability to throw them on top of your pre-existing outfit for a layer of added protection.
These chaps are constructed with a matte finish high-quality leather and feature a poly/mesh liner down the legs to more comfortable. Getting into your pockets can be a little difficult at times when you have pants on top of your pants, so these come with deep pockets to remedy that issue.
For a slightly pricier option in the over-pant/casual category, we have chosen these Icon Contra 2 Leather Overpants due to their careful blend of premium leather and textile construction. Sometimes wearing a pant that is 100% leather can be uncomfortable for longer riding sessions due to the stiff nature of leather. You won’t have that issue with the Contra 2.
With the extra $100 you’ll be paying over the chaps, you will find D30 armor plates in the hip and knee areas, adjustable waist straps, reflective accents, and if you happen to own the Contra 2 Jacket an excellent added bonus feature is the fact you can zip it to these pants so they stay in place and comfortable at all times.
Best Sport Leather Pants
Dress for the slide, not for the ride… I think I’m getting that right. Regardless, if you’re planning on doing any spirited riding you’re probably going to want a little more protection than what a standard pair of leather pants is going to provide you.
There may not be much room for error when sitting in traffic commuting into work, but when you’re tearing up the racetrack or dragging-knee down some ‘filthy twisties’ (I’m here for the squids), the added features you can find in a proper pair of sport-riding leather pants such as sliding pucks can prove themselves to be quite valuable.
The original Hypersport pant was a great success, so Icon took pieces of what made the first generation so excellent and came back with upgrades to some of the weaker areas of the pant.
Since this is the sport-pant category, after all, it would only make sense for these pants to be built with none other than 1.2mm to 1.4mm TrackSpec leather, textile flex zones in all the important areas, and D30 armor in the hips and knees for full protection. Another feature you will find in these pants that you simply won’t find in a more casual pair of leather pants is the sliding pucks on the knees to add a layer of confidence when leaning the bike deep into corners.
The elastic waistband makes these an easy-fit for most riders and following suit with the Icon gear series, if you happen to own the Hypersoort 2 jacket you’ll be pleased to hear that these pants feature a connection zipper for the jacket to keep everything in place when riding balls-to-the-wall.
The Alpinestars Missile V2 Airflow Leather Pants prove why high-performance riding may require high-performance protective gear. These CE certified pants are constructed from 1.3mm bovine leather with tons of features to keep you cool and safe when out on the track.
The thigh areas feature high-density perforation panels, and all the stretch zones are accordion leather to ensure the pants move with you. If you’re getting hot while riding on top of a 100-degree superbike engine, you needn’t worry as these pants come with zipper vents and an internal mesh lining to keep you cool and mobile.
Unfortunately, these pants don’t come with pre-installed hip protectors (only armor in the kees) so if you’re looking for an option that covers all bases with CE armor, you’ll have to buy the hip armor plates separate which is unfortunate to see in a $450 pant.
Although they may not offer the most protection possible, the First Manufacturing Alexis Leather Pants are definitely an upgrade from your standard run-of-the-mill jeans. These pants are made out of soft-milled cowhide and have a low rise fit. Companies can sometimes be a little bit odd when it comes to making sure women’s pants have pockets, but these have a total of 5 to keep your valuable on-the-go items close to you at all times.
The internals of the pants features a satin liner to aid in easy removal (skin and leather don’t always mix… trust me). Although these don’t have any armor, for the price they are quite hard to ignore.
The REV’IT Ignition 3 Pants are the apex of women’s riding safety gear. Due to them being the third iteration in the series, REV’IT has had many opportunities to update the pants and refine them for a totally complete product. A feature you’ll find in these pants and not many others is the Hydratex removable liner that makes these pants highly waterproof.
The outer shell features Monaco Performance cowhide, Dynax mesh, and PWRIshell 500d stretch material in all the movement areas to keep them comfortable and safe. Reflection panels are also featured in these pants to keep you visible in low-light scenarios making them the perfect pant for long rides or tours late into the night.
On the safety side, the Ignition 3 pants come fully protected with Seeflex CE level 2 protectors in the knees and level 1 type B hip protectors to reach a gold-standard of protection.
When purchasing a $400+ pair of pants it’s important to not miss out on any key features or safety components. REV’IT’s Ignition 3 pants cover all the bases making them the best pant option on this list (sorry boys).