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Leather Motorcycle Vests: Real, or Imitation? Which is Better?

Article by Nicole Roberts

If you ride motorcycles, genuine leather vests are going to provide you protection similar to a leather jacket, with the exception that your arms will be exposed. Nonetheless, this still provides you some protection from wipeouts, and it could mean the difference between a minor scrape or serious injury.
Should you buy real, or should you buy imitation?
Animal rights activists, of course, prefer faux leather vests to real leather vests, and it’s easy to see why. In addition, imitation leather vests are less expensive than real leather motorcycle vests are, and you can wash them, unlike their real counterparts. They’re also more lightweight.
Advantages to real leather motorcycle vests
They protect you better
That said, though, genuine leather motorcycle vests have some significant advantages over imitation leather vests, not least of which is in regard to safety. Leather vests protect you, the motorcycle rider, much more than faux leather, because they are so much more durable. In fact, you can expect significantly fewer injuries with real leather gear than you can with imitation leather care, because it’s so much more durable.
They’re more comfortable
Real leather “breathes,” while faux leather does not. This can make it significantly more comfortable as a material than imitation leather is.
They last
Genuine leather motorcycle vests can be considered an investment. Barring an accident that would damage your gear (during which, of course, you’re going to want to be wearing real leather to protect yourself anyway), you can expect your gear to last much, much longer than imitation leather motorcycle vests. Therefore, even though they’re more expensive upfront than imitation vests, their durability makes them a good investment that will last for years and years. Because of their durability, because they last longer than imitation leather vests do, real leather motorcycle vests are not significantly more expensive than imitation leather ones, simply because they don’t have to be replaced as often.
They get better over time
There’s something about genuine leather motorcycle vests that are like fine wine — they get better with age. Over time, your vest will soften and “break in,” cradling you in comfort. Imitation leather vests simply can’t do that.
They’re easy to clean
Although leather does have some drawbacks, in that you can damage it if it gets wet and it can mildew, most dirt can be simply “wiped off” by using some saddle soap or a special leather cleaner.
Bottom line? Genuine leather motorcycle vests are an investment not just because they’re comfortable to wear and “break in” over time so that they become more and more comfortable and fit you like a glove, but they’re durable; their most important function is that they’ll keep you safer than imitation leather vests will in the event of a motorcycle accident. In short, whenever you’re faced with choice, choose genuine leather motorcycle vests over imitation ones. It’s well worth the investment for your safety and comfort.

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