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All You Need To Know About Lightweight Leather Jackets

May 21, 2019

All You Need To Know About Lightweight Leather Jackets

by Sarah Makhluf

Sarah is a freelance content writer from Boston, MA. She loves traveling, fashion, and the beach.


Spring has officially sprung, it’s time to put your heavy leather jackets in storage for the next few months and opt for a lighter weight alternative. A common misconception is that leather jackets are only useful during the fall and winter months. This could not be further from the truth. Lightweight leather jackets are a spring and summer staple for men all over the globe. Whether you are wearing it to work, for a night out, or just to hang out, having this piece in your hands will be an asset to your wardrobe. Leather jackets are famous for being a piece of clothing that stands the test of time while boosting the wearer's personal style. They are easy to wear no matter where you’re from or where you’re going. Keep reading for the ultimate lightweight leather jacket guide to go by when shopping for your next piece.

What is a lightweight leather jacket?

It’s safe to say when we think of leather jackets most of us picture a heavy motorcycle jacket or maybe a classic bomber jacket. While these fall under the “regular” types of leather jackets, lightweight coats are becoming more and more on trend for the warmer seasons and can be a huge asset to any wardrobe. A lightweight leather jacket can be thrown on top of any outfit and shouldn’t be something you rely on to keep you warm and toasty. Instead, look at it as another layer of protection when it’s slightly chilly out and you don’t want to wear a bulky jacket.

Lightweight vs. traditional leather jackets

Lightweight leather jackets are often made from, well you guessed it, lighter leather. What exactly does that mean? Well, a lightweight jacket will often be made with a high-quality animal hide, and the lining will not be thick, and usually made from linen or cotton, and no signs of any extra padding or fur will be on a lightweight jacket. Traditional leather jackets were made to wear during motorcycle races and for fighter pilots. Both of these activities required the jackets to have a thick layer of protection. Lightweight leather jackets are made to wear for day-to-day activities while giving you a bit of extra warmth and more importantly, a boost to your personal style.

Lightweight leather jacket

What types of leather are lightweight?

While shopping, be sure to pick up the jacket. Does it feel heavy? Is the lining thick and made from a thick material? If you answered yes, the jacket you found does not fall into the lightweight category. A lightweight leather jacket should feel light on your body, not offer an excessive amount of warmth, and should have a good amount of flexibility. When it comes to leather jackets there are four main types of animal leather commonly used: Cow, Goat, Sheep, and Lamb. Which of these leathers is considered to be lightweight? The top two contenders are sheep and lamb.

Sheep: Sheepskin is desired by those who are looking for a soft, smooth, and a very lightweight leather jacket. The animal hide is known to stretch over time, adjusting to the shape of your body. Sheepskin leather does not offer much insulation, and with an incredible stretch, it’s no wonder why leather jacket makers are using it to create the ultimate lightweight jackets. One thing to keep in mind if you are going with sheepskin is that it’s quite prone to damage due to its delicate nature. If it comes in contact with sharp objects, more often than not, it will leave a mark on the leather.

Lamb: Lambskin leather is the most expensive leather available for consumers today. Known for their high quality, durability, and incredible softness, most luxury leather goods are made from lambskin. When it comes to leather jackets, lambskin is one of the most lightweight options available while still offering enough warmth and protection. Lambskin hides are naturally smaller than, let’s say, cowhides for example. Think about it, a lamb is a much smaller animal. That being said, one of the reasons why lambskin is so pricey is because it’s hard to make large sized pieces out of one single hide. The same goes when it comes to the sensitivity of lambskin because it’s ultra soft, it may scratch more easily than other types of leather.

Lightweight types of leather

Pro tips:

  • Always have your jackets professionally cleaned
  • Research types of leather before purchasing
  • Lightweight jackets offer more flexibility
  • If you live in warmer climates lightweight jackets can be worn year round

What leather jacket styles are lightweight?

The racer jacket -The racer jacket is known for it’s minimalistic and sleek design. There are no extra frills or bulk on racer jackets. This makes them one of the best options for lightweight leather.

Lightweight bomber -If you are not ready to give up the look of your bomber style jacket, there are a few lighter options available out there. Opt for one without the shearling lined collar and a thin lining made from a breathable material, like cotton.

The biker jacket -Lightweight biker jackets are also becoming more popular in recent decades. Designers are taking the classic look and style of the biker and using lighter materials, like sheepskin and lambskin, to create breathable lightweight leather jackets to wear year round.

When and where to wear?

Are you debating warmth vs. style? The nice thing about a lightweight leather jacket is you can have both! While we don’t recommend wearing a lightweight coat in the snow, any leather jacket will offer some form of warmth. The extra layer may be all you need for chilly spring and summer nights. After all, all types of leather are going to protect your skin from outside temperatures. Lightweight leather jackets are the perfect in-between jacket for when you want an added layer but don’t want to be too hot. They can we easily dressed up or down and are appropriate for essentially any occasion, depending on the weather of course.

Pros of lightweight leather jackets:

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to store
  • Plenty of options and colors available
  • Many retailers have jumped on the trend
  • Simple to style
  • Can be dressed up or down

Cons of lightweight leather jackets:

  • Leather jackets are pricey
  • Lightweight leather jackets are not as warm as their traditional counterparts

Warmth vs. Style - Where does a lightweight jacket fall?

There is room for a lightweight leather jacket in any man’s wardrobe. You may be surprised how much use you get out of it. While it will not be as warm as your traditional leather jackets, the level of style it will add to your wardrobe is priceless. They fall smack in the middle. Warmer than a sweatshirt, but lighter than a coat, the lightweight leather jacket makes getting dressed in the morning easy.

Best places to find lightweight leather jackets

Ready to shop? We did the hard part for you and found the top online retailers for lightweight leather jackets.

Peter Manning NYC - They use high-quality full-grain lambskin imported from New Zealand for their leather jackets. The buttery soft feel and the flexibility from the lambskin will make this jacket feel like a second skin.

Independence Brothers - This online shop caters to many different needs. They have a great selection of lightweight leather jackets and a customer service rep is always available to answer any questions.

Schott NYC - Founded in 1913 by two brothers, Schott NYC is still one of the top retailers for leather jackets today. They offer a number of different lightweight styles and always know to buy from Schott means high quality and durability.

Overland - Designed for comfort and lasting quality, a jacket purchased from Overland will a piece that stays with you for the long haul. They are one of the top sellers for soft, high-quality lambskin jackets. They have inclusive sizing and tons of different styles of lightweight leather jackets to chose from.

Pros & cons of lightweight leather jackets

Styling lightweight leather jackets

Have you decided it’s time to shop yet? Next time you head to the store keeps these tips in mind during your shopping trip to ensure you are getting the perfect leather jacket.

What to look for in a lightweight leather jacket?

  • Comfort - Buying a jacket you don’t find comfortable is throwing money down the drain. A lightweight leather jacket should fit close to your body and feel like a second skin.
  • Quality - Go for lambskin or sheepskin for the highest quality. The jacket should feel soft to the touch and have a bit of stretch.
  • Size - A lightweight leather jacket should fit quite close to the body. Never oversize when it comes to leather jackets. There should be enough room to comfortably wear a t-shirt or a button up underneath. Remember the glove rule: A lightweight leather jacket should fit like a glove and feel like a second skin.
  • Price - There’s no way around it, leather is expensive. A good leather jacket usually starts around the $300 price point.
  • Where can I wear it - While picking out your jacket think about the places and occasions you will be able to wear it. Is it versatile? Will it go with the other items in your wardrobe? How many times per year will I be able to wear it?

PHYSICAL - The Admiral Moto

PHYSICAL - The Suede Double Rider

PHYSICAL - The Technical Bomber

Best pairings for a lightweight leather jacket

Now the hard part of finding the perfect jacket, and choosing the style and material is over, it’s time for some outfit inspiration. Leather jackets can pair easily with so many different styles. Try a classic leather jacket to add to your wardrobe, or go with a colored one to add a bit more life.

Classic - To achieve the classic ‘cool guy’ look go for a lightweight moto jacket. The inevitable edgy vibe that the moto jacket brings will come through, while you are not overheating in the warmer temperatures. Try paring a moto jacket with a pair of dark washed jeans and a button-up shirt underneath.

Color flare - Are you more into bright colors and making a statement? If so, try a colored leather jacket. Blues and reds work wonderfully with lightweight leather jackets and they can add a pop of color to any outfit. When doing a bold color, opt for a more neutral shoe like a pair of white Converse or a black pair of Toms.

Easy weekend vibes - Look cool and casual while always remaining masculine by paring a black or brown lightweight leather jacket with a pair of blue jeans. Go for a straight leg in a lighter wash to make it more laid back. A lightweight racer is perfect for this look!

Leather jacket styling tips

Thanks so much for reading. We hope this guide sheds some light on all things lightweight leather jacket related. Buying one lightweight leather jacket at the beginning of the season will not only get you through the year but also for years to come. Writing this guide was so important to me because I know what value a great leather jacket can bring to any man’s wardrobe. All men out there deserve to feel the sensation of having that perfect leather jacket to throw on over anything and be on their way. We always want to hear your opinions and greatly value any feedback. Feel free to leave us a comment below or share this article with friends and family.


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