Are Cheap Leather Jackets Too Good to be True?

When looking for that special leather jacket, keep in mind that the quality of the material is just one of many factors to consider in your search. Real, good quality leather is a must if you want to purchase a leather jacket that will last you for decades to come. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to find custom fit, top grain leather jackets that will be durable, fit perfectly, and still look fantastic for years to come at a price point below $200. In fact, for the just-right motorcycle or other customized leather jacket, expect to give up quality, in both workmanship and material, at prices less than $500 or so.

Keep the following components in mind when searching for a leather jacket that you'll still be wearing many, many years down the line:

  • Quality of leather material
  • Durability of construction
  • Price makes a difference


The Material

Not all leather jackets are comparable. There are hard leathers that feel like tough cardboard and have an undesirable crunch when the material is bent in normal everyday wear. Then there are soft, buttery, top grain leathers, that are soft and supple, and bend with your movements.

There are absolutely different grades of leather, and they naturally will be priced differently. Although $200 may sound like a large price tag, why spend that much money in the first place to only have to replace or repair the jacket once the material cracks in the long run? Think of a leather jacket purchase as an investment, because that is exactly what this purchase is in terms of your outerwear wardrobe.

Fine, top grain leather jackets are made from hides that have been smoothed out at the top. The material is thick, strong, and made to last, after having undergone a treatment process to smooth off that upper layer of hide. Some leather jackets may be sold as 'genuine' leather, but often it may only be the lower layer of material that's making up the jacket. The top layer may have been torn off and separated to be used for making more expensive clothing, leaving just the lower layer for that 'genuine' leather jacket, which is not of top grain quality.

Another type of jacket costing less than $200 may be made of bonded leather. Bonded leather jackets are made by putting together small, individual pieces of leather using glue or other materials. A bonded leather jacket will not be durable enough to last you for years and years to come.

Construction Counts

A high quality leather jacket costing between $500 to $2,000+ will be durably constructed and contain some fine details that are missing on lesser quality wear. You'll find no loose threads or ripped seams on these finer leather jackets. The zippers will be nice and sturdy, and you'll be able to count on them working smoothly on their track. The zipper handle will be somewhat hefty. Those seams on better leather jacket zippers will lay flat and not pucker up, tempting the zipper to stick. Buttons should be well-attached, with metal buttons and buckles coated with material to protect from rust and wear and tear.

Price Is Often a Sign of Quality

The hallmark of our leather jackets lies in their fine quality, stylish details, and exceptional value. Remember that a great leather jacket can last you for 20 years or more. Even if the jacket you purchase is of a certain style that may go out of fashion for a few years, you can always bring it back out when it comes back (and nearly all fashion styles eventually come back in popularity again). Many leather jacket styles, however, are timeless and always in fashion. Think of motorcycle jackets, leather blazers, trench coats, and vests. They, with very few adjustments, are always cool wardrobe choices.

When it comes to deciding whether to purchase luxury outerwear, like our top grain, custom leather jackets, use a simple formula to help you decide the cost per wear of your purchase. Determine how many times you'll expect to wear that jacket throughout the year.

If you'll wear it nearly every day in the fall and spring months, that's about 180 days of use. Now divide that number by the price of the jacket. If you purchased a good quality, $700 leather jacket, it's costing you $3.88 per day of wear per year. That's less than the price of your daily latte! Now consider that the jacket will last you for 20 years, and you'll understand the wisdom of investing in the best leather outerwear you can afford.

A well-made, classic leather jacket is quite affordable and well worth the cost when you understand that this investment is not a piece of clothing you will end up giving away in a charity bin after a couple of years.

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