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Textile v Leather

9th August 2017

Motorcycle Clothing Textile vs Leather

Hello and welcome to Alex's Blog. This week I thought I would look at textile clothing and the pros and cons of it. We have explored which motorcycle helmet to buy and the benefits of 1 piece leather suits vs 2 pieces so now I thought we'd look at the benefits of textile motorcycle clothing vs. leather.

I suppose the big question to start with is what do you use your bike for? Commuting, pleasure, track days, touring?  It sounds self-explanatory but it's something that not everyone considers before they buy and then end up having to get something else as well.

Some items are very specific for one use and others can be used for a few of these options. Track days, for example, can only be exclusively leather. There are sports style textile jackets etc but these will not be accepted on a track day. Touring sells itself better to textiles but not exclusively and this isn't to say that you can't mix ie. textile jacket and leather bottoms, or vice versa.


Alpinestars GP Plus Jacket
Leather Jacket

IXS Navigator Jacket in Grey Black and Red
Textile Jacket

BKS London Vintage Brown Jacket
Brown Leather Jacket

Frank Thomas Elegance Jacket in Black and Gold
Elegance Leather Jacket

Alpinestars Gp Plus Jeans
Leather Jeans

IXS Navigator Black Pants
Textile Pants

RST Kevlar Vintage Blue Jeans
Kevlar Jeans

BKS Roxy Kevlar Black Leggings
Kevlar Leggings

Another big question is what weather do you ride in? A lot of people don't want to admit it but a high number of bikers are fair weather bikers who ride on summer dry days only. There is nothing wrong with this, but, sadly, the Great British climate isn't the most reliable - so a back-up is often needed. Textiles give you this versatility that leather doesn't necessarily.

Generally speaking leather is the most abrasive resistant. However, textiles have come on leaps and bounds in the past few years and are now selling better in our 30 stores than leather. The new Covec material is stronger than leather or Kevlar with greater abrasion resistance. In fact, we have lots of textiles that are game changers for life long wearers of leather who then become textile aficionados.

So, let's look at some of the pros and cons of textile and leather:

Textiles breathe and are looser. It's all well and good wearing skin tight leather when you're a lithe young thing but sometimes comfort wins. You can also wear more clothing under textiles than under your leathers. Leathers are supposed to fit like a second skin. Textiles give you a little more leeway to have that extra biscuit with your tea. Textiles are more likely to be adjustable - this means adjustable to YOUR body. They will have an adjustable waist and you can change the width of the arms on most jackets to get the perfect fit. Leathers are more rigid in their fit - you can find the perfect fitting leathers for you - which is great - but with textiles they are more likely to fit to you than you having to fit in to leathers.

All have CE approved armour where you need it - this doesn't change with whichever you choose but remember that you don't get knee sliders on textiles.

IXS Navigator Jacket insideTextiles are usually layered making them more suitable for ALL weather conditions. They can have a waterproof membrane (Gore-Tex, SympaTex, Drystar, Solto-tex etc), and a thermal lining and these can be removable independent of each other too making textile a lot more versatile. Also with the ability to wear other clothes underneath these add another versatility - making them more convenient for commuting, days out etc.

Lots of people prefer leathers over textiles in the summer because they think they are cooler - a lot of leathers are perforated which does make the ride a lot cooler BUT there are a lot of very lightweight mesh jackets for extremely hot/humid riding nowadays with the same amount of protection. Leathers can be very heavy. Textiles also have vents. Leathers can too but this is more of a rarity. It is very common to find (resealable) vents on textile jackets.

IXS Cannes 2 piece OversuitTextiles are more likely to be waterproof. There are waterproof leathers (these are very rare) and you can treat your leather to repel water but most textiles are 100% waterproof. You can, however, always carry a lightweight waterproof oversuit with you. to remedy this, so that is not necessarily a problem while wearing leathers - just make sure you don't forget them!

Experienced riders often have both textile and leather motorcycle clothing for different riding experiences but this isn't really necessary given the variety of both leather and textiles available on the market at the minute. However, remember track days is leather only – no suit no ride.

Your choice of leather vs. textile may also depend on your bike or style preference. A lot of retro and sports bikers tend to go for leather but, again, there is such a range of clothing available in both leather and textile that you are spoilt for choice.


Frank Thomas Rmaster Wax Cotton Jacket in Beige
Wax Cotton Jacket

Spada Airforce 1 Silver Jacket
Bomber Jacket

Alpinestars Cordoba Drystar Black and Anthracite Jacket
Textile Jacket

Alpinestars Gunner Waterproof Jacket in Black abd Pink
Ladies Textile Jacket

Frank Thomas Leather Jeans
Leather Jeans

Red Route Ride Out Blue Jeans
Kevlar Jeans

Alpinestars Protean Drystar Pants
Textile Pants

Oxford Products Ladies Kevlar SS2 Blue Jeans
Kevlar Jeans

At the end of the day, there is no hard and fast rule. A lot is down to personal preference, style, or mind set, but remember that the range, of both, is extremely versatile and has developed tenfold in the past few years.

Until next time, stay safe.

Alex