There is nothing as liberating as riding a motorcycle on the highway, but they do not offer much protection from the weather or from the road surface if you are involved in an accident. Therefore, the gear that you wear when you are riding your motorcycle is very important. You need to protect your body as best you can, but you need to remain comfortable and you must be able to move around freely and without restriction. Motorcycle chaps are the perfect compromise.
Whether you choose Harley-Davidson chaps or a budget pair of biker chaps, they will protect your skin if you happen to fall off your bike. They are easy to get on and off and can be adjusted to fit. Provided you choose the right size and care for them correctly, a pair of leather chaps could last you for years. To help you invest in the right pair, here is our useful guide to the best motorcycle chaps available.
The Best Motorcycle Chaps
These black motorcycle chaps are available in four sizes. They are made from premium cowhide leather that looks great and will protect your skin if you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident. They are wrinkle-free and will not sag and the high-quality stitching makes sure that they are both comfortable and durable. These motorcycle chaps also offer protection from water.
Because they have both a front belt and a rear lace closure, they are very easy to get on and off. This is further aided by the side outer seam zipper and the snap closure at the bottom.
- Black chaps available in four sizes
- Made from cowhide leather
- Wrinkle-free and do not sag
- Adjustable belt and lace closure
- Brand Viking Cycle
- Model NO105P
Here we have a set of biker chaps that are specifically designed to fit a lady biker and are available in 11 sizes, so you will not have a problem getting a set that fits. They are superbly comfortable as they are made from naked cowhide.
The original YKK zippers on these women’s chaps make them very easy to get on and off quickly and the back thigh lacing detail means that you can fine-tune the fit to suit your body.
- Women’s motorcycle chaps
- Made from naked cowhide
- Available in 11 sizes
- Back thigh lacing detail
- Brand Milwaukee Leather
- Model L1173
- Weight 3.95 pounds
A pair of compact motorcycle gaiters in one size. They are made from premium quality PU leather and are lined with a high-density fluff mixed with a foam material so that they block out the wind and keep your calves warm.
You can achieve a precise fit using the four Velcro straps at the back which are fully adjustable. This new design incorporates a reflective strip so you will be highly visible at night. They can also be used by cyclists and pedestrians and they are very easy to put on and take off.
- Made from premium quality PU leather
- Insulated with a high-density fluff mixed with a foam material
- Four Velcro straps at the back
- One size only but fully adjustable
- Brand A.B Crew
- Model 8542055796
- Weight 1.47 pounds
This set of black cowhide leather chaps are available in 11 sizes, so you will not have any problems with sizing. They are made from a mid-weight smooth leather that offers both comfort and flexibility. The chaps have been fully lined as far as the knee and are suitable for men and women. Thanks to the addition of side-covered zippers together with the snap leg closures, they are very easy to get in and out of. To give you additional thigh room, there is another zipper on the thigh that has webbing so you are guaranteed the best fit.
If you have had issues with the fit of other chaps, this could be the product for you. They are extremely durable with strong hardware and an inseam which is 33-36 inches. The chaps feature an adjustable lace on the backside so that they can be adjusted. There is also a left pocket on these excellent biker chaps.
- Suitable for men and women
- Available in 11 sizes
- Side covered zippers and snap leg closures
- Adjustable lace on the backside
- Brand Xelement
- Model B7552
- Weight 3.2 pounds
These motorcycle chaps give you comfort and style and are available in four sizes. They are tailored from high-quality cowhide leather with an elastic section on the inner thigh. The heavy-duty zippers give quick and easy access to the sides. There is an adjustable belt and a lace waist closure so that you can fine-tune the fit to your dimensions.
These riding chaps are extremely easy to put on and have a snap closure at the ankle. There are also two zippered pockets.
- Made from high-quality cowhide leather
- Elastic on the inner thigh
- Adjustable belt and a lace waist closure
- Snap closure at the ankle
- Brand Nomad USA
- Model FBA_NO1016R
- Weight 3.14 pounds
Made from a genuine patchwork buffalo leather, these motorcycle chaps are lined for comfort and safety. They are in an attractive black color and come in four sizes.
They have an adjustable buckle at the waist so that you can get a snug and comfortable fit. These biker chaps are quick to get on and off thanks to the snap closures at the ankle.
- Available in four sizes
- Made from genuine patchwork buffalo leather
- Adjustable buckle at the waist
- Snap closures at the ankle
- Brand Diamond Plate
- Weight 4 pounds
This set of classic motorcycle chaps is suitable for men and women and is available in 11 sizes. They are made using cowhide leather that is textured and mid-weight. This gives you both comfort and flexibility so moving around is really easy. The textured finish on these leather chaps is resistant to scuffs.
There are extra safety and comfort thanks to the lining, and they are very quick and easy to get in and out of thanks to the strong zippers and snap closures at the lower leg. All of the hardware is extra-strong and durable. There is a lace fastening at the back that can be adjusted.
- Made from textured cowhide leather
- Fully lined for comfort
- Strong zippers and snap closures
- Adjustable lace fastening at the back
- Brand Xelement
- Model 41402
- Weight 3 pounds
Here we have a pair of fully lined chaps that are suitable for men and women. They are available in nine sizes and are made from heavyweight leather that is soft but gives you the peace of mind of added protection when you are on the road.
Provided you choose the correct size, they will fit over your regular jeans. You do them up using the belt with a silver buckle closure and using the cross tie at the back which is adjustable. They will match all of your other black leather biking gear and look great. However, their practicality means that they will protect you from rubbing and pipe burns as well as road rash.
- Fully lined leather chaps
- Belt with silver buckle
- Cross tie at the back
- Fit over regular jeans and pants
- Brand Hot Leathers
- Model CHM1001 BLACK; M
- Weight 2.75 pounds
These gaiter leggings are just what you have been looking for to keep you warm and protected when on your motorcycle. They are designed to protect the most exposed part of your leg and are like half chaps.
These leggings fit comfortably over your jeans and thanks to the compact design they are very easy to put on and take off. The material is a high-quality leatherette which is double-layered for warmth and will stop your calves from getting cold. There are adjustable straps at the thigh and at the top of the calf.
- Provide warmth and protection
- Fit comfortably over jeans and pants
- Made from high-quality leatherette
- Adjustable straps at thigh and calf
- Brand JJLHIF
These durable buffalo leather chaps are available in just one size, and you trim them to the desired length. You can adjust the waist using the belt buckle and the lace tie at the back.
They have a durable snap closure at the ankle that makes them easy to get on and off. These leather chaps give you added protection and keep you warm.
- Buffalo leather chaps
- Adjustable belt buckle at the waist
- Snap closure at the ankle
- Added protection and warmth
- Brand BNF
- Weight 3.35 pounds
Things to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Chaps
Motorcycle chaps are not cheap and one pair should last you for several years. It is, therefore, important that you buy the right pair for you. Here are the main things that you should consider.
- What material are they made from? The material used in the manufacture of chaps must be strong and comfortable. Most chaps are made from leather and you will most often see cowhide or buffalo chaps. Always go for the best quality leather that you can afford. Most are black and some are textured. Also, look at the quality of the stitching.
- What sizes are available? It is very important that the chaps fit! Some are designed for men, some are designed for women and some are unisex. Up to ten or more sizes can be available and there should be a size chart to help you choose the correct size.
- Are they adjustable? You can get an exact and comfortable fit by adjusting the chaps so look for a pair that has adjustable fastenings. There will often be a belt-style buckle that you can do up at the front. There could also be a lace closure at the back that you can use to tighten them. Some chaps can be trimmed at the bottom to fit your height.
- Are they lined? Some chaps are lined for added warmth and some are not. Other pairs are lined just to the knee. Often a fleece or foam material is used but not all chaps are lined at all.
- What style are they? Motorcycle chaps are like a half-pants garment that covers the lower leg but leaves the bottom-area exposed. You can also get half-chaps or gaiters which just strap around the legs and to not expend to the waist. They give you more freedom to move but afford less protection. It is a matter of personal preference.
Why You Should Use Motorcycle Chaps
The primary reasons for wearing motorcycle chaps are for safety and warmth. Sadly, motorcyclists are very vulnerable if they get knocked off their bikes and can get serious abrasion wounds if they hit the highway. Abrasion wounds are no joke and are extremely painful. Leather provides some protection and increases your chance of only suffering minor injuries. It certainly provides more protection than jeans. They also help to keep you warm and dry when you are riding in the colder and wetter months.
You have a few options for protective clothing when you are riding your motorcycle but chaps have a few distinct advantages. Firstly, they allow you to move your body around. They don’t restrict your leg movement in the way that leather pants do. This ensures that you are comfortable. Motorcycle chaps are also relatively lightweight. This stops them from weighing you down and restricting your movement. You can choose a heavier pair for when the weather is cooler and a lighter pair for the summer months. Because they have pockets, they will help to keep your cell phone, money and documents safe as well.
The final reason that you should select some motorcycle chaps is that they are built to last! They are made from hardwearing leather and strong hardware. You should have several years’ wear out of them provided you look after them correctly.
Overpants vs Chaps: What’s the Difference
You have a number of options about which protective garments you wear on your motorcycle. Leather chaps are one option but so are leather overpants. At first glance they can look the same; they both cover the legs and fit snugly and they are both made of leather. However, there are some significant differences as well.
Chaps are not as heavy or clingy as leather pants and are better in warmer weather. They can easily be popped on over work clothes if you are commuting. Chaps do not cover the whole of your legs and the seat area is exposed which can make them more comfortable.
Overpants cover all of the area that regular pants cover. This can make them harder to get off unless they have been fitted with zippers. Some overpants have interchangeable liners which makes them very versatile. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference and what you feel most comfortable in.
Best Motorcycle Chaps FAQ:
Q: How do I choose the correct size?
A: For your comfort and safety, your motorcycle chaps should fit correctly. Most products have a handy size guide included in the description so have a good look at this. You will need to take some measurements.
If you are asked for your thigh circumference, measure your thigh all the way around at the thickest part using a measuring tape and do this whilst you are wearing your regular jeans. Measure just below the groin and keep the tape horizontal. Typical sizes vary from 22 inches to 26 inches. You may also need to measure your waist and inside leg. It can be useful to have someone to help you and a fabric measuring tape will be easier to use. Then use your measurements and the size chart provided to select the appropriate size for you.
When you get your chaps, try moving around in them to make sure that they fit. As a general rule, you should be able to fit your hand snugly between your thigh and the chaps but you should not be able to move it around. The chaps belt should fasten in one of the middle holes and you can use the laces at the back to adjust this.
Remember that chaps will stretch at the locations where your body puts pressure on them. This gives them a lived-in feel as they mold to the contours of your body. If they are too long, you can trim them using scissors.
Q: How should I clean my motorcycle chaps?
A: If you want your motorcycle chaps to last for a few years, you will need to clean them at some stage. Set aside about an hour to do the job properly and it will need to be done a couple of times a year. Here’s how you can keep your chaps looking and feeling their best.
- Water and saddle soap. The first option is to hang them up on a clothes hanger and place that on a hook. Fill a bucket with warm water and add a mild detergent such as a dishwashing detergent. Using a soft cloth, wipe the chaps down. For stubborn dirt, you can use Saddle Soap which is specifically designed for leather. This contains both a detergent and a softening agent which can be foot oil, lanolin or glycerin. You will need to keep rinsing the cloth because it can get quite dirty.
- In the shower. Another option is to wear your chaps and stand in your shower. You can use both hands to wash them down with a mild soap and then wash them off with water from the shower head. The disadvantage of this method is that they do get very wet and will take a quite a long time to dry.
- Thoroughly dry. It is important that you hang up your chaps in a well-ventilated place to thoroughly dry after you have washed them. Do not be tempted to use a hair dryer or to put them in an electric drier. This will seriously damage the leather and it will crack and shrink.
- Condition the leather. Once the chaps are completely dry, you can start to condition the leather. You cannot condition leather that has not been thoroughly washed and dried because you will just be rubbing dirt into the chaps. It is possible to buy special motorcycle chaps leather lotion or conditioner that will be perfect for the job. Rub it into a small section at a time using a soft, clean cloth. Take your time over the seams and stitching because these can get dry and brittle after washing and can even rot. The better quality leather conditioners are made from natural ingredients and they nourish the leather so that it remains soft and supple. You can also use your fingers to rub the cream in well, the heat from your hands will help it to be absorbed by the leather.
- Absorbing the conditioner. After conditioning, place the chaps back on a hanger and leave them for an hour for the leather to have a chance to absorb the conditioner. If the chaps were very dry, this can take longer.
- Weatherproofing. It is possible to apply a water proofing product after conditioning. You will need to work it into the leather making sure that you cover all of the seams and stitching. Then you simply wipe off the excess using a dry cloth. The chaps need to be dried off in a well-ventilated area over night.
- Day-to-day care. As well as the bi-annual clean, you may want to do some spot cleaning of your chaps. This can be done with unscented baby wipes as they will clean and condition the chaps at the same time.
Q: How do I put on my chaps?
A: If you have never put a pair of motorcycle chaps on, you may be wondering how to do it. Here’s what you need to do.
- Practice. Have a practice run at putting the chaps on when you don’t actually need to go out on your motorcycle! You will have more time to make the necessary adjustments to make sure that they fit you correctly.
- Floor drag is fine. Don’t worry about dragging the chaps on the floor as you are putting them on, this is inevitable and shows that you are putting them on correctly.
- Unzip and unsnap. Fully open the zippers and the snap closures of both legs of the motorcycle chaps.
- Hold the chaps correctly. Do this by grasping the top of the chaps at the point between the lacing and the back rear of the right leg using your right hand. At this stage, the inside of the right chap leg should be facing you.
- Pass between your legs. Then you should use your left hand to get the male part of the zipper in between your legs. You pass it from the front to the back where you catch it with your right hand. Then you grab the female part of the zipper using your left hand.
- Position the right leg. You will need to move the zippers to the front of your thigh but they must be located below the thickest part of your thigh. Then you can zip up the right leg.
- Position the left leg. You do this by passing the zipper towards the outside rear of your leg but don’t pull the chaps up. Instead, pass the belt and the left leg straight across behind you and to your left leg. Stop just above the knee and then pass the female part of the zipper from front to back. It should pass between your legs and catch it with your left hand. Move the zippers to the front of your thigh and zip up the left leg.
- Pull the chaps up. Now you just have to adjust the buckle and lace to get a good fit.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of the best motorcycle chaps are available in four sizes. The premium cowhide leather looks great and offers plenty of protection. They are wrinkle-free and will not sag. The stitching makes sure that they are both comfortable and durable and water resistant.
Because they have both a front belt and a rear lace closure, they are very easy to get on and off. This is further aided by the side outer seam zipper and the snap closure at the bottom; both are adjustable. The chaps have useful side pockets and you can even get at the back pockets of your pants should you need to.