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Motorcycle Pants Buyer’s Guide

motorcycle pant buying guide

How often do you see a biker wearing regular jeans or even shorts? When you see them, what is your reaction? Do you feel that the clothing choice is appropriate, or do you think they are putting themselves at unnecessary risk? Not enough stress is placed on the proper attire for riding, and because of that lack of emphasis, many riders end up with severe road rash or worse when they are involved in a spill or wreck. Therefore, to protect yourself, it is vital you wear the proper clothing while riding, especially when it comes to pants. However, that likely brings up more questions. For example, what materials are best, or how should motorcycle pants fit?

Thankfully, any questions you may have should be addressed by reading this brief overview of pant design, materials, fit and styles. While there is a wide array of motorcycle clothing manufacturers and designs, when it comes to pants, there are a few things that make a pair superior to others. Therefore, read through this guide for information, suggestions and recommendations, and then perform some research on your own to find the pair of motorcycle pants that are right for you and your riding style.

Necessities of Design

Motorcycle pants are not regular jeans. They have to be more durable and resilient to the risks and wears of motorcycle riding, such as road rash. The materials and construction, then, are crafted to prevent the separation of seams when sliding against the pavement or other abrasive material. Also, many dedicated motorcycle pants have padding and other protective elements sewn directly into the lining and structure of the pants. For example, you may find that these jeans have extra padding in the hips, knees and buttock areas. Some designs will also include more durable armor elements.

Common Materials

As with any pants, there are numerous materials that the final product can be made from. However, while you may see some similar materials to more general pant construction, such as denim and leather, you will also find a variety of materials specific to motorcycle pant construction. For example, Keprotec is a synthetic blend fabric that is abrasion-resistant and made to replicate the strength of leather with more breathability. Also, you will probably see references to Kevlar, ballistic nylon and aramid, all materials proven to be reliable and heat resistant. Mainly, when looking for a good pair of motorcycle pants, you want to ensure that the materials are durable and designed for the risks of riding.

Strength and Durability of Materials

There is no denying that fashion and style play a role in even motorcycle communities. However, the desire to remain fashionable cannot come at the expense of safety. For example, while you may prefer the look and feel of denim, the material just isn’t as strong and durable as other products. Leather is by far the most resilient to abrasions and material failures. However, leather is not the only material stronger than denim, and material is not the only factor in determining the quality of pants. For example, stitching strength also plays a vital role as does fit.

Understanding Fit

When researching motorcycle pants, a common question is, should motorcycle leathers be tight? While tight may not be the best word choice, motorcycle gear, generally speaking, should be snug, especially pants. While you need the pants to be comfortable in the riding position, you also don’t want them to be too loose or move around too easily. If you buy leathers or jeans too loose, then the protective quality of the design is significantly diminished. Therefore, when purchasing motorcycle pants, get a current and accurate measurement of your waist and inseam.

Common Styles and Uses

While all motorcycle pants are designed to protect you in the event of a collision, there is no reason they can’t be stylish. True, dedicated pants are purpose-built, made of the most durable materials, such as leather, with integrated padding and armor, and you likely can’t wear these to work or some casual outings because they are impractical. However, there are other motorcycle pants designed for specific riding styles that may be incorporated more readily into your day-to-day activities.


For many commuters, there is a need for a simple way to change from motorcycle gear to professional clothing. Overpants allow for such a change because, as the name implies, they go over your regular clothing. These pants are usually designed to be slightly looser to accommodate for other clothing. However, they have several adjustment points to create a snugger and more protective fit.


Off-road pants or MX clothing is generally looser. However, the reason MX pants can be looser is because of the pads and other protective elements worn during races. Therefore, MX clothing tends to be a little more breathable and comfortable, less restrictive than dedicated motorcycle pants and different styles. Although, you would not want to wear these pants without the protective gear that is standard in MX sports because they won’t offer the same protection as other materials and options.


Touring pants are versatile and made to work for varying climates. For example, pants dedicated to this style of riding will likely have built-in venting. Also, they will probably be constructed with removable liners for warmer climates. Touring or adventure pants are also typically made of weatherproof materials with multiple pockets and zippers or snaps to connect into a jacket.


While you may be tempted to wear lighter weight pants for quick jaunts around town, it is necessary to remember that accidents can happen anywhere. Commuter pants are typically made from textiles, like heavy-gauge denim, and are more practical for day-to-day duties. However, it is also necessary to point out that while these pants offer some protection, they will not protect as much as others. 

Now, what are the best motorcycle riding jeans? While the above information can help you determine the effectiveness of several styles of motorcycle pants, only you can determine the best style for you. Therefore, consider your riding style and lifestyle, then check out your favorite retailer to find the pair you think will work best for your situation.

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