There are so many different types of leather jackets out there that it is sometimes hard to keep track of them all.
But knowing the difference between a bomber and a biker separates the experts from the pedestrians.
Today, however, we’re going to talk a really cool, somewhat exotic type of leather jacket that you don’t hear talked about every day unless you’re in the know.
Meet the cafe racer leather jacket.
What's unique about a cafe racer?
So, what, exactly, is a cafe racer leather jacket?
We have to start by explaining the term cafe racer.
It’s a type of motorcycle that is very fast and very lightweight. It is typically used for really fast trips and not for long haul or grand touring.
These bikes tend to be quite minimalistic when compared to the big hogs on the road and are sparing in features that add weight. You’re probably still wondering what any of this has to do with a cafe or leather.
The cafe term comes from the location of travelers’ cafes along the new roadways in Great Britain. Racers would jet from one to another in short jaunts on their bikes. A subculture that began to emerge around rock and roll, the leather jackets associated with these racers are, like the bikes, lightweight and minimalistic in style.
Best cafe leather jackets under $500
We’ve scoured the web to find some of our favorite examples of this style of leather jacket - and at a price anyone can afford.
What we looked for was quality, price, and overall look and feel of the jacket. We wanted to give you a choice from the best true cafe racer leather jackets out there and we think we’ve done a solid job.
Of course, leather jackets are as individual as the person who wears them, too. That’s why we’ve included some options on this list that give you a choice of material and even the color you would like your jacket to be.
That means you don’t have to stick with the traditional black or brown and can, instead, do something a little bit bolder if you like.
Here are our top 5 cafe racer leather jackets under $USD 500.
#5 Tea House Black Leather Biker Jacket from The Jacket Maker
This jacket from the aptly named The Jacket Makers is a black, real leather made out of 100% sheepskin with a semi-aniline finish and a quilted polyester lining.
In front, you have a symmetrical zip enclosure with a snap-button collar and snap cuffs as well as two interior pockets for optimal storage. The hardware is a brushed copper and the overall look is a minimalistic execution of a classic style.
Naturally, everything is lightweight as befitting the style. Though these jackets were designed for motorcycle riders, they’re great as late spring and summer and should add an edge to any look.
#4 The Cafe Racer from Soul Revolver
We love this jacket because you have a choice of either Italian leather or cowhide as well as four different colors including red, black, brown, and grey. It’s also got a slim, tailored fit that accentuates the natural V-shape most men have.
As with all cafe racer style jackets, this is a very minimalist execution with silver hardware that almost disappears into the leather itself. Two chest pockets and two side pockets as well as a polyester lining round out this offering. Again, for the stylish guy that wants a leather jacket but also likes more exotic colors than the standard offerings should definitely give this a look.
#3 Roland Sands Walker Jacket
This buffalo leather jacket is designed for riding or just being a stylish piece of your wardrobe. Coming in a black or brown shade that is ready to age, this jacket has zippered pockets and cuffs with side adjustable wrist tabs and shoulder, elbow, and back protector pockets with armor addition for people who are serious about using this as a riding jacket.
The patina factor is a huge selling-point for this jacket. That the leather can gracefully age out of the factory is a big plus because it means that no two jackets will look the same after some wear and use.
#2 REAX Folsom Leather Jacket
If you’re looking for a cafe racer that straddles the line between modern trends and classic styling, the REAX Folsom Leather Jacket is perfect for you. We’ve got oiled buffalo leather, an optional back pocket, articulated sleeves, lateral shoulder gussets, and reinforced double-layer elbows.
Outside of that, you have your standard chest pockets, back exhaust vents, a snapback collar, zippered cuffs, and an adjustable waist. On the inside, you have a waterproof pocket for your smartphone as well as interior cargo pockets that are closed with YKK-branded zippers (as you do).
#1 Teddy Racer from Brando & McQueen
This Nappa lambskin leather jacket is by far our favorite of the cafe racers on this list. It’s sleek, minimalist, and absolutely wonderful to wear. The polyester lining keeps things light and cool while the gunmetal hardware adds an extra bit of masculine energy to the ensemble.
Like all leather jackets, you’re going to have this professional cleaned and cared for which might be intimidating to many people. Don’t worry, it isn’t. This jacket is an amazing piece at its price of $355.
And there you have it - five of the best cafe racer jackets on the market right this moment. Whether you’re a traditionalist or someone that draws outside of the lines, there’s s little something for everyone here and we know that, whatever you choose, you’ll make a solid choice that is going to look just great on you today and tomorrow and for a lifetime.