It might be a bombastic claim — no pun intended — but one can easily argue that the bomber jacket is the most iconic piece of outerwear in the world. Though its roots began in the military, like many fashion staples, the bomber transcended its original arena and made its way around the world as different subcultures adopted it for its versatile and stylish looks. The bomber’s many different permutations throughout its storied history have made it all the more appealing to own as they go with virtually any style. Whether you own one that’s truer to its military roots or one that’s been reinterpreted by a designer, a good bomber is a must-have item for any man’s wardrobe.
On this comprehensive list, you will find the best bombers the fashion industry has to offer. Our definition of a bomber jacket aligns with tradition: a waist-length jacket with a zip front, side pockets, and a knit collar and cuffs. As you’ll see, the materials used to construct them as well as their actual styles vary from brand to brand, but for the sake of continuity, those qualities will serve as the parameters within which we curated our list. These jackets stand out for their style, reputation, quality, and innovation. Before we jump into our picks, however, let us go over a brief history of the bomber jacket and its cultural relevance around the globe.
A Brief History Of The Bomber
Where Military Meets Style
As its name suggests, the bomber jacket (also known as a flight jacket) was the garment of choice for pilots during WWI. At that point in history, bomber planes didn’t have cockpits, so pilots had to wear a warm, insulating jacket to keep from freezing while flying at high altitudes. The first standard flight jacket, the Type A-1, was introduced to the U.S. Army in 1927. It was made of sheepskin, horsehide, or goatskin leather and had a knit collar and cuffs to better insulate the pilots.
Flight jackets would have several different permutations as time progressed until the B-series jackets came along. These jackets were made for high-altitude flights and served as the template for the bomber we all know and love: the MA-1. Designed by Dobbs Industries (which would later become Alpha Industries), the MA-1 was introduced in 1949 to the U.S. Army and offered a lightweight construction and a wool knit collar that allowed for soldiers to wear it in warmer weather. The bomber’s versatility, simplicity, and accessibility immediately made it a sought-after garment around the world.
In Asia, the bomber became popular in post-WWII Japan as the Sukajan (souvenir jacket), which was inspired by the bombers worn by servicemen stationed in the naval base city of Yokosuka. In England, the bomber’s rugged silhouette was first adopted by the blue-collar skinhead subculture in the 1960s. As the skinhead movement became increasingly radicalized and homophobic, near the late ’70s, London’s LGBTQ+ community adopted the bomber in protest to the skinheads’ hyper-masculine agenda. In all three settings, the bomber was a symbol of counterculture before becoming a fashion staple. It was also a stateside symbol of counterculture, as it was the preferred jacket of the grunge movement in the ’90s and the hip-hop movement of the early 2000s.
Now that we’ve covered a brief history of the bomber’s importance, let’s dive into our picks of the best bomber jackets for men currently on offer.
Uniqlo MA-1 BLOUSON
Uniqlo is a name that needs no introduction. They’ve solidified themselves as the dominant player in the affordable, streetwear-inspired fast-fashion basics, and their MA-1 inspired jacket proves how they earned that reputation. The MA-1 Blouson from Uniqlo offers a modern silhouette and a resin-coated faux leather pull tab on the front to evoke an elevated take on a casual classic. Furthermore, the waterproof coating adds a layer of protection to keep the wearer dry, warm, and stylish in the colder, damper fall weather.
Levi’s Flight Satin Unfilled Ma-1 Bomber
It’s hard to make a “best of” clothing list and not mention any offerings from Levi’s. The American brand produced a fantastic bomber jacket whose silhouette parallels that of its 1940s predecessor. From the nylon flight satin fabric construction to the ribbed collar, cuffs, and hem, Levi’s Flight Satin Ma-1 Bomber stays true to its military roots. That said, for those looking to make more of a statement, their red bomber is sure to catch the eye of anyone who sees it.
Topman Icon Bomber Jacket
Topman’s Icon Bomber is a masterclass of minimalism. Bombers are inherently understated, and this one takes that line of thought to a whole new level without looking cheap or lazy. Armed with two side pockets, polyester construction, and a matte finish, the Icon is a no-frills bomber that lets its stunning silhouette do the talking. For those looking for a simple, stylish bomber that will go with just about everything, this well-valued jacket is right for you.
Everlane The Bomber Jacket
Everlane’s bomber jacket is a fixture on any “best bombers” list for good reason. This particular bomber offers a more modern interpretation of the famous garment with a water-resistant, recycled polyester blend construction, magnetic closure pockets, and a two-way zipper. Its silhouette still retains the classic bomber shape and the sleeve pocket is an appreciated nod to its military roots. Add to that its lean price, and you’ve got a must-have bomber.
Alpha Industries MA-1 Bomber Jacket
It should come as no surprise at all that the maker of the original MA-1 Bomber would make it on this list. They’re the progenitor of this incredible style, so of course they make one of the best bombers on the market. Just like their field jackets, Alpha Industry’s design has a more rugged silhouette while evoking a fashion-forward yet militaristic vibe. Alpha Industry’s bomber features a mid-weight flight nylon construction, Ottoman knit cuffs, and is reversible.
Bonobos Boulevard Bomber
With a bomber as stylish and well-made as the Boulevard, it’s hard to believe that Bonobos started out making pants. The Boulevard offers a classic silhouette with an understated yet classy design. It’s slimmer fitting and has a really smooth, matte texture that evokes a modern vibe. Bonobos’ offering features single welt hand pockets with snaps to secure your belongings, a cotton and nylon construction, and an array of four colors to choose from.
Taylor Stitch Quilted Bomber Jacket
The folks at Taylor Stitch outdid themselves when they made their quilted bomber jacket. The Bay Area brand partnered with world-renowned Halley Stevensons to make a responsibly built bomber with a 100% sustainable construction. Its 100% organic cotton dry wax build gives it a waterproof finish while the lining and filling are made of 100% recycled nylon and polyester, respectively. This bomber is as good for the environment as it is for your wardrobe.
Todd Snyder Japanese Down Quilted Snap Bomber
Leave it to Todd Snyder to find a way to elevate the bomber to an even more stylish and practical level. Todd Snyder’s Japanese Down Quilted Snap Bomber combines the warmth and versatility of puffer jackets with the rugged silhouette of a traditional bomber. This modern interpretation of a classic has a construction made of 100% Japanese nylon, gun metal snaps, and an added chest pocket. Plus, the added insulation will keep you warm and stylish in the frigid winter weather.
Reigning Champ Logo-Appliquéd Nylon-Satin Jacket
Using the bomber’s understated silhouette as their canvas, Reigning Champ created a stadium jacket befitting any varsity star. This logo-appliquéd, nylon-satin bomber is light and comfortable on its own or when layered with a heavier jacket. The snap fastenings and striped ribbed trims provide a layer of street fashion to elevate this piece of athletic wear while the bomber’s light construction gives the jacket more versatility than your standard varsity jacket.
Filson Alcan Quilted Jacket
What “best jacket” list would be complete without the likes of Filson? Keeping in line with its military roots, Filson’s Alcan bomber is filled with PrimaLoft insulation, which was the go-to insulation brand that the U.S. military used in the 1980s. Their Alcan Quilted Jacket is exactly what you would expect a hunting brand like Filson to make. Its heavy-duty wax canvas shell is reinforced with Cordura ballistic nylon to give you a durable, waterproof, and weatherproof bomber that will last for years.
Buck Mason Bruiser Leather Bomber Jacket
While the bomber jacket became iconic for its rugged silhouette, the folks at Buck Mason thought they could up the ante even more. The aptly named Bruiser Leather Bomber jacket packs a punch with its streamlined design, vegetable-tanned leather construction, and zip pockets. Despite its rough-and-tumble design, the Bruiser’s vegetable-tanned build makes it more flexible than traditional calf leather, translating to a comfortable fit on its first wear.
Mission Workshop The Mission Bomber
What’s great about Mission Workshop is that they always find a way to blend comfort, utility, style, and innovation in their products. Their Mission Bomber is no exception. The ultra-modern take on the bomber features a cotton and polyamide blend with a water-repellent DWR finish to combat rainy weather. It’s loaded with six discrete pockets to maximize storage and sports a PrimaLoft Gold Active insulation that’s warm, lightweight, and breathable. If fashionistas of the future were to design a bomber, this is what they would come up with.
Rag and Bone Manston Recycled Nylon Bomber Jacket
If you’re pining for a bomber that’s as stylish and versatile as it is sustainable, then look no further than Rag and Bone’s Manston Recycled Nylon Bomber. This effortlessly cool bomber is made from 100% recycled, piece-dyed nylon and sports snap pockets and a branded key ring on its sleeve pocket to break up its streamlined design. The Manston also features a bright orange interior and polyfill within the body of the jacket to keep you well-insulated.
Officine Generale Marx Slim-Fit Padded Shell Bomber Jacket
The Marx bomber from Officine Generale is indicative of what a designer with an insatiable hunger for perfection would create. This bomber is a stylish offering that elevates the classic silhouette with an understated yet elegant design. Its patch pockets with snap closures and ribbed collar add some visual contrast while the padded insulation and water-repellent exterior provide some utility.
Canada Goose Men’s Kirkfield Bomber Jacket Black Label
Being a Canada Goose jacket, the Kirkfield is the heaviest offering on this list and boasts an array of features. The Kirkfield has action pleats on its back and shoulders to improve mobility, four exterior pockets, two double-entry pockets, side pockets with handwarmer fleece lining, and the signature double stripe reflective details for enhanced visibility at night. If there ever were a way to marry ski jackets’ practicality and bombers’ stylishness, this is it.
One More For The Road
Loro Piana Padded Silk-Twill Bomber Jacket
It would be a crime not to mention a bomber this wonderfully opulent on our list. Loro Piana’s padded silk-twill bomber creates a subtle sheen that’s sure to turn heads no matter the corner you’re on. Despite being made of silk, Loro Piana’s bomber is treated with a Storm System coating, which gives it total protection from water damage. Additionally, its four front pockets provide ample storage, which makes this stylish offering as utilitarian as it is handsome. With a price tag over $4,000, we thought it a bit too over-the-top to include within our 15 picks, but a silk bomber this stylish had to be an honorable mention.
The 15 Best Field Jackets
If you’re still interested in other military-inspired jackets, check out our comprehensive list of the 15 best field jackets you can buy to round out your fall and winter wardrobe.
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