Riding pants are almost certainly the most commonly-overlooked and under-utilized piece of protective motorcycle gear. And while it’s understandable that it feels a bit overkill to wear full leathers or knee-puck-equipped track pants while on the road, it’s still wildly important to shield your legs from impacts and abrasions should you happen to go shiny-side down. Jeans developed specifically for riding are quite possibly the best solution to this issue, affording ample fortification while looking and feeling like a regular pair of denim pants while off the bike.
Having now existed for several decades, there are well over 100 different moto-specific riding jeans to choose from, and while this gives buyers an enormous selection of different styles, cuts, colors, and constructions, it can also make it difficult to hone in on the handful of standout pairs that objectively represent the finest riding jeans on the market. And it’s this group of envelope-pushing pairs that we’ll be highlighting today in this guide to the best motorcycle riding jeans that you can buy.
What Exactly Are Single-Layer Riding Jeans?
For years, jeans made for motorcycle riding were comprised of either ultra-heavy-weight denim or regular denim that had key areas internally lined with panels made from abrasion-resistant materials like Kevlar. And while this configuration remained the status quo for a cool quarter of a century, the last few years have seen the introduction of what are called “single-layer riding jeans” which are made from just one layer of denim that’s been infused with advanced proprietary materials like Dyneema, Armalith, Kevlar, and COVEC. This setup not only affords single-layer riding jeans with phenomenal levels of abrasion resistance but also allows them to do so with minimal heat transfer.
The result of infusing denim with one of these advanced materials is it allows thess types of riding jeans to genuinely look and feel like regular jeans while concealing stellar levels of protection. This setup also provides better protection, as the entire pair is abrasion resistant, not just a few underlying areas, and is markedly more comfortable. What’s more, because they look and feel like normal jeans, single-layer riding jeans can be worn on or off the bike, giving the buyer more bang for their buck. Lastly, because the jeans are infused with expensive cutting-edge materials, they tend to cost more than traditional riding jeans. As a result, most companies that make single-layer riding jeans tend to outfit these pairs with high-end accents and top-shelf craftsmanship, making for an all-around more premium product.
Dressing For The Slide
The Four Main Factors To Consider When Buying Riding Jeans
From the outside looking in, it may at first appear that riding jeans are all more or less the same, though this couldn’t be further from the truth, as there’s a slew of finer points one should wrap their head around before making their purchase. Below, we’ll briefly unpack the four most crucial aspects to think about when buying riding jeans.
Style: Unsurprisingly, motorcycle jeans come in a plethora of different styles, all ranging in color (or dye), pattern, details, and/or accent stitching. If you’re fond of a particular style of regular jeans, there’s most likely a moto-counterpart that exists.
Construction: We’d almost always recommend going with a pair of single-layer riding jeans, though these pants can be made from a wide variety of materials, and it’s very much exploring what those are, especially when investing several hundred dollars into a pair of pants. It’s also worth mentioning that there are a couple of pairs of non-single-layer riding jeans that are worthy of your consideration when shopping in this space, especially if you’re looking to save a few bucks.
Armor: The use of highly abrasion-resistant constructions afford riding jeans with excellent slide protection, though these innovative infused denims still can’t do much when it comes to shielding their wearer from impacts. As such, quite a few pairs of today’s best riding jeans are equipped with armor — typically set at the hips and knees — or armor pockets to accommodate items that are sold separately.
Cut: Just like with any regular pair of jeans, riding denim is produced in an enormous variety of different cuts, ranging from loose-fitting to tapered and everything in-between. What’s more, it’s become increasingly commonplace to see riding jeans with light stretch properties.
Aerostich Protekt Jeans
In typical Aerostich fashion, the Minnesota-based manufacturer’s Protekt Jeans are produced in America in small batches and built to exceedingly high standards. Boasting a fit modeled after Levi’s 501s, these jeans sport a heavy-duty 14 oz denim fabric primary construction that’s further fortified via TF3 Impact armor (sold separately) and high-tenacity 500D nylon overlays strategically placed in key areas.
Construction: 14oz Denim W/ 500D Nylon Overlays
Fit: Straight Fit
Iron & Resin Enduro Denim Jeans
A stellar pair of riding pants sold at an affordable price point, Iron & Resin’s Enduro Denim Jeans are made from a 12oz Enduro denim that’s been infused with nylon, polyester, Lycra, and Dyneema, affording the jeans some slight stretch properties, as well as immense levels of abrasion resistance. Made in America, these jeans also feature 9oz twill pockets, copper-rivet reinforcements, triple-needle felling on the rise and back yoke, and custom InR branding and trim.
Construction: Dyneema-Infused 12oz Enduro Denim
Fit: Classic Tapered
REV’IT! Piston Jeans
An immensely robust, yet still affordable pair of riding pants, the REV’IT! Piston Jeans are built around a 12.5oz CORDURA denim shell that benefits from Coolmax tech, helping to regulate temperatures and keep its wearer cool. On top of the robust primary construction, additional safety comes from the pair’s 3M Scotchlite reflective patches, triple-needle stitching, and Seesmart CE level 1 knee armor, though the pants also sport a pocket to accommodate Seesmart RV33 hip armor (not included).
Construction: 12.5oz. CORDURA Denim
Dainese Classic Slim Tex Pants
While technically a pair of textile riding pants and not denim, Dainese’s new Classic Slim Tex Pants are more than worthy of a spot on this list, as they’re crafted from a single-layer textile construction that’s woven with Lycra and Armalith — the former of which offers stretch qualities while the latter guarantees maximum levels of abrasion resistance. Sold in black or olive color options, these pants also come with the Italian brand’s Pro-Armor 2.0 at the knees and hips.
Construction: Armalith-Infused Stretch Textile
Armor: Pro-Armor 2.0
Klim K Fifty 1 Jeans
One of the most calculated and meticulously engineered pairs of riding pants in existence, Klim’s K Fifty 1 Jeans feature a main CORDURA denim construction that’s been supplemented with Kevlar underlays, flat-felled seams, a moisture-wicking poly-mesh liner, and a full suite of armor including D30 hip armor, D3O Evo knee armor held in adjustable pockets, and PORON XRD impact foam tailbone armor. These jeans are also produced in four color options.
Construction: Kevlar-Reinforced CORDURA Denim
Fit: Relaxed / Straight
Armor: D30 Evo & PORON XRD Foam
BSMC Protective Road Jean
Unequivocally one of the most state-of-the-art pairs of riding jeans on the planet, The Bike Shed Moto Club’s Protective Jeans are crafted from single-layer COVEC Raw Indigo Denim — an ultra-cutting-edge construction that’s spun from liquid crystal polymer and affords stellar abrasion resistance with minimal heat transfer. Sporting a five-pocket design, a tapered fit, and a custom BSMC-branded leather patch, these jeans also come with removable D30 Ghost armor at the hips and knees.
Construction: COVEC Raw Indigo Denim
Armor: D30 Ghost
SPIDI J-Dyneema Jeans
Engineered from the ground up to look great whether on or off the bike — and to afford ample protection while in the saddle — the SPIDI J-Dyneema Jeans are a new pair of riding pants that are made from a single layer of 13oz stretch denim that’s been reinforced with Dyneema fabric. Class AA-certified, the J-Dyneema Jeans also come with SPIDI’s Warrior Lite knee and hip armor as standard. In addition to sporting a carabiner key ring, these pants also feature a connection tab for linking the jeans to riding jackets.
Construction: Dyneema-Infused 13oz Stretch Denim
Armor: Warrior Lite
Tobacco Ironsides Armored Jeans
While they might not be of the single-layer variety, Tobacco’s jeans are nonetheless well worth a look anytime one is shopping for riding jeans, as the boutique Southern California brand delivers ultra-high-quality gear. Tobacco’s Ironsides Armored Jeans are made in America from 12.25 oz Ghirardelli Raw Stretch Denim from South Carolina’s Mt Vernon Mills and have been outfitted with a Cool-Mesh upper lining, Kevlar underlays, and D30 knee and hip armor (though said armor is sold separately).
Construction: Kevlar-Reinforced 12.25 oz Ghirardelli Raw Stretch Denim
Pando Moto Robby Armalith Jeans
Designed to maximize protection and durability in just about every measurable area, the Pando Moto Robby Armalith Jeans are a high-end interpretation of moto-specific riding pants, with a main single-layer 12oz Armalith denim construction that comes backed by CE Level 1 hip and knee armor, and reinforced chain and aramid fiber stitching. Made in Europe, these jeans also feature custom Pando Moto accents and trim, a key ring at the hip, and a five-pocket design with a zipper-secured right back pocket.
Construction: Armalith-Infused 12oz Denim
Fit: Medium Rise Slim Fit
Armor: CE Level 1
SA1NT Unbreakable Slim Jeans
If we had to select a single best pair of moto riding jeans, it would almost certainly be SA1NT’s Unbreakable Slim Jeans. Made by the first company to ever bring a pair of single-layer riding jeans to market, the Unbreakable Slim Jeans — which are now on their seventh generation — genuinely look and feel like a luxury pair of stretch jeans, though the pants’ construction (which is infused with 25% Dyneema) affords unparalleled levels of abrasion resistance. Completing the already impressive package is a custom vintage trim suite, orange accents, and adjustable pockets for D30 Ghost hip and knee armor.
Construction: Dyneema-Infused Double-Face Black Stretch Denim
Armor: D30 Ghost
Knox Dalton Jeans
The Knox Dalton Jeans represent a minimalistic take on high-end riding jeans, arming wearers with a primary 13.7oz denim construction that’s been infused with Dyneema before being outfitted with “invisible” (i.e. external seam-free) knee armor pockets for housing Knox’s CE-approved Microlock hip and knee armor — the latter of which is fully adjustable. Finishing details on these jeans include secure deep-carry pockets, YKK zippers, and a spartan design that’s devoid of branding save for a single leather patch.
Construction: Dyneema-Infused 13.7oz Stretch Denim
The Best Pieces Of Urban Commuter Motorcycle Gear
Looking to further build out your riding gear load out? Then be sure to cruise over to our guide to the best urban commuter moto gear for the finest items designed for everyday use on two-wheels.