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The Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets for Cooler Riding

The Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets 00 Hero
Photo: Fuel Motorcycles Arizona Jacket

Whether on the street or track, safely piloting a motorcycle requires proper safety gear that affords solid protection against abrasions and impacts. However, many of the jackets are the market lack the breathability needed to lend themselves to riding in warm weather. Recognizing this long-held issue, a growing number of leading moto gear brands have begun producing warm weather-specific riding layers that offer robust protection while keeping their wearers cool — the latest and greatest of which we’ve rounded up for this curated guide to the best summer motorcycle jackets you can buy.

Needing to offer a calculated balance between airflow and abrasion resistance, these jackets have the ability to massively improve comfort without compromising on protection. In addition to counting down our picks for the best summer riding jackets currently available, we’ll also be delving into what factors to consider when making your purchase. So, without further ado, let’s drop it into first and get into it.

The Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets

Warm Weather Jackets 101

Factors To Consider When Buying A Summer Moto Jacket

While mostly similar to regular riding jackets, summer-specific leathers do possess a handful of finer points that one should be privy to prior to pulling the trigger on their purchase. Below, we’ll unpack the five most crucial areas to consider when buying a summer riding jacket.

Style: Just like with regular riding jackets, warm weather motorcycle jackets come in a wide variety of styles, from cruiser jackets to old-school cafe models to ADV items to sport and track jackets. We’d recommend using whichever style you happen to be partial to as the starting point for your search.

Primary Construction: The single most important factor that determines the quality and efficacy of a summer riding jacket is its primary construction. The most common materials used in this segment are textiles, mesh fabrics, and perforated leathers — all of which can afford ample airflow while still providing solid protection when going shiny-side down. In recent years, we’ve also seen a marked rise in the use of proprietary constructions such as CORDURA, Dyneema-infused materials, and custom-developed mesh constructions that offer abrasion resistance that’s on par with traditional leather hides.

Secondary Construction(s): While the primary construction will pretty much always be the most important factor to consider, secondary materials can also play a crucial role in how a jacket performs, thanks to things like sweat-wicking liners and reinforced overlays for abrasion-prone areas. Secondary materials can also be used to comprise a jacket’s trim or accents.

Armor: Abrasion resistance is owed to a jacket’s shell and construction, however, the ability to soak up blunt-force impacts is afforded by armor. A beyond-crucial safety element for any riding jacket, armor is manufactured by a range of different companies, each with its own proprietary take on the genre. On top of the type of armor being used, you’ll also want to consider where the armor is placed (typically on the elbows, shoulders, and spine), whether it’s removable, and whether it’s sold with the jacket or needs to be purchased separately. Some of the more sport- and track-focused models in this segment also see their internal armor overlaid with alloy construction sliders that are often crafted from aluminum or titanium.

Ventilation: Ventilation/airflow is another tremendously important area to review when buying a summer moto jacket. Much of a jacket’s airflow will boil down to the materials used to construct it, however, additional ventilation and exhaust ports also have the ability to hugely bolster this area. This one factor will play a bigger role than any other in determining how comfortable a jacket is to wear in warm weather, and how well it will keep its wearer cool.

ICON 1000 Upstate Riding Shirt

Photo: Revzilla
  • Engineered from ground up for warm weather riding
  • Proprietary Iron Weave Mesh shell offers unparalleled mix of protection & airflow
  • Slide-prone areas overlaid w/ CORDURA
  • Elbows, shoulders, & spine fortified via D30 armor
  • Can be very hot w/o benefit of airflow from riding

Best Overall Jacket: First unveiled in early 2020, ICON 1000’s Upstate Riding Shirt is a cutting-edge textile moto jacket that offers a remarkable blend of airflow and abrasion resistance. These properties are owed to a shell that’s crafted from a proprietary material known as Iron Weave Mesh, which is further fortified via CORDURA canvas overlays across the elbows, shoulders, and spine, as well as D3O armor occupying these same areas. Produced in an olive and black colorway or a black-on-black scheme, the Upstate Riding Shirt also features snap-secured breast pockets and a snap-secured main closure.

Primary Construction: Iron Weave Mesh
Armor: D3O

Pando Moto CAPO COR 01 Armored Shirt

Photo: Pando Moto
  • Fully CE-approved jacket offers more than 50’ of slide protection
  • Crafted around super-stretch CORDURA denim shell w/ combined with COOLMAX lining
  • Made in Europe
  • Features multiple open-closable ventilation ports
  • SAS-TEC TripleFlex & QUATROFLEX armor not included

Best Shirt-Jacket: Made in Europe, Pando Moto’s CAPO COR 01 is an armored, slim-fit, button-up shirt-jacket that sports a 12oz super-stretch CORDURA denim shell, open and closeable zippered under-arm ventilation ports, and a temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking COOLMAX lining. Fully CE-certified, the CAPO COR 01 can stand up to slides of more than 50 feet. Backed by a two-year warranty, this moto-specific overshirt also comes with an included suite of SAS-TEC TripleFlex elbow and shoulder armor, as well as pockets for accomodating an optional QUATROFLEX spine protector.

Primary Construction: 12oz Super-Stretch CORDURA Denim
Armor: SAS-TEC TripleFlex (& Optional QUATROFLEX)

REV’IT! Worker Overshirt

Photo: Revzilla
  • Designed to look stylish on & off the bike
  • CE-rated workwear-style riding jacket
  • Reinforced via triple needle stitching
  • Has subtle laminated reflection patches
  • Sold in black or sand color options
  • Spine protector sold separately

Best On/Off-The-Bike Jacket: Modeled after traditional workwear-style overshirts, the REV’IT! Worker Overshirt is a fashion-forward piece of riding gear that was designed to keep riders looking their best both on and off the bike — without skimping on protection. Built around an 11oz CORDURA canvas shell, this item also features a zipper connection for linking to riding pants, a ventilation panel, four exterior pockets, an inner pocket, and laminated reflective details. What’s more, this riding-specific overshirt comes equipped with Seesmart CE 1 level elbow and shoulder armor and can accommodate an optional Seesoft Type RV spine protector. 

Primary Construction: 11oz CORDURA Canvas
Armor: Seesmart

Fuel Motorcycles Arizona Jacket

Photo: Fuel Motorcycles
  • Engineered specifically for warm weather riding
  • Excellent construction and fit & finish
  • Arrow-shaped pockets, inspired by 1940s U.S. Army jackets
  • Has removable armor at elbows, shoulder, & spine
  • Not ideal for use off the bike

Best Mixed Construction Jacket: Made specifically for hot-weather riding, Fuel Motorcycles’ Arizona Jacket offers the Spanish shop’s signature blend of modern materials and old-school aesthetics. Built around a polyester shell, the Arizona Jacket features a myriad of strategically-placed mesh back and chest panels to optimize airflow while suede accents and leather closures add additional durability along with some visual flair. EN-certified, this jacket also boasts YKK zippers, removable Smoothways CE level 2 protection elbow, shoulder, and spine armor, and arrow-shaped pockets that are reminiscent of standard-issue U.S. Military garments from the 1940s. 

Primary Construction: Polyester, Mesh, & Suede
Armor: Smoothways

SA1NT Unbreakable Jacket

Photo: SA1NT
  • Looks & feels like regular premium denim jacket while affording ample protection
  • Cut from 6th-gen Dyneema denim
  • Offers nearly 6 seconds of slide protection
  • Sports top-shelf custom trim and hardware
  • Sold w/ black & white removable shearling collars
  • Expensive price (though well worth it)

Best Denim Jacket: After introducing the world’s first single-layer protective riding jeans, SA1NT has applied this construction to the creation of a single-layer riding jacket crafted from the same Dyneema-infused denim. Affording nearly six seconds of slide time in the event of a crash, this EN- and CE-certified denim jacket boasts mesh pockets for housing D3O Viper Back Armour and D3O Ghost shoulder and elbow armor and comes with black and white faux fur shearling collars, both of which are removable. Currently in its sixth generation, this material will also slowly fade over time with use, taking on a unique patina. 

Primary Construction: Unbreakable 6.0 Dyneema Denim
Armor: D3O Ghost & D30 Viper

JANE Motorcycles x FLYING TIGER Mechanic’s Jacket

JANE Motorcycles Mechanics Jacket
Photo: JANE Motorcycles
  • Cut from 12oz duck canvas outer w/ 4oz batting in taffeta liner
  • Manufactured by boutique brand in small batche
  • Made by hand in New York City
  • Has shoulder & elbow pockets for D30 armor
  • Devoid of protector pocket
  • D30 armor sold separately

Best USA-Made Jacket: A meticulously-engineered piece of vintage-inspired riding gear, JANE Motorcycles’ Mechanic’s Jacket offers old-school looks backed by modern levels of protection. Made in New York City, this mechanic-style jacket is made from a rugged 12oz duck canvas that’s been paired with a 4oz batting in taffeta liner. Additionally, the jacket also features dual hand pockets, snap-secured cuffs, YKK zippers, and pockets for accomodating D3O shoulder and elbow armor (which are sold separately). Offered in multiple color options, this particular version of the jacket was born out of a collaboration with FLYING TIGER Moto and sports a chain-stitched Mott Street Tiger adorning its back. 

Primary Construction: 12oz Duck Canvas
Armor: D3O

AETHER Draft Mesh Moto Jacket

  • Sports 3-layer stretch woven shell & leather trim/accents
  • Has taped seams & is heavily water resistant
  • Features included ventilated D30 armor set in adjustable pockets
  • Protected by lifetime warranty
  • Expensive price

Best Water-Resistant Summer Jacket: The AETHER Draft Mesh Moto Jacket is another terrific warm-weather piece of riding gear that’s been engineered from the ground up for use during the year’s hottest months, while still offering ample water resistance without sacrificing on breathability. Constructed around a three-layer stretch woven shell, this seam-sealed jacket sports a weatherproof main zipper, a leather collar, hand pockets, bottom hem, and sleeve panels, a zippered kangaroo pouch, zippered mesh gussets, zippered hand pockets, Field Nylon adorning the back yoke and shoulders, and embossed AETHER branding. The jacket’s removable LP1 Series D3O shoulder and elbow armor and a D3O Viper spine protector come in adjustable pockets, guaranteeing a precise fit. Protected by AETHER’s lifetime guarantee, this jacket is also packable and can be broken down and stuffed inside one of its own pockets.

Primary Construction: 3-Layer Stretch-Woven Nylon
Armor: D3O

Dainese Super Speed 4 Perforated Jacket

Dainese Super Speed 4 Perforated Jacket (1)
Photo: Revzilla
  • Top-shelf leather jacket engineered for warm weather use
  • Benefits from MotoGP-derived features & systems
  • Ultra-high-end construction & materials
  • Nanofeel liner is breathable & has Silver ion treatment
  • Has replaceable 2nd-gen aluminum shoulder & elbow sliders
  • Chest & spine armor sold separately
  • Expensive price

Best Sport/Track Jacket: Offering the absolute pinnacle of protection, the Dainese Super Speed 4 Perforated Jacket is a high-end warm weather-specific layer that features many of the elements found on the jackets of MotoGP riders. This includes replaceable aluminum shoulder and elbow sliders, as well as composite and Pro-armor elbow pucks and protectors — all of which help to collectively afford this perforated jacket a CE Level 2 rating. Cut from D-Skin Cowhide leather, this top-shelf summer moto jacket also features a soft Nanofeel liner, and elasticated Bi-axial, 3D-Bubble, and S1 Bielastic fabric inserts. Offered in multiple color options, this jacket also features an aerodynamic racing hump that, when paired with its shell construction and bevy of pucks and sliders, make it a great choice for summer track days. 

Primary Construction: Perforated D-skin 2.0 Full Grain Cowhide Leather
Armor: Pro-Armor & Aluminum Slider Plates

The Best Motorcycle Riding Vests

Photo: ICON Chamonix Denim Vest

Want to check out an additional area of riding gear that’s perfect for warm-weather use? Then be sure to cruise over to our feature article on the best motorcycle vests for a collection of sleeveless riding layers.