The Best Textile Motorcycle Jackets for 2021


Priced below $250, entry level jackets are for the budget conscious rider, or for someone looking to get into the sport of motorcycling and need to build a set of starter gear.

See: Entry Level Jackets


Priced between $251 and $450, mid-range jackets are for the rider that wants the best value-for-money picks, and will be riding more than just a few days a month

See: Mid-Range Jackets


Priced over $451, high end jackets are for those that are wanting the best of the best, price no object, or have a very dedicated use such as long distance touring or adventure riding.

See: High-End Jackets

A note about our recommendations:

There’s a lot of fake “review sites” online today. We get it. We aren’t one of them. Founded in 2000, the team at wBW has extensively tested more than 2,500 pieces of gear. Helmets, jackets, boots, gloves, accessories, and more. We extensively and exhaustively test gear. We do not fluff reviews. Read our review policies.


Priced under $250

Best Entry Level Textile Motorcycle Jackets

ICON Hooligan Ultrabolt Jacket

ICON Hooligan Ultrabolt

Price: $175.00

Where to Buy

Buy this Jacket on Revzilla


As mentioned in the introduction, one of our recommendations today was a combo textile and mesh jacket. The Hooligan Ultrabolt is a sport fit jacket designed to provide excellent slide and abrasion resistance, while also incorporating what ICON labels as “Iron Weave Mesh,” a mesh underlayer woven together with a perforated textile over-layer. This allows for maximum airflow without reducing the overall structural strength of the jacket. D30 elbow, shoulder, and back armor come standard with this jacket.



  • Constructed from durable textile chassis
  • Icon sport fit
  • Mesh ventilation panels
  • Adjustable waist straps
  • D3O Removable back, elbow and shoulder impact protectors
  • Custom Icon graphics
  • YKK zippers

Protection & Safety

  • Removable D3O CE level I elbow, shoulder, and back protectors included
  • Iron Weave Mesh ventilation panels allow for high airflow and cooling, without reducing abrasion resistance on the major panels such as the front lowers.
  • YKK zippers ensure that the jacket will stay done up at all times

Scorpion EXO Optima Jacket

Scorpion EXO Optima

Price: $199.95

Where to Buy

Buy this Jacket on Revzilla  Buy this Jacket on Amazon


The EXO Optima jacket is an adventure fit jacket that allows for four season riding. It features a laminate textile outer layer with waterproof membrane backing. It also has core ventilation through two torso zippers that pass air around the chest and out the back via two vents. A removable EverHeat thermal liner can be used when the temperatures drop to keep your warm. CE level I certified shoulder and elbow armor come included, and there is a pocket in the back for a back protector



  • Fully seam-sealed waterproof and breathable laminate outer fabric
  • Double zippered center front to prevent leaks
  • Two waterproof zippered Direct Core Ventilation vents on upper torso
  • Two rear exhaust vents on lower back
  • Ample use of NightViz reflective on torso and arms for increased nighttime visibility
  • Hook and loop closure tabs at wrists
  • One waterproof Napoleon pocket in upper torso, two internal storage pockets and one internal media pocket
  • Exo-Tec CE rated armor
  • PE foam backpad
  • Removable EverHeat thermal liner included
  • Comfortable micro fleece lining at collar
  • YKK zippers
  • 8” jacket-to-pant zipper as well as belt loop fastener

Protection & Safety

  • A lot of NightViz reflective material on the jacket helps with low light visibility
  • CE level I certified elbow and shoulder armor included. Pocket in lining for optional back protector, comes with PE foam (not CE rated) installed
  • Abrasion resistant laminate textile chassis can handle both slow speed drops and moderate speed slides.


Priced between $251 and $450

Best Mid-Range Textile Motorcycle Jackets

Merlin Shenstone Air D3O Jacket

Merlin Shenstone Air D3O

Price: $299.00

Where to Buy

Buy this Jacket on Revzilla


With the rise of the neo-retro movement, cafe racer bikes and neo-retro bikes are becoming more and more popular. Now, with the Shenstone Air D3O, an appropriately retro looking jacket has come around with a relaxed sport fit. The jacket includes Halley Stevensons 8oz Cotec fabric as part of its abrasion resistant makeup, with perforated mesh panels hidden throughout. The D3O elbow and shoulder armor is also perforated to allow airflow. The jacket comes with a D3O Viper Stealth back protector built in. Lastly, a Reisa water- and wind-proof removable liner gives you waterproofing when you need it



  • Halley Stevensons 8oz Cotec fabric
  • Large ventilation panels at torso and inner arm
  • Reissa Active® waterproof / breathable removable liner
  • Quilted shoulders
  • Hook and loop sleeve adjusters at biceps
  • D30 LP1 shoulder and elbow armor included
  • Included D30 Viper Stealth back protector
  • YKK / Max zippers
  • Merlin branded snaps at pockets and wrist closures
  • YKK jacket to pants connection zipper

Protection & Safety

  • D3O LP1 armor at shoulders and elbows
  • D3O Viper Stealth back protector included
  • Halley Stevensons 8oz Cotec fabric is minimum 500D abrasion rated

Dainese Super Speed Textile Jacket

Dainese Super Speed Textile

Price: $369.95

Where to Buy

Buy this Jacket on Revzilla  Buy this Jacket on Amazon


For those wanting to ride supersports, this is the textile jacket for you. The Super Speed Textile is aggressively sport fit, with pre-curved arms for comfort, and tapered wrists to fit under gauntlet gloves. A textile core of Duratex fabric with Boomerang fabric stretch panels protects the torso, while mesh panels along the sides of the torso and upper chest allow ventilation. The CE rated shoulder armor is encapsulated under an aluminum slider, and the elbow armor is shaped to keep the upper forearm and elbow protected. Pockets for Dainese or other brand back and chest protectors allow for customization of your desired level of armor.

We’ve covered the Super Speed before, but it’s an older review.



  • Composite protectors certified to EN 1621.1/97 Standard
  • Aluminium inserts on the shoulders

Ergonomics and Comfort:

  • Duratex fabric
  • Boomerang fabric
  • Inserts in elasticated fabric
  • Neck adjustment
  • Wrist adjustment
  • Waist adjustment
  • Jacket-trousers fastening system
  • Perforated fabric
  • Removable windproof insert
  • Sanitized lining


  • Pocket for G1 and G2 back protector
  • Pocket for chest protector
  • Reflective inserts
  • 2 outside pockets
  • Internal pocket

Note: Shoulder sliders on Black/White/Red jacket may have a red demon.

Protection & Safety

  • CE composite armor in shoulders and elbows is EN 1621.1/97 certified
  • Duratex fabric is 500D grade abrasion resistant
  • Optional armor can be inserted in the chest and back for a full sport armor style

Priced $451+

Best High-End Textile Motorcycle Jackets

Rev’It! Sand 4 H2O Jacket

Rev’It! Sand 4 H2O

Price: $499.99

Where to Buy

Buy this Jacket on Revzilla


When it comes to proper touring and adventure touring fit jackets, Rev’It is one of the brands that has a long history in this specific market. The Sand 4 H2O is the fourth iteration of the popular Sand model line, and features a fully chassis of 500D rated polyester ripstop with air mesh panels interspersed for ventilation. Two different liners allow you to customize the warmth and waterproofing of the jacket. Seeflex CE level II armor is present at the shoulders and elbows, and there is a pocket for a back protector in the internal liner. An absolute juggernaut of an adventure touring jacket, the Sand 4 H2O is one of the best in the segment



Protection Features:

  • Outer shell: 3D air mesh | polyester ripstop
  • Insulation: detachable thermal liner
  • Waterproofing: detachable Hydratex | 3L (5000mm H2O)
  • Breathability: detachable Hydratex | 3L (7000g/m2/24hrs)
  • Composition: 100% Polyester
  • Protection:
    • Seeflex CE Level 2 protection at shoulders and elbow
    • Back Protector (sold separately):
      • Seesoft Back Protector – Type RV
      • Type RV / Size 04 fits SM-MD
      • Type RV / Size 05 fits LG-2XL
      • Type RV / Size 06 fits 3XL-4XL
  • Liner: 3D mesh
  • Visibility: laminated reflection at chest and back, reflective logo at upper arms and pocket flap

Ergonomic Features:

  • Fit: tour fit, regular
  • Adjustability: adjustable elbow protection | adjustment drawcord | adjustment strap | adjustment tabs | flexisnaps
  • Ventilation: ventilation panels
  • Features: short and long connection zipper | short connection zipper at detachable waterproof liner | soft edge at collar | two-way Collar Snap Closure System | separate wearable Hydratex® G-liner | prepared for Segur neck brace | prepared for vest connector
  • Pockets: internal pocket within thermal liner | slit pocket | inner pockets | waterproof stash pockets | waterproof inner pocket | Waterproof internal pocket at waterproof liner

Protection & Safety

  • Seesoft CE level II armor in the shoulders and elbows included
  • Back protector pocket in liner
  • Polyester ripstop fabric is minimum 500D abrasion resistant
  • High viz laminated reflectors on chest and back, and on arms, for 360 night time visibility

Helite Free-Air Mesh Airbag Jacket

Helite Free-Air Mesh Airbag

Price: $939.00

Where to Buy

Buy this Jacket on Revzilla  Buy this Jacket on Amazon


Despite the name, the Free-Air Mesh Airbag jacket from Helite is not actually a mesh jacket. Instead, it is a 600D Cordura chassis with some reinforced mesh panels for airflow. It comes with CE level I elbow and shoulder armor, and a SAS-TEC CE II back protector. However, the best protection this adventure fit jacket provides is a built in Helite Turtle airbag, which is attached via a lanyard to your bike and doesn’t rely on anything other than physics to deploy. No fancy electronic sensors, no need to recharge the battery overnight. 70 lbs of force on the lanyard and the airbag will deploy in milliseconds, protecting you from slides, tumbles, and impacts as best it can. If you’re looking for a premium hot-weather jacket, this is it.



  • Airbag fully inflates in less than 0.1 seconds
  • Removable waterproof liner
  • Retro-reflective piping at front, back and arms
  • Abrasion-resistant 600D Cordura
  • Comfortable neck
  • Mesh panels
  • Zippered cuffs with strap adjustment
  • 1 60cc CO2 cartridge and 1 lanyard included
  • CE Level 1 shoulder and elbow armor
  • Included SAS-TEC CE Level 2 static back protector
  • Multiple pockets
  • All sizes use the 60cc CO2 cartridge

Note: The Free-Air Jacket runs small. We recommend ordering 2 sizes larger than your normal jacket size.

Protection & Safety

  • CE level I elbow and shoulder armor
  • SAS-TEC CE level II back protector
  • Built-in Helite Turtle airbag technology
  • 600d Cordura chassis is highly abrasion resistant
Criteria & Methodology

How We Determine "The Best"

At wBW, “Best” Actually Means Something

Remember when you could open up a review of something, and when the publication – magazine, car show, whatever – said “best” they stood behind it? Yea, we remember, and we’re bringing it back.

Here’s how we do things:

  • We disclose our affiliate relationships – We make money via advertising and affiliate relationships on our website. It’s how we pay our team and invest in things like sending Jim to Italy. And Japan. And France… wait… why do we always send Jim places?
  • We obsessively hands-on test – We wear and ride with gear before reviewing it, and we update reviews down the line if our opinions change. We look at real-world situations because that’s the world we live in.
  • We’re objective – Good gear is good gear, regardless of who made it.
  • We’re value-focused – Why pay $500 if something for $250 is just as good? Our review scores and recommendations reflect best value. Brand only goes so far – the gear has to stand on its own.

Hands-on reviews of 2021’s best riding gear. More than 2,500 hands-on reviews since 1999!

Mini-Buyers Guide

What To Look For In A Textile Jacket

Sitting between leather and pure mesh jackets in terms of abrasion resistance, textile jackets have been growing in popularity over the years. This can be attributed to the lower cost of making the jackets, as well as synthetic fibers such as aramid, ceramic superfabric, poly-textiles, Cordura, and the like offering protection through multiple layers. While these jackets may not be as outright abrasion resistant as leather, they are much more durable than most mesh jackets. It should also be noted that textile and mesh combo jackets are still, technically, textile jackets, as one of our recommendations shows.

Textile jackets are also the preferred favorite of many adventure touring riders, along with textile pants, for a variety of reasons. The most popular of these reasons is that it is extremely easy to place a layer of waterproofing membrane between textile layers, whereas on leather jackets, it is an inner liner that is often removable. Without having to worry about where you put your liner when the clouds roll in, just closing the vents and continuing your ride is much more convenient.

Lastly, textile jackets are also less expensive than most equivalent leather jackets. Note, we used the term less expensive instead of cheap, because in no way are these textile jackets in our recommendations “cheap.” They are economical, value-for-money, less expensive, but never cheap.

Textile Jacket Sizing Guide

The key to remember with textile fabrics is that they have some minimal stretch to them, but in general are fairly solidly built. Manufacturers will also often place stretch panels or accordion flex panels in high movement areas. It is of particular important to also note what each jacket states as their fit type.

A sport fit jacket will often sit tightly on the torso, and it is best to visit a local gear shop to try on a few to get an idea of how they fit. Tour fit is a much looser fit, often with larger chest and shoulder areas, as they are meant to be worn on a variety of bikes from cruisers to sport tourers. Lastly, adventure fit is a special type of fit that is between the two. It’s close to the body, but also gives extra upper body movement room so you can stand on the pegs, lean over, lean forward, lean back, and the like without the jacket tugging and pulling against you.



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