To me, a black leather biker jacket is pretty much my personal shaman: It single-handedly has the ability to make every single thing I wear look cooler and—as trite as it sounds—always manages to give me a serious shot of confidence, making me understand why Sandy was so drawn to Danny Zuko. Leather jackets are hot.
Leather jackets are also, however, not exactly an impulse buy if you’re looking for the real deal, the one that fits like it was made for your body and has the potential to stand the test of time if you want it to. And while, yes, you could walk into, say, a Forever 21 and snag a fully respectable polyurethane version, you’ll probably get sick of it in a few months and end up with a closet full of mediocre styles that never quite look the way you want them to.
Still, if spending $5,000 on the buttery-soft, eternally cool Saint Laurent you see in your dreams (or is that just me?) isn’t exactly in the cards right now, there are plenty of other brands that are killing it with their selection of real leather jackets, all of which cost $500 or less. I’m aware that $500 isn’t exactly a bargain, but I strongly believe a good moto is the ultimate investment—and I’m not typically a proponent of “investment” shopping.
Here, I’ve highlighted 15 classic black leather biker jackets that are every bit as worthy as those three times the price, and 100 percent more worth your time than cheap ones that never quite make you feel as cool as Zuko on the bleachers.