Buying the right pair of motorcycle jeans is important. They must keep you warm and dry and offer protection in an accident.
We’ve made a list of some of the better motorcycle jeans on the market.
- They must be waterproof
- CE certified
- Suitable for UK riding
Oxford Mondial Advanced Textile Jeans
Considered a gold standard in commuting trousers by some, Oxford’s Mondial jeans tick all the boxes.
A lightweight, hard-wearing nylon shell forms the first layer. Under this is a waterproof, breathable, Dry2Dry membrane, a mesh layer for comfort, followed by a removable WarmDry thermal layer.
The result is a warm and dry pair of textile jeans that are surprisingly breathable and downright breezy with the vents open.
This is impressive. Typically, jeans like these will feel hot in sunny conditions. By removing the thermal liner, you can extend the use of this garment into the spring and summer months.
The CE-rated knee protection can be adjusted, helping you dial in a perfect fit and pockets for installing optional hip protection are included (no inserts, though).
Bar track stitching and specially reinforced areas help with structural integrity, and tough YKK zips are used throughout.
Reflective areas keep you visible and short connection zips are present for connection to an Oxford jacket.
This is an excellent set of year-round trousers that are worth every penny.
- Waterproof, durable, breathable
- Look simple and cool
- Premium price tag (but 4-season compatible)
Richa Everest Textile Jeans
Richa is focused on delivering top-quality motorcycle gear without the hefty price tag.
These Everest textile jeans are a success in this regard, offering comparable features to many more expensive options.
The outer construction uses Airdura – a portmanteau on DuPont’s “Cordura” and “air” to convey breathability.
And while this stuff certainly is more breathable than standard Cordura, these aren’t the breeziest jeans on our list – worth considering if you want a single-purchase, year-round solution.
Waterproofing is achieved using a breathable membrane layer. As far as we know, Richa uses a material called Aquashell LTZ for this purpose.
Most importantly is how it performs. And the answer is pretty well, if not as breathable as Oxford’s solution.
However, the removable thermal layer is very effective – more than enough for cold winter riding. And with it removed, these jeans will be comfortable in all but the hottest UK weather.
The CE-certified knee protection felt comfortable on and off the bike, staying in place and not rubbing.
These are an excellent option at the price with one minor quibble – there aren’t enough pockets…
- Waterproof and fairly breathable
- In hot, sunny weather, the breathability won’t be enough for some
- Too few pockets
RST GC CE Textile Jeans
Constructed using HTC fabric (nylon that’s tough and comfortable) and reinforced with Maxtex (high denier synthetic fabric), these jeans from RST are durable.
They also do a pretty good job of looking neutral and feeling good.
A SinAqua membrane provides waterproofing and does a decent job of allowing the skin to breathe.
The thermal liner is toasty and can be removed for use in warmer seasons.
These jeans provide a year-round solution with decent vents and breathability.
CE-certified armour is installed in the knees. These sat on our knees comfortably when in the riding position and didn’t interfere with walking – top marks.
The reflective detail on these is worth pointing out because it’s nicely done (everything on our list has some level of reflective stuff).
With these, it’s just the piping at the seams that reflects light. It’s pretty powerful and barely noticeable in normal lighting conditions.
These jeans use sturdy Strong Max zips throughout, and a connection zip for an RST jacket is present.
We can easily recommend these to riders after a pant for all seasons that don’t cost the earth.
- Durable, waterproof, and toasty
- Simple, utilitarian cut
- No pockets!
Merlin Hulme Textile Jeans
Merlin is one of the older names in motorcycling clothing, known for classic designs and premium tailoring.
Made with original Halley Stevenson’s Scottish waxed cotton in a heritage denim cut, these jeans will appeal to retro enthusiasts.
And while they may look like vintage gear, they hold up well in cold, wet weather.
A Reissa membrane provides excellent waterproofing with a decent level of breathability.
The mesh drop liner helps with comfort. This solution means less contact and friction overall and helps with airflow.
The 100g removable thermal liner is ideal for winter – designed with British conditions in mind.
Without this installed, these are a comfortable option in the warmer months. However, direct sun in the hottest months could be a problem for some.
CE-certified armour in the knees and hips comes installed. It sits comfortably and allows for relatively natural walking.
The knee inserts and fabric are pre-bent for comfort in the riding position. These are a comfortable option for all-day riding. The premium materials and tailoring pay off in this regard.
A short YKK zip connects to Merlin jackets.
If you like their distinctive look, these jeans are an excellent choice and will work year-round.
- Look cool
- Function great
- The look won’t be for everyone.
Oxford Subway 3.0 Textile Jeans
These textile jeans from Oxford are affordably priced but pack some serious features.
600D nylon with bar tack stitching creates an overall durable pair of trousers.
Waterproofing is achieved using a membrane. We couldn’t find out which material is used, but we can confirm it’s effective and breathes reasonably well.
Storm flap-type closures at the waist and leg also help to keep water out.
These jeans feel pretty good on and off the bike, using stretch panels in the knees and waist to improve the fit and comfort.
Placement of the CE-certified armour inserts in the knees can be adjusted so it sits right, and pockets are included for optional hip armour.
The cuffs can be adjusted too. This facilitates using lots of different styles of boots without any problems.
A removable thermal liner helps with the cold weather, and taking it out means comfort in hotter weather.
We like the grip panels in the seat – it feels like you’re glued to the seat.
These are easy to recommend at the price.
- Great features at the price
- Not as good as Oxford’s Mondial jeans
Care, Considerations and Cost
Many websites list textile and even some leather motorcycle pants in the “jeans” section.
We’ve stuck to options that mimic the look and feel of street jeans as much as possible. We wanted to avoid sporty-looking racing leathers.
The denim/cotton/textile used in motorcycle jeans is typically reinforced by some durable synthetic weave like aramid (known as Kevlar), Covec, or Pekev.
These materials are chosen for their excellent abrasion resistance. They do not, however, offer any real impact resistance.
Many jeans opt for a protective fabric lining under the outer textile layer. The coverage of the lining varies. For example, if a pair of jeans is 20% lined, you could expect the rear, knees, and lower back area to be fitted with a protective layer.
The higher the percentage covered, the better your protection. These synthetic materials often offer poor breathability, however. This is the tradeoff inherent in using layers of aramid (or similar fabric) for abrasion resistance.
Single-layer jeans weave the protective fabric into the same layer as the main textile. This results in a more comfortable, more flattering-looking pair of jeans with better breathability. But single-layer garments are hard to waterproof effectively. And, unsurprisingly, they won’t offer as much slide time as multi-layered clothes.
Many single-layer jeans are treated with a water-resistant coating. But this stuff is only suitable for a light shower.
To make a pair of waterproof trousers, a membrane layer is typically required. Reissa, SinAqua, and Dry2Dry are the most popular materials for this waterproof layer.
All are breathable to some extent. But it’s worth bearing in mind that an item of clothing can’t be both highly breathable and waterproof. If you tend to overheat in warmer weather, buying a more breathable set of trousers and opting for waterproof over-trousers in summer might be a better option.
All motorcycle clothing in the UK requires CE certification; if the product ships without armour inserts, the rating applies to the fabric’s abrasion resistance.
Most motorcycle jeans include CE-rated armour inserts in the knees, at a minimum.
Most will also include a reinforced area in the seat, and some will include pockets for armour inserts in the hips.
You might also be interested in our other waterproof clothing guides: