Pros and Cons of Motorcycle Riding Jeans, Pants, and Chaps

GearChic Joanne Donn offers insight

pros cons of motorcycle riding jeans pants chaps hugger chaps
Leather motorcycle
riding chaps.

Dear Joanne,

What are the pros and cons of riding jeans versus chaps?
WRN Facebook Fan
Joannes Response
I think it’s important to address riding pants as well in this question because they each have different features that are important to address.
First of all, chaps that are made of leather, and mostly provide a wind-block against the front of your legs. They provide no impact protection given the lack of body armor.
However, in terms of what we’re trying to prevent here with what gear we wear on our legs, road rash is the only preventable injury that you have 100-percent control over. By covering your body in gear, you can prevent road rash when your body comes into contact with the pavement during an accident. I’m saying this with the assumption that you are wearing the correct size and aren’t wearing something so loose that the garment completely slides up and exposes your body. So assuming you’ve covered yourself in the right size, you have the power to prevent this.

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pros cons of motorcycle riding jeans pants chaps draggin jeans
Denim jeans designated
for motorcycle riding have
abrasion resistant reinforcements
in the hips and knees
as shown here
in these Draggin brand jeans.

However, impact protection in the form of body armor at your hips and knees will, in my opinion, greatly minimize the risk of injury. Motorcycling will always carry a risk of being injured in some way, but adding armor at these two impact points greatly reduces potential injuries, including road rash. Whether this protection is provided in the form of riding jeans or pants doesn’t matter as long as you have the body armor in these key impact areas.

With textile riding pants something to consider is they’re often more abrasion-resistant than chaps, and offer additional features such as ventilation, removable waterproof and thermal membranes, and provide more flexibility to adjust to changing temperatures. And of course, leather riding pants can offer the most protection with the combination of even more abrasion resistance, durability, and body armor.
At the end of the day you have to decide for yourself what you want for your body and how much risk you are willing to accept. However, if you have no idea what you’re up against, then you’re definitely opening yourself up to a much higher risk of injury for which you may not be prepared.
Personally, I only wear leather or textile riding pants and avoid riding in jeans because I haven’t found riding jeans that meet my safety needs.
Tell us what you wear and why in the comments below.

Have a gear question for Joanne? Email it her at Well let you know if we use your question.

About the Author
Joanne Donn has a passion for learning all about women’s motorcycle gear. She loves it so much she started a blog in 2007,, with a goal of helping women riders figure out what kind of gear they need, what size they are, and how the gear should fit. Joanne discovered another way to get the information out there by starting theMoterrific Podcastwhere she and her cohost, Cristi Farrell (@advgoddess), talk about gear, motorcycles, and everything in between. To read more about Joanne visitthe WRN Contributors Page.

10 thoughts on Pros and Cons of Motorcycle Riding Jeans, Pants, and Chaps

  1. I am an older rider riding a touring bike with my wife. We both want some kind of protection but the more I read and video watch; the more confused we get. The good jeans are so high priced almost makes them too costly for most people. And as for leather chaps, the range is even wider on protection and comfort.

  2. Especially hard to find here in Florida. It’s so hot in the summer.

  3. Leather is warm and wind resistant as well, but in rain can stain and need mink oil after. I have ridden myself for forty years or better. I do like the corduroy type with the plastic inserts so they protect your joints. I have a rain suit as we all do, but are cumbersome over my clothing.

  4. I wear my jeans with just my leather chaps, as far as my lower half. My problem is that I’m so short and I wear a size zero, so its hard for me to find a comfortable pair of good riding pants that fit. But being that I crash my dirt bike a lot, I would hate to feel what its like to hit the asphalt not wearing padding.

  5. I wear Bohn Armor. It goes under my jeans – all key areas are covered with armor. It does not help with heat from the pipes but does get the job done.

  6. For multi-day trips, or long rides, I tend to wear jeans and textile pants with mesh on the inner thighs and padding in the knees over them for abrasion protection. For shorter rides, I tend to wear my Kevlar jeans, not usually with the knee pads, but sometimes I leave them in (although rarely). But I’m typically AGATT. Where I see a challenge is in finding good leather riding pants that will fit my shorter and wider lower half especially my larger calves. I need to try gear on before buying, and most local shops don’t carry regular leather riding pants; most only carry sportbike leathers which don’t fit me. I hate having to order online, only to find it doesn’t fit and have to pay to return the items. And also, I’ve read the most recent article on WRN called New Women’s Motorcycling Gear Collection Debuts but those leather pants featured are way out of my price range at this time at $480 but exactly the style I’m looking for. So I may opt to try the leather and textile pants instead.

  7. I wear armored textile pants exclusively and once upon a time, when I first started riding, I had chaps. They were cool looking but my husband said if were were going to ride together, the chaps had to stay in the closet and the textile pants were a must.I contacted Joanne @Gearchic and had a great conversation with her after reading many of her reviews on protective gear. I know we all want to look good riding, and some think there needs to be a trade off on “cool” vs “safe” – but not so. As a result I have two sets of textile riding gear that I love wearing. One set I took out to California to do an of- road riding course with and you only need to fall once in this course to know why protective gear is important. Managing risks while riding is important to me, and what kind of clothing I wear is part of the management.

  8. Ladies, I need to add that textile pants aren’t necessarily more abrasion resistant than chaps. However, they can certainly provide far more impact protection.

  9. I wear the Silders Bella Jeans with Kevlar and kneepads. I will admit, when I started riding last year, I focused on getting the right helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, but didn’t give a second thought to what I was wearing on my legs, until I started seeing horror stories about road rash and such. Not long after I got those jeans, maybe a month, I was rear ended at a stoplight, hard enough for the bike to pop a wheelie and throw me off. The bike came down on me, the impact being concentrated mostly on the foot peg on my shin. Fortunately those pads cover most of my shin and instead of breaking my leg, I just got a nasty hematoma. I’m still dealing with several months later with a little pain and swelling (and yes, I’m suing the driver because she was on her cell phone when it happened), but the outcome could have been much worse. Without those jeans, and all my gear, I would have had all kinds of abrasions and possibly broken bones, mostly to my legs since those hit first. Definitely an important piece of gear to get right.

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