Motorcycles and style go hand-in-hand. That notion is something that people at the dawn of the bikes took by heart. Before World War II, motorcycle helmets were still at their inception, so the style was preferred over substance. Probably the most popular type was the leather motorcycle helmets.

What they lacked in protection and utility, they delivered with profound and catchy design. In modern times, it seems that this type of helmets has been entirely overshadowed by sports and crash motorcycle helmets. While that may be true when we look from the mass market perspective, there is still significant interest in the vintage, the old glory of heartfelt design.

If you find yourself as a rider who appreciates the old, the roots of motorcycle helmets, then this type of helmets may interest you. Keep in mind that there are different types of leather helmets, modified for modern times.

Without further ado, let’s check out all that you need to know about leather helmets and some prime examples of their design and quality!

A Brief History of Leather Motorcycle Helmets

A Brief History of Leather Motorcycle Helmets

At their inception in the early 1900s, motorbikes were nothing more than motorized bicycles. As the speed of these vehicles didn’t demand high head protection, people used padded leather caps that were very similar to football caps. The primary marketing behind these was to keep the hair protected from the road dirt that was prevalent at that time.

Motorbike riders at that time put much care at their looks when on the bike. That’s why vintage leather motorcycle helmets were so popular back in the day. People weren’t mindful about the danger of no head protection, as the motorbikes still haven’t evolved to high-speed beasts they are today. So, back at the beginning of the 20th century, it wasn’t uncommon to see motorcycle riders with an iconic skullcap and googles.

One historical moment would prove fatal for the popularity of leather helmets. In 1935, T.E. Lawrence (the legendary Lawrence of Arabia), suffered a crash that resulted in massive head injuries that were sadly fatal. The main culprit for that was the lack of appropriate head protection. After this, the British Army obliged all of its personnel that rides a motorcycle to wear actual motorcycle helmets. Hence, the leather helmets lost their huge prevalence on the market.

Now, in modern times, the appreciation for the vintage has sparked the idea of wearing leather on the head again. Some motorcycle helmet manufacturers have even gone to improve the protective qualities of this type of motorcycle helmet, fusing style, and substance.

Types Of Leather Motorcycle Helmets

Types Of Leather Motorcycle Helmets

If you consider getting a leather helmet, you must pay attention to what you require from it, mainly from the safety perspective. We can distinguish two types of leather motorcycle helmets:

  • Black/Brown leather covered motorcycle helmets that usually feature DOT certification
  • Novelty leather motorcycle helmets that are 100% made of black/brown leather (don’t have DOT certification)

Now, you have a decision to make. Do you want a motorcycle helmet that is just covered with black or brown leather and is safe to wear? Or, do you want a vintage helmet that is a throwback to the stylish roots of motorcycle helmets, but risk decreased safety?

Leather Covered Motorcycle Helmets

There are some incredibly stylish leather covered motorcycle helmets that meet DOT standards. The niche is mostly dominated by leather-covered motorcycle half helmets, such as German-style motorcycle helmets. While they may be a bit pricier than novelty leather helmets, you can be assured that they will feature a reasonable amount of protection. Also, some creative custom leather motorcycle helmets are incredibly stylish!are extremely stylish!

Here are some amazing examples of DOT certified leather covered motorcycle helmets:

You can find some nice leather covered helmets here!

Novelty Leather Motorcycle Helmets

Honestly, if you are looking for safety in your motorcycle helmet, steer clear of this type. These helmets won’t be of much use if you end up in a high-speed crash. They are okay for low-speed collisions as they have a bit of safety for these light situations. Sometimes, wearing something on your head may make a difference during a crash.

Note: Make sure to check out your country laws when it comes to motorcycle helmet requirements. Some countries require motorcycle riders to wear helmets that feature safety certifications!

If you value your helmet by looks alone, there is no better than the throwback to the golden days of leather caps. There is something immensely catchy about this old-school style that seems to take the world by storm.

Here are some awesome old-school leather helmet designs to get your creativity spinning!

You can buy novelty leather helmets over here!


While leather motorcycle helmets may not be the best choice for safety-conscious riders, there is no doubt that they are some of the coolest motorcycle helmets around. It’s truly no wonder that they enjoy a rekindled popularity spike, thanks to the interest in vintage motorcycle gear. Just be mindful of your safety if you ever consider this type of helmet. Safe rides!

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