Mesh or Textile Motorcycle Jackets: What Is The Difference?

mesh vs textile motorcycle jackets

Mesh vs Textile Motorcycle Jackets

Textile offers better protection than mesh but is suited to areas where you can handle a little extra weight and a bit less ventilation. A textile jacket will provide you with adequate abrasion protection in the event of a crash. 

When you start out as a motorcycle enthusiast you might not be too sure about all the terms that are thrown around when it comes to the riding gear you need.

A jacket is an especially important and really personal piece of gear.

It is important that you know what you want from it before you commit all your money to an expensive jacket. Next, to your helmet, it will be one of the more important accessories you buy.

What is the difference between mesh and textile jackets and how do you choose between them?  

We will explain the benefits of each type of jacket it, as well as what make's each one different from the other. That way you will know what to look for when you consider a jacket on the synthetic side of the aisle. 

Leather is another option but that is an entirely separate discussion, and often the preferred choice.

Let's not forget, textile and mesh have plenty of good things going for them as well so let’s take a look.

Why Should You Choose Mesh?

mesh vs textile motorcycle jackets

So let’s start with mesh. If you live in one of the warmer areas where temperatures rise quickly and sweltering heat is a normal occurrence, ventilation is important.

In some areas, once you add humidity it can become very tricky to stay well protected but also cool on your bike.

Of course, you know that you need some protection when you ride and that only people with a love of skin grafts will go out on the road without protection. But you don’t want to collapse from heat exhaustion either.

Light and Breathable

This is where the mesh material is an important option. Mesh is light and breathable and has armor components to keep your vitals safe.  

Mesh is not the toughest type of jacket available, but it is the most ventilated. It will keep you feeling like you aren’t even wearing a jacket. 

This also means that mesh won’t protect you much from the other elements nature can throw at you, like rain or hail or snow.

But if you live in an area with harsh, humid heat this should not present too much of regular problem.

The fit is important when you consider a mesh jacket. The mesh basically keeps the armor (or padding) of the jacket in place.

It is the motorcycle armor that will give you real protection you need should you make harsh contact with the road or pavement.

 So it needs to fit snugly and cover the correct vital areas or it will be next to useless.

You need the armor to be there when you need it. The armor is almost more important than the mesh itself.

Be sure that you get a quality set of armor for whatever lightweight summer motorcycle jacket you decide to purchase. It is the armor that will protect your skin from the pavement.

Mesh Is Less Expensive

Mesh tends to be much cheaper than other jackets, so you will have a little more leeway in your budget.

If you want the best protection, and you don’t live on the equator, spend more money on heavy duty gear.

Mesh is the little brother of Textile, it offers less protection but tends to be more breathable.

Why Choose Textile?

Textile is a good alternative if you don’t want to spend too much money on leather gear. It will also give more protection than mesh.

It has a good level protection if you are ok with it surviving only one slide crash. They will keep you safe, but won’t survive another attempt at destruction. 

They are pretty much designed to take one big punch and are out for the count. The prices vary, and you can spend less or the same as leather, but usually more than mesh. 

These jackets usually have a range of colors and styles to suit almost any taste and have inserts for additional armor as well.

Compared to mesh these guys will keep you more comfortable in cooler climates and should help when you need to ride in more challenging conditions (other than sweltering heat that is).

The fit can also be a bit baggier so you can layer underneath.

Textiles actually perform very well compared to leather these days and will stand up very well to the rain.

Leather really does not like getting wet, but textiles have come a long way and don’t mind the wet that much.

They will keep you dry and in most cases won’t get heavy under the weight of water. Generally, textile jackets are also quite light and do offer a reasonable level of abrasion protection (when you slide on the asphalt in a crash). 

There are many different designs so shop around a little.

Mesh vs Leather Motorcycle Jackets

mesh vs leather motorcycle jackets

When comparing mesh and leather jackets you must realize that they are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum.

 Leather jackets are considered some of the classiest, best-looking jackets out there. They also provide the rider with good quality protection with top-notch abrasion resistance. 

A quality leather jacket also tends to be more expensive than its mesh counterpart.

A Mesh Jacket is very lightweight and is designed primarily for use in warmer climates, as it is made with air holes to allow cool air flow throughout the jacket.

 A major benefit to mesh is the price, as you can find many quality jackets for under $100.

Mesh vs Leather is essentially a battle of the opposites, as mesh is just a lighter version of textile.

Though I will say, you should have one of each, because they are useful in different weather conditions.

Mesh vs Textile vs Leather Motorcycle Jackets

So what do you do when you need to choose between textile and mesh? Consider your location. When and where you will do most of your riding?

If you live in a very hot area and need good ventilation mesh will be your answer.

It is lightweight, a bit cheaper than the other options and will still give you some protection in a crash.

Textile offers better protection than mesh but is suited to areas where you can handle a little extra weight and a bit less ventilation.

textile jacket will provide you with adequate abrasion protection in the event of a crash. They are also the best option for rainy areas where you need to keep water away from your skin. 

The prices on these jackets have a wide range, and they can differ quite a lot in quality. So be sure that your textile jacket also has armor and a good quality upper material.

The final choice is leather, it gives the best abrasion support, but it is expensive.

It is warm and snug but does not like rain much. But you will get many years of use from it.

Now you might be asking, "What about leather vs textile motorcycle jackets?"

Well lucky for you, I wrote an in-depth article about which one I think takes the cake.

Are Mesh Motorcycle Jackets Safe?

A mesh jacket is capable of handling the majority of accidents involved in everyday commutes. Modern mesh jackets have been designed to withstand a certain amount of abrasion resistance.

When it comes to choosing a safe mesh motorcycle jacket one must first consider if they want a mesh jacket with or without armor.

There are pro's and con's to having built in armor. The biggest con being the jackets weight. If you do device to get a jacket with armor, make sure that it's removable, so you're still able to enjoy the benefits of having a lightweight mesh jacket.

Are Textile Motorcycle Jackets Safe?

Similar to that of mesh, Textile jackets have been designed to provide the rider with tough abrasion resistant materials. 

The main difference when it comes to safety of mesh vs textile, is the thicker material textile is constructed of.

The majority of textile jackets are meant for all weather riding, which means they may have additional waterproofing material built into them, such as gore-tex.

Textile will definitely provide superior out of box protection to mesh.

Motorcycle Jacket Material Comparison: Conclusion

In the end, you need to weigh up price, ventilation, weight, and climate against each other when you choose a jacket.

As long as you keep your safety as a top priority your choice of jacket will only depend on price and climate.

Hopefully, this piece has clarified the difference between mesh and textile.

If you feel ready to make a purchase then take a look at the top-rated motorcycle jackets of 2017.


  1. This was a truly informative discussion of mesh and textile motorcycle jackets. It now becomes a no-brainer for me, living in a warmer climate to opt for the mesh jackets.

    What do you think of the Viking Cycle Warlock Motorcycle Mesh Jacket as compared to a more expensive jacket like the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0?


  2. Stop meshing around! XD XD that’s a good article. That reminds me when I first started riding. You can a spent most of your cash on the bike but than have to go cheap on the clothing. Not long After your helmet is catching the wind, has no bluetooth, your coat don’t breath enough but most of all like you say, protection. You can’t tell how resistant is the material you wear is till you fall bad unless you resource yourself. Nice widgets by the way. Good job

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