Are Motorcycle Pants Necessary? [Pants vs. Jeans + Benefits]

are motorcycle pants necessary

Many people think that motorcycle pants are an unnecessary accessory and an expensive indulgence. But if you own a motorcycle, you’ll be happy to know that these pants will literally save your skin.

Have you ever heard of “motorcycle pants”? If not, you’re about to find out why they exist — and why you need them. I’m talking about those unique pants that motorcycle riders wear to protect themselves from road rash, dust, dirt, and the occasional fall from a bike. While they may not seem essential to everyday life, they can be beneficial, especially when you are in a slip-and-slide situation. 

Riding Pants: Is It a Necessity or Just Another Accessory?

man in black and orange motorcycle helmet riding black and red sports bike

There are several reasons why you might want to consider wearing motorcycle pants. First, they offer extra protection in a crash. Second, they provide comfort. Third, they’re stylish. And lastly, they are often less expensive than leather pants.

Injuries to the lower extremities are common in motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists are prone to these types of damages because they are not wearing protective gear most of the time. Protective equipment is vital for any sport or activity that involves contact with the upper body.

Motorcycle pants are a must-have piece of equipment for all riders. They provide leg protection and will keep you warm in cold weather.

How Can Wearing Riding Pants Protect You in an Accident?

I’ve been riding motorcycles for years, and I’ve been in an accident that nearly killed me. I know how important it is to wear protective gear when you ride. I was wearing a helmet during that accident. However, I was wearing a t-shirt, jogging pants, and flip-flops. My injuries were so severe that it took me roughly two months before I could walk normally again.

From then on, I became an advocate of safe and responsible riding. I would have avoided the severe injury by wearing riding pants, a jacket, gloves, a helmet, and riding boots. But I digress…

We all know that riding a bike on a wet road is a recipe for disaster. It can be dangerous and scary. The good news is that by wearing proper riding gear, controlling your speed, and learning how to ride on wet roads, you can reduce your risk of serious injury.

Multiple types of injury can be caused by how your body hits the ground after a crash. The impact of your body on the ground can injure your joints, skin, and bones. If you’re wearing riding pants (and other recommended riding gear), the injury you sustain can be minimized.

If You’re Wearing Riding Pants, You Can:

  • Reduce the amount of damage to your skin.
  • Protect your back and spine from injury.
  • Keep you warm and comfortable.
  • Provide a comfortable ride.

Quality riding pants protect your lower extremities – knees, shins, and ankles. 

Riding Pants Versus Jeans

Here’s a video discussing motorcycle pants vs regular jeans:

During the California Gold Rush’s heyday, a dry goods company opened in San Francisco by Levi Strauss,  an immigrant from Germany. He saw a need for clothes that would endure anything while working. Levi’s jeans were born. With an original Levi’s, you can wear it anywhere and whenever. You can use it in all weather conditions or your workplace. But, if you are in a motorcycle accident, the situation changes dramatically.

Whether your jeans are rugged or not, they can rip through the fabric and expose your skin if they aren’t designed with padding and not made to withstand a strong impact. This is where the motorcycle riding pants shine. That’s why many riders depend on them on the road. It will be an expensive investment, but the money you spend on riding jeans and other riding gear is a wise investment in your life.

Other Benefits of Wearing Riding Jeans

I’ve already mentioned the benefits of wearing a good pair of riding jeans. Here are a few more:

  • Protection from the elements (e.g., the heat of the sun)
  • Motorcycle pants are waterproof. They will keep you dry and warm during the wet and cold seasons. 
  • Protection from insects and small rocks kicked up by trucks or cars.
  • Helps with ventilation to make the ride more comfortable during a ride in summer. 

Why Aren’t Some Motorcycle Riders Using the Rider Pants?

two men sitting on two parked cruiser motorcycles

Research suggests that a rider’s risk aversion is a strong determinant of whether they wear motorcycle pants or not. Our study suggests that this risk aversion may be greater among riders who live in areas with more traffic fatalities. In addition, it appears that the more risk-averse a rider is, the less likely they are to wear motorcycle pants.

When your mind is tricked into believing you are safe, you are not. For example, when I am riding to work in the morning, I can convince myself that there is no way that I will hit something while I am going at a low speed and the road is clear. I might think, ‘If I’m going slowly, it’s fine,’ when in reality, slow or fast, the possibility of an accident is still real.

To these riders, getting a leg scraped in an accident is acceptable compared to a broken skull, neck, or back. Hence, a helmet and jacket are more critical than riding pants. 


Should you wear motorcycle pants or not? Here’s my take on this question: Budget. Get the pants if you can afford them. If money is an issue, start with the best helmet you can afford, then move on to a jacket with spine protection, and then gloves and ankle-covering boots next.

If you ride on the asphalt every day or you like to go fast, it is best to grab a pair of riding pants. Ultimately, you decide based on comfort level and budget. In addition, it is vital to look for a brand that has a good reputation.

A final note, a motorcycle rider can never be too safe. The possibility of being in an accident is very real. However, the risk of being killed or severely injured in a motorcycle accident is even greater. A good motorcycle rider is always aware of the risks and prepares for the worst.