by Jennifer Smith December 22, 2023 7 min read

Leather jacket is a voguish and warm protective outerwear, giving the perfect fashion vibes until you actually buy a brand-new one and feel that it’s stiff. If you want a comfortable fit and stylish worn-in look of a leather jacket, you need to master the art of breaking in your prized leather jacket. Here comes our guide, where we share expert insights and pro tips on how to break in a leather jacket in quick and easy ways. 

Consider the Type of Your New Leather Jacket

To break in a jacket, whether it's a custom leather jacket or one off the rack, you should first know its type to pick a suitable method. Learn what good quality real animal leather looks and smells like. Real leather smells like natural animal skin, and faux leather jackets have a chemical odor. A fake leather jacket also feels cold and stiffer than a real leather jacket.

If you want high-quality, affordable custom jackets, get them from a trustworthy leather jacket company like Leather Skin Shop. You will also need to break into your brand new bespoke leather jacket, so learning about the right ways helps.

If you have a stylish lambskin leather jacket to break in, it is best to wear it often, but don't get rough because it may ruin due to its porous nature; it retains oils and dirt.

Various breaking-in methods can be applied for cow leather jackets including top grain leather and full-grain leather jackets. Full grain leather refers to the premium quality leather that retains the natural grain of an animal's skin. Due to their durability, strength, and ruggedness, you can also use a leather conditioner suitable for your leather.

Nubuck and Suede leather jackets have a soft and fuzzier texture. Brushing with a soft brush may help to break in these jackets. Fake leather jackets should simply need to be worn as much as you can to loosen the jacket.

Breaking In Leather: Soft Leather Jackets vs Stiff Leather Jackets


Soft Leather Jacket

Stiff Leather Jacket



Supple and pliable leather e.g lambskin or sheepskin

Thicker and more rigid e.g. full grain top grain

Initial Feel

Flexible and comfortable

Initially Stiff and less pliable 

Breaking -in Process

Need less breaking-in time and effort 

Require longer time for  breaking in


Easy to maintain and don't  need specialized products  generally

Leather conditioners and treatments help to accelerate the softening process

Appearance Changes

Develops natural patina and subtle crease after breaking in 

Show noticeable creases


Breaking in a Light Jacket vs Heavy Jacket

Breaking into light jackets requires minimal effort and time as compared to heavy ones. The reason is that as the material is lightweight, the leather jacket quickly conforms to your body. Heavy jackets require more time to soften, and regular wear is crucial to getting a perfectly flexible heavy coat.

How Long Will It Take For a Leather Jacket to Break In?

Normally, it takes a few weeks to some months to break in a leather jacket, depending on the leather type, thickness, and frequency of wear.

If you are trying to break a cowhide or horse leather jacket like a motorbike jacket, it may typically take up to 4-8 weeks of regular wear.

Fashion jackets made from Lambskin jackets, like bombers, are soft and take less time, somewhere in the middle, approximately 2-4 weeks to break in.

Likewise, goatskin jackets take almost 3-6 weeks to break in.

How to Break in a Leather Jacket: Reliable Methods

Leather jackets are a trending outfit that gives a unique charisma to your personality. But what if they are tight, stiff, and not fitted on your body properly? They will ruin your outlook and will seem lousy. To get over this issue, here we are with perfect ways to break in your new leather jacket to transform it into your second skin.

Wear It as Much as You Can

The first and easiest way to break in your leather jacket is to wear it regularly, especially if you're carrying a full-grain leather jacket. Breaking in the soft fashion leather jackets is easier as they conform to the shape of your body in less time.

Wear it even if you don't need it; you can wear it at nap time to give it more time to adapt with your body, or while exercising the gentle stress, bending, and stretching may also help accelerate the breaking-in process.

Utilize Inventive Methods to Age and Soften Your Jacket

To soften your jacket, you can use conventional ways:

  • Rolling into a ball and using it as a pillow.
  • Wrap it around your body without wearing it.
  • Playing ball with it(don't forget to tie).
  • Crumpling and uncrumpling it
  • Ride with the leather jacket onto your body (Heat and body movement will do the magic)
  • Pushups reduce stiffness in the arms and shoulders.
  • Punching on punch bags while wearing your jacket is also a good way to break it in.

Using an Abrasive Mindfully

If done mindfully, using mild abrasive treatment for breaking in your leather jacket is a good idea. Not all types of leather can withstand abrasion, such as corrected leather, imitation grain leather, or other quality leathers. Only the highest quality leather made of cowhide might bear it. For suitable quality leather types, you can use abrasive methods, including:

  • Sandpaper scrubbing: Gently rub over stiff areas
  • Pumice Stone Treatment: Use a pumice stone in a circular motion to break down the stiffness in key areas.
  • Emery Board for Seams: Running an emery board along may help to smoothen the edges and minimize the rigidity.
  • Steel Wool Technique: Use fine-grade steel wool gently on stiff areas.
  • Using a Soft Bristle Brush: A soft bristle brush is also good for softening and breaking down fibers to get flexibility.

Using Leather Conditioner

A common and effective method for breaking in a leather jacket is the usage of leather conditioners. Select a high-quality leather conditioner that is suitable for your jacket, and test it in a small hidden area to ensure it doesn't harm your genuine leather jacket. Then apply it with a clean cloth, allow absorption and then buff the jacket to give it a polished look. Leather conditioner softens the jacket, making it easy to wear.

Using Moisture to Break into Your Leather Jacket 

 Appropriate exposure to moisture can also reduce the stiffness of leather jackets and speed up their breaking process.

This can be achieved in several ways, including:

  • Walking in light rain while wearing it. The mildly soaked leather softens the jacket and makes it flexible.
  • Stretching out your body while it is wet to mold it according to your body shape.
  • Leaving it dry helps it conform more closely to your body contours and perfectly breaks in your leather jacket.
  • Moisturize the leather in stiff areas with a spray bottle, massage those areas to encourage flexibility
  • Using a dampened cloth with gentle pressure helps the breaking-in process effectively.

Tip: Tumble dry your leather jacket without heat. Place your leather jacket inside a mesh laundry bag to prevent snags, and set the dryer to “air fluff” or “no heat” for approximately 20 minutes.

What Not to Do While Breaking in Your Jacket?

It would help if you kept an eye on the following checks when breaking into your new leather jacket:

  • Protect your high quality leather jackets from prolonged contact with water and moisture. Soaking leather for too long isn't good for the jacket's durability.
  • No extreme heat exposure
  • Never wear a jacket on abrasive surfaces or against rough materials 
  • Avoid excessive force or overstretching
  • Minimize sun exposure
  • Washing your leather jacket in the machine may ruin it

Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Following manual instructions provided by leather jacket companies during the break-in process of your brand-new leather jacket is crucial. Proper break-in techniques help the leather adapt to your body, enhancing comfort and fit over time. Remember that the techniques mentioned above can be used on a few leather qualities.

Ignoring instructions may lead to premature wear, loss of shape, or damage to the leather.


1.How do you break in a leather jacket naturally?

The best way to break in your leather jacket is to wear it regularly to allow it to stretch and conform to your body.

2. How can you stretch a leather jacket fast?

The fastest way to break in your new leather jacket is to get it wet lightly and let it dry naturally. Another way to stretch it quickly is by hanging your leather jacket into a hot, steamy bathroom where steam gets in those areas that feel stiff to encourage flexibility and softness.

3. Will a leather jacket stretch over time?

The natural oils from your skin and body movements help to stretch a leather jacket over time. Regular wear allows the leather to break in gradually.

4. Does a leather jacket get loose over time?

Yes, original leather jackets always get loose with time; that's why it's crucial to find the right fit according to your physique.

5. How do you break in a Letterman Leather Jacket?

If your Letterman jacket isn't made up of synthetic material, the simplest and quickest method is to wear it often. Doing some light stretches and conditioning may also help the leather to break in.

6. Can I break into a Leather jacket by sleeping in it?

Yes, sleeping in a leather jacket can help stretch your leather jacket, but it's not a comfortable way to choose for this purpose. Heat and movement can make the break-in process fast and mold the coat or jacket according to your body shape, but it may result in sweating and discomfort.

7. How to soften a Leather Bomber Jacket?

If you want to tame a strong and durable jacket like a bomber leather jacket into a comfy leather companion, wear it frequently or do some stretching sessions while wearing it. A gentle application of an appropriate conditioner can also help you make it more soft and supple. 

8. How do you break in a Leather Motorcycle jacket?

Transforming your leather motorcycle jacket into your second skin is a time-consuming process. Wear it often while cruising on your motorcycle, stretch out it via arm circle exercise, and practice a riding posture(even if you're not riding) to loosen up the crucial areas like elbows, back, and shoulders. Stuffing the jacket with paper, conditioning, and other methods can also be used.

Final Thoughts

Breaking in a leather jacket into an oh-so-cool riding companion is a crucial step. Whether you're dealing with a motorcycle or bomber leather jacket, breaking in takes time.

Various ways can be used to get your desired comfort, like wearing it often, engaging in activities that stretch, and using a specified leather conditioner to help soften the material. Yet following the manufacturer’s instructions and caring for your jacket accordingly can also not be neglected to keep your leather jacket unharmed.

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