The 7 best bomber jackets for men

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by Scarlett James
Inverse / Amazon

If you’re among the approximately 1.5 billion people walking this Earth who lack the alpha-actinin-3 protein gene expression — which means you’re able to better tolerate the cold than those without the deficiency — you can count yourself lucky when temperatures plummet. But for those who still shiver when exposed to cold, the key to happiness (and survival) is an on-point layering game. Enter: The best bomber jackets for men, those icons of aviator cool that can be worn with just about anything.

The flight jacket (which later evolved into the bomber) first came onto the scene during World War I, when it was designed to keep military pilots warm at high altitudes, making it a reliable pick for ground-level adventures, as well. The original bomber was constructed of leather with a toasty shearling lining, but later styles also used high-grade nylon for its unparalleled water-, wind-, and rip-resistance. You’ll find classic bombers made of both materials on the market today, as well as more modern interpretations in quilted or satin finishes. Regardless of your preferred material, they all feature ribbed knit cuffs, collar, and hem — the silhouette’s calling cards — as well as a cropped length and roomy fit that’s made for layering.

Whether you’re looking for the ultimate classic or something with trendier details, this roundup of sharp bomber jackets has everything you need to survive your own personal Ice Age.

1. A leather bomber that’s as classic as it gets

The A-2 jacket was a U.S. military issue for Air Force pilots, and you can still score a piece of the legend today. This bomber jacket has remained largely unchanged for decades — and will last just as long if you care for it right, in tough-as-nails leather from its shoulder epaulets to the ribbed hem and cuffs. You get two dual-entry flap pockets, plus a layer of polyester insulation and roomy hand-warmer pockets to keep you warm. It even has a World War II U.S. flag imprinted on the lining.

One reviewer wrote: “As you wear this jacket, the quality of the leather really comes through. You will notice how much nicer and more durable this leather is than the leather jackets you find in stores that are merely for fashion purposes. This thing can take a real beating. This jacket has now been in the rain, the sun, and snow. It is super warm. If you zip it up, the wind will not get through at all. Where I live, we have some brutally cold winter days. I was perfectly comfortable in this jacket while my friends were freezing in their polar fleece and parkas. Now it is a heavy jacket. Again, this is very sturdy leather, so this jacket weighs a lot more than the ones you would get at a store. So far, this jacket has made it through two winters and looks better and better the more wear it gets.”

  • Available styles: 9
  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large Big Tall (available in regular, tall, and big & tall sizes)

2. The heritage bomber originally designed for military use

If you prefer nylon over leather, the Alpha Industries MA-1 Flight Bomber Jacket is the way to go — it’s a sartorial legend. The brand first developed the model in the ’50s for U.S. Air Force and Navy fighter pilots, and this modern iteration hews closely to the original, boasting an ultra-durable, waterproof flight nylon shell and heat-trapping polyester lining rendered in bold orange, originally designed to be highly visible for rescue missions. (The jacket is reversible, so you can wear it inside-out if you’re a fan of the orange.) The heavy zipper closure is protected by a storm flap, and it has plenty of pockets both inside and outside, including that iconic zipper pocket on the sleeve. As it was intended to withstand flying conditions, it’ll keep you protected in freezing temperatures.

One reviewer wrote: “This is probably the best jacket I have owned. It is made of high quality, durable materials and feels like it was made to withstand military use. Go figure. It is thicker than expected which was pleasing. The outer (darker) side is made of a thickly woven, almost rubbery feeling nylon that causes water to bead off in light rain. The inner (orange) side is a bit lighter in texture. The outer pockets are great for storing keys, a wallet or cellphone [...] The arm pocket is perfect for [...] keeping a comb and registration, as I do. Lastly, the zippers are made of HEAVY brass and seem very durable. For the price, this jacket is a great deal.”

  • Available colors: 5
  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 5X-Large

3. This lightweight bomber with a satin finish

If you’re after something with equal aviation chops with a little less weight, this bomber jacket is just as much of a classic in an easy-to-pack build. There’s ribbing on the cuffs, collar, and hem; and though the satin-finished polyester shell is lightweight, it’s still hefty enough to effectively block wind chill. It also has a minimal polyester lining for a bit of insulation. There are a couple of slash pockets where it counts, plus an interior pocket for little things like keys or ID.

One reviewer wrote: “This jacket is lightweight, comfortable and just the right amount of covering in a chilly fall or spring night. The price point is fantastic and overall this is a good buy.”

  • Available colors: 3
  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large

4. A warm faux-leather bomber with a sherpa lining

Levi’s combined details from a bunch of vintage flight jackets to create a bomber that’s just as much of a classic. This faux-leather bomber ticks all the boxes with epaulets and ribbed knit finishers, and there are seven pockets on this bad boy: two flap and zipper chest pockets, plus a pair for your hands and one inside. Choose from water-resistant faux deer leather or faux suede — they’re both lined with super soft sherpa, so you may never want to take yours off.

One reviewer wrote: “This jacket looks and feels so great. The Sherpa lining peeking out from the collar is a great look, not to mention how warm it keeps you. [...] The fit is a bit loose, but not roomy. You can easily have a layer underneath as long as it is not too thick. [...] I also liked the colors available and leather/suede option. Great item at a great price.”

  • Available styles: 9
  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X (available in regular, tall, and big & tall sizes)

5. A quilted bomber jacket from a classic workwear brand

No surprise that Dickie’s — the classic workwear brand that happens to be a go-to for street-style enthusiasts — makes an excellent, durable bomber jacket that can take a beating from the elements (and looks really good). This style is made of diamond-quilted nylon with a polyurethane coating for water- and wind-resistance (one reviewer reported that it stands up to motorcycle rides), and it’s lined in jersey fleece to trap in heat. This has a more generous fit than other bombers, since it lacks that traditional gathered ribbed hem, so you can comfortably layer a thick sweater or sweatshirt underneath on extra-cold days. It also has generously sized, lined hand-warmer pockets, so you can go without gloves.

One reviewer wrote: “I have two of these jackets, a solid black one and a camo one. For a not big and heavy jacket, they are very warm in the colder days in SC. What I really like about these is those two front pockets. Since I do a lot of nature photography, and can put my wallet & 1.4x tele-converter lens on the left and my phone in the right one with room to spare. The pockets are fairly deep and wide, so more stuff fits without undue bulging or looking weird. For the price, these are good jackets. The jackets are form fitting at the wrists, too, so cold air won't get in there.”

  • Available colors: 2
  • Available sizes: Small — 5X-Large

6. A fan-favorite bomber that’s budget-friendly

This is a pretty great bomber jacket for the price, and with close to 5,000 Amazon ratings and counting, it’s a fan-favorite. The ribbed knit collar, cuffs, and hem have some cool geometric stitching and they contrast with the rest of the jacket for a 21st-century look. It’s a little more tailored through the body if you’re not a fan of the oversized styles. You’ve got two standard hand pockets, plus one on the sleeve, and another inside for essentials, and the unlined polyester construction offers enough warmth for transitional weather.

One reviewer wrote: “I really love the way this jacket fits and looks on me, and I've gotten a lot of compliments on it so far. It's very comfortable and warm for a light jacket (I live in San Diego, so don't need something too heavy). I haven't noticed any quality issues so far and I'm considering buying another just to have it multiple colors. Can't go wrong for the price.”

  • Available colors: 8
  • Available sizes: X-Small — 3X-Large

7. A water-resistant bomber jacket with a hood

This all-weather, mid-weight twill bomber is prepared for anything. It’s wind- and water-resistant, with a quilted lining and an additional layer of polyester fill insulation, plus a pull-out hood hidden on the stand collar. It has classic good looks from the cut to the cuffs, and you get plenty of storage with four chest pockets, two each with zippers and flaps, plus a pair for your hands and an interior zip pocket.

One reviewer wrote: “Bought this jacket in black a few years back and loved it. Got several compliments on it. Looks like a sleeker, classier version of a claasic bomber. Has kept me warm in temps down to 30-40 F with just a shirt underneath, could probably use it in much colder temps with layers underneath. Quality is excellent.”

  • Available colors: 24
  • Available sizes: Small — 4X (regular and tall)
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