Last updated: August 11, 2021

Men's leather bags are part of every man's outfit. Even though bags were reserved for women for a long time, the selection for men has increased dramatically in the meantime. Leather is particularly popular, as it has proven to be a very durable and robust material, but still looks stylish and high-quality.

There are suitable models in many different designs for every occasion and taste. Whether for a business meeting, at university or simply in everyday life, a leather bag offers storage space for everything important and enhances the outfit. In addition to the leather quality and workmanship, functionality is also an important factor in the selection process.




The Best Men's Leather Bag: Our Picks

Buying criteria: What to look for when buying men's leather bags

Leather bags for men come in a variety of shapes and sizes. To make sure you don't lose the overview when making your decision, you should use some buying criteria to guide you.

With the following pointers, you can find exactly the leather bag that suits you:

  • Size
  • Leather type
  • Functionality
  • Workmanship

In the further course, we will go into details of these criteria and what to consider in each case.

Size

The size of your men's leather bag should depend on its intended use. Everything that is to be stowed in the bag should also find room. Take measurements from the largest and most unwieldy items and look specifically for a leather bag that meets these.

If the leather bag is only meant for a few essentials such as a wallet or mobile phone, limit yourself to a smaller size. Otherwise you are just carrying around excess space.

If a laptop is to go in your bag, you can go by its specifications in inches. For files or paper, DIN formats will help. For everything else, measure universally in centimetres.

Type of leather

For men's leather bags, mainly cowhide and calfskin are used. Cowhide is particularly strong and robust due to its thickness. The leather of young cattle is called calfskin. It is very soft and has a fine structure.

Since cattle are primarily bred for meat production, the leather is a waste product. In terms of sustainability, cowhide is therefore a recommendable material. Goatskin or lambskin are rarely used for leather bags, which makes them very flexible and soft.

Furthermore, you must bear in mind that leather hides always have 2 sides: the smooth grain side (smooth leather) and the rough flesh side (rough leather). While smooth leather is rather easy to care for, suede is sensitive to dirt and wetness due to its velvety surface.

If you only like the look of leather, but want to avoid animal materials, you should choose a vegan bag made of imitation leather.

Functionality

A men's leather bag should not only be selected according to visual aspects, but also include functional aspects. They can make your life much easier. To protect the contents of your bag from dirt and water, zips and buckles can be used to close it tightly.

In the interior of men's leather bags, compartments can be used to create more order so that you can quickly find the right things again. In addition, pockets and compartments can also be attached to the outside for even faster access.

Handles and shoulder straps make it easier to carry the leather bag and can free up your hands. A common feature of business bags is a back strap that can be used to attach them to a suitcase or trolley.

It is best to think about which functions are essential for you beforehand. Take into account what the leather bag is intended for and what requirements must be met.

Processing

Only the workmanship makes the leather a high-quality bag and is therefore an aspect not to be despised. One of the main components is the tanning process, which stabilises the animal skins to make leather. Tanning with chrome salts, which only takes a few days, is predominant. Chrome-tanned leather is lighter and more tear-resistant than vegetable-tanned leather.

Vegetable tanning uses vegetable substances and the process can take several months. This is very material-intensive, which is also reflected in the price, but allows the leather to breathe.

Furthermore, pigment colours and coatings can change the leather surface. This is used on lower quality leather hides to conceal irregularities. PU leather is split leather that has been coated with polyurethane. It is not breathable and is less durable than high quality grain leather, but is significantly cheaper.

Men's leather bags: The most important questions answered

Even if it wasn't a given for a long time, the selection of leather bags for men is almost endless these days. To make it easier for you when looking for a model, we answer the most important questions about the topic below.

In which styles are leather bags for men available?

Leather bags for men are universal for every occasion. However, there are some differences depending on the style used. In the following list we have elaborated the most important features of bag styles for men.

  • Shoulder bag and messenger bag: Shoulder bags and messenger bags have a long strap that allows them to be carried over the shoulder. Messenger bags also have a flap that closes the bag. Both are practical and look casual at the same time.
  • Leather briefcase: Brief cases are suitable for carrying files or other documents. They look serious for everyday business and offer plenty of space for documents in standard A4 format.
  • Weekender: A weekender can accommodate some clothes and valuables thanks to its large storage space, but can still be used as hand luggage. The ideal travel bag for a weekend trip and much more comfortable than a suitcase.
  • Totebag: Tote bags have 2 straps that allow them to be carried by hand or over the shoulder, depending on their length. They usually offer simple storage space with few additional features.
  • Leather backpack: Backpacks are particularly practical bags because they can be worn on the back thanks to two shoulder straps. Ideal for someone who carries a lot around and wants to have their hands free.
  • Small leather bags: The variety of small bags includes belt bags, toiletry bags and specific bags for tablets or cameras. These bags often serve as accessories or help to keep things tidy.

Are you still not sure which style suits you? Then make yourself aware of the requirements you want your men's leather bag to meet and then check which style might suit you.

How do I care for and clean my men's leather bag?

Cleaning a leather bag is comparatively uncomplicated. It is often sufficient to wipe off the dirt with a damp cloth. If your leather bag has become wet, you should let it dry at room temperature. Too much heat or dryness can damage the leather.

If there are stubborn stains on the bag, you can apply leather cleaner to it and let it soak in. Make sure the cleaner is suitable for the type of leather. Then wipe the spot with a damp cloth and let it dry.

To keep the leather from drying out, it must be cared for regularly. Leather grease or milk is suitable for smooth leather. Rough leather, on the other hand, should only be groomed with a leather brush. It is then advisable to apply waterproofing agent to the leather bag to protect it from dirt and moisture.

How do I dye my leather bag for men?

Over time, leather changes and adapts to its environmental influences. If it fades or no longer looks nice, you can dye your leather bag. Before doing so, it must always be cleaned as explained above. Then follow these steps:

  1. Choice of leather colour: The colour shade used should not deviate too far from the original colour. Water-based leather dyes are preferable to alcohol-based ones, as alcohol hardens the leather.
  2. Masking: Cover all areas that are not to be dyed with tape.
  3. Dyeing: It may be necessary to dampen the leather or apply a primer before applying the dye. Note and follow the instructions on the product. For a more intense colour, the leather bag must be dyed several times.
  4. Drying: After the treatment you should let the colour dry for at least 24 hours.

If you are satisfied with the colour result, you can still optionally apply care products. If you only want to freshen up the colour a little, other methods with home remedies such as mink oil, tea or vinegar will also work instead of leather paint.

Styling tips for men's leather bags: how to achieve the perfect look for every occasion

No matter where you go, a men's leather bag is perfect for any occasion. It offers storage space for all your necessities and looks good doing it. If you're not sure about the combination of your leather bag, you can consider the styling tips we've put together.

  • Practical: If you are looking for a practical bag, the leather backpack is made for you. For university or everyday life, you can wear a casual shirt and a pair of jeans with it. Add some comfortable sneakers and your outfit is complete.
  • Business: The classic for business people and teachers is the leather briefcase. It looks elegant but serious and goes particularly well with a suit. If you want to be a little more casual in business, you can go for a smart messenger bag. This can be combined with chinos and a casual shirt. Matching leather shoes are a plus.
  • Sporty: For the trip to the gym, you should choose a lightweight weekender. It offers enough space for all your sports stuff without losing its style. You can combine it with a T-shirt or a hoodie. When it comes to trousers, the choice is yours.
  • Elegant: If you want to be a little more elegant on the go, a shoulder bag is suitable. Dark brown leather tones are particularly elegant. Chelsea boots in a matching colour look good with this and a long coat if the temperature is right.

By following these tips, you will be on the safe side. However, you are of course free to express your own style and create a unique leather bag outfit.

Conclusion

Men's leather bags are not among the most popular accessories for nothing. The durable and robust material makes them suitable for any situation and impresses with a noble vintage look. At work, for sports or when travelling: The leather bag in the right style is an all-rounder.

With interior compartments, it keeps things tidy and yet gives us full freedom of action thanks to shoulder straps. High-quality leather and its workmanship are essential for a good men's leather bag. But for your bag to really last a lifetime, it needs the right care on a regular basis.

Image source: Adam Wilson / unsplash

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