5 Reasons Why Leather Jacket Sleeves Will Shorten With Wear

As you may be well aware, the leather jacket is very difficult to alter. So it’s important to ensure the shoulders, hem, chest, and sleeves of the leather jacket you pick out are a good fit.

What makes picking out a leather jacket a bit tricky is the fact that a leather jacket will generally stretch, shrink, and mold itself to your body with time and wear.

The question I’m going to help you answer in today’s article is: Do leather jackets sleeves shorten with wear?

Generally, the sleeves of a leather jacket will shorten slightly (approximately between 1/2 inch – 1/4″) due to the stacks or creases that form at the elbow section of the sleeves when the leather jacket is worn a couple of times.

The reason why these creases among other things shorten the leather jacket sleeve is because the creases and stacks lifts the sleeve length slightly.

But there are some factors that can make the sleeves of a leather jacket to shorten or appear shorter.

To find out more details about how leather jacket sleeves shorten or appear shortened with wear, you would want to keep reading this article!

1. New Leather Jackets Will Shorten

Generally, when you buy a new leather jacket, there’s no denying that the sleeves will shorten quite a bit even with very little wear.

So what you can expect is that usually in the first year, the leather jacket will shorten.

So whatever leather jacket sleeve length you pick out has to be just about right.

By this I mean the leather jacket sleeves shouldn’t be way above the wrist because it will shorten and will become very obvious.

The tricky part is leather jacket sleeves will eventually get longer as time goes by.

Depending on how often you wear, clean, and conditioner your leather jacket, it will soften and then cause the leather jacket sleeves to elongate.

So because of this mini roller coaster ride with your leather jacket sleeves, you would want to make sure the sleeves for the jacket you pick out is just about right.

What you would be aiming for are sleeves that are not resting too much on your wrist and sleeves that are not way above the wrist.

You would want your leather jacket’s sleeves to send at the top of your wrist.

2. Longer Sleeve Leather Jackets will Shorten

If you’re a sleeve stacks lover or a fan of having your leather jacket sleeve longer than your wrist or resting on your wrist, then you can expect the leather Jacket sleeve to shorten with wear.

Generally, all leather jacket sleeves will wrinkles in the inner elbow joint area and cause it to shorten very slightly – usually not noticeable.

Leather jackets with such long sleeves will with time begin to develop a stack and basically settle into what may be seen as a pleat.

Contrary to having a leather jacket’s sleeve resting on your wrist, the sleeves that do not rest on the wrist will not have a noticeable change in length after you have broken into the leather jacket.

3. Leather Jackets That Are “Too Short” Will Look Shorter With Wear

Leather jackets has been a symbol of a rebellious style since Marlon Brando adorned himself with the Schott Perfecto in The Wild One.

With such populous style, you wouldn’t want to be the “guy” who wore a leather jacket and ended up looking like you’re yet to grow into your hand-me-downs jacket.

You would want to make sure the sleeves of your leather jacket is the best fit and not too short.

The more you break into your leather jacket, the more it will crease and wrinkle especially around the sleeves.

So if the leather jacket is short to start with, it will look a lot more shorter and will be more obvious.

So go for something a lot more standard in length and not too short or too long. I simply cannot over emphasize this!

4. Type Of Leather Will Determine How Much Shortening Happens

Another factor that influences whether the leather jacket sleeves will shorten or not will depends on the type of leather used.

How thin or thick a particular type of leather is can also determine whether the leather jacket sleeves will shorten or not.

There are different types of leather with different qualities and features.

While some leathers are finished, others will come unfinished with all the natural qualities of the leather.

Also, while some leathers will be from natural sources, other will come made of synthetic materials.

Having said this, it means not all leather jacket sleeves will shorten the same way.

You will find that some types of leather like the Chromeexcel leather will have the tendency to hold creases.

This when compared to some other types of leather like the Vicenza leather, which is able to spring back immediately into its original length will not hold creases very well.

So with the chromeexcel and the Vicenza leather as good examples, you will find that leather jackets made from leather like the chromeexcel will shorten.

On the other hand, leather jackets made with leather like the Vicenza leather will not really shorten no matter how much wear it gets.

5. Leather Jackets That Got Drenched Will Shorten

While leather jacket sleeves under normal circumstances will shorten slightly, it will become a lot more significant when the leather gets soaking wet.

There are a few things you wouldn’t want your leather jacket to come into contact with and getting it soaking wet is definitely one of them.

When leather (natural leather) gets wet, it shrinks especially if it’s not allowed to dry properly.

In the case of a leather jacket, you would want to wipe down any excess water residue, condition the leather jacket with a good conditioner, and then hang it on a hanger in a cool dry place so it air-dries.

Without doing this, the overall leather jacket will shrink and this will include its sleeves.


When it comes down to it, the sleeves of a leather jacket will shorten but the degree to which the leather jacket sleeves shorten will depend on one or a combination of the factors discussed in this article.

When it comes the leather jacket sleeve choices, it simply comes down to individual preferences as there’s generally not a write or wrong choice.

While some people will prefer their wrists fully covered with the sleeve resting on their hand, others will like their sleeves just around their wrist bone.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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