Last Updated on August 19, 2023 by Nicole
Leather messenger bags offer a classic and convenient way to carry folders, gadgets, gym clothes and so much more. Unlike canvas or other fabrics, a leather messenger bag presents a more sophisticated look regardless of where you take it.
You can sling it across your body for a casual hands-free look, on your shoulder in traditional fashion, or carry it using a top handle like a briefcase. It is a timeless, durable bag that allows you to keep all your important things on hand during the day.
Whether you’re rushing around the city all day, heading into a business meeting, going to the gym or exploring a new city, the best leather messenger bags are practical and increasingly popular choice for the modern man or woman.
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Other Options Available
So much of what makes the best leather messenger bag has to do with personal taste, color, size, and price point. If you have not found exactly what you are looking for, consider taking a peak at two other articles that highlight more options for canvas and leather messenger bags:
- 11 Stylish And Best Messenger Bags For Men; and
- 9 Most Affordable And Chic Messenger Bags For Women.
Canvas bags offer a durable lightweight fabric. They can be crafted into casual or sophisticated looks, and even include fun, colorful or artistic patterns to create more fashion forward looks. For a selection of different crossbody canvas bags or messenger bags, take a look at 12 Best Stylish Yet Practical Canvas Crossbody Bags. If you are looking for something bigger that might be useful for 2-5 day trips, please see 12 Best Canvas Duffel Bags With Style.
For simple yet elegant black tote bags in canvas, nylon, faux and real leather, please see 15 Best Black Tote Bags.
If you prefer a leather backpack for business, school or travel purposes, Tumi offers a high-end sophisticated product. Please see 7 Most Sleek And Versatile TUMI Backpacks. For other less expensive yet handsome computer bags, check out 12 Best Laptop Bags For Men.
Finally, if you are looking to replace your luggage, consider Samonsite Winfield 2, one of the best in the industry.
Best Leather Messenger Bags For Men And Women
In the first section, I review the 10 best leather messenger bags for men and women. In the next section, I highlight the two best faux leather messenger bags.
All the bags in this review are attractive and extremely functional. There are a wide range of style options, colors and sizes as well as prices to meet as many personal tastes and preferences as possible. After each leather messenger bag is reviewed, I also include a guide on how to care for them and keep them waterproof.
One last thing about cost – there are some remarkably good looking and functional leather messenger bags for under $100. However, you have to be careful to not let your decision be solely driven by cost.
Workmanship like the finish on the seams, robustness of the stitches, durability of the buckles, strength of the latches connecting the shoulder strap to the bag, are normally better quality the more you pay. If you foresee carrying a lot of weight or being rough on your bag, you should try and pay a little more to get a product that will last longer.
Rustic Town Leather Messenger Bag
Size & Colors
This 15” vintage look and handcrafted full-grain leather messenger bag comes in a cinnamon brown color with brass buckles and fittings. It can fit a 15” laptop, weighs 2.2 lbs, and measures 15″ x 11″ x 4″.
- Thick adjustable shoulder strap for durability and comfort.
- Full flap cover with magnetic closures to keep everything in place.
- Heavy-duty canvas lining and stitching with inner cushioned walls.
- Five internal compartments including three open interior pockets and two zippered ones.
- Budget friendly.
Wish It Had
- Top handles and detachable shoulder strap as an alternative carrying option.
- Outside pockets for easy access to everyday items.
This leather messenger bag has a distinctive leather smell. However, it should fade away after airing it for a day or two in a ventilated area in the sun.
Reviews on Amazon are fantastic for these leather messenger bags. [It is] “…a great product for the price” and “[g]orgeous bag. Exceeded my expectations.”
These are handmade leather messenger bags. The leather is put through a traditional process called ‘vegetable tanning’ to help retain the original characteristics of the material for flexibility. It is not chemically processed so the leather skin tone is not uniform and natural blemishes remain, thus creating vintage messenger bags.
It features high-quality stitching, strong brass knuckles, a cushioned canvas lining for durability and a more refined finish. The design is simplistic, similar to courier bags, and would be best in a more casual environment. It is a steal at well under $70 for one of these best leather messenger bags.
KPL Leather Messenger Bags
Size & Colors
This handcrafted full-grain leather messenger bag is available in a walnut brown color. It comes in two sizes:
- 18” which measures 18″ x 12″ x 5″; and
- 16” which measures 16″ x 12″ x 5″.
The 18″ can accommodate 15.6” laptops or devices.
- Ethically sourced leather with no coatings.
- Premium canvas inner lining with double stitching.
- Heavy duty fittings, sliders and rivets for durability.
- Concealed one-handed quick release latches for easy access.
- Adjustable and removable shoulder strap.
- Multiple compartments with a large zippered compartment.
- Top handles for an alternative carrying option.
- With the full-grain leather and natural tanning process, the leather has “disorderly wrinkles, scars, scratches that presents retro and wildness”.
This women’s and men’s leather messenger bag offers superb durability from the quality of the leather to the heavy duty stitches, hooks, slides and buckles. It also transforms into one of the best leather briefcases with top handles and detachable strap. It is great value at less than $70
The concealed quick release latches allow for both a secure closure and easy one handed access so you can hold your coffee or water bottle in one hand and retrieve items from your bag. The small front pocket is the perfect spot for business cards, keys or other personal items for which you want quick access. It is the best option for an excellent everyday bag for the office, running errands or heading off to school.
KomalC Leather Messenger Bags
Size & Colors
This handcrafted full-grain leather laptop bag comes in three tones of brown. It measures 15.5 “x 11″ x 4”, weighs 3.28 lbs and can comfortably fit a 15.6” laptop.
- Two design options; one with quick release concealed buckle system and the other with a zipper system and flap.
- Lined with high quality canvas to keep your items protected.
- Multiple compartments and pockets to carry and organize your stuff.
- Detachable and adjustable strap with heavy duty brass fittings.
- Different styles: One with rear zippered pocket for quick access to items in one design. The other, a sleeve on back to stack on luggage.
- Both options has top handles to transform bag into a beautiful leather briefcase or offer another carrying option. One has single handle while other has double handles for extra strength and durability.
This is one of the best leather messenger bags for under $100. It has over 4000 reviews on Amazon with an overall 4.8* rating out of 5.
One happy customer exclaims, “This bag is awesome, the quality of the leather is excellent and the construction is very well-done.”
Each of the leather messenger bags for men and women have a classic vintage style. However, all three brown tones have completely different styles. The “Chicago buff” color (seen above) is the only one that can transition from casual relaxed settings to regular formal business meetings. The other two, “buffalo distressed tan” and “distressed brown”, would be better suited for more informal settings.
All three would be good for travel. They offer easy one-handed access to items inside or on the outside of the bags. In fact, the “distressed brown” option is one of the best leather bags for business travel. It offers a double top handle over a fully zippered compartment and a sleeve on the back for stacking on other pieces of luggage.
Viosi Leather Messenger Bags
Size & Colors
This genuine leather messenger bag for men and women can fit a 16” laptop or tablet. It is made from handcrafted high quality buffalo leather and is available in a few colors. It measures 16”x 12″ x 3” and weighs about 4.39 lbs.
- Leather treated to eliminate color transfer.
- Certified RFID blocking for protection of personal data on passports, credit cards or other ID.
- Multiple compartments and pockets: Main Pocket has a full zipper closure, two pen holders, two pockets and a padded laptop holder with Velcro strap; Back features a zipper compartment;
- Internal compartment under flap has two large pockets, one small pocket, a passport slot with snap and three pen holders.
- Top handle and detachable leather straps for alternative carrying options.
- Adjustable padded shoulder strap.
- This is not meant to be overloaded with heavy items. It is a little more delicate compared to other messenger bags listed in this article. It is intended to be a small briefcase or crossbody bag.
These leather messenger bags are remarkably designed and make for a fantastic mobile office, school bag or travel companion.
The bag can hold a large laptop, in addition to having many functional pockets and compartments to help keep you organized. Just wear the bag crossbody and with one hand, release the buckles to lift the top flap. Within easy reach, you have pen holders, a secure passport pocket and other smaller pockets for credit cards or similar size items. In addition, the pockets are RFID shielded which means this is the best bag to protect against people stealing data encoded on IDs, credit cards and passports.
This leather messenger bag is only 3″ depth, so much thinner than most others in this article. On the plus side, it is sleek and designed as a highly functional briefcase. On the downside, it is not meant to be stuffed with anything bulky, like gym clothes, or used as a weekend getaway bag.
Jack&Chris Leather Messenger Bag
Size & Colors
This full grain 100% men’s and women’s leather messenger bag measures 15.75″ x 11.8″ x 3.54″, weighs 4.75 lbs and comes in different shades of brown color. It can fit a laptop up to a 15.6” screen.
- Easily accessible front pocket compartments under secure flap that can hold a variety of business essentials, such as cell phone, I-pad, pens and business cards.
- Breathable tear-resistant soft lining.
- Detachable and adjustable padded shoulder strap.
- Sturdy top carrying handle for optional carrying style.
- A combination of ten compartments for small and large items, including padded laptop compartment.
- Exterior back pocket for quick access to documents with strap to stack on luggage.
Wish It Had
- RFID protection to protect against stealing of personal data from passport and credit cards. It one of the best messenger bags for business travel and RFID would give it a higher level of security.
If you are looking for a modern leather briefcase, then look no further. This charming women’s or men’s leather messenger bag has everything that you would need. It offers sturdy construction, and a simple understated look that can transition between casual and business settings.
Functionally, it offers a lot. Just under the flap, you have within quick easy reach small and medium pockets for everyday items like cell phones, pens and passport, if travelling. Inside, you have other compartments to organize your items including a padded laptop sleeve.
Like the Viosi leather messenger bags (above), this bag is on the thinner side and designed more as a briefcase than a bag where you would stuff bulky gym or weekend clothing. With the back strap intended for stacking on luggage and the large zippered outside pocket to easily reach documents, this bag is well suited for business travel.
Price-wise, this is just over $100 USD. For the additional cost compared to other lower priced leather briefcases, you are getting more refined leather with less blemishes, and more polished stitches and finishes.
Leathario Leather Messenger bags
Size & Colors
This small leather messenger bag measures 15.75″ x 3.15″ x 11.8″ and weighs about 2.86 lbs. It can fit a 14” laptop comfortably and is offered in two black designs and one brown.
- Offers three flexible carrying options (crossbody, shoulder and top handle).
- Interior is lined with high quality polyester.
- Seven pockets that can hold items that range in sizes. Main zippered pocket with thick laptop compartment and other smaller pockets for cell phone or cards. Front pocket has two zippers on both sides of the pocket for expansion. Big zippered pocket on back.
- Adjustable and removable padded shoulder strap.
- Features magnetic closure for quick access.
- The manufacturer replaced the magnetic snaps to make them stronger and easier to use. Accordingly, look to more recent reviews about their quality versus older ones.
- Although this leather bag is considered a messenger bag because of the crossbody strap and flap, its’ design is more consistent with a briefcase. However, it does not stand upright on its own like a typical briefcase with a sturdy wide bottom.
This small leather messenger bag is sleek and modern. It offers a very different look than the vintage leather messenger bags with distressed or marked leather or those with traditional buckles on the front. If you are looking for a more minimalist contemporary look with beautiful leather, this would be an ideal choice for you.
It is a small size in that it is thin, but large enough to fit all of your important items for the office or a business meeting. In addition, it is an excellent travel companion that you can easily wear crossbody while getting through airport security or exploring a new city.
Vaschy Leather Messenger Bag
Size & Colors
Weighing only 4 lbs, this handmade Crazy Horse leather messenger bag comes in two colors, black and coffee brown. It comfortably fits a laptop with a 15.6″ screen and measures at 17″ x 4″ x 11.8″.
- Top handle and adjustable cotton anti-slip shoulder strap.
- Multiple compartments with a padded laptop compartment and an anti-theft back pocket.
- Leather key ring in main compartment for easy retrieval.
- Thick padded foam at the bottom for added protection of your possessions.
- Features protected leather on both the left and ride side.
- These leather messenger bags come in two colors. They are the same size, made from the same quality of leather, can fit up to 15.6″ laptop, and both are described as heavy duty and durable. However, their designs are completely different from the number of pockets on the exterior to how the interior compartments are organized.
- The shoulder strap is detachable from the brown bag but not the black messenger bag.
These leather messenger bags possess a unique style that blends the rugged and the formal. One Amazon reviewer said, “It such a satisfying addition to my daily work routine. Really beautifully crafted, leather has great substance and feel.”
Made with highest quality leather, this bag will look better with age. If you want to embrace the ruggedness, then allow the bag to get scratched and weathered. If you want to keep it looking more formal and want to cover up any scratches, then use a wet towel to wipe any scratches and dry with a hairdryer.
Brass Tacks Leather Messenger Bags
Size & Colors
This handcrafted Crazy Horse leather messenger bag for men and women can fit a 14” laptop. It comes in dark chocolate brown, weighs 3.8 lbs and measures 15.9″ x13.4″x 4.9″.
- 3-in-1 convertible bag: backpack, briefcase or messenger bag.
- High quality hardware and trims with antique finishes.
- Hand stitched.
- Multi-functional pockets that can carry a range of items.
- Adjustable and detachable padded straps.
- There is permanent extra hardware on the lower part of the back of the bag to make it into a backpack.
- There isn’t a padded laptop compartment.
We are now moving away from more affordable bags into expensive leather messenger bags. This bag normally costs around $230.00 USD. What do you get that you don’t get in less expensive messenger bags?
In the first place, it is 100% “Crazy Horse” leather. This is produced by highly skilled craftsmen using only the finest quality rich full-grain cowhide that is treated with natural wax, then hand finished to excellence. It becomes a water-resistant leather that is durable, and buttery-soft to the touch.
In addition, this leather messenger bag is hand stitched and the finishings are beautiful. The hardware is antique bronze, are high quality and durable.
Finally, it gives you the option to convert this bag into a highly functional backpack, an ideal opportunity for biking to work or keep the bag completely out of your way when you travel.
Overall, this bag features a beautiful simple exterior. It is thick and the leather is supple so it can fit a lot of items, including some that may be a little more bulky.
Cuero Leather Messenger Bag
Size & Colors
This handcrafted vintage large leather messenger bag for women and men can accommodate a laptop with a 17.3” screen. It is available in two brown tones: antique golden brown and distressed antique coffee. It weighs 2.2 lbs and measures 18″ x 13″ x 5″.
- Adjustable, padded and detachable strap.
- Simple exterior with one large exterior zippered pocket. Several interior pockets.
Wish It Had
- Top handle for different carrying option.
This large leather messenger bag is made from leather with a rugged attractive look. This bag was meant to carry a lot of stuff, including laptops or tablets, with big interior pockets and compartments to organize and carry countless other business, travel or school related items.
One satisfied customer stated, “I love my bag. It fits my computer and I always get asked if it belonged to my grandma because it instantly looks old, in a good way.”
Knomo Leather Messenger Bags
Size & Colors
Full grain cowhide leather crossbody bag measures 16″ x 11.8″ x 3.5″. It can accommodate a laptop with a 16” screen. It is only available in black and weighs almost 2.4 lbs.
- Interior offers a fully-lined, tear-resistant bright lining to stand up to daily use.
- Multiple compartments including cell phone pocket, pen, a slip pocket, and credit card slots.
- Under the flap features a large zipped and an open front pocket for quick access to your frequently used items.
- Rear exterior open pocket.
- Luggage sleeve.
- Adjustable and wide shoulder strap.
- Features sturdy and durable hardware for zippers, buckles, closures and latches.
This contemporary and stylish leather messenger bag for men and women is large and versatile to fit many needs. It’s interior lining lends itself to carrying more expensive and sensitive items, whereas the internal pockets allow you to keep organized and on track.
It is the most expensive of the leather messenger bags that I have reviewed. I have included it because of the quality of its’ leather, the durability of the hardware, and the finishes. Expect this bag to last you years and years before you need to replace it.
Best Faux leather Messenger Bags
Here are the two best fake leather messenger bags. They are vegan and environmentally friendly. In addition, they are so well designed, it is difficult to tell that it is faux leather.
Lubardy PU Leather Messenger Bags
Size & Colors
Supple textured PU leather with cowhide pattern crossbody bag measures 16.1″ x 12.6″ x 5.1″. It can accommodate a laptop with a 15.6” screen. It is available in black or two shades of brown and weighs almost 2.2 lbs.
- Top handle for another carrying option.
- Detachable and adjustable strap with thick, wide and anti-fatigue shoulder pad for added comfort.
- Quick lock latches for one handed quick access of your belongings.
- It has several interior compartments, including one padded compartment for your laptop and one exterior pocket to easily access documents or cell phone.
- Reasonably priced.
This bag looks like it is made from real leather but it is not. Instead, it is made from polyurethane leather. The upside is that it is vegan friendly and will be easier to clean. The downside is that it won’t smell or age like leather.
This large faux leather messenger bag offers a lot for a very low price. One of the best features is the large number of internal compartments for organizing your office, school, travel or personal items. Together with the one handed release system for the buckles and large outside pockets with ample space for such things as electronic devices and travel documents, this bag would be ideal for business trips.
Overall, this well-crafted large leather messenger bag for women and men is suited for a busy lifestyle that needs plenty of space to carry essentials. The exterior zipper on the back adds a little bit of flair to an otherwise classic design. In addition, the top handle allows you to transform this bag into a briefcase and carry heavy items.
EaseGave Eco-Leather Messenger Bag
Size & Colors
This eco-leather messenger bag comes in ten color options and in two sizes – 15.6” (15.1″x 4.13″x 12.4″) weighing 2.86 lbs or 17.3” (17.1″ x 5.11″ x 13.4″) weighing 3 lbs. They can fit laptops ranging from 14” to 17” depending on the size of the bag.
- One handed open turn-lock flap closure.
- Multiple compartments including; two main compartments that are zippered, one padded laptop sleeve with velcro closure, two slip pockets, one zippered pocket and one back zippered pocket.
- Coffee colored nylon-lined interior for refined look.
- Detachable and adjustable strap that is also wide and long enough for cross body shoulder strap.
- Top carrying handle for another carrying choice.
Wish It Had
- Padded shoulder strap for more comfort.
- Larger exterior back pocket for documents.
This bag is not real leather. However, it looks like leather, is vegan friendly and will be easy to clean.
With over 7300 Amazon reviews giving these gorgeous faux leather messenger bags mostly 5 stars and a price at under $50, you don’t need many more reasons why this is the bag for you. Practical, timeless and elegant, it is a superb choice for the professional man or woman or student looking for a more upscale look.
Practically speaking, it offers multiple compartments and pockets for the ultimate ability to organize your things, including a secure and padded laptop sleeve. The exterior back pocket is the perfect spot to tuck your cell phone for easy access. This messenger bag is designed for either a one-handed quick access crossbody bag or as a more sophisticated business look after detaching the shoulder strap to carry it like a briefcase.
How To Care For Your Leather Messenger Bag
Understanding how to care for your leather messenger bag is essential to keeping it in tip-top shape. A quality messenger bag can keep for years if you invest time in its proper maintenance.
Types Of Leather Found In The Best Messenger Bags
There are several types of leather that you will commonly come across. These are:
- Full grain/Top Grain Leather: This is considered the best type of leather. Made from the upper layer of the hide, it is the most durable and expensive. Crazy horse leather is make from this.
- Corrected/ Embossed Grain Leather: This type of leather is made from the outer layer of the hide which is prone to an excessive amount of scarring or scratching. To improve the imperfections, it goes through a correcting process of sanding and buffing.
- Split Suede Leather: This comes from the second layer of the hide. It is usually a by-product of hide tanning.
- Nubuck Sueded Grain Leather: Considered the most fragile, this top layer hide is lightly sanded to produce a velvet-suede feel. Once stained, it is difficult to clean.
- Bonded/ Fiber Leather: This type of leather is made from recycled hide scraps. It bonds the leather with an adhesive to form a fabric. A synthetic grain, hair cell pattern and finish is then incorporated to give it a full grain leather appearance.
- PU leather: This is a synthetic form of leather made from a plastic called polyurethane which has a similar feel to leather but wipes clean and does not age.
- Eco-leather: This material is not leather but features natural fibers such as flax or cotton mixed with palm, corn, soybean and other plant oils.
So long as the leather is genuine, its cleaning and care are roughly the same, although genuine leather will require a bit more maintenance than PU leather. Let’s look at the steps you should take to maintain your leather messenger bag.
Supplies You May Need
– Soft, clean cloth.
– Leather cleaner.
– Leather conditioner.
– Parchment paper or bubble wrap.
– Dust bag or pillowcase.
– Tissue paper.
– Suede brush.
– White chalk powder.
How To Clean Leather Messenger Bags
Make sure your hands are clean before you begin because leather absorbs grease and oil easily.
Begin by wiping the surface with a damp (not wet) soft cloth. Avoid using too much water because leather takes time to dry. Then, wipe down the messenger bag with a leather cleaner. Use circular motions and wipe off the product with a damp cloth to prevent clogging the leather pores.
Leave the bag to air dry, do not use any heaters or blow dryers, in a well ventilated and dry room.
Try to do a thorough cleaning every six months.
How To Condition The Best Leather Messenger Bags
Leather conditioner moisturizes your messenger bag. Leather tends to dry out over time. Without a proper leather moisturizer, your bag may start to crack and wrinkle. This would be exacerbated in high dry climates.
To prevent this, gently apply your leather conditioner with a soft cloth after cleaning the bag. Schedule this maintenance for at least once a year. This will keep the leather soft.
How To Store A Leather Messenger Bag
Quality made leather messenger bags are very durable so you should have one for a very long time. When not in use, you should store it so that you preserve its shape and keep it from getting damaged.
Use bubble wrap or parchment paper to stuff the leather bag to hold its shape. To preserve the metal or brass parts, wrap them up in acid free tissue paper. If you are planning on long-term storage, release the buckles and latches to prevent creases.
Place the bag in a pillowcase or dust bag for storage and store it in its original box. This is essential because the silica gel packets that come with the bag prevent dampness.
How To Waterproof Leather Messenger Bags
By itself, leather is water resistant, however it needs an extra layer of protection from moisture to make it waterproof. Routine waterproofing keeps moisture at bay.
Ensure that the bag is completely dry after cleaning before you proceed. Use a wax, whether in paste or liquid form to evenly apply the product all over the bag. If you are using a spray applicator, try to spray a thin layer repeatedly instead of applying one thick coat.
Allow the bag to dry overnight. This process should be repeated every six months to help maintain the bag.
- Avoid using products with alcohol because they will dry out or discolor the leather.
- Be mindful of exposing the bag to extreme weather elements as this will age the leather more quickly.
- Take extra precautions around hair coloring products, spray and other hair products.
The best leather messenger bags are a striking addition to your casual or business wardrobe. They are highly functional and if properly chosen and used, will help you organize your daily routine, your weekend errands, or your travel, business or otherwise. You can find an abundant number of exquisite leather messenger bags in all price ranges. Durability, leather quality, and finishing features will be impacted by the amount you pay, but even the least expensive ones highlighted above supply extraordinary features.