How to Break-In a Leather Jacket

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather jackets are both fashionable and practical, because they are classic and last forever. However, new leather can be shiny and unyielding, making your jacket uncomfortable to wear. To break your leather jacket in without destroying it in the process, you will need to invest an hour or more in treating the leather to make it soft and supple.

Rub down your jacket with the saddle soap. You should apply the saddle soap to a slightly damp washcloth, then rub it into the leather. Do not scrub, but rather use gentle circular motions. You should rub the saddle soap into every part of the leather. This will clean it and make it more supple.

Clean off all the saddle soap with a clean, damp cloth. Using a different damp cloth, use the same firm, circular motions to remove the saddle soap residue. You need to be sure to get all of the soap off. You can rinse out the cloth if it gets too full of soap, but be sure to wring it out thoroughly before you return to cleaning off your jacket or the excess water may cause the leather to become brittle or crack.

Apply leather cream. It is meant to be rubbed into the leather and left there to protect it and keep it soft. Use your last cloth to apply the cream. Use the leather cream liberally, and rub it into the leather in gentle, circular motions until it has been absorbed. If there is any excess cream that your jacket will not absorb, you can wipe it off with a clean cloth.

Treat your new jacket once every few days for about two weeks. As you continue these treatments, you will notice that the leather gets more comfortable to wear. Once your jacket meets your requirements in look and feel for being "broken in," then you can start doing this once every month or two as a maintenance regimen instead of every few days.

Wear your jacket as often as possible. While you are breaking in the jacket, you should wear it whenever possible. This will help the leather conform to your body and help you mould the jacket to your shape and style.


Test the entire process on a small portion of leather on the inside of the jacket before treating the entire jacket. This will give you an idea of what the broken-in look of your leather will be.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 soft washcloths
  • Saddle soap
  • Leather cream
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