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10 Best Leather Messenger Bags for Stylish, Successful Men

Hard-working men such as yourself deserve a well-crafted and authentic leather messenger bag that supports your successful, sophisticated style.

Unlike nylon or cloth messenger bags that can look amateur, and in some instances, embarrassing, a leather messenger bag boldly states that you are on a focused, upward trajectory in your life.

In this guide, we will serve you up a wide array of leather messenger bags that have been meticulously crafted, strike a nice balance between both vintage and modern style, and are built to last you for decades – such as the Kodiak Sitka Leather Messenger Bag we found for you.

7 Tips on Buying Leather Messenger Bag

1. Style

As you consider various messenger bags, you likely notice that the styles vary significantly.  Here are the most popular types:

  • Minimalist: Features a clean and modern design.  Most versatile and can be used for casual carrying and formal business meetings.  Often features a nice, smooth treatment of the leather.
  • Utilitarian: Often contains lots of pockets on the exterior, padded inserts, and other details.  This design is suitable for daily commuting.
  • Vintage: Has an authentic western-looking design.  It’s a blend of a practical and an outdoor-focused bag. Suitable for casual use.

2. Leather Type

Leather comes in many different grades and has a significant impact on the performance and price of the messenger bag. Here is a quick refresher on the different types:

  • Top-Grain: This is the best-looking leather.  It’s made from the top of the cowhide and has been buffed and treated to remove all surface imperfections such as scars, natural weathering, etc. Over the years, a nice patina will develop.
  • Full-Grain:  The thickest leather variant, it provides unmatched durability and strength.  Like top-grain, it will also develop a patina.  The break-in period for this leather is long.  This is a buy-it-for-life leather.
  • Nubuck: Like suede, nubuck has been buffed and sanded to provide a velvet-like texture.  However, unlike suede, nubuck leather is from the top-grain of leather, making it significantly more durable.  Nubuck leather is often sourced from calfskin.

Note (for leathers listed above): These leather varieties are often sourced from a tannery with a rich legacy.  If you value quality and don’t mind paying a bit extra, you should only consider these leather types.

  • Genuine: Made from the underside of the hide, genuine leather isn’t as durable and is found in many of the cheaper leather messenger bags.  Expect genuine leather to last you only a couple of years with regular use.
  • Suede: Made from the underside of animal skin, suede has been treated to have a napped finish that is velvet-like. This will require special treatment if it gets dirty or scuffed.
  • Lambskin: Not as durable as cowhide, this leather is soft to touch and presents well.  You should consider this leather for business or professional settings only.
  • Faux Leather: Marketed as synthetic or PU leather, it is made from polyurethane and is animal and vegan-friendly.  Never pay more than $75 for this leather.

3. Storage & Compartments

Well-designed storage compartments provide you with easy organization, allowing you to grab your gear quickly.  Here are the important storage options that you should know about:

  • Main Compartment: This is where the bulk of your gear is stored.  While tempting, try not to go too big here.  Having too many items stored in the main compartment may lead to incidental damage to your valuable gear and make things harder to find.
  • Interior Pockets: Dedicated pockets for your most accessed items (i.e., laptop/tablet, phone, headphones, etc.) make sense – especially if you plan on carrying multiple items. Padded inserts can provide additional protection.
  • Side Pockets: Provides storage for high-frequency items—ideal for your phone, drink, document, or wallet.

4. Shoulder Strap

The right shoulder strap will make the bag much more comfortable to carry – especially if you plan on carrying a lot.  Here’s a few details to keep in mind:

  • Padded Shoulder Straps: This makes carrying your bag much more comfortable by displacing weight and adding a cushion to your shoulder.
  • Adjustable Shoulder Strap: Helps to make sure that the bag remains close to your body without getting in the way when walking. It also allows the bag to be at the appropriate height, no matter how short or tall you are.
  • Removable Strap: Some messenger bags have removable straps.  This can make the bag suited for formal business settings when just a top handle is used.  

5. Closure Type

Your new bag will be opened and closed several thousands of times.  Therefore, we suggest that you take a minute to find which buckle type works best for you:

  • Single Clasp: A clasp keeps your gear secure.  A clasp can be opened by simply pressing down on the button. In addition, you can easily open a clasp with one hand should the other hand be occupied (i.e., sending a text).
  • Magnetic Snap: A simple pull of the outside flap on the messenger bag and a magnetic button will release.  Magnetic snap closures are great for guys that like a more minimalist appearance.  Just note that this closure isn’t as secure as a buckle or clasp design.
  • Buckle: While it’s the most secure closure, a traditional buckle closure is also the most laborious to use.  If you find yourself carrying valuable documents or devices, this closure will prevent theft, especially in dense urban areas and subways. Just know that this closure can become frustrating with heavy use.
  • Flap: Simply put, the weight of the top flap rests over the main compartment. This allows for easy access, which is not ideal in areas where pick-pocketing may occur.

6. Extra Features

Here are a few additional features you may find necessary when buying a messenger bag:

  • Padded Laptop Sleeve: A dedicated padded sleeve for your laptop provides additional protection for your computer from moderate impacts and short drops.  If you plan on carrying your laptop regularly, a padded laptop sleeve is a requirement.
  • RFID Protection: RFID skimming is a source of concern for many.  Some companies make their bags with an RFID-protection liner.  We only recommend that you consider this if you live in an area where you commute via mass transportation.
  • Card Slots: Perfect for business cards, accessible card slots are great if you are regularly networking.
  • Durable Canvas Lining: To prevent leather rotting from the inside, a thick duck canvas lining on the inside will contain spills from seeping through and damaging the leather exterior.  
  • Cell Phone Pocket: With smartphones continuing to get bigger, the pant pocket is no longer a suitable storage area.  A bag with a dedicated cell phone pocket can be a welcomed addition.

7. Country of Origin

When considering leather goods, we strongly recommend that you go with a leather bag that has been made in the United States, Italy, England, France, and select Central and South American countries.  

These countries have a reputation for their leather craftsmanship and should exceed your expectations.

10 Best Leather Messenger Bags

1. Best Overall: Kodiak Sitka Leather Messenger

Kodiak Messenger

Started from a successful Kickstarter campaign by Kodiak founder Jared Morse (source), you can see all the hard work and fine craftsmanship that has gone into making this bag – and why it is so popular among men.  

The messenger bag is crafted from high-quality top-grain leather.  You can expect the top-grain leather to develop a nice, smooth patina.  Secondly, given the reliance on this leather type, you can expect it to withstand a lot of abuse and is a great companion that will serve you well no matter where your adventures take you.

On the interior, you will find detailed leather organizational pockets and a soft lining.  If you plan on getting work done on your next adventure, the padded laptop sleeve will protect your device.  

Priced well given the high quality of the leather.

Other Features You Should Know About

  • Two push clips keep your valuables secured.
  • Camera padded insert available separately for shutterbugs.

What You Need to Know

If you are a rugged outdoorsman that loves timeless and vintage style, then the Kodiak Sitka Leather Messenger should be a top consideration.  We think you will love the top-notch leather that is designed to last a lifetime.  

2. Ethically Made: Nisolo Loreto Leather Messenger Bag

Nisolo Messenger

Nisolo is known for its quality crafted leather goods – particularly their men’s Chelsea boots we recently reviewed here and the Loreto Leather Messenger Bag. Both carry on a high level of craftsmanship.

This bag is made from vegetable-tanned leather that should last a lifetime.

With a minimalist and streamlined exterior, the Loreto Messenger Bag rarely looks out of place and is well-suited whether you are leading a boardroom meeting, heading for an interview, or you are using it as a smart casual accessory.  Simply put, the versatility is unmatched.

This bag has a padded interior lining that will protect all the hard work you have stored on your laptop or tablet from a sudden impact.   

With smaller organizational pouches to store your phone, water bottle, pen, keys, etc. everything is easily accessible.

Closed by a single brass stem, you can open and close this with only one hand.

Lastly, a note about their production method:

Unlike other fashion companies that outsource and subcontract their production to other nameless factories, Nisolo owns their factory.  

This means that they control the production process and adjust it accordingly to make the best leather bag for you.  Secondly, their frontline workers at the factory earn a livable wage.  It’s truly a win-win scenario.

Other Features You Should Know About

  • The shoulder strap is adjustable and includes a weight displacement pad.
  • Single exterior pocket for quick access to important documents.

What You Need to Know

If you care about quality craftsmanship and want a bag that is versatile and will make you feel like you are in charge, then we think you should consider adding this to the top of your list.  

3. Formal: Leatherology Laptop Messenger Bag


Whether you are a high-powered business executive or a junior associate, the Leatherology Laptop Messenger Bag makes a statement that demonstrates you are confident and in command.

 This bag has a minimalist exterior, is versatile, and can be easily dressed up or down.  Additionally, the sleek and fine craftsmanship works well with your busy lifestyle.

On the interior, you can expect to find the important details including a spot for your laptop, phone, charger, wallet, passport, and other important gear.

Able to be monogrammed with your initials, it is a subtle way to demonstrate the respect you have earned.

The bag is made from full-grain leather, the best quality of leather money can buy.

It’s currently available in three colors including black, brown, and tan.

Other Features You Should Know About

  • Nickel hardware creates a subtle, striking contrast.
  • Zippered compart to keep valuables secure.
  • Flap closure provides a streamlined, minimalist appearance.

What You Need to Know

If you demand the best quality leather and want a ‘buy-it-for-life’ purchase, then you need to take a serious look at this messenger bag – especially if you like minimalist design aesthetics and quality craftsmanship.  Perfect for the office, the timeless look will be a trusted accessory supporting your successful career.

4. Full-Grain Leather: Satchel & Page Leather Mailbag

satchel page leather messenger bag

Inspired by U.S. Postal Workers in the early 1900s, the Satchel & Page Leather Mailbag is crafted from durable and quality full-grain leather that will last a lifetime.

Whether you are using this as a commuting or adventure bag, you can expect the leather to withstand plenty of abuse, develop character on the surface, and have a nice, soft patina as it ages.  

With buckle closure, this bag will keep your gear confidently secured.

For added comfort, the shoulder pad has a leather stuffing that will rest easily on your shoulder.  Well-crafted brass fittings detail the bag for a more rustic and vintage look.

For the interior, you will find spaces for all the essentials including a laptop sleeve, business cards, pens, etc. 

To note, the laptop sleeve on this bag contains a secondary interior strap for added security.

Given that this bag is full-grain leather, it will take some time to break in.

The style is versatile and can be used for either casual or formal use.

Other Features You Should Know About

  • Fits up to a 16″ laptop.
  • Back pocket allows for quick access to important documents.
  • Luggage connector sold separately.

What You Need to Know

If craftsmanship and durability are most important to you, then the full-grain leather on this messenger bag will be welcomed. It is one of the few bags out there that will never falter wherever your adventures take you thanks to the quality craftsmanship.

5. Italian Leather: Frye Logan Messenger Bag

Frye Messenger

Relying on rich Italian leather, the Frye Logan Messenger Bag is one that is intended to not only last your lifetime but also be an heirloom piece where your future generations can remember how successful you were for the family.

With a timeless design, this well-crafted bag from the highly respected Frye is well-suited for those men who want perfection in the goods that they purchase.

The subtle stitching throughout looks nice.  A dual leather-strap reinforcement on the bottom ensures that the bag will never falter on your adventures.

Available in four distinct colors, you can select the perfect one to match your unique style.

If you are a utilitarian-minded man, then you may find the lack of several organizational pockets disappointing.  With no exterior pockets, you must open the magnetically sealed flap every time to get your gear.

On the inside, you are met with a large fabric-lined main compartment coupled with a few organizational pouches and a zippered pocket.

Frye makes a few other leather messenger bags in different styles.

Other Features You Should Know

  • Includes a dust bag for non-seasonal storage.
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty.

What You Need to Know

If you want a bag that has been meticulously made and are willing to pay a premium for such quality, then consider the Frye Logan Messenger Bag.  It’s a beautiful bag that will last you a lifetime.

6. Affordable: Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business Leather Messenger Bag

KENNETH COLE REACTION Risky Business Messenger...

Kenneth Cole is a trusted brand for many men.  

While it certainly may not have the same artistic flair as other bags on the market, you won’t be disappointed with the functional aspects of a messenger bag. 

It features a convertible strap, interior pockets, and a roomy lined main compartment.

The silky-lined interior is partitioned to have a slim zippered pocket on the side, and two slim pockets just under the flap for small, thin belongings. The main compartment can hold your tablet, phone, business papers, and more. There is also an open pocket on the back of this bag for items you may need direct and easy access to. 

The shape of the bag won’t be compromised with things you put inside this bag, ensuring that you have a great-looking item for years.

This bag features an extendable shoulder strap that is 60” at full length.  

However, the shoulder strap cannot be removed.

The front closures are snaps, which are not the most secure, but they do hold the flap down in especially windy weather and are handy for quickly opening and closing if you need to get something out in a hurry.

Other Features You Should Know

  • A leather handle makes it easier to carry if heavy or fatigued.
  • Made in China.
  • Should be able to easily fit most laptops.

What You Need to Know

If you are watching your bottom line yet want a messenger bag that will last you for years, then this bag by Kenneth Cole will make perfect sense.  Full-grain leather is often not seen at this price point thus making it a steal.

7. Samsonite Laptop Messenger Bag

Samsonite Colombian Leather Flap-Over Messenger...

This leather messenger bag from Samsonite is versatile and should fit just about any of your needs.  Whether you are in a business or casual environment, this bag can easily work in both instances. 

When it comes to carrying the bag, you have two primary options – either via a canvas shoulder strap or by hand carrying it with the leather-wrapped handle that is on the top.

When accessing the bag, all your gear is secured with two buckles. Underneath the leather straps, you will find that you can easily open up the bag by simply pressing down on the clasp.

On the inside, there are several compartments for both easy storage and accessibility. As for max laptop size, it can hold up to a 15.6″ laptop.

This messenger bag does come in two colors: black and brown.

Being that this is constructed of genuine leather, it’s not particularly waterproof and you should experience scuffs and normal wear and tear with daily use.  Expect it to last you a few years before it needs to be replaced.

Travelers take note: this bag cannot slide onto a carry-on luggage handle.

Other Features You Should Know

  • Removable shoulder strap converts this into a nice briefcase.
  • Antique brass hardware provides a nice vintage look.

What You Need to Know

This bag is best for those men on a restricted budget that haven’t quite gotten that big raise yet to justify splurging on the other bags reviewed.  While the pay raise is assuredly in your future, the nice presentation of this bag will elevate your business style.

8. S-ZONE Men’s Leather Business Briefcase

S-ZONE Men's Crazy Horse Leather Satchel Briefcase...

This leather messenger bag by S-ZONE is good if you are seeking a messenger bag that is intended for casual to semi-formal use thanks to its vintage, rustic look.

Relying on a dual clasp design, it will keep your items secure – but one that does require some work on your behalf to open.

Should you overload this bag with your devices, books, etc. you can carry it via the leather-reinforced handle.  Or if you want a briefcase-look to this bag, you can simply detach the shoulder strap.

With its three external compartments matched by the three internal ones, every single piece of your gear should be able to easily find its home in any one of the six compartments.

The zip back compartment provides easy access to your important documents or phone.

You can easily store a laptop (up to 14″) within the bag.

Available in two colors: brown and dark brown.

Other Features You Should Know

  • Made from crazy horse leather.
  • Uncertain country of origin (likely China).

What You Need to Know

We think the S-ZONE bag is good if you want a bag that will keep your devices and documents extremely secure.  With the double clasp and zip closure, prying hands won’t get in here easily.  While priced affordably, there are questions around the country of origin and quality of the leather.  

9. Berchirly Vintage Messenger Bag

PU Leather Briefcase, Berchirly Vintage Office...

This is one of the best affordable leather messenger bags that we reviewed making it good for men on a tight budget.

With a nice minimalist structure, the bag will present nicely and will not look cheap or inferior in any way.  

As for utility, along the backside of the bag, you will find a zip pouch that should be able to safely store your essentials such as your phone, keys, and wallet. Within the main compartment, which is enclosed by two magnetic buttons, you can store all or your gear. 

At 4″ deep, this bag isn’t bulky or cumbersome to carry.  If you travel frequently via bike or just simply walking, the smaller design of this bag should easily complement your busy lifestyle.

What You Need to Know

If you don’t like the thought of using animal hide in a messenger bag, then this is a cruelty-free alternative.  While not as durable as others reviewed as it will likely need to be replaced in a year or two, it does present well.

10. Fossil Haskell Double Zip Workbag

Fossil Leather Messenger

While known primarily for their watches, Fossil does make a batch of stylish leather messenger bags worth considering.

Intended to be worn for only a few years at most, this bag has all the details that you are likely looking for including a buckle flap closure, fabric-lined interior, and an adjustable shoulder strap.

Able to accommodate up to 15″ laptops, it is a bit more modest and compact compared to other bags reviewed.

With silver-colored hardware, it complements the leather nicely.  

Available in either brown or black – this bag can work for casual to formal settings.

The reliance on eco-leather is a shortcoming given the price commanded for this bag.

Other Features You Should Know

  • Includes a leather-wrapped top handle.
  • Features a back pocket for quick access.
  • Reinforced bottom.

What You Need to Know

The style of this bag is top-notch.  The hardware when matched with the leather gives it a uniquely rustic yet modern look.  However, the biggest drawback is the leather quality.  Expect this bag to last you a few years before showing signs of wear.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more.

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