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Best Leather Backpacks: 11 Leather Backpacks for Every Style and Budget

Leather Backpacks
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Updated June 9, 2024

If you haven’t worn a backpack since high school, you might be surprised to discover that the humble, utilitarian canvas bag of your teen years has since gotten a grown-up makeover. Enter the leather backpack, for those days when convenience and practicality are priorities, but you still want to look polished.

Whether commuting to work, traveling for business or pleasure, or simply running errands around the neighborhood, a leather backpack is the versatile, hands-free accessory you didn’t know you needed. When you find the perfect one, you just might find yourself reaching for it on a daily basis.

Let me reintroduce you to the charm of the classic backpack, now revamped in luxe leather. Whether you’re a fan of sleek designs, ample storage or casual-cool style, it’s time to embrace the backpack once again. It’s the ideal blend of nostalgia and modern-day functionality—and when the bags look this good, you’ll never be mistaken for a student.

What to consider when buying a leather backpack

Craftsmanship

When investing in a leather backpack, craftsmanship should be a top priority. Look for a backpack made from high quality leather, which will give the bag durability and a luxurious feel. Pay attention to details like stitching, which should be precise and even, and hardware, which should be sturdy and resistant to tarnishing. Quality craftsmanship means that your leather backpack will withstand the test of time and—here’s the lovely thing about leather—will actually get better with age.

Size and capacity

Consider your lifestyle and daily needs when choosing a leather backpack. Do you haul around everything but the kitchen sink, or are you more of a minimalist? If you plan to use it as a work bag or for school, opt for a size that comfortably fits your laptop, notebooks and other essentials. For travel or weekend outings, a larger backpack makes a great carry-on bag. Opt for a style with multiple compartments that will keep your belongings organized.

Comfort and fit

Comfort is key, especially if you'll be wearing your backpack for long periods of time. Look for padded shoulder straps that distribute weight evenly, particularly if you'll be carrying heavy things. Adjustable straps will allow you to customize the fit to your body, which will help with comfort and support. Try on a few different styles and sizes to find the perfect fit for your frame.

Functionality

Think about how you plan to use your leather backpack and consider features that’ll enhance its functionality. Zippered or open-sleeve pockets are essential for keeping your belongings organized and easily accessible. Some backpacks offer extra features like padded laptop compartments, sleeves that can be attached to luggage, or convertible designs that allow the bag to be worn as a crossbody or tote for added versatility.

Style

To find a leather backpack that complements your personal style, consider your aesthetic and wardrobe preferences. Are you looking for something classic, elegant or ultra-modern? Neutral shades like black, brown and tan will offer timeless versatility, while unique textures, embellishments and hardware detailing can give your bag personality. Choose a style that resonates with your fashion sense and overall look.

Our top picks for the best leather backpacks

Best leather backpack for work: Coach Gotham Backpack

Best leather backpack for work
Coach Gotham Backpack

Coach Gotham Backpack

Thanks to its classic, sophisticated design—no flashy hardware or ostentatious logos here—the Gotham Backpack from Coach is the perfect mix of polished and practical. Crafted from premium leather, the backpack features multiple interior pockets that’ll keep your laptop, work documents and chargers organized and accessible. Durable enough for your daily commute yet refined to suit an office setting, this is one laptop backpack you won’t want to hide under your desk.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 16 inches (Height) x 11.5 inches (width) x 4.25 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Pebbled leather and refined calf leather
  • Price at publish: $595

The bottom line:

This backpack will keep you looking polished and professional while lugging your laptop to and from the office.

Get it here: Coach Gotham Backpack


Best compact leather backpack: Longchamp Compact Le Foulonné Leather Backpack

Best compact leather backpack
Longchamp Compact Le Foulonné Leather Backpack

Longchamp Compact Le Foulonné Leather Backpack

Good things come in small packages, and this petite backpack from renowned French luxury brand Longchamp is no exception. Made from supple, high quality leather in a sleek, streamlined silhouette, the bag is surprisingly roomy and can accommodate all of your daily essentials, including a tablet or small laptop.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 10 inches (height) x 12 inches (width) x 6 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Cowhide leather
  • Price at publish: $560

The bottom line:

You’ll feel as chic as a Parisian carrying this stylishly streamlined designer backpack.

Get it here: Longchamp Compact Le Foulonné Leather Backpack


Best splurge leather backpack: The Row Puffy Medium Leather Backpack

Best splurge leather backpack
The Row Puffy Medium Leather Backpack

The Row Puffy Medium Leather Backpack

When it comes to accessories, the design team at The Row seems to have the Midas touch. They took the humble backpack and turned it into a splurgeworthy object of desire—with a price tag to match, of course. Crafted from the finest Italian leather with an irresistibly squishy feel, you’ll want to cuddle this bag every day (which will help with the Cost Per Wear).

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 19.5 inches (height) x 17 inches (width) x 3 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Smooth nappa leather
  • Price at publish: $2650

The bottom line:

If you’re looking to invest in a stunningly well crafted bag that will never go out of style, you can’t go wrong with The Row’s backpack, which is equal parts beautiful and practical.

Get it here: The Row Puffy Medium Leather Backpack


Best minimalist leather backpack: Marsèll Bretella Backpack

Best minimalist leather backpack
Marsèll Bretella Backpack

Marsèll Bretella Backpack

From the rigorously simple, streamlined design to the subtly elegant top-zip closure, this backpack is a minimalist’s dream. Italian luxury label Marsèll is known for its immaculate craftsmanship, which is evident in every inch of this sleek Italian leather bag lined with soft suede. Think of it as a capsule wardrobe essential.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 16 inches (height) x 12.5 inches (width) x 4 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Black grained leather
  • Price at publish: $1135

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for a bag you’ll have for a lifetime, not just a season or two, this is a beautifully made option with serious Italian design cred.

Get it here: Marsèll Bretella Backpack


Best vegan leather backpack: Matt & Nat Caro Vegan Backpack

Best vegan leather backpack
Matt & Nat Caro Vegan Backpack

Matt & Nat Caro Vegan Backpack

Style meets sustainability in this vegan backpack from Matt & Nat, a Canadian company known for its ethical practices and fashion-forward designs. Made from recycled materials, The Caro offers a cruelty-free alternative to traditional leather backpacks without compromising on quality or aesthetics.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 16 inches (height) x 11.5 inches (width) x 5.5 (depth)
  • Leather: 100% vegan recycled materials; inner lining made from 100% recycled plastic bottles
  • Price at publish: $190

The bottom line:

Ethical, practical and easy on the eyes, the vegan backpack is the whole eco-friendly package.

Get it here: Matt & Nat Caro Vegan Backpack


Best convertible leather backpack: Cole Haan Grand Ambition Small Convertible Luxe Backpack

Best convertible leather backpack
Cole Haan Grand Ambition Small Convertible Luxe Backpack

Cole Haan Grand Ambition Small Convertible Luxe Backpack

Is it a backpack? A crossbody bag? A tote? A shoulder bag? Yes, yes, yes and yes. This ingeniously designed pebbled leather bag from Coach can be worn four different ways—all equally cute and practical, too. Roomy enough to fit a 13-inch laptop and all your daily essentials, this affordable, well made gem is small but mighty.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 14 inches (height) x 13 inches (width) x 5 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Full grain leather
  • Price at publish: $278

The bottom line:

Cute, compact, convertible and convenient; what’s not to like?

Get it here: Cole Haan Grand Ambition Small Convertible Luxe Backpack


Best leather backpack for men: Polo Ralph Lauren Leather Backpack

Best leather backpack for men
Polo Ralph Lauren Leather Backpack

Polo Ralph Lauren Leather Backpack

We’re slotting this into the “best backpack for men” category, but let’s be clear: Women can—and should!—easily wear this heritage-inspired leather backpack from the master of old school prep himself, Ralph Lauren. The rich, smooth chocolate brown leather is enough of a selling point on its own, so consider everything else (like the elegantly simple design and clever luggage tag detailing) the cherries on top.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 20 inches (height) x 13.25 inches (width) x 7 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Smooth full-grain leather
  • Price at publish: $348

The bottom line:

Gift this to your husband/boyfriend/dad/brother, then steal it back when he’s not looking.

Get it here: Polo Ralph Lauren Leather Backpack


Best leather backpack for travel: Samsonite Classic Leather Backpack

Best leather backpack for travel
Samsonite Classic Leather Backpack

Samsonite Classic Leather Backpack

Seasoned travelers know the importance of a great, dependable travel bag—particularly one that can be worn hands-free. This durable leather backpack from Samsonite is as practical as it is polished, making it the perfect business travel companion. Large enough to fit two laptops plus all your electronic essentials, this would also be a great weekend bag for non-work getaways (just swap the computers for a few days worth of clothes instead). Shopping tip: Samsonite also made our lists for the best checked luggage, best underseat luggage, and the best lightweight luggage.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 18.5 inches (height) x 12 inches (width) x 6.5 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Smooth leather
  • Price at publish: $157.49

The bottom line:

Business or pleasure? Get you a travel backpack that can do both (it’s this one).

Get it here: Samsonite Classic Leather Backpack


Best everyday leather backpack: Roots Chelsea Pack 2.0 Cervino

Best everyday leather backpack
Roots Chelsea Pack 2.0 Cervino

Roots Chelsea Pack 2.0 Cervino

Back in 1962, two young Americans met at summer camp in Algonquin Park, Ontario. The experience was so impactful that a decade later, they’d both moved to Canada and founded a clothing and leather goods company steeped in nostalgic cottage-country vibes. Naturally, the brand has mastered the art of the leather backpack, crafting a ruggedly refined bag that works for city life and summer adventures alike.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 11 inches (height) x 14 inches (width) x 4.25 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Cervino pebbled leather
  • Price at publish: $328

The bottom line:

You can’t go wrong with a classic and enduring design made from beautiful Italian leather.

Get it here: Roots Chelsea Pack 2.0 Cervino


Best leather diaper backpack: Storksak Alyssa Water Resistant Convertible Diaper Backpack

Best leather diaper backpack
Storksak Alyssa Water Resistant Convertible Diaper Backpack in Black/gold at Nordstrom

Storksak Alyssa Water Resistant Convertible Diaper Backpack in Black/gold at Nordstrom

No one understands the importance of a hands-free bag quite like new parents, which is what makes backpack-style diaper bags so, well, handy. Here, Storksak has taken the humble, utilitarian bag and elevated it to chic new heights with its luxe leather and nylon diaper bag, which can also be converted to a shoulder bag. It comes complete with an insulated food and bottle bag, a changing mat and removable straps with integrated stroller clips. For more options new parents will appreciate, check out our guide to the best diaper bags.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 15 inches (height) x 13 inches (width) x 7 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Pebbled leather
  • Price at publish: $180

The bottom line:

This incredibly well-designed diaper bag comes with everything a parent could need — except a babysitter.

Get it here: Storksak Alyssa Water Resistant Convertible Diaper Backpack


Best budget leather backpack: Kattee Genuine Leather Backpack for Women

Best budget leather backpack
Kattee Genuine Leather Backpack Purse for Women Multi-functional Elegant Daypack Soft Leather Shoulder Bag Office, Shopping, Trip - Black

Kattee Genuine Leather Backpack Purse for Women Multi-functional Elegant Daypack Soft Leather Shoulder Bag Office, Shopping, Trip - Black

Genuine leather backpacks don’t usually exist in the same price bracket as their canvas or nylon counterparts, but there are exceptions to every rule. This compact, versatile bag from Kattee is made from soft pebbled leather and will take you from weekday errands to weekend brunch with ease.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 13.7 inches (height) x 11.4 inches (width) x 5.3 inches (depth)
  • Leather: Pebbled leather
  • Price at publish: $69.99

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for a leather backpack that won’t break the bank, this affordable option is a great bet.

Get it here: Kattee Genuine Leather Backpack for Women


How we selected the best leather backpacks

Design

My selection process for the best leather backpacks began with a keen eye for design. I scoured the market for backpacks that not only exude style but also offer practicality and versatility. From sleek, minimalist designs to traditional, nostalgic backpacks, I sought out bags that would cater to a variety of tastes and preferences.

Quality

When it comes to spending money on leather goods, quality is of the utmost importance. I looked for backpacks made by reputable designer brands known for using high quality leathers, and paid attention to the craftsmanship and durability of each bag.

Price

Understanding the diverse needs of shoppers, I curated a range of leather backpacks across different price points. Whether you're seeking a wallet-friendly option without compromising on quality or indulging in a luxury investment piece, my selection offers something for every budget.

Expertise

As a fashion editor with nearly two decades of experience in the industry, I've cultivated a discerning eye for quality and style. Drawing from my expertise, I handpicked each backpack in this guide with careful consideration of trends, craftsmanship and overall value. With a deep understanding of fashion's ever-evolving landscape, I aimed to present a selection that embodies both timeless appeal and a modern vibe.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Which brand of leather backpack is best?

When it comes to finding the best leather backpacks, it’s all about the balance of quality, brand names and budget. While it’s true that many luxury fashion houses have access to the best Italian leathers and the most skilled leather artisans, you don’t need to prostrate yourself on the altar of Hermes in order to buy a great backpack. A variety of more accessible, mid-range brands, like Coach, Cole Haan and Roots, offer high quality leather backpacks at reasonable prices. With leather goods, you often get what you pay for, but sometimes you’re mostly paying for a logo.

Is leather good for backpacks?

Leather is a material known for its durability, resilience and luxury, making it a great choice for a backpack. With its inherently strong and supple texture, high-quality leather will not only withstand the rigors of daily use but also age gracefully, eventually acquiring a unique patina that will add to the bag’s charm over time.

Will rain ruin a leather backpack?

Rain poses a potential threat to all leather goods, including backpacks, since prolonged exposure to water can lead to discoloration, warping and deterioration of the material. To safeguard your leather backpacks against the elements, invest in a quality leather protectant spray. By forming a protective barrier against moisture, these sprays will help shield your backpack from water damage.

Should you spray your leather bag?

In a word? Yes! Formulated to repel moisture, stains and other environmental aggressors, specialized leather sprays serve as a safeguard against damage and deterioration. Even if you’re not planning to take your backpack outside in inclement weather, it’s better to be safe than sorry—you never know when you’ll get caught in a sudden downpour.

What designer brand has the best quality leather?

When it comes to sourcing the finest materials for their leather goods, a few luxury houses stand head and shoulders above the rest. Hermes, Bottega Veneta and The Row are all known for their exquisite leathers and impeccable craftsmanship. These designer brands famously source the finest hides from select tanneries and employ time-honored techniques to create their stunning, often eye-wateringly expensive leather bags, shoes and accessories.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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