Leather accessories, including a leather backpack, are the fashion lover’s best friend. Durable and always in style, they can serve as transitional pieces, able to be used in a variety of situations with a variety of styles. One of the most useful leather accessories (of which I personally own a few) is the leather backpack.
A leather backpack is a medium-sized bag made of leather worn over the shoulders and used to carry items in a convenient, hands-free way. Modern styles date back to the 1970s. Leather backpacks are durable, versatile, stylish, can be used by any gender with any style, and are relatively affordable.
Let’s explore more about the materials, styles, and uses where you might find having one very stylish and useful.
What is a Leather Backpack?
A leather backpack is a backpack made from either genuine or faux leather. These can come in a variety of sizes and styles, but they stick to the same basic, traditional backpack shape. Almost all backpack styles have two straps, meant to be worn over the shoulder with the bag resting on the wearer’s back.
Some, called sling bags or slingpacks, have a single strap worn over one shoulder and across the body. With either style, the nag and its contents rest on the wearer’s back to provide a hands-free way to carry many items at once. Leather backpacks are available for any gender, and can range in price from $15 for small faux leather styles to almost $300 for larger genuine leather styles.
Types of Leather Backpacks
Womens Leather Backpack
Leather backpacks for women are extremely varied, available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Leather backpacks made of genuine leather are available in many colors and sizes, suitable for any style preference.
Genuine leather backpacks for women are most often polished, in deep brown or black tones for a sophisticated and versatile look. Many of these styles tend to be slightly smaller than full-sized to appear more professional and low-profile. However, some full-size genuine leather backpacks are available specifically for women.
Faux leather backpacks for women can be found in a much wider variety of colors and finishes, and are generally much more affordable than genuine leather varieties. Faux leather backpacks are great for use as professional bags for commuting, as diaper bags, or as school bags for college students.
Faux leather’s durable, water resistant qualities are ideal for a bag that will be used over and over. Women’s leather backpacks range in price from $15 to over $200.
Leather Backpack Purse
These bags often offer more storage than traditional purses, with extra pockets and secret compartments for the most valuable items to be hidden in.
Leather backpack purses are also called mini backpacks. These bags are much smaller than standard backpacks and often feature thinner straps for a more sophisticated, feminine look. With a leather backpack purse, women who travel often or commute on public transport have their hands free and their valuables stashed securely on their body. These bags often offer more storage than traditional purses, with extra pockets and secret compartments for the most valuable items to be hidden in.
Leather backpack purses can be purchased from a variety of retailers. These bags are made from both faux and genuine leather, making the price range quite varied. Leather backpack purses in faux leather are widely available from online retailers, fast fashion brands, and even stores like Target and Wal-Mart.
In genuine leather, these bags can be found online and at higher-end department stores. Leather backpack purses are an excellent choice for women on the go who need a functional, secure alternative to a traditional purse.
Womens Leather Backpack Purse
Women’s leather backpack purses are smaller, often more delicate versions of traditional backpacks. These purses are made with convenience in mind. They’re particularly useful for women who travel often or commute on public transportation, keeping valuables secure and closer to the body than a traditional purse.
Ladies Leather Backpack
Ladies leather backpacks can be found in genuine and faux leather. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors to suit anyone’s personal style. Faux leather backpacks appear modern and do an excellent job resisting stains and water. Genuine leather backpacks are durable and long-lasting.
Mens Leather Backpack
Men’s leather backpacks can be made from genuine or faux leather. Men’s styles are typically made in larger, boxier styles with thicker straps. These bags can be used in place of messenger bags or briefcases for those who often carry larger, heavier items around with them. Men’s leather backpacks can be found in many shapes and styles. Rugged genuine leather backpacks are ideal for heavy, repeated use by those carrying bulky items, while faux leather is best for lighter use.
Men’s leather backpacks are typically quite large. The major difference between these bags and women’s backpacks is the length of the bag: women’s backpacks are shorter than men’s, with shorter shoulder straps. Men’s backpacks, then, hold slightly more than women’s on average and sit slightly lower on the body. These bags are also constructed to be heavier and hardier for more frequent heavy use.
Mens Brown Leather Backpack
Men’s brown leather backpacks have a traditional, natural feel. Made from either genuine or faux leather, brown leather backpacks are a masculine choice with a unique vintage vibe. In faux leather, these bags are durable and stain-resistant. In genuine leather, they are rugged and take on a beautiful patina over time.
Mens Real Leather Backpack
Genuine leather backpacks are a great choice for men who need a durable, versatile bag for both professional and casual use. Genuine leather backpacks can be found in variety of styles, from more casual and slouchy to structured and modern.
Genuine leather is water resistant and can last a lifetime if cared for properly. In a dark brown or black finish, genuine leather is classy and sophisticated, making a traditionally casual bag an excellent accessory for a professional with a commute.
Small Leather Backpack
These bags are a lower-profile, sophisticated alternative to traditional backpacks
Small leather backpacks come in many different styles. Mini backpacks are most often purses, designed to securely hold valuables closer to the body than a traditional purse. These bags are a lower-profile, sophisticated alternative to traditional backpacks, which can be bulky. Small backpacks are also a great choice for those who want a lighter bag and have very little to carry regularly.
The other common use for small backpacks is as children’s bags. Small children attending school need backpacks, but may be overwhelmed by regular-size backpacks. In this case, small or mini backpacks may be the best choice for these children.
Faux leather backpacks stand up to being tossed around and dragged and will repel water and spills with ease. Faux leather is available in a huge range of fun colors, allowing children to choose a fun backpack and express themselves.
Mini Leather Backpack
While small backpacks can be used as purses as well as children’s bags, mini backpacks refer specifically to extremely small backpacks, which are almost exclusively used as purses. Mini backpacks are very small, used for holding only the essentials in a small, secure, durable package. These bags are designed to be lower-profile, with slim straps and softer construction.
Mini backpacks are a huge asset for women who travel often. More secure than traditional purses, mini backpacks keep items on the wearer’s person at all times. They also keep items away when not in use, leaving hands available and allowing them to be carried on the back rather than over one shoulder or on an arm. Mini backpacks are also great for those who do not have many things to carry, but still want a secure, convenient way to carry the items they need.
These bags are designed to be lower-profile, with slim straps and softer construction.
Mini Leather Backpack Purse
Mini leather backpacks are often used by women as purses. These bags offer security and convenience – valuables are secured on the body, while hands are free for whatever activities the wearer gets into.
Faux Leather Backpack
Faux leather is increasingly popular for a number of reasons. Because it’s a plastic product, it tends to be cheaper than genuine leather. Faux leather holds its shape better than leather, which softens over time with use. Because it is technically a plastic, faux leather is also more resistant to water and stains than genuine leather. Faux leather can be made in practically any color and finish, allowing buyers to choose a bag that truly expresses their personality.
Faux leather backpacks are an excellent choice for many. Those who avoid using or consuming animal products can find faux leathers that very closely mimic genuine leather, achieving the same look without consuming animal leather. Faux leather is also generally less expensive than genuine leather, making it an ideal choice for those who want a leather backpack but do not want to spend hundreds of dollars.
Genuine Leather Backpack
Genuine leather backpacks are made from real animal leather. Because they use this material, genuine leather backpacks are extremely durable – with proper care, genuine leather will last virtually forever. Genuine leather backpacks tend to be expensive due to their material and construction, but they are an investment piece to use and rely on for a lifetime.
Leather Convertible Backpack
Convertible backpacks can be used as both backpacks and another type of bag, usually tote bags, briefcases, or messenger bags. These bags have two sets of straps and typically include hidden pockets in which to tuck whichever straps or handles are not in use. These bags are ideal for those who truly need a bag that can handle anything. They are multipurpose, and in leather, they have the added bonus of being durable and water resistant.
Leather Backpack Diaper Bag
Leather backpacks are incredibly popular as diaper bags. Many parents purchase diaper bags hoping for durability, but those who look for both durability and style often opt for less traditional options like leather backpacks. Full-size leather backpacks offer the much-needed space parents search for in a long-lasting, stylish package.
Leather backpack diaper bags would be most effective in faux leather. Genuine leather tends to stretch and soften with age, and diaper bags need structure. These bags must hold many different items and offer fast access – something you can’t expect from a very soft bag. For this reason, a large, roomy faux leather bag is ideal as a diaper bag. In faux leather, backpacks can be found in countless colors, allowing parents to choose a bag that is stylish and functional. Here is a helpful video showing some vegan leather diaper bags:
Leather Backpack for Laptops
Leather backpacks are great for transporting laptops. Faux leather will repel water and stains, keeping a laptop safe. Faux leather will also hold its shape beautifully, offering a structured, modern bag to bring to work or school. Genuine leather offers similar benefits with the added bonus of durability.
Leather Backpack for School
Leather backpacks are wonderful for students of any age. Younger kids will love faux leather backpacks for their fun color options, while older students will like genuine leather for its “cool factor”. Parents can rest assured that both genuine and faux leather will provide a durable, water-resistant bag for their child to use throughout their educational career.
Vintage Leather Backpack Purse
Vintage leather is extremely popular for accessories, especially bags. Vintage leather backpack purses can be found dating back to the birth of backpacks themselves, proving leather’s durability and timelessness. Vintage leather can be a great option for those who would still like a leather backpack, but do not want to purchase new leather goods. Vintage leather is also broken in and soft, and lighter tones of leather develop a beautiful patina with age.
Vintage Leather Backpacks
Vintage leather backpacks are extremely popular. Their construction is superior and the leather is broken in, meaning the bag has a much more natural, comfortable feel. Lighter tones of leather will develop a patina with age that is highly desirable.
Black Leather Backpack
Black is perhaps the most iconic color for leather, drumming up images of sophistication and confidence. Black leather backpacks can be used for any purpose – school, work, or casual use. Black leather works with any style and any outfit, making it a particularly good choice for a mini backpack or purse.
Pink Leather Backpack Purse
Pink leather is less common in genuine leather than faux leather. As a mini backpack or purse, these bags may be great for younger children or youthful adults with a unique sense of fashion. Pink leather is dyed, with faux leather offering more vibrant shades of pink than genuine leather.
Popular Leather Backpack Brands
|Fossil Leather Backpack
|Fossil is known for stylish genuine leather goods. Their leather backpacks range in price from $130 to almost $400 and come in a variety of styles, like convertible laptop backpacks and mini purse bags.
|Dooney and Bourke Backpack Purse
|Dooney and Bourke had a moment in the early- to mid-2000s, but they’re still creating feminine leather accessories today. Their leather backpacks are on the small side, with thin straps and delicate details. Their leather backpacks cost around $200-$300.
|Saddleback Leather Backpack
|Saddleback Leather’s goods are rugged and made for heavy use. Their bags are natural-toned leather and large, with multiple pockets for maximum storage.
|Coach Womens Leather Backpack
|As a premium designer, Coach’s offerings tend to be on the expensive end of things, with many leather backpacks on sale for $500-700.
|S Zone Leather Backpack
|S Zone is available on Amazon. They sell genuine leather bags at the lower end of the price spectrum, with larger bags available for around $70. They’re an excellent bag for the price!
|Mahi Leather Backpack
|MAHI leather has an extensive range of leather backpacks – there’s truly a style for everyone. They offer their bags at a reasonable price, making their selection uniquely affordable given its quality.
|Prada Leather Backpack
|The most expensive backpacks in this article belong to Prada, whose average price for a leather backpack is around $2000. Their bags are genuine Italian leather and are designed to be adaptable, multifunctional carryalls.
|Gucci Leather Backpack
|Like Prada, Gucci’s leather backpacks are made from genuine leather and can cost upwards of $1000. These bags are overwhelmingly made in a classic backpack silhouette, making them a sophisticated choice for those with money to burn.
|Kate Spade Leather Backpack
|Known for feminine, fun accessories, Kate Spade’s leather backpacks don’t disappoint. Mostly small backpacks, they are available in a variety of fun colors, from classic tans to sweet pastels. Kate Spade’s leather backpacks cost around $100, making them a great, affordable choice for women looking for a unique leather mini backpack or purse.
|Marshalls Backpack Purse
|Marshall’s offers aftermarket designer goods at lower prices. Because of this, their items are designer-quality at much lower prices. While Marshall’s has implemented an online shopping feature on their site in recent years, it’s best to visit a store in-person to find the most extensive (and cheapest) selection of leather backpacks and other goods.
Here is a helpful look at some of the Coach leather backback styles:
What to Look for In a Leather Backpack
Since leather backpacks come in an array of sizes, the ideal size depends on what the bag will be used for. Larger bags are perfect for school and work, while smaller bags are best used as purses and carryalls. Another important factor in backpack size is gender.
Women’s backpacks tend to be made smaller and shorter than men’s, and children’s backpacks are even shorter than women’s. When considering a leather backpack, make sure to take the bag’s intended gender use into account.
An oft-overlooked feature of backpacks is weight. This is especially important to consider when dealing with leather bags. Genuine leather tends to be heavier than faux leather, but a larger bag will naturally be heavier than a smaller one regardless of material. If you plan to walk often while wearing the bag, a lighter option is best. However, if the bag needs to stand up to extensive use, a bag made from heavier material may be a better choice.
The durability of a leather backpack will usually depend on the material used. Genuine leather is naturally more durable than faux leather. However, some consideration must also be placed upon what the leather backpack will be used for and how long it should last. Bags used more often or more extensively should be more durable than bags that will be used inconsistently or for less-intensive activities.
Best Leather Backpacks
Best Overall Leather Backpack
|Madewell Lorimer Backpack
|This leather backpack by Madewell is a classic, simple backpack silhouette in rich Italian leather. Midsized for optimal portability, this bag features a single exterior pouch and multiple interior pockets for organization. It’s available in black and a light chestnut. This bag is a women’s bag, but its sophisticated style would be suitable for women and men alike.
|Briggs and Riley Leather Medium Backpack
|Geared toward men, this sleek leather backpack is deceptively low-profile. It offers three large compartments, including a padded laptop pouch, and one zippered exterior pocket. Its adjustable straps are padded for maximum comfort. This bag is perfect for professionals who practically carry their office with them!
|Coach Hudson Backpack
|Premium designer Coach’s leather backpack is vintage-inspired, with multiple exterior pockets and buckle closures. This is a large bag designed to carry any and every item necessary, perfect for those who want an investment piece they can use for a lifetime.
Here’s a helpful look at the Madewell Lorimer Mini backpack:
Best Leather Womens Backpack
|Fossil Liv Mini Backpack
|Fossil’s Liv Mini Backpack is essential for anyone searching for the perfect leather backpack purse. Available in a variety of natural and fun colors, this mini backpack is a great choice for a professional looking for a practical, easy to carry a purse or an avid traveler who wants her hands free and her valuables secure.
|MALINBA Women’s Mini Convertible Backpack and Handbag
|A classy handbag that converts easily into a backpack, this Amazon find is elegant and modern on a budget. As a bonus, it’s made from faux leather, making it super resistant to stains and moisture. This bag looks designer, but costs a pittance. It’s a great option for those unsure if they want a convertible leather backpack.
Here’s a look at the Fossil Liv Mini:
Best Womens Backpack for Work
|Cole Haan Grand Ambition Leather Backpack
|This designer backpack is the ideal working woman’s leather backpack. Large enough to hold a laptop yet still practical, this bag is sleek and well-constructed. Its straps are highly adjustable for use as backpack straps or a double shoulder strap. It’s available in three colors: black, tan, and the fun, fresh Berry.
|Vera Bradley Carryall Backpack
|Known mostly for cotton bags in fun, exclusive prints, Vera Bradley brings its iconic quilt stitched accents to a fine leather backpack. Features one large zippered exterior pocket, two open pockets for water bottles, umbrellas, or other larger items, interior pockets, and sleek straps. This bag is available in four shades: grey, black, and two different browns.
This is the Cole Haan look at the Grand Ambition:
Where to Buy a Leather Backpack
Leather Backpack on Etsy
Etsy offers vintage and handmade items, and their selection of leather backpacks is excellent. Prices vary quite a bit, with bags available at anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars.
Marshall’s is known for offering aftermarket designer goods at extremely discounted prices. Here, you can find both faux and genuine leather backpacks at far lower prices than the high-end department stores who normally carry these items.
MAHI offers a wide variety of colors and styles of leather backpacks for men and women. They also offer branding on leather backpacks for personalization! Their general price range is around $200.
Saddleback Leather focuses on natural, rugged leather goods. Their leather backpacks tend toward more masculine styles, available in natural tones to allow the material to age and develop an attractive patina. Their styles are quite expensive, hovering around $600.
Zappos Women’s Leather Backpacks
Zappos is an accessories retailer whose specialty is shoes and bags. They offer lower-end designer bags, including leather backpacks. This retailer often offers sales, making it another resource for a designer leather backpack at a lower price.
Leather Backpack Amazon
Amazon is an all-purpose online retailer. Their offerings for leather goods are typically almost exclusively faux leather, but the quality of the leather and styles are top-notch for the price.
High-end department stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s are a resource for designer leather backpacks for those looking for pricier genuine leather goods.
Closing: Leather backpacks showcase the best qualities of both the bag style and material. Leather’s durability in combination with the utility of a backpack guarantees a long-lasting, reliable accessory that will last for years. Whether large or small, genuine or faux leather, a leather backpack is a purchase you’ll be glad you made. For more on leather style, click here for my article about leather jeans, here for my article about leather guitar straps, or here for my guide to leather AirPods cases.
What is a backpack purse called?
A backpack purse may also be called a mini backpack, mini pack, or some variation of these. While they may go by different names, then size and function of a backpack purse is essentially the same.
Are leather backpacks good for school?
Leather backpacks are excellent for school. For younger children, small faux leather backpacks will be durable and stain-resistant. For older kids and high schoolers, faux leather or genuine leather provides excellent durability and support for carrying heavier books and other items.
Are leather backpacks good?
Leather backpacks are great! They are an excellent meeting ground between practical and stylish, available in many materials, finishes, and colors to work for any gender or style choice.
Are leather backpacks waterproof?
Leather backpacks are water resistant, but not waterproof. Water can cause damage if the backpack is submerged and/or left wet for very long periods. As a plastic product, faux leather is more resilient against water damage, while genuine leather is more sensitive to damage.
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