Welcome to our indepth exploration of the iconic sheepskin jacket! In this post we’re going to look at three different designs of winter ready shearling outerwear: the classic B-3 (and its close relative the B-6), the versatile rancher coat, and the shearling lined G-3 (in a Daniel Craig inspired variation). But first, I wanted to discuss what we should look for in a good sheepskin jacket so we can make sure we’re getting the best value for our money. And for that insight, I turned to one of the most experienced manufacturers of shearling outerwear in the market today: Overland.
Overland was established in 1973 by the Leahy family in Taos, New Mexico. What started as small operation handstitiching their first coats and jackets in a small adobe workshop has now grown into an industry leader, with 17 stores throughout the U.S and an international clientele. Aside from the quality of their leathers and construction, one of Overland’s greatest strengths has been in design. While they embrace the heritage behind styles like the B-3 and the rancher, they’re not afraid to refine the originals with more contemporary fits and refined finishes.
To find out what to look for when shopping for a shearling coat or jacket, we spoke with Mr. Monty Goodson, a member of Overland’s product development team and a man with more than 25 years experience working with the highest quality sheepskins in the world.
Mr. Goodson shares his expertise
First, just to clear up some terminology, is there a difference between “sheepskin” and “shearling”?
Monty: There is some historical and technical differences between the two. But today almost everyone uses them interchangeably when we’re talking about the natural material.
In your experience, why do people still choose sheepskin for winter coats when there are all these modern fabrics and insulations available?
Monty: There are many reasons. Sheepskin is a natural fiber that’s uniquely insulating, breathable and very durable while still being exceptionally soft. So, all in all, it’s an ideal winter coat material because it combines warmth with comfort and style. With synthetics, you need to add a lot of bulk to acheive the same level of warmth. And synthetics are more prone to damage through wear and tear, so they won’t last as long. On the other hand, a good sheepskin coat will last decades and just get better with age if it’s properly maintained.
Changing the look of sheepskin
We’ve also seen that sheepskin can be used in a variety of different ways when making outerwear, from the exterior finishes to the color. Is one better than another?
Monty: Any sheepskin coat is a full grain leather, since the wool is still attached to the outside or top of the hide. So what you’re seeing are different finishes to the under side or suede side of the leather, since the hide is basically turned inside out to make the jacket. Those treatments can range from very natural finishes that keep the suede texture to special tanning processes that can give the hide a vintage, distressed leather look. Ultimately, the choice of what finish to go with is a matter of personal preference, since it doesn’t affect the performance of the sheepskin.
You can also find high quality coats and jackets that are lined with natural sheepskin. In these cases, a layer of another material is added on top of the full grain sheepskin to give the piece a different look and feel. For example, Overland has the Oscar Car Coat, which lines a wool and Alpaca blend outer fabric with natural shearling to create the look of a classic topcoat. And we use shearling lined leathers and suedes for some of our premium Jack Frost jackets. The decision to add another material is really about design and style since you’ll still enjoy all the benefits of using sheepskin.
Checking the quality
As an expert in sheepskin, if you were going to buy a jacket for yourself, what are some of the key things you’d look for to make sure you’re getting the best value for your investment?
Monty: In terms of quality, there are a whole range of different hides available and the one the coatmaker chooses will often depend on the style of outerwear they’re making. You can have high-quality skins, but the leather might be thicker or the wool might be a little coarser or longer. And that type of sheepskin might work well for more rugged styles, like bomber jackets. If you want a more sophisticated coat, a lighter weight sheepskin might be a better choice. So the characteristics you’re looking for in a quality jacket or coat will vary depending on the design you want and your lifestyle.
But in general, I look at the lightness and flexibility of the skin and the softness of the wool fleece. That combination will provide excellent insulation for the weight, but will still be very comfortable and durable. For example, Merino sheepskins are some of the very best available. They have beautifully finished suede sides and the wool side is incredibly soft, almost like a fur. They’re expensive. But they will last for decades and develop a wonderful patina.
You also need to consider the quality of the construction and how the coat or jacket is cut to create a flattering fit. Obviously, it’s impossible to to see and feel all these characteristics if you’re buying the jacket online. If you can, it’s really best to buy your coat or jacket in person so you can experience the quality firsthand. But if you are going to buy one online, my best advice would be to purchase from an experienced and reputable manufacturer.
The ethics of sheepskin and shearling
There are also some questions around the sourcing of sheepskin. How does Overland ensure your products are ethically sourced?
Monty: That’s a very important question. We work with vetted partners around the world to produce our coats and jackets. And many are small workshops and family-run businesses like ourselves. But they are all experts in their specializations. We source our sheepskin from regions where there are long traditions of sheep-herding and the tanning is most often done in European facilities. The jackets and coats are then handcrafted by skilled partners in Turkey or here in the U.S. Maintaining a close connection with all our suppliers to ensure our high standards are consistently met is one of our core values.
And this is another important reason to buy your sheepskin jacket from a reputable company. You can find plenty of inexpensive sheepskin jackets on the market today. There are obvious questions about the quality of those pieces since most will use sub-par pelts and hides that are very heavy, stiffer or have much coarser wool. Things like the stitiching or the hardware they use can also be an issue. But we also need to ask how those jackets were made and under what conditions?
Crafting a high quality sheepskin garment takes years of training. Which is why we’re so careful about choosing our partners and prefer working with sources that share our values. When you combine high quality materials with skilled design and manufacturing, it’s certainly going to make the coat or jacket more expensive. But that coat or jacket is also something you can feel proud to wear for years to come.
Thank you to Overland and Monty Goodson for sharing their expertise! If you’d like to learn more about Overland, visit their website or emails them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They have a great customer service team that’s always ready to help. And now on to the alternatives!
The B-3 and B-6 Sheepskin Bombers
When most of us think of sheepskin bomber jackets, this is the style that comes to mind. The B-3 was first introduced into the U.S. military in 1934 for use by bomber crews flying at high altitudes. It was thick and bulky but incredibly warm. The B-6 soon followed in 1939 as a slimmer fitting, lighter wieght version of B-3. Another way to tell the difference between the two models is the number of throat latches: the B-3 had two and the B-6 only one. If you’d like more information on the different models, this article at Heddels gives a great overview.
Today, most brands just call their shearling bombers B-3s. But unless it’s an actual era-accurate reproduction of the first model, today’s sheepskin bombers are actually closer to the more tailored B-6. And of course we haven’t even gotten into the various designs used by other military, such as the RAF bombers from England.
With the variety of sheepskin bombers currently available, choosing the “right” jacket really comes down to your personal taste. You can find thicker and historically accurate models, lighter weight and more tailored versions and everything in between. For our alternatives, I’ve tried to include options in different styles to give us some choice.
Best Option for the Sheepskin Bomber Jacket
A classic design that does the antique distressing right and captures the important details without going over the top with the straps, buckles or collar size. And, unlike so many other sheepskin bombers out there, this one keeps the fit on the trimmer side to give it a more refined look. Made in Turkey with over four pounds of sheepskin, it’s definitely delivering the warmth we want. And if things get really cold, you can attach the zip-on sheepskin hood! Last, but certainly not least, it’s priced in a sweet spot for many. Overland offers significantly higher quality than many of the sub-$500 options without making you pay extra for a fashion brand name. Want something in a similar style for a little less money? Check out their Classic Sheepskin B-3 in dark brown for $595.00.
Hidepark B-5 Anitque Sheepskin Jacket in Brown: £395.00/approximately $525.00
It has the rugged style of the original while still updating the general look with a trimmer fit and and cleaner look. Based in Grantham, England, and now over 40 years old, Hide Park has a solid reputation and their products are carried by 40 stockists throughout the UK. So you know you’re buying from an established company. And they offer free international shipping on orders over £150! Sizes medium to 2XL are in stock on their website.
Simmons Bilt Type B-3: £675.00
Simmons Bilt is one of the better kept secrets in the world of vintage inspired leather jackets. But the people that have one of their pieces rave about them. Each jacket is made on a per order basis by their team of specialists in their Scotland workshop. This means you can choose the color and thickness of your shearling from eight different options and make some other small tweaks to the design. It also means you’ll need to be a little patient for it to be delivered. However, when you’re getting a jacket that’s going to last a lifetime, it’s worth the wait.
The Investment Pieces
About as close to the real deal as you can get without actually buying a vintage leather jacket. Cockpit USA was started in 1975 by Jeff and Jackie Clyman (they still run the show) and prides itself on it’s made in the USA constuction, high quality materials and attention to detail. The jackets are built to take a beating but are incredibly soft from the start thanks to Jeff’s quest to find the best sheepskin and leather for each piece. And somebody important must have noticed all that hard work, since Cockpit USA has been a supplier to the US Government since 1980 and the US Air Force still uses their A-2 Leather Pilot Jacket.
Long story short: if you want a truly classic B-3 design and understand you’ll be investing a jacket that will last decades, this is an excellent option. Just note that their jackets are extremely popular. So if you want one for Christmas order fast! Otherwise, you may be waiting a while for delivery.
And now a European take on the classic design. Shangri-La Heritage makes their Testa Di Moro Aviatore in Italy from vegetable tanned shearling and sheepskin sourced from Tuscany. In terms of looks, it embraces tradition using antique brass hardware, a pouch hip pocket and side tab adjusters. But the fit is much more tailored and streamlined like a B-6. The end result is a more refined design that still offers a healthy amount of rugged style. You’ll find sizes small to XXL on Bombinate.
- UK Leather Jackets Atlas Shearling Flying Jacket: £329.95 (also see the Calgary model)
- Leather Company Hand Buffed Maxwell Sheepskin Pilot Jacket in Brown and Cream: $609.28/£550.00
- DFOUR Shearling Bomber Jacket: on sale for $666.50/ 536,92€
- Noble House B-3 Genuine Bomber Jacket: 599,90€
- British Sheepskin Made in England Aged Sheepskin Flying Jacket: £665.50 to £715.00
- Alpha Industries B-3 Sherpa Leather Bomber Jacket: $1300.00
- Schott Classic B-3 Sheepskin Bomber Jacket: $1425.00
- REISS Castle Shearling Flight Jacket in Brown: $1595.00/£850.00
- Eastman Leather Clothing Mechanics’ Type D-1 Jacket: £949.99
The Daniel Craig Sheepskin Bomber Jacket
Daniel Craig has been spotted wearing a few different sheepskin outerwear styles. But this is probably the most well known. Craig’s jacket was custom made for him by Four Seasons Furs in Toronto. And for a good part of the early 2010s, he seemed to be wearing it everywhere. The design, a modern interpretation of the B-6 made from a light tan sheepskin, really does make it a great choice if your looking for a versatile bomber that can work with both rugged and more refined looks. David Zaritsky of The Bond Experience actually had Four Seasons Furs make him the same jacket for personal use and you can check out this video (starting at the 11:30 mark) for a full analysis!
Best Option for the Daniel Craig Style Sheepskin Bomber Jacket
In the past when I’ve shared alternatives for Daniel Craig’s shearling bomber jacket, I’ve almost always started with this option from Smart Range. To put it simply, it was a great match at a very reasonable price and available on Amazon in the U.S. and UK. However, there have been some recent changes at the company. Smart Range has opened its own retail operation called Boutique England. Which means you now need to buy it directly from them. The good news is Boutique England has already earned a very impressive Trustpilot score of 4.8 stars out 5 after 63 reviews.
This particular model retails for £300.00 on their website, with an additional £24.99 for shipping to the U.S. (shipping is free for those of you in the UK). That brings the price to around $430.00, which is about what the original Smart Range went for on Amazon. With that information, I still feel pretty comfortable recommending it as the Best Option. Although ordering may not be as simple as it once was.
If you’re avoiding genuine sheepskin for personal or budget reasons, Mango has done a nice job of capturing the look using a faux shearling material. Obviously this isn’t a “lifetime’ jacket. But if you just want to play around with the style, you could do a lot worse. They have sizes small to XXL on their website, with an estimated delivery time of about 1 week.
The Sandstone color isn’t quite as warm a tone as we’d like. But the simple styling is a good match. This is a made-to-order jacket, which means you’ll need to send them your measurements and they’ll make it to your specifications. As we know, that takes time. But, if everything goes right, you should have a nice sheepskin jacket with a custom fit. I’ll also add that Blake Hedley seems like a very reputable operation, with a 4.4 start rating on Trustpilot. More importantly (at least for me), when they do get a bad review, they actually leave a comment responding to the complaint. Good to know there are some real people behind the brand that care about customer relations!
Putting aside the darker leather seam trim and slightly longer cut, this is a high quality option that captures the look we want while adding some of its own character. The styling is more in line with the classic B-3, complete with the dual strap closures at that collar and side tab adjusters. But the lighter tan color gives it a more modern look. And the medium weight sheepskin reduces the bulk we normally associate with vintage pilots jackets. As a bonus, it also comes with a removeable hood for those days when your head needs some extra insulation. Overland has sizes small to XXXL on their website.
The Investment Piece
Based on the product photos, it looks like REISS has done a very nice job creating a more luxury interpretation of the classic B-6 bomber. When you’re paying north of fifteen hundred bucks for a leather jacket from a fashion brand, one of the things to check for is the number and size of panels of fabric they’ve used in the construction. More panels usually means cheaper material and construction. So you’re basically paying a lot for the name of the label. But hats off to REISS! They’ve used a minimal number of larger sized panels throughout and still managed to give the jacket a stylish fit. And although it’s probably not the thickest sheepskin, I have to say, I’m still impressed. They have sizes XS to XL available on their website.
- Calvin Klein Faux Shearling B-3 Bomber Jacket in Cognac: on sale for $103.25 (some sizes available at Nordstrom Rack for $79.97)
- Mango Faux Shearling Aviator Jacket in Cognac: on sale for $139.99/£89.99
- Caine Leather Genuine Sheepskin Knowle Jacket in Brown: $463.33/£400.00
- Vintage De Luxe Shearling Bomber Jacket: $750.00/£690.00
- James Grose Shearling Lunch Jacket in Gold Sheepskin: $1395.00
The Rancher Style Sheepskin Coat
From the late 1950s to the 1970s, a rancher style sheepskin was the coat everyone wanted to wear. Embraced by beatniks, preppies and cowboys alike (as well as the iconic Marlboro Man), it was an incredibly versatile design that could work with almost any look. And now, after a few decades of relative obscurity, the Rancher is making a big comeback.
If you’re intersted in learning more about the rancher sheepkin coat in classic films, our friend BAMF Style has a great series of articles that are worth checking out. There’s Robert Redford’s western style coat in Downhill Racer, Alain Delon’s car coat inspired outerwear in Once a Thief, Ryan O’Neal’s Ivy League take on the style in Love Story and Tom Hardy’s disillusioned British spy circa 1973 look in Tinker Tailor Solider Spy.
Best Option for the Rancher Style Sheepskin Coat
L’Atelier Global Dorset Sheepskin Jacket: $1800.00
Yes, it’s expensive. And yes, there are less expensive options down below. But the L’Atelier Global coat absolutely nails all the details that make this design so timeless. Made in Somerset, England from Merino curly sheepskin, it features tailored buttonholes, leather football buttons and front handwarmer pockets. And the length is darn near perfect. If you want to own that classic McQueen or Redford style, this is an excellent choice. Sizes small to XXL are in stock on their website.
UK Leather Jackets Foxhill Tan Shearling Car Coat: on sale for £489.99
There’s a lot about this jacket that’s attractive. The style definitely captures the classic look we want (the leather trim around the edges is a nice McQueen touch). And they use genuine British sheepskin. Plus, despite the generic sounding name, the company has 4.5 stars out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 77% of the reviews being “Excellent”. Finally, there’s that very reasonable price. Even better: those of you in the UK get free shipping. For those of you in the US, you’ll need to pay shipping, but VAT will be deducted from the already reduced sale price, bringing it down to £408.00 (about $545.00). That’s pretty good value for the money!
Okay, so it’s not exactly a McQueen, Delon or Redford style. But I still like it! Going with a workwear inspired chore coat design works very well with sheepskin and really helps emphasize its rugged character. As for the quality: Owen Barry has over 60 years of experience working with fine leathers and hand cuts and makes each jacket in their own Somerset, England factory from a medium weight sheepskin. The details include two patch hip pockets with both top and side entry (for keeping your hands warm), an interior pocket and leather football buttons. And it comes in regular and long lengths. All in all, it’s a pretty impressive piece of outerwear for those you looking for something a little different.
Brooks Brothers Shearling Coat in Beige: on sale for $1689.00
All right, Brooks Brothers. You definitely score points for the classic design of your shearling coat. But if I’m going to pay this kind of money for a piece of leather outerwear, I definitely want to know where it was made. Sorry, but listing “imported” in the product description just ain’t gonna cut it. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, it does look like a nice coat. And knocking seven hundred bucks off the original $2400 price tag is a pretty generous discount. They have sizes small to XXL in stock.
Something a little different for those of you wanting lower contrast in your shearling outerwear. This is going to be a limited edition model from Percival, with only 30 being made in their London factory (each will include a numbered label). It’s certainly a beautiful looking coat and I have no doubt they’ll sell quickly when they’re released. If you are interested, join the Percival mailing list for notification when they become available.
I really love visiting the Amoury. Founders Mark Cho and Alan See do an amazing job of curating some of the best casual and tailored menswear out there for their store. And when they can’t find exactly what want, they work with top quality manufacturers to create it. In the case of their Shearling Coat, they partnered with Owen Barry and based the design on the coat worn by Alain Delon in Once a Thief. Seeing as this is a post about sheepskin jackets inspired by style icons, I would have included here for that reason alone. But it also happens to be a beautiful piece of outerwear that will never go out of style.
The Investment Piece
Yeah, I know. The prices are really starting to get up there. But McQueen wore a double breasted sheepskin coat. So I felt like I had to include at least one option in that style. And the coats at Archibald London, Todd Snyder and Paul Stuart were either the wrong color, the wrong design or significantly more expensive. So here we are. And, truth be told, if you happen to have $2500 to spend on a shearling coat, this one is definitely worthy of consideration. Made in Belgium from Merino curly lambskin, it has a cool “peacoat meets 1970s rancher” vibe that I’m kind of digging. Wolf & Badger still has sizes 36 to 46 in stock, but only one of each left.
- Mango Shearling Effect Wool Coat: $169.99 (faux shearling)
- Simons Leather Sheepskin Coat in Tan: on sale for £520.00
- Leather Company Churchill Classic Sheepskin Coat in Whisky: $639.46/£575.00
- Guideboat Co. The Gran Risa Shearling Coat: on sale for $749.00
- Overland Maverick Shearling Sheepskin Rancher Coat: $995.00 (great Harry Hart Kingsman style!)
- Saks Fifth Avenue Shearling Coat in Curly Cigar: $1298.00
- Shearling & Company Alfred Shearling Coat: on sale for $1593.00 (another great Harry Hart style option)
- Todd Snyder Italian Shearling Ranch Coat: $2998.00
- Overland Fall Legend Spanish Merino Sheepskin Rancher Coat in Birch: $3695.00
Daniel Craig’s Vintage Schott 674 in Tan
When the Instagram account WhatsDanielWearing posted a photo of Daniel Craig (looking a little grumpy) entering a Saturday Night Live after-party in March, 2020, the brand of his leather and shearling jacket was still unknown. Of course, being the great detective that he is, WhatsDanielWearing was eventually able to ID it: it’s a vintage Schott 674 in Tan with the the less common ivory shearling liner.
The design is a mix of the classic G-1 and A-2 jackets from the 1940s, which gives it a distinctive military look (especially with the epaulets). But the orange tinted Cognac color has a real 1970s vibe which makes certainly helps it stand out in a world of dark brown bombers. You can still find vintage 674s on Ebay, Grailed and other re-seller websites if you’re patient, although most will come with the more common brown shearling liner. Don’t want to wait? Let’s get rolling with the alternatives!
Best Option for Daniel Craig’s Vintage Schott 674 in Tan
An AliExpress special. But it does claim to be genuine sheepskin leather with a Mouton shearling collar. It also clearly states in the product description that it’s “Proudly made in China”. So it’s not like their trying to hide the country of origin. And, with the exception of the shearling liner, it definitely nails all the right style details. I think this is supposed to be a copy of the Avirex G-1 rather than the Schott 674. However, the designs are so similar that it’s close enough for horseshoes. I have no idea about the quality of the material and construction. But they do have sizes small to XXXL in case you want to roll the dice. Just remember to read that size chart carefully!
The Jacket Maker Dan Frost Tan Shearling Jacket in Brown: on sale for $220.00
For those you who like the style of Craig’s 674 but want something lighter weight, this option from The Jacket Maker should do the trick. It’s made from sheepskin leather but the interior is lined with a faux fur, which helps explain the affordable price. Although the styling isn’t the best match the G-1-like 674, you can customize the design with their made-to-measure program to add the accurate pockets and ribbed knit cuffs and hem (although that will cost you extra). By most reports, The Jacket Maker is pretty committed to delivering what their customers want so it’s certainly worth checking them out.
Lucky Brand Leather Aviator Jacket in Chocolate: on sale for $249.50
This one is kind of a cheat. But it’s also one of the best deals in this post right now. The body is genuine leather, but it’s not shearling lined. And the collar is a faux shearling. Plus there are the obvious design differences with the pockets, cuffs and hem. However, it is on sale for 50% off and they have plenty of sizes in stock. If you want something a little more biker and a little less 1940s pilot, it’s a pretty solid choice if you’re on a tighter budget.
Another made-to-measure option from a smaller company that does things a little differently. Independence Brothers works exclusively with a partner factory in Mexico. And that gives them far better control over the quality of their leathers and construction. For their flight jacket, you can choose your leather: the standard cowhide or their premium full grain lambskin for $30 more, and the leather color (I went with the Whisky Brown above for an extra $20.00, but the Tan could also work). Then you send in your measurements and the jacket is custom made just for you. As for the design details, the jacket isn’t shearling lined, and collar is faux shearling. But everything else, from the pockets to the ribbed knit, comes very close.
And now something from the original brand. If you know leather jackets, you know the history of Schott. And although you could go with their current Bomber Jacket in Naked Buffalo ($890.00) for more of that G-1/A-2 style, the darker brown color really isn’t the best match. On the other hand, that Luggage color of the Rancher is a really nice shade of brown and something you don’t see every day. Although the jacket is only lined with Schott’s classic plaid brushed cotton, the detachable collar is genuine curly sheepskin. Nordstrom has sizes small to XXL in stock and offer free shipping in the U.S. and free returns. You can also order the jacket directly from Schott.
If your personal style leans more towards western wear, you should also check out Schott’s Buffalo Leather Trucker Jacket with Sheepskin Collar in Sycamore ($890.00). It has a faux shearling lining but the collar is genuine sheepskin. And while the design has more in common with a typical jean jacket, the color is a great match for the one Craig wore.
The Investment Piece
Because we might as well end this epic post on a high note! Congratulations for making it to the end!
A final note on other sources ….
Before we sign off, I just wanted to share some information on other places to find sheepskin jackets and coats. First, it’s always worth checking out Ebay, Etsy and other re-seller websites for used jackets. Especially if you’re after a more vintage style. There are great deals to found from heritage brands like Sawyer, Schott, L.L. Bean and even vintage military jackets. But a word of caution: older sheepskin jackets that have been stored improperly for years will be fragile. The outer suede side can develop an almost paper-like texture and be much more prone to ripping. And the wool can become much coarser and stiffer as it’s dried out over time.
Also keep a close eye on the sizing. With military jackets, true vintage pieces tend to fit smaller, so a size 42 today is not the same as a size 42 from 1950 or 1960. And jackets from the 1980s and early 1990s are commonly styled to be oversized, as was the fashion of the time. So they can look very dated. In other words, double and triple check the return policy in case you don’t receive what you expected.
It’s also worth checking out smaller, boutique manufacturers for high quality sheepskin outerwear. Companies like The Sheepherder (Colorado), Sickafus Sheepskins (Pennsylvania) and Village Shop Sheepskin and Leather (Pennsylvania) make most of their jackets on a per order basis in their own workshops. And they’re not crazy expensive, with prices ranging from $800 to $1200. If you can make the investment, it’s a great way to get exactly the sheepskin jacket you want while supporting a small business.
If you have any comments or suggestions for alternatives for an iconic sheepskin jacket or coat, let us know about them in the comments below. For more style essentials for men, check out these posts. And remember to visit our Facebook page, Instagram account and Pinterest Boards for more style icon inspiration!