12 Best Leather Messenger Bags in 2018

Messenger bags used to be fairly simple. Most consisted of a mix of leather or canvas, and they were built to ensure your got things around town safely. They have undergone some changes over the years, however, which makes finding a solid messenger bag a challenge. Especially if you want one in leather.

While the basic design of the messenger bag hasn’t changed much, it’s overall dimensions have. They used to be oversized for obvious reasons, but they have shrunken down to where you can find some that are almost considered purses. Well, you won’t find any purses on our best leather messenger bag list, but you will find totes that are suitable for both Men and Women. Some are geared more towards one gender than the other based on their color or style, but we have include sizes from 11 inches up to 18 inches, which should suit everyone.

Before we dig into our top 12, all the messenger bags on our list are made of real 100% leather and have the classic strap which allows it to be slung across one side. They are all quite stylish as well and we even found a few that offer up more hues than the traditional old Brown and Black.

Top 12 Leather Messenger Bags Ultimate Table

DesignNameSizeColorsRating (1-5)
  1. Hølssen Satchel Briefcase Messenger 15″ Laptop Genuine Leather Men Bag 18” Black 4.9
  2. Komal’s Passion Leather 11 Inch Sturdy Leather Ipad Messenger Satchel Bag 11” Brown 4.8
  3. Banuce Women’s Full Grains Leather Briefcase Messenger Satchel Bag 14” Light Brown 4.7
  4. Kenneth Cole Reaction “The Show Business” Colombian Leather Flapover Computer Case Messenger Bag 18” Black 4.7
  5. Kenneth Cole New York “Take The Op-Port-unity”Crumpled Leather Double Gusset Top Zip Laptop Brief 14” Multiple 4.7
6. Komal’s Passion Leather 18 Inch Retro Leather Briefcase Laptop Messenger Bag18” Brown 4.7
7. Kenneth Cole Reaction Luggage Show Business 15” Multiple      4.5
8. Samsonite Colombian Leather Flap-Over Laptop Messenger Bag 16” Multiple 4.4
  9. Kattee Men’s Leather Satchel Briefcase, 16″ Laptop Messenger Shoulder Bag Tote 16” Brown 4.4
  10. Kattee Women’s Leather Briefcase Messenger Bag 14” Light Brown 4.4
  11. LEABAGS Oxford genuine buffalo leather messenger bag 15” Multiple 4.3
  12. Zicac Mens Genuine Leather Shoulder Bag Briefcase Messenger Bag 10” Multiple 4.2

Your Guide to Leather Messenger Bag Shopping

Leather messenger bags all have a few things in common, but the best stand out from the crowd as it isn’t just about style. With that in mind, we feel there are three different things you should focus on when shopping for a leather messenger bag: size, style, and pockets.

  • Size – Messenger bags are used for many purposes, but mainly for carrying your precious goods safely wherever you roam. Leather messenger bags are quite tough but do have one drawback over their canvas-based counterparts – they don’t stretch.

When deciding on the right size of messenger bag, you will want to consider any items that are rigid like laptops or hardcover books. If you have a 15.6-inch machine, then you don’t want to opt for a 15-inche messenger bag regardless of how slick it looks. You will want to go larger so you can have an additional measure of protection along with room for more goods.

If you don’t plan to tote around electronics or other fragile items, then you will be just fine going off the listed size alone. Just consider your what you plan on carrying in the bag, then choose the proper size based on your needs and don’t rely on the manufacturers “rated” dimensions for laptops; look at the actual measurements.

  • Style – The best leather messenger bag will plenty of style, but you may not want to overdo it depending on where you plan to carry your convertible briefcase. Most of the models on our list will have a flap-over design with a couple of buckles on the front to help you cinch things down. While they are classy, they may not be suited for the boardroom compared to messenger bags with a clean front and zippered top.

Not headed to a board room or any important meetings? Then you can go wild in the style department and pick one up in a dark Red or Deep Green if you truly want something a little different. As for those buckles, we do appreciate them, but they just aren’t going to be for everyone. Thankfully, there are models that use silver or keep things simple with a smaller clasp.

  • Pockets – This one is simple. Do you have one of the laptops above? If so, look for a leather messenger bag that has a dedicated spot for your personal PC. These will generally offer up a bit more padding where it counts, which means your laptop won’t crack if you sit your bag down too hard or are prone to bump into things.

Some bags will have easy access pockets on the outside while others require unbuckling to get under the flap. Needless to say, if you need easy access, you may want a bag with an exterior pocket or a zippered top. The type of buckle clasp used varies as well with real buckles and snap or magnetic latches which do offer up quicker access.

Top 5 Best Leather Messenger Bag Reviews

1. Hølssen Genuine Leather Briefcase Messenger

Hølssen may not be as familiar as Kenneth Cole or Kattee to some consumers, but they slid into the top spot on our list with ease. That is due in part to the style of the bag as it can be used casually for school or the office or in boardrooms with even the classiest of clientele.

The brass buckles are small and don’t have much “flair” compared to others although the do slide into a clasp which is hidden under the straps. That means easy access and not buttons to deal with although you can still cinch things down or expand to a degree if necessary. Brass accents also highlight the handle on the top and the adjustment on the strap for your back.

Hølssen went for cowhide leather for this bag, and it sports the Crazy-Horse technique which gives it an antique vibe. It measures 15.75” x 9.84” x 3.54” so it can handle a 14-inch laptop, but you are going to be cutting it close at 15-inches are above. In addition to the main storage compartment, this messenger bag also has a zippered back pocket, several inner pockets and a couple of pen holders.

2. Banuce Women’s Messenger Satchel

This one is clearly for the ladies, and one of the smaller bags to make our list. While the Banuce Women’s Messenger Satchel Bag looks like a big purse, it isn’t thanks to the shoulder strap and several zippered pockets. We also don’t know of any “purses” that can take a 14-inch laptop as this leather messenger measures 15.25” x 11” x 5” deep.

While the Banuce bag technically is a messenger bag, it can be carried as a large purse if you remove the strap and don’t mind the extra bits of flair. The material used is Italian vegetable tanned leather which gives the bag a lighter tone and different style. As for the pockets, the main zippered compartment has three pen slots and four slip pockets while the second pouch is for laptops up to 14 inches and is padded.

Need another pocket? Not a problem as this one has a third zippered pocket with an additional two slip pockets and an inner zippered pocket. You will have plenty of spots to separate your goods, and more than enough room for small laptops, books and other things you may need while you’re on the go.

3. Kenneth Cole Reaction Messenger

Messenger bags have been around for decades, and they tend to have a long life if the quality is there. The Kenneth Cole Reaction “Show Business” bag is a messenger with plenty of style, and is durable enough to be passed down to the next generation. That’s the beauty of leather and quality craftsmanship.

The flap of the bag has two buckles which lock into place on the body of the bag and allow for easy access. The inside is quite spacious and divided into several different sections although the front is built for your laptop as it’s padded. It is “rated” for a 15.4-inch machine and can actually handle it as the bag measures 17.9” x 13.2” x 3.2” empty. There is also an open pocket on the rear to go along with several interior pockets for your accessories.

The Show Business Messenger bag is made from Columbian leather and while only available in Black, it will look great anywhere you carry it including business meetings, flights, and school. You will certainly attract attention and elicit a reaction with this messenger bag.

4. Komal’s Passion Leather Messenger Satchel

While it may seem tiny, the Komal Passion Leather Messenger Bag is a cool little hybrid that can be slung across your shoulder or back. As the name implies, it is made from 100% leather but you won’t be able to tote a laptop unless it is of the netbook variety and smaller than 11 inches. It is the perfect size for laptops, books and anything else you would normally carry throughout your day.

When it comes to the pockets, this one has small flap pocket on the front and a larger zippered pocket on its backside. The inside sports a large inner pocket for books or tablets along with a smaller inner pocket. It may be small and look a bit like a Murse, but it is a Unisex messenger bag and certainly one to consider if you don’t need a full-sized tote.

5. Kenneth Cole New York Crumpled Leather

All of the products on our best leather messenger bag list are made from the same material, but some have a softer look than others. The Kenneth Cole New York Crumpled messenger bag is a hybrid of sorts as it looks like a briefcase with an optional strap for its back. It is a messenger bag, however, just one that is flapless and sans the buckles.

Like our other picks, this bag can hold a laptop, but you will want to be careful with the size as it measures 15” x 11.2” x 3.8” so you will want to go with a 14-inch machine or smaller. It will keep your PC protected with padding, however, and there are a number of pockets on the inside to go along with a zippered slot on the front. This particular bag is available in two hues as well with Cognac and Black. It’s a great looking all-around bag that can be used casually or professionally.