Day bags, sling bags, courier bags, satchels – the many names of messenger bags simply demonstrate their versatility. Crafted from sturdy leather, messenger bags are usually either worn with one strap over the shoulder or across the body, resting at the hip. When it comes to women, these bags have gone from being functional accessories to fashion-centric ones. The best leather messenger bags for women today have evolved beyond their simple, traditional use. Some of them feature lots of well-designed compartments and padded straps for comfort, while others even feature anti-theft technology.
Just like these excellent travel purses, messenger bags are invaluable for carrying your belongings securely and easily. From sleek, vintage bags to rustic satchel ones, shoppers have a head-spinning number of options to choose from. Here are 13 leather messenger bags for women that we can’t stop raving about.
Picking the perfect leather messenger bag
Quality of leather
When it comes to picking good leather messenger bags, the foremost thing to consider is, obviously, the leather quality.
The highest quality and most durable leather is cowhide, which originates from the skin of the cow. It is further divided into top-grain, full-grain, nubuck, genuine, suede, and bonded leather. Top- and full-grain leather are the best grades of leather, are extremely durable, and develop a beautiful patina over time. Nubuck and suede both have a velvet-like finish. However, nubuck is closer in quality to top-grain leather while suede is made from the underside of animal skin. Genuine and bonded are the poorest qualities of leather and are best avoided as they fall apart very quickly.
Apart from cowhide, the other two kinds of leather are lambskin and faux leather. The former is soft to touch but not as durable as cowhide. Faux is made from synthetic materials, like PU, which look like leather but are animal-friendly.
Types of messenger bags
Today, there are different messenger bags depending on their purpose, design, and even style. There’s the classic messenger bag, which is a rectangular-shaped bag with zippered or flip cover closure. Apart from that, there are briefcases, carry-all duffel bags, vertical messenger bags, totes, satchels, and hobo bags.
Briefcases today have gotten rid of the sharp corners and are an excellent accessory for the modern working woman. The best duffel bags are stylish, sleeker versions of the traditional duffel bags with practical compartments and zippers. A vertical or a camera messenger bag is longer and discreetly stylish for travel. Tote bags are closer in appearance to briefcases. They often double up as laptop bags. Satchels are lesser formal versions of classic messenger bags with more rounded bottoms. Hobo bags are more of a fashion statement, and often see contemporary additions like fringes. They could also be more slouchy in appearance, like a bucket bag.
Compartments and storage
Since you’re going to be carrying all your belongings and valuables in your messenger bag, it’s important to see what kind of storage it has. Main compartments could either be separated into two or three organizational pockets or be one large compartment. So, you need to see what better suits your use and personality. If you’re someone who needs all her things separated according to size and use, it’s better to go in for a compartmentalized bag. Similarly, you also need to check the presence of interior pockets for your phone, wallet, keys, stationery, etc.
The best leather messenger bags for women also tend to have side pockets. They allow you to grab important stuff like phones and keys quickly, rather than having to rummage within the bag.
Buckles and straps
It’s important to see how you intend to carry the bag and how it closes. While the shoulder strap is always there, a pair of extra handles are very handy for quickly switching how you carry the bag. You need to check if the shoulder strap is adjustable, depending on what you’re carrying and how much it weighs. Also, if the shoulder straps are padded, it is much more comfortable on your shoulders. Plus, if the shoulder strap is removable, it provides added versatility.
You’re going to be opening and closing your bag a million times, so its only fair to buy one with a simple but secure closure system. Traditional buckles are the most secure, but a bit laborious to use continuously. Magnetic snap closures are minimalist and stylish, yes, but not so secure. A push-down clasp can be operated single-handedly too with the simple push of a button.
Good messenger bags tend to have a whole lot of other features too. For instance, briefcases or totes feature laptop sleeves. Vertical or hobo messenger bags have RFID lining to prevent financial theft. Other features include a phone-specific pocket, durable canvas lining, and card slots.
Frye Logan Messenger Bag
If you’re seeking a classic bag with quality construction and timeless design, check out the Frye Logan Leather Briefcase. Crafted from rich, textured leather, the messenger bag boasts a distressed look and gold accents. Furthermore, it is available in two colors, dark brown and antique cognac, and radiates enduring sophistication.
The chic messenger bag features a roomy interior big enough to fit a notebook, water bottle, laptop, scarves, and more. A cotton lining keeps the interiors as well as the leather material safe from wear and tear. The subtle stitching all over the bag doesn’t betray its minimalistic design either. An adjustable leather shoulder strap, while unremovable, is extremely soft to touch, especially when worn close to the body. What’s more, a magnetic flap closure keeps belongings safe, and the overall look chic.
While there aren’t a lot of pockets within, the few on the inside of the main compartment are useful enough for stowing away keys and phones. For a simple yet timeless leather messenger bag, the Frye Logan is perfect.
18 x 14 x 6 inches (45.7 x 35.5 x 15.2 cm)
- Dark brown
- Antique cognac
- Classic, timeless design.
- Brass hardware and gold accents.
- Lightweight and very soft.
- Good quality leather.
- The magnetic snap closure offers weak security.
Samsonite Colombian Leather Flap-Over Laptop Messenger Bag
If you’re an organizational savant, you need the Samsonite Colombian Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag in your life. This versatile organizational masterpiece is one of the best casual-cum-business leather messenger bags for women. This good-looking bag manages to be stylish without being too flashy, and therein lies the rub.
One of the highlights of this versatile bag is that it can be carried both as a messenger sling/crossbody bag and a briefcase. This is all thanks to the comfortable padded, weaved-nylon shoulder strap and the leather-reinforced top handle. Two clasp buckle closures make it easy to access the bag quickly and keep all your belongings safe.
When it comes to organization, the bag boasts several inner compartments and pockets. The main compartment is secured with a full zipper and features many internal pockets for stashing away keys, makeup items, and other paraphernalia. An external slip pocket is much helpful for accessing quick items like stationery, business cards, and phones.
Furthermore, the bag even comes with a dedicated laptop carrier, so it can even carry a 15-inch laptop easily. Plus, it’s available in a rich trio of colors – black, espresso, and brown.
16.5 x 12 x 5.5 inches (41.9 x 30.5 x 14 cm)
- Padded shoulder strap makes it easy to carry as a messenger bag.
- Multiple compartments for organization.
- Durable and versatile.
- Shoulder strap isn’t made of leather.
Fossil Defender Leather Messenger Bag
Fossil makes more than just watches; they make absolutely chic leather messenger bags too. The Fossil Defender Leather Messenger Bag is one of its most dapper designs out there, along with being functional to boot.
Featuring a genuine leather exterior, the bag holds more than four pockets within its fabric-lined depths. A padded laptop pocket can hold a 15-inch laptop easily, while two zippered media pockets are great for storing files, wallets, scarves, and makeup. A roomy slip pocket at the back with magnetic closure is great for quick-access items. What’s more, a D-ring pocket also means that you never have to scour for your home or car keys. Push clasps make for secure closure.
If that wasn’t enough, the bag features a very comfortable, stylish, and removable shoulder strap. Moreover, it extends to an impressive hip length, allowing you to flaunt your style and turn heads.
16 x 12 x 4 inches (40.6 x 30.5 x 10.1 cm)
- Dark brown
- Shoulder straps are padded.
- Design is sleek, chic, and yet functional.
- Lots of pockets for easy organization.
- Lack of a top strap.
- Shoulder strap isn’t made of leather.
Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business Leather Messenger Bag
Don’t be fooled by the sleek yet simple exterior of the Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business Leather Messenger Bag. This full-grain Colombian leather bag has an overall grade of 4.5 from more than 1,110 ratings on Amazon! What’s even better is that this bag doesn’t even burn a hole in your pocket either.
To be fair, at first glance, this leather messenger bag with its plain exterior and a flap-imprinted logo doesn’t look like much. However, beyond that, it is one of the most functional leather messenger bags one could own. A roomy, silk-lined main interior features a partitioned zippered side-pocket and two under-flap pockets for stowing away small paraphernalia. An open pocket at the back makes for easy direct access to stuff like your phone and keys. No matter what you stow away in it, the shape and style of the bag will remain unchanged.
Furthermore, a convertible, extendable, and padded shoulder strap makes it easy for the bag to be worn across the body. Plus, the front closures are instrumental in holding the flap down so it won’t be a bother in windy weather.
15 x 3 x 11 inches (38.1 x 7.6 x 28 cm)
- Dark brown
- Available in three neutral colors – black, dark brown, cognac.
- Will develop a patina with wear.
- Versatile and can be paired with any outfit.
- The shoulder strap is padded and extendable.
- Just one – the shoulder strap isn’t removable.
PL Vintage Handmade Leather Messenger Bag
One of the more affordable leather bags for women on this list is the PL Vintage Handmade Leather Messenger Bag from Komal’s Passion Leather. Crafted from genuine goat leather, this fine piece of craftsmanship is a classic bag all the way through.
This leather messenger bag features classy buckle closures and a rustic finish on what is a much-loved satchel design. A leather top handle and a padded shoulder strap make it possible for this bag to be carried in two ways. The bag scores on the organizational front. A big inner pocket and two small ones are great for carrying everything from a laptop and files to makeup and jewelry. A large front pocket is great for quickly accessing phones, keys, and such. Additionally, it even has a secure external zippered pocket, which is great for keeping your wallet handy.
This bag might be bulky but it can fit in a 17-inch laptop, which is more than what most other messenger bags are capable of.
18 x 13 x 6 inches (45.7 x 33 x 15.2 cm)
- The shoulder strap is padded for maximum comfort.
- Multiple compartments for organization.
- Classic, timeless satchel design.
- Lack of a laptop sleeve.
Marc Jacobs Oversized Tag Leather Tote
Are you tired of looking at only black leather messenger bags for women? Then you must check out the Oversized Tag Leather Tote from Marc Jacobs. Apart from black, it also comes in three other very interesting colors – rock grey, bright pink, and sage green. What’s more, each color comes with contrasting inner leather that makes it very easy to find your belongings!
The Tag Tote comes in three sizes, of which the Oversized one is the largest. The high-quality bag is leather-made in its entirety, right down to the interior pocket. When it comes to organization, the bag features a strong top magnetic clip enclosure. A small inner zippered pocket is large enough to fit in iPhones. A pair of shoulder handles and a pair of top handles make it easy for the bag to be carried two ways. Even though it has just one main compartment, the bag has enough room for a 14-inch laptop, files, water bottle, cardigan, scarves, and makeup. What makes the bag extra special is that it has a longer depth rather than width, which makes it very different from traditional messenger totes.
The Marc Jacobs Oversized Tag Tote scores high on style, especially if you’re tired of traditional, satchel-like leather messenger bags.
19.5 x 15 x 6.6 inches (49.5 x 38 x 16.7 cm)
- Sage green
- Rock grey
- Bright pink
- One big main compartment for those who don’t like bothering with any sort of organization.
- A bevy of color choices.
- Completely made of leather.
- High quality.
- Extremely stylish and chic.
- No secure closure.
- Lack of pockets.
Berchirly Vintage Messenger Bag
If you’re looking for a leather-like look in a cheaper package, look no further than the Berchirly Vintage Messenger Bag. At less than $35, it is one of the cheapest leather messenger bags out there.
Yes, the bag is made of faux leather, but that doesn’t change the way it looks and feels. The durable and sturdy messenger bag boasts plenty of storage in the form of tons of compartments and pockets. There’s also a zippered back pocket which is perfect for quick-grab essentials like phone, keys, and wallet. Additionally, the bag can easily fit in a laptop of up to 14 inches, along with other gear.
A magnetic button closure packs all this in what is an incredibly thin design that is thinner than most bags on this list. It makes this briefcase very easy and less bulky and heavy to carry while looking chic at the same time.
15 x 11.4 x 4 inches (38 x 29 x 10 cm)
- Dark brown
- Versatile handles and straps.
- Thinner-than-usual design.
- Extremely value-for-money.
- For some, the design might feel a little outdated.
S-ZONE Men’s Crazy-Horse Leather Business Briefcase
Are you looking for a chic rustic messenger bag with a vintage vibe? Then, you need to look no further than the classic yet fashion-forward Crazy-Horse Leather Business Briefcase from S-Zone.
This leather messenger bag has a capacity that is impressive, to say the least. It boasts three compartments each on the exterior as well as the interior that can fit in everything you’ll ever need. Women can fit in a file or a notebook, a 15-inch laptop, a Kindle or a similar tablet, stationery, makeup, jewelry, and still have space left. A zippered back pocket is great for storing quick-grab items like wallets, keys, and phones. Moreover, a top zipper-cum-frontal dual-clasp design keeps all your belongings secure.
Last but not the least, what makes this messenger bag so versatile is that it can be carried in two ways. A detachable, padded shoulder strap makes it easy to be worn across the body, while a leather-reinforced top handle allows carrying it in the hand.
14.5 x 11 x 3.5 inches (36.8 x 28 x 8.9 cm)
- Dark brown
- Padded shoulder strap.
- Zipper and buckle closures.
- Durable and versatile.
- The wax due to the crazy-horse leather could leave temporary stains on clothing.
Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief
If you’re looking for a leather briefcase with ultimate style, go in for the Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief. The chic, all-business messenger bag is simple and flawlessly elegant, to say the least.
The Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief is perhaps the most casual bag on this list, allowing you to dress it up or down depending on where you’re off to. A soft leather exterior lends it an informal, casual look, but on the inside, it’s all business. There’s a laptop pocket that can easily fit in a 15-inch laptop. Two inner compartments are great for arranging all work-related necessities including files and stationery. A front pocket is perfect for stashing your wallet, keys, phone, scarves, and even jewelry and makeup that you keep on stand-by. Additionally, a detachable shoulder strap works its magic for the bag to be a versatile one.
However, the highlight of this briefcase is that you can even get it monogrammed for no extra charge at all! One of the best smart-casual leather messenger bags for women, the Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief is impressive to the hilt.
24.5 x 20.3 x 5.8 inches (62.2 x 51.5 x 14.7 cm)
- Excellent quality.
- The shoulder strap is very comfortable.
- Perfect for business and smart-casual occasions.
East/West Messenger by Shinola
If you’re looking for high quality but low maintenance leather messenger bag, then you would do well to consider the East/West Messenger Bag from Shinola. This modernized take on traditional messenger bags distresses beautifully over time, thanks to its Navigator leather construction.
This chic messenger bag does very well on the organizational front. On its fully-lined interiors, it features three slip pockets of varying sizes. You can easily fit in a 15-inch laptop, a tablet/e-reader, some files or a book, phone, keys, wallet, cardigan, and more. A zippered pocket on the outside is great for stowing any quick-access essentials you might need. Moreover, an adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy for the bag to be worn crossbody style as well.
When it comes to security, the bag does great as well. It features a combination closure of a button and a front flap, lending your belongings additional safety.
16 x 11.5 x 5.5 inches (40.6 x 29.2 x 14 cm)
- Good quality, low maintenance leather.
Kattee Crazy Horse Leather Shoulder Briefcase
For those women who love rugged-looking messenger bags, it won’t matter that the Kattee Crazy Horse Leather Shoulder Briefcase is marketed as a men’s bag. The stylish leather messenger bag boasts a killer rugged look that will only get better as time goes by.
The bag’s crazy-horse genuine leather material lends it an extremely distinct vintage-modern appearance that is hard to come by. A reinforced cloth-and-leather strap and a top handle allow women to carry the versatile bag in more than one way. A pair of push locks sit beneath two ornamental buckles which make for secure closure. On the inside, the bag features two pockets, a side zippered pocket, two slip ones, as well as two pen holders. A zippered back pocket is great for important quick-grab items like phones and wallets.
Also, what makes the bag extra special is its 15.5-inch length, which is smaller than other messenger bags on this list. So, if you have a smaller laptop of up to 14 inches and don’t want it to shift around in a bigger bag, then this one is perfect.
15.5 x 10.3 x 3.1 inches (39.4 x 26.1 x 7.9 cm)
- Sleeves for laptop and tablet.
- Tons of compartments for organization.
- Value-for-money product.
- Shoulder strap is not made of leather.
Bosca Dolce Messenger Bag
What do superior craftsmanship and glazed Italian leather look like? The Bosca Dolce Messenger Bag, of course! The sturdy yet utterly good-looking bag is designed to age like fine wine and last through the years. For all those fashion-conscious women, the Bosca Dolce is the perfect accessory.
The brief-style bag features expertly-sewn seams that add to its beauty. The main compartment has a divider and numerous slim pockets for storing files, papers, cellphones, wallets, keys, stationery, and even makeup and jewelry. A key fob on the lanyard makes it easy to grab them quickly. Moreover, it features a detachable shoulder strap with two adjustment points to wear the bag in more ways than one. The 14-inch length means that smaller tablets and laptops of up to 13 inches in size can easily fit snugly.
What’s also special about the Bosca Dolce is that it also has specially crafted leather feet underneath for shock absorption.
14 x 10 x 3.5 inches (35.5 x 25.4 x 8.9 cm)
- Dark brown
- Sturdy and yet stylish.
- Extremely good quality.
- Leather feet for absorbing any kind of shock.
Visconti Vintage-7 Veg Soft Leather Messenger Bag
Atop the list of the best leather messenger bags for women sits the Vintage-7 Veg Soft Messenger Bag from Visconti. The minimalist yet elegant and timeless piece works well everywhere and all the time, no matter the occasion.
The classy, vintage bag features a leather exterior and a cloth-lined interior with many compartments and pockets for all your belongings. While it doesn’t feature a laptop sleeve, it does have a lot of space within for you to carry a laptop, files, and other important gear like wallet, keys, phone, stationery, and maybe even a cardigan and a scarf. An outer zippered pocket keeps quick-grab stuff handy. Additionally, A long, adjustable leather strap keeps the bag non-bulky and easy to be carried around. Furthermore, a sturdy magnetic flap closure keeps all your belongings safe. Plus, the bag even comes with its own Visconti dust bag.
However, what’s special about the bag is the patina that the leather develops over time. This makes the bag something of an antique over time and can potentially be passed down as an heirloom through generations.
14.1 x 3.9 x 11.8 inches (35.8 x 9.9 x 30 cm)
- Tan brown
- Excellent leather quality.
- Secure closure.
- Good organization.
- No laptop sleeve.