The B-3 Bomber Jacket: An American Icon
Decade after decade, the B-3 Bomber Jacket remains an undisputed icon of
American fashion and style. Both practical and durable, this shearling
sheepskin workhorse earned its wings protecting the brave airmen who paved
the way for the liberation of Europe during WWII.
During the autumn of 1942, the United States introduced the B-17, a long-range
strategic bomber better known as the Flying Fortress, in Europe. The plane
would prove instrumental in winning the war. Over the ensuing months, as the
bombing campaign intensified over the skies of France and then Germany, the men
who flew the armed colossus proved their mettle against incredible odds.
As the Allied crews flew punishing 8-9 hour missions, it was essential to
retain body heat in the cold, unpressurized cabins at altitudes of up to 30,000
feet. No amount of armor, fire power, or flying savvy could prepare the men for
these brutal, below freezing temperatures. It was then and there that sheepskin
leather made its fateful appearance and the B-3 Bomber Jacket earned its place
in aviation history. No man-made material could master such inhospitable
temperatures over a sustained period and allow the crewmen to perform their
Even today's high-tech synthetic fibers strive to provide the same incredible
warmth and soft-as-butter comfort that natural sheepskin jackets offer. This is
a storyline that our customers confirm with every purchase as they continue to
be surprised by the performance of the B-3:
"This jacket is exactly what you need in a harsh, cold winter. I got so many
compliments about this jacket. I have a snowboard jacket which [claims] to be
wind and cold-proof. I can tell you this much: that winter jacket does not come
close to this B-3 Bomber Jacket!!!"
-Customer, The Netherlands
Unlike other materials, the crimp of the sheep's wool creates insulating air
spaces, naturally retaining heat and wicking away excess moisture when the body
generates it. This protection was essential to the crews of the B-17. The men
who donned the B-3 Bomber Jackets relied on their rugged and tough exteriors as
much as they did on their soft and pliable interiors.
Furthermore, the unforgettable images that emerged from the fabled dogfights
above London, Paris, Hamburg and Berlin have remained in American consciousness
way past that Great Generation's heyday. The B-3 Bomber Jacket perfectly
reflected that ethos of bravery and determination that saw the United States
liberate an entire continent.
The rugged simplicity of its materials squarely embodied the country's character
as a no-frills, tough-as-nails but stylish uniform that could withstand the
elements while providing much needed comfort and succor to cold, battle-weary men.
The B-3 Bomber Jacket has become an item that has proudly passed from father to
son, generation after generation, not to be replaced, traded or retired, but
cherished and worn for its amazing natural properties. To this day, buyers of
this style of jacket keep theirs for years, if not decades, returning to
Overland to replace worn stitches or do piecemeal patchwork, choosing to keep this American icon a bestseller, known to develop much character with age.
"I bought this as a gift for my son-in-law. I was thrilled when it arrived. And
he loves it… His grandfather was a B-17 pilot during WWII."
"You'll never have to worry about it going out of style.... 70 years and counting."
In fact, modern materials and synthetic fibers strive to recreate the natural
properties that sheepskin is known for, namely the ability to retain heat and
regulate moisture through its inherent breathability. Through wet snow, high
winds, light rains or blizzard conditions, the high-quality heft of the B-3's
sheepskin insulates the wearer from heat loss in a wide range of high-impact activities as well as during cool, leisurely days. Whether you're snow shoveling, skiing down a mountain, talking a stroll during afternoon flurries or coming home from a brisk late night at the theatre, your sheepskin jacket becomes your second skin.
Unlike down jackets, which are bulky and hot as temperatures rise, sheepskin
leather does not need as much volume to provide the same protection, plus it
can naturally redistribute the condensation that the body generates throughout
the day. Brushing the sheepskin regularly keeps the jacket looking like new and
restores its natural water-repellant properties, something that cannot be said
of down jackets, which tend to clump when repeatedly exposed to rain.
"I ordered this jacket for my boyfriend… The jacket is extremely warm and he
gets so many compliments!!! … This was the best Christmas present ever."
-Customer, New York
"I had been looking for a quality leather jacket with shearling for almost a
year when I ran across your website and saw this jacket. It was everything I
was looking for in a winter coat. The quality is superb. This coat will last
"I purchased the coat a few years ago and it still looks brand new. We recently
had weather that was 20-below zero and windy, and the coat was nice and warm."