Its appearance varies from normal leather armor in that both of its shoulder pads are about the same size and appear to be made of or plated with metal. The armor also looks the same on both males and females, as opposed to the regular leather armor which has different skins. It is significantly darker in color.
Significantly, reinforced leather armor has nearly the highest Damage Threshold of any non-faction light armor. Vault 34 security armor, Joshua Graham's armor and the Chinese stealth armor are also non-faction with higher DT, yet reinforced leather armor has substantially more health than those armors and can still be repaired with common leather armor, making it far easier to keep in good condition. This makes it very useful for Sneak based characters or players who value movement speed (especially with the Travel Light perk), since heavier equipped armor increases the chance of enemy detection (unless the player has the Silent Running perk) and reduces movement speed.
Reinforced leather armor can be bought from many merchants (including the Gun Runners and at 188 trading post) at mid to high levels. It can also be found on Viper gang leaders at lower levels, and on regular Vipers at mid to high levels.
It can be seen in most of the demos shown in E3, being used by the Courier.
It can be very expensive to be repaired by merchants. It is far cheaper to have a merchant repair some normal leather armor, which can then be used to repair the reinforced leather armor, or by using Jury Rigging.