Its appearance varies from normal leather armor in that its shoulder pads are closer to the same size and appear to be made of or plated with some kind of metal. The armor also looks the same on both male and female, as opposed to the regular leather armor which has different skins. It is significantly darker and the pants are baggier than its original counterpart. It is only used by the best mercenaries, or those who can afford it.
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 characters relying heavily on Sneak or 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.
A glitch exists when changing into this armor from a Caesar's Legion armor. The faction will stick from the armor even after removing the leather armor, reinforced. The only way to make the incorrect faction association disappear is to re-equip Caesar's Legion armor, change into another armor, and then change back into leather armor, reinforced. Otherwise the NCR will be permanently hostile towards you. On the bright side, abusing this glitch can allow for easy kills against members of the Legion.