Men’s leather belts are more than just a fashion accessory. When you decide to shop for a new leather belt, you want to find one that not only looks great, but one that also fits great and that is built to last. There is nothing worse than having to deal with a belt that is worn out and uncomfortable or one that you have to throw out after just a month or two because it gets scratched up and shows signs of wear and tear.
The best men’s leather belts are comfortable, great fitting, and make any sharp outfit look sharper. All belts may initially look the same, but there's a huge difference between a high-quality men’s leather belt and a cheap knock off or faux leather belt. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about leather belts for men so you get not only what you want, but what you need.
Types of Men’s Leather Belts
When it comes to men's leather belts, there are two fundamental categories:
Dress belts should be worn with dress slacks and can be worn everywhere from the office to church. Dress belts are made to be seen and therefore need to not just fit well, but look good. Casual leather belts are worn everywhere else and can be worn with jeans, shorts, and slacks. Casual belts are often covered up by an un-tucked shirt and are often not as polished looking as a dress belt.
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There can be big differences in the way dress belts and casual belts are constructed. A dress belt is designed to have a shorter tail than a casual belt. The tail end of the belt should be just long enough to extend through one belt loop after the buckle is fastened. If the tail or tip sticks out any longer it looks awkward.
Casual belt can have a slightly longer tail, but you should still wear the tail as short as practical. Traditional belts are sold according to waist size. For example, you may see belts labeled 36”- 38” or 40”- 42”. However, until you actually try the belt on, you won’t know how it fits correctly. Despite sizing many belts fit differently.
Belts come in a variety of different colors. Dress belts should always match the color of your shoes. With casual belts, the color doesn’t matter as much and is up to personal preference. Either way, generally there is no real reason to buy any other colors besides black, a variety of browns and maybe a color for your jeans or golf, like gray or a white. Any other colors are for kids.
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How to Choose the Best Quality Leather Belts
If you have ever looked at leather belts for men in a store you know that even stores with a small selection still have dozens of different options. A nicer men’s clothier will have hundreds of different belts.
How do you pick the right belt for you ?
Here are the key elements to consider in any men’s leather belt purchase:
The grain of the leather will tell you how the quality of the leather used. You should never buy a belt that isn’t full grain or top grain. These are the two highest quality types of leather. Genuine leather means it's bonded leather which is scraps of leather glued together and then coated to imitate a grain. Not worth it. Genuine leather breaks down and ages badly. Full grain on the other hand actually improves with age.
When dealing with traditional store belts you need to either try them on wrap them around the outside of your waist to get sense of their real length. You cannot simply buy a belt based on a size chart.
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The color of the belt is largely a matter of personal preference. But remember, leather dress belts should match the leather shoes you're wearing. So forget crazy colors - you'll be wasting your money.
The fit of the belt is almost impossible to know with a traditional belt. Belts have a set of holes, usually five, so that you can adjust for a better fit. However, you will rarely get a perfect fit and you will have to adapt to whatever hole is closest to a perfect fit. The firmness and thickness of the belt will also play a role in how comfortable the belt is.
Each belt will have a different pattern or grain in the leather. Not every belt of the same color will look the same. This is a matter of personal preference.
You will also want to make sure you like the look of the belt buckle. Your belt buckle communicated a lot about the man wearing it and his fashion choices. I prefer something classic that doesn't draw too much attention to my waist but looks nice.
Understanding Differences Between Full Grain and Top Grain
When it comes to leather belts for men, not all leather is the same. Some leather is of lower quality and will wear out faster. When leather wears out it will show scratches, warp, and the belt may stretch or shrink. Low quality leather belts may only last a few months.
Shop Men’s Top Grain Leather Belts
Full grain is the highest quality of leather available in a men’s belt. Top grain is the second highest quality. Both grains make and excellent belt. Never buy a men’s leather belt that is not full grain or top grain.
Top grain leather may show markings and scratches a little easier than full grain. But, either a full grain or top grain belt will last you a long time as long as you are taking care of it and not abusing it.
Problems with Standard Leather Belt
Traditional men’s leather belts have many issues. Even if you buy a full grain belt, the belt will first show signs of wear in the holes in the leather. Fastening and unfastening the belt several times a day stretches out the hole in the leather. Because you are limited in the fit of the belt by just a few different holes, when the hole that is most comfortable begins to stretch, the belt doesn’t fit as well. Again, not the best method.
It can also be difficult to get the tail of the belt to be the right length and still have a comfortable fit.
Every man’s waist is different and it fluctuates throughout the day. Every man wears their pants a little differently on their body. Traditional belts are basically a one-size fits all solution. But, they don’t really fit right and even the best belts are designed to wear out faster than they should.
Advantages of Ratchet or Track Style Leather Belts
Thankfully, there is an alternative to traditional men’s leather belts. Instead of the standard post-and-belt-hole type of belt fastener, the ratchet, or track style, of leather belt produces a superior fit and these belts last much longer.
Instead of belt holes the Kore belts use a hidden track sewn into the back of the belt. This track creates over 40 + sizing positions to adjust with, each just 1/4 inch apart. This means you get a perfect fit.
Ratchet style belts fit perfectly every time. They use a virtually indestructible track on the inside of the belt and an equally durable buckle to ensure that you get the perfect fit every time. The Kore ratchet belt is 800% more adjustable than a traditional belt with holes.
When you put on a track style belt you slide the belt thru the buckle until it stops and locks at your precise waist size. It’s sort of like a giant, fashionable zip tie for your waist.
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Why Kore Men’s Leather Belts Have the Best Fit
Have you ever seen a man “try” a belt on in a department store? They awkwardly wrap it around the outside of their pants because the belt buckle is locked, and the belt can’t be actually tried on. You have to guess if the belt will really be a good fit. Not the most accurate method.
Kore men’s leather belts don’t have that issue. All their belts are the same length or one-size. You buy a belt and use the proprietary ratchet system to get the perfect fit and then you can easily get rid of the excess. You are left with a belt that fits perfectly and looks great.
All Kore belts are made from either full grain, top grain leather or casual nylon webbing. They are built to last. Once you try a Kore belt you will never want any other kind of leather belt again.
Check the variety of sharp, fashionable track belts available in the Kore online store. You’ll be glad you did.
by Steve Mann