Leather Belts Buying Guide - Avoid a Bonded or Genuine Leather Belt

Buying a leather belt can be tricky. You want to get something that is durable, comfortable, and fashionable at an affordable price. But you also need to consider the type of material it's made from because not all belts are created equal. This article will give you some tips on what to avoid when shopping for a new leather belt.

TLDR: You should never purchase belts made with genuine leather or bonded leather. Shop for a belt made by a local craftsperson using full grain leather.

Shop our full-grain leather belts

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Avoid Buying Genuine Leather

Genuine leather is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality. Genuine leather belts might make a good first impression, but won't last long and are not worth the money. They are basically made with scrap pieces of leather that have been recycled and glued together into a cheap piece of junk.

After a few wears you'll find yourself with a broken belt. The glue used is not strong enough to keep the material from tearing apart when you wear it. Buying a genuine leather belt makes no sense in the long run.

discount leather belt that looks worn. wearing genuine leather belts is a risk. Genuine leather looks great the first day, but you'll discover it quickly breaks down after you've worn it a few times. A geniune leather dress belt is bad.
This men's genuine leather reversible belt is less than one year old. It looks terrible.

Is genuine leather real leather, or is it just a scam?

Genuine leather is technically real leather, but just barely. It is the lowest quality leather product made using leather scraps and glue. The word "genuine" is meant to mislead a customer into believing the belt is made with good quality material, but it's not. Genuine leather is not as durable and long-lasting as other types of leather, like top grain or full grain.

When you see "100% Genuine Leather" or "pure leather belt" on a product, know is a gimmicky stamp of approval. Don't fall for it - you'll be sorry you wasted your money. Just put that cheap genuine leather belt back on the rack and walk away.

Man wearing a cheap mens belt with casual jeans and a t-shirt. genuine leather is not a heavy duty material for men's leather belts. don't pay for a low quality men's belt that will fail

Never buy bonded leather belts

Bonded leather isn't even real leather. It is a man-made material made of genuine leather scraps glued together into sheets. The bond isn't designed to hold long, so expect a bonded leather belt to start to split or crack within a few months.

Bonded leather belts are typically priced very low and you'll sometimes see them advertised as genuine leather products. These belts can only trick your eyes and can't hide their crappy origins. Don't be fooled and don't waste your hard-earned money on bad belts.

Questions to ask when shopping for a new leather belt

The old adage applies here - you get what you pay for! Here are a few key questions you should ask before buying a new leather belt.

What is a good quality leather belt made from? What leather lasts the longest?

The best belts for men are made using full grain leather because it is by far the best quality leather. Belts made with this type of leather are usually made with one thick, solid piece of leather.

So, how long does a leather belt last? Full grain leather belts are heavy duty products made to last many years of use. If you've ever heard of "quarter-century belts" or belts passed down from generation to generation, they are made with full grain leather.

A good second option is a belt made using top grain leather. These belts can also be worn for many years, but won't develop quite the same patina that is characteristic of full-grain leather products. The use of corrective grains will hide natural imperfections in the cowhide if you are after a less rugged style to wear with jeans.

Both full grain leather belts and top grain leather belts can be used for casual wear with jeans, or as work belts for the office with dress pants. If you're after a belt with a vintage feel, look for thick distressed leather. If you're a one belt forever kind of person, you won't go wrong with a black belt.

man's hands cutting a cowhide of full-grain leather using a strap cutter hand tool. Grey leather is a best seller when made into men's leather belts.
Obscure Belts makes every leather belt to order in any size with high quality full grain leather.

Where can I buy good leather belts?

The best leather belts are made by leather artisans and craftspeople, like Obscure Belts. Aside from the warm, fuzzy feeling you will get from supporting a local small business, when you buy from a belt maker nearby you are getting a much higher quality product than any big box store will offer. If you're shopping for men's gifts, these kinds of items are the best presents to give.

Buy leather goods from local artisans

As a small batch belt maker, we know that a craftsperson lives and dies by the quality of what they make. We have almost 20 years of experience making our cool belts and belt buckles and work directly with a specialty tannery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to develop our distressed and full grain leather hides. When you buy a belt and buckle from us, you can be certain it will be the right size, no matter your size. You're sure to find one of our casual leather belts to fit your style and look great around your waist for many years.

Good luck in your search for a new belt!

When you’re looking for a new leather belt, there are several things to consider. You want your leather belt to be made of the best quality materials and by someone who knows how to work with them well. That might sound like it would cost more than buying an imported bonded or genuine leather belt that is mass-produced at low prices, but don't worry!

We offer a selection of thick, high-quality handmade belts and cool belt buckles at affordable prices right here in our shop. We make everything with full grain or distressed leather in a color to match your style. You can be sure our casual belts will keep holding your pants up for years.

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Hi Mark, Cristina here with Obscure Belts. The rule is to buy one size up from your waist size, so a size 34 belt would be the best fit for you. Feel free to reach out if you have any more sizing questions!


I’m a 32" waist?? I don’t see any my size

mark meelan

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