There are many different kinds of belts and many different materials from which they are made. One of the most well known of these is leather, which is thought to have long lives. So how long do they last? We researched this topic, so you know what to expect from this go-to accessory.
Depending on the quality of leather and frequency of use, a leather belt will last anywhere from five to ten years.
So if there are different kinds of leather, what kinds are used to make belts, and how would that impact the quality? We've done the research, so you don't have to!
Types of Leather Belts
Leather belts made of full grain leather are the highest quality leather belt that you will be able to purchase. It has experienced minimal alteration or separation from other parts of the original hide, which makes the color richer, the leather tougher, and its usable life much longer. Because it's the highest quality of leather, products made from full grain are always more expensive. Full grain leather is sometimes referred to as top grain leather.
A belt made out of corrected grain leather is the second-best option available to you when it comes to leather belts. A corrected grain leather belt has gone through more polishing and processing. Corrected leather goes through additional polishing like sanding, buffing, or many different types of decorating, where full grain belts are generally unadorned. Corrected grain is also occasionally referred to as top grain leather
A belt made from split leather is generally considered to be in third place when it comes to quality. Image the layer of skin used to make leather. Now imagine it laying horizontally, and separate it into layers. Split leather is one of the lowest layers, closest to the "meat," which makes it one of the least durable and poorest qualities when it comes to leather products.
Bonded Leather is essentially the particle board of leather products. It's made of shredded shavings that have been pasted and rolled together into a sheet that is then used to make leather products. This is the lowest quality of leather product, with a short usable life, and it tears easily. However, it can be embossed and made to look like expensive leather, which means you need to be careful when you're looking at leather products and make sure you know what kind of leather the product is made from.
If you're looking for a great accessory to go with your leather belt, check out these black leather anklets!
How Long Does a Bonded Leather Belt Last?
A bonded leather belt will only last anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the frequency of use, and how tightly the belt is worn. Bonded leather belts are prone to cracking and ripping.
When it comes to leather belts, bonded leather might be the cheapest option. However, it's the cheapest because it has the worst quality. Unlike many affordable "leather" belt options, bonded leather belts are a genuine leather product, but they're made up of scraps. Spare and waste materials from other leather products are taken and glued together to make new products. So while you may have a "genuine leather belt," it's not going to last you nearly as long as many your more expensive options.
Does Bonded Leather Crack?
Yes, bonded leather is prone to cracking and tearing with use.
Bonded leather isn't a solid product. It's a leather sheet made up of small scrap pieces of leather that have been glued together. This means that the leather has lost most of its integrity and elasticity, and since it isn't one solid piece, to begin with, it will easily crack and rip.
You have helped delay this inevitable breakdown of the belt by not wearing it tighter than you have to, by using leather conditioners on it regularly, keeping it clean, and storing it in a cool place. The more heat this belt is exposed to, the more quickly it will fall apart.
How Long Does a Genuine Leather Belt Last?
The term "genuine leather" can be deceptive since there are several different kinds of genuine leather belts you can by, each a different quality than the other. Each of the following are examples of genuine leather products with their different lifespans based on average wear and care.
- Full Grain - A minimum of five years, but they can last for decades if taken care of.
- Corrected Grain - A lower quality of leather than has been aesthetically adjusted to look more pleasing, this belt should last between five to ten years.
- Split Leather - A split leather belt may last you around five years.
- Bonded Leather - A bonded leather belt will generally last you just a few years at best.
Other great leather products include purses! Click here to check out some great options.
What is the Most Durable Belt?
A quality leather belt made from full-grain leather will probably be the most durable belt you can own. Full grain leather has an excellent natural elasticity, natural moisture resistance, and is aesthetically pleasing.
How To Protect Your Leather Belts and Make Them Last Longer
When it comes to your belt, there are a couple of easy tips you can apply to make sure it lives a long and happy life.
- When the belt gets wet, you can wipe off the excess moisture, but don't try and dry the belt by placing it next to a heat source. This will dry the belt out and can cause cracking.
- For the same reasons listed above, don't store the belt somewhere warm or in the sun.
- Make sure you take the belt off the pants you were wearing at the end of the day, or the belt can start to take the shape of the pants you are wearing.
- Clean and condition the belt to help it maintain its new look and flexibility. This can be done with several products, like Chemical Guy's Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.
- Click here to view this product on Amazon.
Where to Buy
Carhartt's Signature Casual Belt
Leather and style go hand in hand! Special tooling, stitching, and metalwork on the belt will take your look to the next level.
Vintage F&L Classic Top Grain
Just because you're buying leather doesn't mean you have to stick with a plain belt! This particular product has been embossed and stitched, catching the eye without being over the top.
Bullko Genuine Leather Belt
This basic brown leather belt is made from top grain leather, making it a great purchase, as it will last you a very long time.
PAZARO Top Grain Leather Belt
This black top grain leather belt is built to last. A neutral color, it will be safe to wear with many different outfits, as well as formal events.