What did 0 say to 8? Nice belt!
September 25, 2012 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a very simple every day man's black belt that will last a very long time.

It is my husband's birthday. He has been wearing the same very plain black belt (2.5 cm wide with a rectangular single prong buckle) every day since 1992. It is finally falling apart. I would like to get him something similar that will wear as well for as long. Ideas?
posted by mutt.cyberspace to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
A really cheap belt will have its leather crack after a couple of years. But for the most part, I've never encountered something that wore out quickly when I bought something of "decent" quality. I find good-quality leather goods can be found at Bosca. They give reliable quality, and I have one of their belts.

I can't speak to the belts, specifically, but leather goods from Coach always seem to last a long time, and they have men's belts.
posted by deanc at 11:13 AM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Like, recommendations for specific brands? Allen Edmonds, which is a traditional, high quality, American-made kind of shop, is having a sale.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:14 AM on September 25, 2012

I had a hell of a time finding a plain black belt in the US that wouldn't immediately start falling apart. Then someone gave me a belt by a Spanish maker called Miguel Bellido, which is just lusciously soft and supple, and has so far worn very well. I was in Spain recently and picked up a second which I have been equally happy with. I'm not sure how available they are in the US. I see a few on eBay, though they're fancier than the ones I got.

It does seem that the Spanish really do understand leather. The belts I was buying in the US (from perfectly reputable manufacturers) might as well have been made of painted cardboard.
posted by yoink at 11:15 AM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I bought this casual slab belt last year, have worn it daily in the rough and tumble of my food service job. It still looks new. (It's stinkin' expensive, but I had a gift card and waited for one of the eventual 'everything 50% off!' sales at Jos. A. Bank.)
posted by carsonb at 11:15 AM on September 25, 2012

Duluth Trading (which I can't recommend enough) has a "lifetime" belt (13/8"). I do not wear this particular belt, but in general the products of theirs that I use/wear are the most well-built and durable. I would expect it to last for years and years, compared to the average department store belt life of a year or two.
posted by dhartung at 11:19 AM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Saddleback Leather makes simple belts; I assume they'll last about forever.
posted by gyusan at 11:20 AM on September 25, 2012

I don't have a brand name or a source to recommend, but I do have a search string, "solid leather belt". Mine is starting to look bad after 20+ years, and the place I bought it has long since gone out of business.
posted by Bruce H. at 11:51 AM on September 25, 2012

I came to recommend Saddleback too. I have one of their briefcases and it is ridiculously sturdy.
posted by bswinburn at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2012

I've had the same black Coach belt since 2001. It looks brand-new.
posted by xingcat at 12:02 PM on September 25, 2012

Best answer:
deanc: A really cheap belt will have its leather crack after a couple of years.
Cost has little to do with it.

Most belts today are made of synthetic leather-look material; they are either stitched together near their edges, or heat-bonded at their very edge. These are crap; they separate, chip, crack, and generally fall apart.

The simplest way to see if a belt is genuine leather is: such belts are often (not always!) marked "Genuine Leather" (either imprinted on the back near the buckle, or on a removable tag.

Avoid any belt with (1) continuous stitching at the edges and (2) smoothly-tapered edges.

Also, real leather will generally absorb moisture well; synthetic materials tend to leave water on the surface as droplets. Patent leather is the exception (real, but unwettable), but it doesn't take to bending well, so it isnt used for belts.

Now that you have a real leather belt, maintain it. Once in a great while rub conditioner into it (you can even use hair conditioner, if you don't have leather conditioner). If it starts to look worn, lightly buff the outer surface with shoe polish. (Obviously, if you put polish on the back side you risk having it wear off on your pants.) Maybe once every six months is probably plenty often to tend to either of these tasks...
posted by IAmBroom at 12:10 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Since he has always liked their shoes, I bought my hubs a belt from Johnston & Murphy. I suggest shopping for belts in person, I visited a few department stores and sadly the majority seemed to be selling pleather belts.
posted by MuckWeh at 12:14 PM on September 25, 2012

The Saddleback belts are all too wide, unfortunately. The Red Wing harness belts are 1.25in wide, seem pretty supple to the touch, and are decently-regarded, although they're oil-tanned, which can lead to staining if you're not careful.

However: based on the measurements and previous questions, the OP's in Europe, so something from Spain or Italy is likely to be easier to find than a US brand name. What matters here is the quality of materials (ideally full-grain leather) and construction, not a brand name, and on preview IAmBroom has covered that.
posted by holgate at 12:16 PM on September 25, 2012

(Ah, OP is moving back to the US, so nix that. Go with the shoemakers.)
posted by holgate at 12:17 PM on September 25, 2012

Seconding a real, solid leather belt. I bought one, with a solid brass buckle over 20 years ago and it's still the one I always wear with my jeans or casual pants. It has developed quite a patina over the years but not a single crack or tear.
Another search term would be "harness leather belt".
posted by islander at 12:29 PM on September 25, 2012

Sid Mashburn's one inch (2.5 cm) bridle strap belt is excellent. I have one in black, one in dark brown, and share a single plaque buckle between them.
posted by Mendl at 12:42 PM on September 25, 2012

Came here to also mention the Duluth Trading Lifetime belt. I do wear it and after a few weeks where it was stiff, it quickly became my favorite belt. After 9 moths of wearing it constantly, it is holding up quite well.
posted by inviolable at 12:55 PM on September 25, 2012

An Amish-made leather belt.
posted by Xere at 2:56 PM on September 25, 2012

I bought a plain black belt with a plain silver buckle at Old Navy. I've been wearing it for about two years now with no cracking, folding, breaking, etc. I am completely satisfied.
posted by tacodave at 4:18 PM on September 25, 2012

My husband wears a Filson belt I bought him a decade ago.
posted by vespabelle at 7:40 PM on September 25, 2012

I need belts too, and after looking at some of the belts mentioned in this posting I ended up feeling that the lack of lifetime warranties made spending $50-$100 or more too risky. LL Bean has good warranties, but their belts don't get fantastic reviews. I did some further Googling and found some decent quality belts at good prices on Belts.com. They told me the Arcadia (100% full grain cowhide, no sewn tapered edges) is very durable (and the dark brown one (only) is cut right at their own facility in Anaheim) and it has interchangeable buckles, so I bought one and it seems OK (of course time will tell whether it's durable, but for $27.95 and free shipping on special promo this week, it seems worth the risk - plus for the ones they cut here they can customize the hole spacing, such as smaller distances between holes or just 7 holes instead of 5). I emailed Miguel Bellido in Spain (mentioned by another respondent here) and they said their belts are sold in the US at, surprisingly, T.J.Maxx, so I'm going to see if I can find those too. Anyway just wanted to post this information before the question closes in case it's useful to future readers of this topic.
posted by Dansaman at 10:10 AM on October 5, 2012

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