Best leather men's belt for under $100?
December 6, 2013 3:12 AM   Subscribe

I need suggestions for a durable leather men's belt under $100. My dad is one of those difficult to shop for people because he buys what he needs or wants himself. Last night, he mentioned that he did need a new belt. He also said that he had already replaced his belt once this year, but they always seemed to crack & need replacing often. He wears a separate belt to work, so this would just be for time off.

He's very active outside of work, often doing home repair or yard work projects. Normally I get him one of those reversible black/brown belts, which are fairly inexpensive. Last year I got him a leather belt from Costco.

I'd like to get him something higher quality this year - any suggestions?
posted by needlegrrl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I bought this about two months ago. Heavy, thick leather and does seem like it will last for a long time.

The store has a very good return policy, as well.
posted by dforemsky at 3:33 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you have a marketplace near you, with stalls up one or more days per week? I'm not sure about in the US, but in the UK it's quite common to find a leatherwork stall at such a place, and I've bought several very good belts from these kind of guys in the past.

Because it's usually one guy, hand-making them (while he sits there on the stall a lot of the time) they're made with care, and in my experience it really shows.
posted by greenish at 3:35 AM on December 6, 2013


I can't recommend a particular model because the store where I got mine was a local bricks & mortar store that has since gone out of business, but it's just a single strip of cowhide, smooth on one side and rough on the other, with no decorative stitching or tooling. I've been wearing it daily for at least 10 years. The reversible black/brown belts are for the office or for going to church, not for working on the house or yard.
posted by jon1270 at 3:45 AM on December 6, 2013


LL Bean? Although it doesn't look like this model is the same as when I last bought it 25 years ago (they used to have solid brass buckles).
posted by mr vino at 3:49 AM on December 6, 2013


It is pretty difficult to go wrong with Filson. If my grandmother is to be believed, my grandfather had his for upwards of 50 years.
posted by Mizu at 5:01 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've heard a LOT of recommendations for Orion Leather Belts
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:03 AM on December 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Red Wing Shoes also makes belts as high quality as their shoes. Their store finder lists a number of locations in/near your city (both company stores and resellers).
posted by SirNovember at 5:17 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seconding Filson. Mine's only a year old (I have the 1 1/4" standard belt in brown/stainless steel) but looks new and is clearly going to last far longer than any other belt I've owned. As a bonus, it's also made in the USA, and I believe in-house by Filson to boot.
posted by The Michael The at 5:20 AM on December 6, 2013


Saddleback Leather?
posted by supercres at 5:27 AM on December 6, 2013


Narragansett Leather's belts are handmade, very reasonably priced, and beautiful. You might not be able to get one in time for Xmas though.
posted by neroli at 5:28 AM on December 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Gfeller for mid-price, Klein Tools for cheap, Filson for spendy.

I just got a Corter Leather belt that seems very nice, but it's too soon to tell--check back with me in five or ten years.
posted by box at 6:07 AM on December 6, 2013


One Star Leather (they're on Etsy) made my favorite wallet ever, and they also make belts. One more to consider.
posted by box at 6:09 AM on December 6, 2013


Billykirk makes beautiful, top-quality leather belts and they are just in your price range! Made in USA and if you get a Natural colored one, it will darken with wear and age to create a unique patina.
posted by doomtop at 6:12 AM on December 6, 2013


I plan to get my next belt from Filson. Their double belt looks really tough. I have one of their bags, and the leather straps are holding up great after 2 years of daily use.

I have Duluth Trading's Gets Better with Age belt. I wore it very frequently, and after 2 years all of the stitching frayed. The belt split into three layers. I don't wear it currently, but one of these days I might see if a cobbler could restitch it. The leather looks great, but I don't know if it's normal to have to get a belt restitched.
posted by ohjonboy at 6:36 AM on December 6, 2013


Everlane has this classic yet modern belt, made in San Fransicso for $45.
posted by rada at 7:27 AM on December 6, 2013


Seconding Orion - I've bought two belts from them (one brown and one black) in the past six months and both are excellent.

Right now, they've got two deals (coupon code Christmas2013 for 15% off a $75 or more order) and (coupon code FreeShipDecember for free shipping). Both can be used at the same time.

/not an Orion employee, just a satisfied customer!
posted by Twicketface at 8:02 AM on December 6, 2013


It sounds cheesy as hell, but I have heard good things about belts.com
posted by yclipse at 9:42 AM on December 6, 2013


No idea if they're any good, but Mission Belt was on Shark Tank awhile ago. I'm intrigued by the 'no holes' idea, since that seems to be where my belts go bad.
posted by Bron at 1:16 PM on December 6, 2013


Dappered recommends the Gap basic leather belt.
posted by cnc at 3:08 PM on December 6, 2013


Quillin's in Kentucky makes belts. I haven't seen any of their items in person but their horse halters are considered some of the best. I have seen Billykirk's and think they are overpriced for the level of finish (edges, mostly) but they do have great design.
posted by sepviva at 4:09 PM on December 6, 2013


The consensus seems to be that belts fail first at the stitching. If you want a forever belt, it may be best to pick one without that feature.
posted by box at 6:13 PM on December 6, 2013


I bought a full grain belt on Belts.com because I figured it would hold up well (since no stitches) and it has. They have a huge selection and are helpful if you call them for advice.
posted by Dansaman at 9:18 PM on December 6, 2013


Red Wing Shoes also makes belts as high quality as their shoes.

Listen to this person.

Google will find a bunch of overpriced "heritage" belts by then, but their regular plain jane belts(which look quite nice) are around $35 with tax.

They're higher quality than nordstroms or coach by a lot, and just as good as any properly nice belt i've ever seen or tried on.

I just don't see what the more expensive ones bring to the table over those. They're nearly identical to the filsons and a lot of MUCH more expensive ones and made out of truly great leather for just... less money.

When my grandpas nordstroms belt finally gives out i'm gonna buy one. Every time i'm at the boot shop i try one on again, and realize that i just can't justify the cost when my old one is still holding up my pants fine... but they just FEEL nice, right up there with the most expensive.
posted by emptythought at 9:18 PM on December 6, 2013


Once again: the difference between a good belt, and one that cracks or splits, is simply IS IT MADE OF WHOLE LEATHER?

95% of the under-$25 belts in the world are either leather amalgams ("contains leather", "part leather", etc - think plywood instead of lumber) or cloth (which is obvious).

A genuine leather product, without addons (like decorative lacing along the length), will last. Period.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:09 AM on December 9, 2013


The consensus seems to be that belts fail first at the stitching. If you want a forever belt, it may be best to pick one without that feature.

So with this in mind I went and checked out my above-mentioned Filson, and wouldn't you know that there's not a stitch on the thing... just a couple of big ol' rivets holding the buckle on.
posted by The Michael The at 7:05 PM on December 9, 2013


I went with Orion - my dad loved it. Now that he likes the brown one, I'll order him a black as well. (They were very helpful on the size when I emailed them.)

I have a Filson bag, and it seems indestructible. I love it. I almost went with them, and I also almost went to Red Wing.

Narragansett Leather will likely get an order from me, but for me or Mr. N!

Thank you so much for all the great suggestions.
posted by needlegrrl at 8:09 AM on January 6, 2014


The Michael The: "The consensus seems to be that belts fail first at the stitching. If you want a forever belt, it may be best to pick one without that feature.

So with this in mind I went and checked out my above-mentioned Filson, and wouldn't you know that there's not a stitch on the thing... just a couple of big ol' rivets holding the buckle on.
"

The stitching is usually an indicator that the belt is not solid leather, but a leatherlike material that is far inferior.

Decorative stitching on a solid leather belt is harmless.

The only way to hold the faux-leather materials together without stitching is to heat-seal them at the edges, typically resulting in a V-shaped edge - so avoid belts that don't have thick ]-shaped or U-shaped edges (where the U-shape is simply bevelling).

Once again: it's not about brands; it's about the material used. Leather belts last - at least as long as the animal's lifetime!
posted by IAmBroom at 8:32 AM on January 6, 2014


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