We interviewed 100s of men and they pretty much all wanted to be buying durable belts. When we started to research belts we found an overwhelming array of information and disinformation. This guide is to help people looking to buy a durable belt know what to look for and what to avoid.
When we talk about durability we mean a belt that will last at least a decade but hopefully 20+ years with normal use and proper care
Durable belts use durable materials
There is simply no way around this. If the underlying materials aren't durable then the belt won't be.
The choice of materials will vary based on the style of belt so we've created this handy table based on the style of belt you're considering
|Belt Style||Look for||Avoid|
|Traditional Frame Belt or Dress Belt||
Full Grain Leather
Top Grain Leather
Any other form of leather description
- genuine leather
- real leather
- 100% leather
Any other form of metal description
- XYZ plated
- XYZ coated
Plastics that not specifically described as highly durable
In short, if you're buying a leather belt, it has to be full grain leather or top grain leather. The buckle should be made of a solid, hard metal. Stainless steel is the obvious choice but Brass or Titanium also fine. If you're buying a non-leather belt it should be from military grade Nylon webbing.
Durable belts use long lasting mechanisms
A belt is ultimately just two things
- A fastener
- A strap
The mechanism by which these things are attached and can be taken on or off has a huge impact on their durability.
Our guiding principal is 'if it moves, it breaks'.
Traditional frame buckle
Traditional frame buckles have a minimum of moving parts and if the frame is engineered well and made with durable materials like stainless steel it can outlast anything.
The best example of this we have seen is the Mack Buckle
Dress belt buckle
Dress belts have a different set of challenges when it comes to mechanism as people are drawn to buying a dress belt that gives them the option of having different strap colours with the same belt. This has led to a variety of mechanisms including
Reversible; a buckle that swivels to allow both sides of the strap to be used. The challenge with these is both the mechanism is fine and not typically durable and the two leather straps are bonded so the glue breaks down.
Teeth; a buckle that essentially bites one end of the leather strap and closes. These lose their grip on the leather or simply don't close properly over time.
Neither of these approaches are at all durable.
YOKU specifically pioneered its belt buckle to create a durable belt in the dress belt category. It has no moving parts and is made with a single piece of solid stainless steel. Its patented design allows any YOKU strap to be swapped in without resorting to teeth and movement, both of which are not going to last.
6 Point Checklist of things to avoid when buying durable belts
Now that you know what to look for here is the 6 things to avoid
- Buckles not made from stainless steel, titanium or brass
- Leather not specifically described as Full Grain Leather or Top Grain Leather
- Plated anything (metal on metal degrades)
- 'Genuine' or 'Real' anything (this is often used to describe leather this is leather but can't legally be called Full Grain)
- Moving parts, unless it comes with some form of durability guarantee
- Any brand that doesn't talk about how durable their belts are