Why full grain leather belts are the only sustainable option
Full grain leather belts are the best option for anyone who wants to make a truly sustainable purchasing decision when they buy their men’s belt. To understand why we firstly need to consider the conditions a belt is subjected to when worn on a daily basis
What your belt goes through every time you wear it
A key redeeming feature of a well designed belt is that it can be worn pretty much every day. Wearing the same belt every day means it’s subjected to a full range of conditions, the same thing you are. These include
- Heat, anywhere from -20 degrees to 40 degrees
- Moisture, humidity and even getting completely wet
- Dryness, when its so dry that the belt loses moisture to the environment
- Shear forces, sideways movements say from putting it on
- Tensile force, movement or the ongoing tension from simply having it on
- Sun, direct sunlight and UV ray
Put simply, if you wear your belt every day out there in the world it’s going to be under gruelling conditions.
You’re only a strong as your weakest link
When building a product for tough conditions the weakest part will let you down first and once it does the rest of the product’s durability is for nothing.
A belt has 3 parts.
- The buckle
- The strap
- The mechanism that enables the buckle and strap to interact
Whilst some mechanisms are not at all durable the most common buckle (a frame buckle ) when made from even cheap metal is unlikely to break over even a few decades.
The weakest link in a belt is invariably the strap and why full grain leather belts are the key to a long lasting belt.
Durability, sustainability and full grain leather belts
No matter how sustainable you produce the materials that go into a product if you are using materials at all you are using finite resources. Sustainable fashion that uses materials that are sourced, grown or treated in environmentally friendly ways are more sustainable than not doing this but ultimately if you can make a product last longer and be bought less often this will be more sustainable.
This is the reason why full grain leather belts are critical to being sustainable.
In other posts we do a deep dive into all the various types of leather but the headline is that if you are making full grain leather belts they are going to last longer. The part of the hide that is used incorporates the outside of the cow that has been designed to endure elements for the entire life of the animal.
Full grain leather belts develop patinas
Full grain leather belts take on the daily conditions and actually incorporate them over time. The leather itself develops a patina. As leather is exposed to the elements and is used, it begins to develop a unique, rich color and texture that is different from the original leather. The patina can darken, lighten, or change color depending on the type of leather, how it is used, and how it is cared for. It can also be defined as a sheen or luster on the surface of the leather that is caused by the oils and sweat from the skin, as well as exposure to sunlight, water, and other elements.
Patina is considered by many as a sign of authenticity and quality, as it is a mark of the leather having been worn and aged naturally. It also engenders a connection with the belt and the belt’s keeper, creating what is known as emotionally durability
There are a confusing number of terms thrown around when talking about the leather in a men’s belt. Most are used to make someone believe that an inferior or even non-genuine leather is something that it’s not. Ultimately full grain leather belts are more expensive when you first purchase them but assuming the rest of the belt is also made well then it is infinitely better for both your wallet and the environment if you make a full grain leather belt your only choice.