If you are looking for a high-quality leather belt, you will want to make sure to look for a belt that is made from full-grain leather. This type of leather is the most expensive but also the highest quality.
In addition, it is durable and has a natural look and feel. You should also look for a metal buckle or strap closure belt. This type of closure is more durable than a buckle that is made from plastic.
There are many reasons why quality leather belts are greatly sought-after. For one, they are durable, classy, and stylish. And their fiber is made of essential material making them resistant to wear, folding, and stretching.
Unfortunately, many similar replications of these materials are branded as quality leather in the market. And they are sold at insanely cut-rate prices. These products are of low quality but are constantly being marketed to consumers as “pure leather belts.”
If you’re looking for a belt that will last, then a high-quality leather belt is a must-have, and it is important to learn how to identify good quality leather belts from imitations. Here are six tips to help you identify high-quality leather belts from imitations.
6 Ways to Identify High-Quality Leather Belts
To note the difference between a high-quality leather belt and a fake, you should master some great attributes of high-quality leather belts. Below are these attributes and six ways to identify them:
1. Pay Attention to the Belt Trademark
It’s typical for most manufacturers to conceal their belts and trademark them as actual leather. But, unfortunately, they’re often not good-quality leather belts.
Understand that high-quality leather belts are trademarked as “genuine leather,” “top grain leather,” or “full-grain leather.” Anything different from this is a low-quality leather belt. To quickly identify low-quality leather belts, look out for labels such as:
- Polyurethane leather
- Faux leather
- Synthetic leather
- And artificial leather
Having any of these trademarks tagged to belts means they’re not genuine leather. While there’s nothing wrong with them, know that their attributes are different from real leather, and chances are — they won’t last as long as the actual leather material.
2. Observe the Smell
Good quality leather belts have a unique smell and usually smell earthy, rich, and organic. On the flip side, fake leather belts have a plastic smell — like a chemical aroma because they’re synthetically made.
To note the smell of high-quality leather belts, you can learn first by using other leather-made products like bags or even shoes. Then, you can visit a genuine leather store and ask to smell their products. If they sell synthetic materials, smell them too and note the difference.
With the smell difference you’ve noted, you should be able to identify a high-quality leather belt from a fake one. Remember, leather is of animal skin, so the smell is always natural.
3. Test With Some Drops of Water
When you drop water on the surface of fake leather material, the water never gets absorbed. But by trying the same technique on a leather material, you’ll notice how quickly leather soaks up the water. This proves it’s genuine.
So if you’re buying a leather belt, test for its quality with some drops of water.
Note: Be careful not to over-drop water on the leather. It takes only a second for genuine leather to take up water. So pay attention when using this method; else, you might ruin the belt.
4. Observe the Texture and Feel
High-quality leather belts are naturally lustrous and come in various textures. For example, most pebble-grain leathers are bold. If you run your hands over them, you’ll feel noticeable grains.
For some surfaces, the material is smooth and lacks visible texture. A good example here is Lazzaro Men’s Leather Belt from EKOńeu. It’s a high-quality leather belt made from calfskin that feels smooth and clean when you run your hands over it.
On the contrary, some flat leather surfaces feel smooth with visible grains. The central thing here is to note that most good-quality leather belts are made from different animal skins. Thus, the piece will feel unique depending on the type of animal skin the belt was made from.
5. Look For Patina
Patina is one of the unique attributes of leather; it is usually formed after the leather has been subjected to various stretching and friction. The more the folding, the more the appearance of the patina.
For example, when you feel full-grain leather belts, you’ll notice visible imperfections on the surface. These imperfections are usually little pores and pebbles formed from creasing and folding. But, more importantly, the little pores and pebbles make them unique.
When identifying a high-quality leather belt, you should try pressing or creasing, revealing wrinkles and new lines. If you crease the material and there are no new lines, or perhaps they retain toughness, know that those are synthetic materials.
6. Pay Attention to Prices
Generally, synthetic materials are usually cheap compared to real leather. And interestingly, they even sell at lower prices when you check around different stores.
For real leather, their prices are fixed. Plus, they’re quite pricey. So when looking to buy good-quality leather belts, shop around and find out what prices they sell for.
In most cases, the prices will fall within the same range. Otherwise, there may be little difference, usually because of the animal skin type used in producing the belt. However, it is worth noting that belt materials made from cowhide are always more expensive than other animal skin types.
High-Quality Leather Materials You Should Know
Now you know what attributes to look for in leather belts, here are some leather materials you should also know:
1. Full-Grain Leather
This leather material has the best quality and comes from the uppermost layer of the cowhide. It has long-lasting attributes and, over time, forms a patina that makes it appear lustrous. Leather belts made with full-grain leather have this natural imperfection and unique luster.
2. Genuine Leather
Genuine leather, also known as corrected grain leather, is made by removing two uppermost layers of the cowhide. As a result, they’re usually stiff in texture and more affordable than full-grain leather.
3. Top Grain Leather
This leather material has high durability and closely packed fibers that come from the outer grain of the cowhide. The texture feels smooth and uniform. Although it’s fairly thinner than full-grain leather, when used in making belts, it gives a flawless surface.