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April 30, 2021 3 min read

Even the manliest of men sometimes have questions in life, whether they like to admit it or not.

And one of, if not the most important question, that men ask is....

 

“What type of Leather Belt should I buy?”.

 

This typically comes before “how to chop wood with my bare hands”..

 

And after, “how to sneak up on a bear”.

 

All extremely important questions, but today we’ll be focusing on the one about leather belts.

 

Sometimes trying to figure out if that belt is “real” leather or not is harder than actually sneaking up on a bear.

 

Let’s break it down from the beginning.

 

Leather is animal skin, or rawhide, if you want a word that doesn’t make you cringe, typically made from Cows.

 

That rawhide is then “split” into layers to produce different types of leather.

 

Why is it split? Because, unlike your overly sensitive friend that gets offended by your hilarious jokes, cows have really thick skin.

 

 

You could argue until the sun goes down what these layers actually are, but we break them down into 3 distinct layers with a 4th “kinda” layer.

Layer 1 -
Full Grain Leather

This is the top of the hide and therefore the strongest type of leather. If that animal ever got in a knife fight though, you’d see the scars from it in that belt.

Layer 2 -
Top Grain Leather

This is the layer of hide just below the top, full grain layer. Still extremely tough, but also more uniform since it wasn’t directly exposed to the elements it’s entire life like your leather-skinned Aunt Debra.

Layer 3 -
Split Grain Leather

This is the more fibrous layer of the hide, below the top grain layer, and usually has an artificial coating applied and embossed giving it a truer leather look. But yes, this is still real leather.

Layer 4 -
Bonded Leather

Bonded Leather. This is the "kinda" layer. This is the leftover scraps and leather dust that’s blended to a pulp and then mixed with bonding agents to create a leather look and feel. Yep, it’s weird. Like the Frankenstein of leathers, if his body parts were first put in a blender and then glued back together.

 

The order of leather layers directly correlates with the level of quality of each layer.

The higher the layer the longer that leather is going to last, and the better it’s going to wear.

 

Which is why that top or full grain leather couch still looks awesome after 10 years, and that bonded leather couch looks like garbage after 10 minutes.

 

Ever heard the term “Genuine Leather” and thought, what the heck does that mean?

 

Technically anything in layers 1-3 is “Genuine Leather”, but the term is most commonly used for Layer 3, Split Grain leather.

 

If the product you’re looking at is Full Grain or Top Grain leather it’ll say-so somewhere on the product or packaging.  

 

What about Vegan leather?

 

If Bonded leather was birthed by a Cow Dad and a Chemist Mom, Vegan leather would have two Chemist Parents.

 

There’s not a trace of animal products in “Vegan Leather”. Instead, it’s created 100% in a lab using different kinds of man made materials and chemicals.

 

So, now that we understand the different types of men’s leather belt options..

 

Let’s get back to the original question of
“What type of leather belt should I buy?”

We’d recommend buying anything in Layers 1-3.

 

We sell both Top Grain Leather Belts and Split Grain Leather Belts and both hold up incredibly well.

 

I switch off between a top grain and split grain leather belt every single day, and my split grain is 3 years old now and still looks and works awesome.

 

In fact, our belts hold up much better than traditional leather belts because of the track system they use.

 

Not sure what I mean?

 

Check it out here.

 

Obviously the higher quality the leather the more you’ll typically pay, but sticking with anything from Full Grain to Split Grain will provide you with a high quality product that will hold up to your manly standards.

 

While we still don’t know the secret to chopping wood with your bare hands, we hope this article has helped you answer the vitally important question of “What type of leather belt should I buy?”.


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