Best Men's Leather Belts

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

47 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
351 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best men’s leather belts

Last Updated November 2019

A smart leather belt can pull a man’s entire outfit together. Different outfits and occasions call for different style belts, so it’s important to choose a men’s leather belt — or belts — that suit your lifestyle and profession.

Well-made men’s leather belts aren’t necessarily expensive, and a genuine version can withstand decades of wear. A variety of leathers are used in belts, resulting in a wide range of styles, colors, and textures. In general, the color of your belt should match your shoes, and the metal of the buckle should match any metal that appears in the rest of your outfit, which is why most men own several different kinds of leather belts.

A formal belt is designed for professional wear and special occasions, while a casual belt is best for weekend or outdoor wear. Not only can the buckle impact how your belt closes, it also affects the overall style of the belt. Finding a properly sized belt that fits your waist and the belt loops of your pants is another important factor to keep in mind. Continue reading to learn more about the main things to consider when shopping for a leather belt that will last for years.

A belt can be an accent piece that completes a suit, or an accent piece to your casual outfit that draws attention.

Key considerations

Formal vs. casual

Leather belts can have an effect ranging from distinctive and formal to rugged and casual. Your belt should suit not only your personality but also your environment and the occasion.

  • Formal leather belts range in width from 1” to 1.5”, allowing them to fit through the loops of dress pants. The thinner the belt, the more formal it appears. The color of the leather, typically black or brown, should match any other leather you are wearing. Similarly, the metal of the buckle should match your other metals, like your cufflinks and tie clip.

  • Casual leather belts range from 1.5” to 1.75” and offer more variety in their color, patterns, and buckle styles. While formal belts should be simple, a casual belt can stand out, reflect your personal tastes.

Length and sizing

The size of a belt should be 1” to 2” longer than your waist size. When properly fitted, a dress belt should only leave a couple of inches of the strap past the buckle, allowing you to tuck the strap through the next belt loop. If you have too much strap left over, it may stick out awkwardly.

Stitching

When searching for a durable belt that you can wear for decades, look for tight stitching with no loose threads.

Type of leather

A variety of leathers are commonly used in belts. If you are looking for a formal belt, you don’t have to think too hard about which leather is right. Casual belts usually come in a wider range of leathers and colors.

Another thing to keep in mind that applies to various types of leather: full-grain leather is the most common grade of belt leather for good reason — it’s highly durable and works well with a matte or shiny finish. For a more rustic or casual look, top grain is a decent alternative, but it is usually less durable.

  • Cowhide is the most common type of leather when it comes to formal belts, and it looks great with a shiny finish. This is also a common leather in casual belts.

  • Calfskin is softer and more flexible than cowhide, making it a good secondary option for formal belts.

  • Tooled leather belts have been stamped (or “tooled”) to create a pattern, transforming the belt into an eye-catching statement piece that is best suited to casual outfits.

  • Braided leather offers a distinct look that has the advantage of being easily adjustable, as the prong can be put through any opening in the braid.

  • Suede is made from the underside of animal skin. With its fuzzy texture, it’s a good choice for a casual belt.

Buckle style

The buckle is the “centerpiece” of the belt, drawing the eye and standing out from the strap. Larger buckles are more distinctive but may not pair well with a formal or understated outfit.

  • Frame-style buckles are the most common choice for formal belts, but it may be found in casual belts as well. This style of buckle utilizes a prong-and-hole system.

  • Box frame buckles cinch belts without holes. The rectangular or square metal frame hinges, clamping down on the strap to hold it in place.

  • Plate-style belts sport a large metal plate, which may have a decorative style or image.

  • O-ring and d-ring buckles are typically used in straps without holes. Two rings hold the strap in place. Some o-ring and d-ring buckles may have prongs, but this is less common.
DID YOU KNOW?

The width of a belt affects not only how formal it looks, but also what belt loops it can fit into. Dress pants typically have smaller belt loops than jeans.

Men’s leather belt features

Once you’ve determined the occasion for which you need a belt, you should consider additional features like the color and the finish, which can contribute to its look as either an accent piece or a centerpiece.

Color

Black and brown are the most popular color choices for formal belts. Casual belts, however, are available in a wider range of colors. Lighter colors like tan and white make for a statement piece that can be the finishing touch on a summer outfit. Some belts may come in bolder colors like red or blue, or an understated gray. The color of your belt should always match or compliment your outfit, starting with your shoes.

Metal

The two most common buckle colors are silver and gold, both in formal and casual belts. While the metal of the buckle should match other metals you’re wearing, you don’t need to worry about matching your wedding band.

Reversible belts

Some belts, both casual and dress, may be reversible, hinging at the buckle so that they can be easily repurposed, depending on which side best matches your outfit. Black and brown is the most common combination. While reversible belts can be handy, they tend to be of lower construction quality and the color that’s supposed to hidden may show through or at the edges. Budget permitting, your best option is to purchase two belts of different colors.

Interchangeable buckles

While most buckles are stitched into the strap, some may connect with a clasp, allowing you to switch out one buckle for another. This is particularly useful when matching metals.

Patterns and other animal leathers

If you’re looking for an exotic statement piece, other animal leathers sometimes used in belts include snake, ostrich, alligator, and crocodile. These leathers are designed to stand out, making them best suited to casual occasions.

Finish

Leather belts usually have either a shiny or matte finish. A shiny finish is typical among dress belts, and shiner is usually better. Matte finishes lend a more rugged and natural look, making this the perfect choice for outdoor or summer wear.

EXPERT TIP

A dress belt is not a major investment, but if you choose wisely and find a well-constructed belt that fits in with your wardrobe, you may wear it for decades.


Staff  | BestReviews

Men’s leather belt prices

Inexpensive

Leather belts from $10 to $20 are usually casual in design, made from either full grain or top grain leather. Faux suede is another common material, and some belts in this range may be braided or tooled. Because of the lower quality leather, these belts may not be the most durable.

Mid-range

For $20 to $50, you’ll find belts ranging from casual to dress styles, with dress belts generally being more expensive. Many full grain belts are available in this range.

Expensive

High-end belts from $50 to $80 are typically dress belts, though some may be made of animal skins like ostrich and crocodile. You are often paying for the brand name in this range, as construction quality is not drastically improved from mid-range belts.

While many big names in men’s fashion make high quality leather belts, no one is likely to notice the brand of your belt. Leather quality and construction are more important than the brand name when looking for the right belt.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Your belt should be stored either rolled up in a drawer or hanging vertically in your closet.

  • Avoid poking a hole in a belt that doesn’t fit, as this can look sloppy. If you find yourself with a belt that’s too long or too short, you should return the belt and look for one that fits your size.

  • Given the choice between a belt that’s too long or too short, go short — you don’t want the extra strap a long belt leaves you with dangling.

  • Faux leather is typically the lowest available quality and should be avoided, particularly when shopping for a dress belt.

Other products we considered

Our top recommendations focus on leather dress belts, as these are the most popular option. However, a casual belt is an excellent tool to have in your wardrobe for outdoor and weekend wear.

If you’re looking for something colorful, the Belts Casual Jean Suede Leather Belt is available in a range of colors. This is a great belt if you want to give your outfit a pop of color, or to compliment warm summer tones.

For an alternative buckle belt that is easy to adjust, the Mio Marino Men’s Genuine Leather Ratchet Dress Belt is an affordable option, and it’s available in a range of colors. The ratchet buckle allows for small adjustments, making it easy to find the right fit, and the genuine leather makes this a better option for casual wear than formal wear.

If you want a more rustic look, the NPET Men’s Full-Grain Leather Dress Belt has a classic design that stands out with its three metal buttons. The leather quality is not the best, but customers love the vintage style of this simple belt.

Most men keep a selection of belts in different colors to suit a variety of occasions.

FAQ

Q. Is there a proper direction from which to put on a belt?
A.
Traditionally, the strap should be put through the loops on the left, so that the strap ends up on the left side of the buckle.

Q. How do you make an extra hole in a belt?
A.
If possible, this should be avoided. It’s better to return the belt and purchase a properly sized one. However, if you really want to make a hole in a belt, it should be done after careful measuring. Take note of the spacing of the other holes (it’s usually around an inch) and make an indentation where the new hole will go. Find a tool, like an awl or a nail, that matches the diameter of the other holes — then drive it through the top side of the belt to create the hole.

Q. How should leather belts be cared for?
A.
If your belt becomes dirty or stained, a damp cloth should be used to clean it. Dry areas can be treated with leather conditioner, just as with a pair of leather shoes.

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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