Best Full Grain Leather Belt
Today we’re counting down our picks for the best full grain leather belt.
Every man could benefit from owning a quality leather belt, as it can elevate his style and finish off a look with elegance.
However, there’s a big gap in quality between a bog standard leather belt which is designed to be worn day in and day out, and a high quality top grain leather belt which lets people know you mean business.
The full grain leather belt can be seen as a secret weapon in your arsenal; a way of bringing any look together and ensuring you leave the house with great style and swagger.
Let’s dive into our top picks for men’s full grain leather belts. Here they are…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Picks for Best Full Grain Leather Belt
- Best of the Best: Red Wing Heritage Belt
- Runner Up: Allen-Edmonds Manistee
- Best on a Budget: Journeyman Leather Belt
Best Full Grain Leather Belt Reviews
Red Wing Heritage Belt (👑 Best of the Best)
We believe that the best full grain leather belt is the Red Wing Heritage belt.
This simple yet elegant belt is handcrafted from 100% full grain leather, and would work perfectly with jeans and dress trousers alike. However it may be slightly more suited to casual or everyday use given the softer material. The belt comes in 5 classic colors, each befitting of the premium label, and each offering up a different flavor. There’s the traditional brown leather aesthetic with the Hawthorne Muleskinner shade, as well as a bold Oro Russet Pioneer version which boasts a striking red finish, as well as the timeless black option. There are many size options available too, so you can pick the one which fits you best.
The belt is slender, and finished off with a sleek solid brass buckle. This is one of those belts which says a lot without being ostentatious. It sports a minimalist style, yet it can provide plenty of character to any outfit. Its slim design means it should feed through belt loops on just about any pair of pants or jeans easily enough, and it won’t be unsightly with a bulky appearance around your waist. Red Wing added vegetable retainage to this chrome tanned leather belt in order to ensure optimal durability and strength, so it should last you anywhere up to a lifetime.
The thickness of the belt also contributes significantly to its robust character, and you aren’t likely to have issues with the material fraying or falling apart. Despite the dense 1.5 inch thickness, the belt is flexible enough to manipulate easily enough. Some previous users have gone as far as to say that this makes an excellent everyday belt, even for construction workers, due to its outstanding durability.
- Full grain chrome tanned leather
- Available in 5 colors
- Various sizes
- Hand burnished leather edges
- Brass buckle
- 1.5 inches wide
Allen-Edmonds Manistee (🥈 Runner Up)
Our runner up pick for the best full grain leather belt has to be the Allen-Edmonds Manistee.
This is a more traditional belt which has a more rigid design that makes it more resilient in various weather conditions, and a great pick for formal use. It comes in the 2 best colors for men’s accessories: black and walnut. Since the majority of formal wear like suits will work well with either black or walnut, you should be satisfied with either color, as they are both exceptionally versatile options.
The Allen-Edmonds Manistee belt has a unique style, with brogue perforations forming a uniform pattern around the leather, and giving it a refined touch. This combines well with the polished silver-tone buckle, which adds a touch of class and elegance to the belt. With a thickness of 1 ⅜ inches, this leather belt will feel light around your waist and will be easy to secure even around dress pants and more formal wear. Despite being thin, this belt will stand up to years of use, so if you’re looking to make a long-lasting investment in real quality then the Allen-Edmonds Manistee isn’t a bad option at all.
- Made from 100% full grain leather
- Available in black or walnut colors
- 1 ⅜ inches wide
- Various sizes
- Features brogue perforations and polished silver tone buckle
Journeyman Leather Belt (💰 Best on a Budget)
If you’re looking for quality at an affordable price, then something like the Journeyman leather belt from Main Street Forge should do the trick.
This budget-friendly belt is made from heavy duty full grain leather, believe it or not, so you can get a taste of premium quality without spending a fortune. The aptly named Journeyman belt is available in either black with a silver buckle, or brown with a silver buckle. Again, these are deemed to be 2 of the best classic colors for men’s fashion accessories and shoes, given that they are so versatile.
This is sold as a great everyday belt, which makes sense given the name the brand went for. What makes it so suitable for use as an everyday belt is primarily the wide design, and the durability provided by the robust full grain leather. While the belt won’t necessarily win any prizes for being the best-looking option on the market, it still holds its own, and is a perfect belt to rely on for everyday use. However, with that being said, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use this belt for more formal occasions or for work, given that it’s made from full grain leather and so gives off an impression of quality.
The belt is 1 ½ inches wide, which makes it almost impossible to split or break, which is a problem almost all of us have dealt with in the past. Plus, if you still have doubts about how durable a budget-friendly full grain leather belt can be, you’ll be pleased to know that Main Street Forge offers a lifetime warranty with every purchase.
- Available in black or brown
- Silver buckle
- Full grain leather
- Lifetime warranty
- 1 ½ inches wide
- Various sizes
It isn’t easy to find the perfect belt, since many of us are looking for something which can both stand up to the test of time, but also look like a quality fashion accessory.
That’s before you even take into account matters such as the design and style of the belt, as well as the color.
Plus, there’s additional factors to consider that you may not initially think about such as the suitability of the belt in casual and formal settings.
As a result, in this guide we’ve compiled what we believe are the most important factors to consider before investing in a full grain leather belt.
We hope that you can use this information to aid you in your search and help you to make the most informed decision possible factoring in your budget and personal preferences.
Why Full Grain Leather?
First, before we delve into the characteristics and features of belts, we’re going to outline the reasons why we believe that it’s worth investing in full grain leather over the other types out there.
In order to do so, let’s take a look at what the different types of leather are, so that we can get a clear idea of where full or top grain leather fits in.
Starting with the lowest quality leather, bonded leather is made up of hide leftovers.
As you can imagine, this doesn’t make for the fine finish you expect with top quality leather belts, especially once the material is bonded together with a synthetic material such as polyurethane.
Ideally, you don’t want any synthetic materials used for your leather belt if possible, since they can detract from the premium quality look and feel to the belt.
You’re unlikely to impress anyone with this type of leather belt, but the plus side is you can get hold of a bonded leather belt for a very reasonable price.
The next type of leather is referred to as split or corrected grain in the business, but as the consumer you’ll normally see it labelled as genuine leather.
Don’t be fooled by this marketing trick though, as although it may sound like genuine leather means it’s the real deal, this type of leather is sanded and embossed which takes away some of the authenticity of the hide.
Having said that, genuine leather isn’t a bad option at all, and it’s certainly a lot better than bonded leather.
While at times top and full grain leather are terms which are used interchangeably, top grain leather offers slightly less quality than full grain leather.
With top grain leather, the manufacturer sands down the hide to get rid of some of the imperfections, and can even stain the material for a different look.
If you see a suede belt, then it’s top grain leather.
Top grain leather isn’t a bad choice at all for a belt, but again, if you’re looking for the best of the best then it’s worth splashing out on full grain leather.
Full grain leather is the real deal when it comes to leather goods.
This type of leather is made from the top layer of hide, and doesn’t try to hide any of the imperfections through sanding or staining.
That means you’re getting the authentic virtually untouched hide, which means you get that quality which is so sought after in high quality leather – the changing of appearance over time.
With full grain leather you can feel it adapt to your body over time as a result of the body oils that seep into it, which is the sign of true quality as far as most people are concerned.
Of course, one of the most important factors for any belts is that it fits you well.
A common misconception regarding belts is that they need to be the same size as your jeans or dress pants.
The reality is, you need to find a belt that is an inch or 2 longer than your waist size.
This is because the belt is going to go around the jeans that are around your waist, so it’s going to need a little bit extra for the perfect fit.
It’s always worth consulting the product page before you buy too, since they will often provide guidance on how many inches to add to your waist size to get the right belt.
Formal vs Casual
While you might not agree with it, there are certain customs around what is considered to be a belt that’s suitable for formal use versus one which is apt for casual use.
As a result, if you want to avoid ridicule and fashion faux pas, then it’s worth getting familiar with what type of belt you’re looking for.
There are a few broad rules regarding casual and formal belts, so we’ll briefly go through them to give you an idea of what you might be looking for.
A belt fit for formal use is generally considered to be one which will go well with dress pants and formal shoes.
A good rule of thumb to bear in mind if you’re looking for a formal full grain leather belt is that ideally the belt strap should match the color of your shoes and other accessories such as a watch or ring. This means that black and brown will likely be your go to colors for a formal belt.
In terms of strap width, the formal belt is usually quite thin, with 1-1.5 inches being a good range to stick within.
Generally, the formal belt will be more slender than a casual belt, and can show character in the form of exotic animal hides and fancy patterns through perforation or other means.
The casual belt is the one you want to wear on a daily basis, or one that you wouldn’t be afraid to wear with a pair of jeans or at work.
Full grain leather, while at times expensive, is one of the best materials for an everyday or work belt since it offers outstanding durability.
The casual belt will tend to have a wider strap, with an acceptable range being between 1.5 and 1.75 inches.
It will also look and feel more sturdy and rugged, likely with a larger buckle too, since in many cases it will be a belt that can stand up to the rigors of everyday life.
With a casual belt you can be more experimental with both the buckle style and the color of the belt, since you aren’t necessarily looking to make an impression on those around you.
Type of Buckle
The type of buckle fitted to the belt perhaps isn’t the most important factor, but it will have a significant impact on the style of the belt.
When it comes to formal belts, you are quite limited when it comes to buckles, given that the most prominent style is the frame buckle in which the strap is fed through the frame and the prong through holes in the strap
However, the casual option offers up a lot more potential to get experimental with buckle types.
Here are some of the most popular types of belt buckles you might come across.
As we’ve already mentioned, the frame style is the most common type of belt buckle used for formal belts.
This buckle is usually quite thick, and is what most people think of when they imagine a belt buckle.
It’s the classic buckle which requires the wearer to feed the strap through a frame and find the right hole for the prong in order to get the most comfortable fit.
The box frame belt buckle is a style which can be used in either formal or casual belts.
It features a hollow metal frame which removes the need for holes in the strap, which can make for a clean aesthetic.
The box has a mechanism which allows the buckle to be fastened easily and quickly.
The plate style buckle is a bold choice for those looking to make a statement with their style.
The plate will typically be detachable, and can have anything from text on it to imagery.
It’s a real conversation-starter so worth considering if you’re looking for a great icebreaker for your next party.
There are 2 main types of ring buckle: O and D.
They are named after the shape they adopt, so it should be easy enough to picture what they look like.
This design requires the wearer to feed the strap through the ring, although it isn’t all too common with leather belts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Leather Belts
What is a full grain leather belt?
A full grain leather belt is quite simply the best quality belt money can buy, if leather is your preferred material.
Full grain leather refers to the highest tier of leather which can be used for everything from wallets to belts, and as a result a belt of this material will last an exceptionally long time.
The hides used for full grain leather are left alone, which means you get the coarseness and all of the imperfections which makes leather feel 100% authentic.
What type of leather is best for belts?
In terms of quality, no type of leather can compare with full grain.
With that said, the best leather belt for you will depend largely on your budget and preferences, since you may be fine with just a robust everyday belt rather than a premium dress belt.
But it is widely accepted that full or top grain leather is most commonly used in the best belts.
How much does a real leather belt cost?
The price for a real leather belt is going to be a lot more than that of a low quality treated leather alternative.
Generally, while you can spend as little as $15 for a standard leather belt, you can expect to pay up to $100 or more for a real leather belt.
Quality often doesn’t come cheap, so if you want the very best leather for your belt, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper into your pocket.
How can you tell a quality leather belt?
The first way to tell if you’re looking at a quality leather belt is to find out what type of leather is used.
You can do this by checking the product description page or if you have the belt in front of you, by checking the label.
In terms of how a quality leather belt should look and feel, it should have a coarse texture and sport imperfections, as this is a sign of untouched full grain leather.
A Final Word From The Trending Man
Every man could do with a high quality full grain leather belt in his wardrobe, either to elevate his everyday style or to bring out for those occasions where formal attire is required.
A full grain leather belt is one of the best fashion accessories a man can get, and it can compliment an outfit well, giving the impression that you know what you’re doing when it comes to style.