We often get asked "Which is better? A 2 ply or single ply belt?" Let's delve in and talk about this a bit.
What's the difference between a 2 layer and single layer belt?
This is pretty much just as it sounds. A single ply or single layer belt is one solid piece of Full-grain leather. A Two-ply or Two layer belt is Two pieces of leather stitched and bonded together. Both methods of construction can make great belts so now I'll explain why you may want one over the other and also why Two layer belts are much more common.
Why there are more Two layer belts than single layer belts?
Simply because the thicker hides are much more expensive and harder to come by. If you want a 16 oz belt it is much easier to find two 8 oz pieces of leather and laminate them than it is to find a hide that is a 16 oz weight. Thin hides are easy to find...thick hides not so much.
Hanks Solid Leather 17 - 18 oz belts on the hide they are cut from
Pay attention when buying Two Layer belts.
You have to be very careful when shopping for Two-ply belts. With 2 ply construction, they can easily take cheap leather cuts, laminate them together, and create a belt that feels pretty good...until you use it. Then you will find out it is garbage after a couple weeks. Some even put fillers in between to give the belt thickness. So you have to exercise a bit more diligence when buying Two-ply belts. Generally, stick with USA Made belts from reputable companies and you will be fine.
This is a cheap 2 layer Department Store belt. Plastic back and delamination occur within months due to processed leather being used.
Which one is better?
One really isn't better than the other but each has their own benefits and some things just are not possible with a single layer belt.
Some pros of single layer belts:
Single layer belts are simpler to build. This makes results in lower labor cost but is usually offset by the higher leather cost.
Single layer belts also have less to go wrong with them. No worries of layers separating, though a properly built 2 layer belt seldom does.
Single layer belts show all the great characteristics of quality Full Grain Leather. Since the backs are exposed you can see and feel the ruggedness of the hides. As you hold the belt you can feel the ruggedness and strength that only full grain leather can bring to the table.
Less is more...single layer belts are simple, clean, and just do their job. Rustic and simple nothing is like a solid strap cut right from the hide.
Some pros of Two Layer Belts
With a two layer belt, you can sandwich reinforcements between the layers resulting in a super rugged belt just not possible with single layer belts. Our Kydex reinforced and Steel core belts are an example of this. These belts are super rugged for carrying heavy firearms and gear and for the toughest belt they are the way to go.
Utilizing Two layer construction you can also create gorgeous belts with backs as nice as the front. These are great for dress wear and also reduce friction allowing the belt to slide on more delicate fabrics. Our Highland belt is a great example. The Sunset oil tanned back is simply gorgeous.
You can create weights with Two layer construction just not possible with a single layer as hides just don't come that thick or are very rare. Our Premier Double Leather Belt shows this off. Coming in at 18 oz it results in a super heavy duty belt.
With Single Layer belts, you get some variances in belt thickness due to the hides not being equal the entire length. With a two layer belt, you can level the layers off and create belts that are an exact thickness.
Just ask us and we will help you get the right belt for your needs! We don't want you to have a belt that isn't heavy enough for your intended use but we also don't want you to spend more than you need.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and just reach out to us through any of the communication methods below and we will help you right out!
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If you are using your belt to carry a firearm
BUY 2 SIZES LARGER THAN PANT SIZE:
EX: 36 PANTS...BUY 40 BELT
For use without carrying items on the belt.
BUY 1 SIZE LARGER THAN PANT SIZE:
EX: 36 PANTS...BUY 38 BELT
THIS RESULTS IN A GREAT FIT OVER 95% OF THE TIME.
100% PERFECT FIT:
MEASURE A BELT YOU ARE CURRENTLY WEARING
This is super easy to do, only takes a few minutes, and virtually guarantees a perfect fit. Just follow the below instructions and make sure the belt you measure fits you well the way you will be using it with any gear attached.
Lay out your belt on a smooth flat surface. It is probably slightly curved but don't worry about that. Just measure through the curve.
Place a tape measure where the buckle meets the leather (do not include buckle length in measurement) and measure, in inches, to the hole you currently use to buckle your belt:
Scroll down to the description on the page and click on the tab that says "Additional
Sizing Help" (on mobile phones scroll down under the description, and you will see the
Now scroll down to the belt sizing chart and match the measurement you got above with the number in the "Measurement to the 4th Hole" column in the chart.
If you are between measurements, size up one unless you plan on losing weight in which case you should size down one.
For example, if you measured 37" to the hole you currently use you should purchase a 38" belt size. If you measured 38" you should purchase a 40" belt size.
Note that our belts are made by hand and variances in measurements can occur. Variances are slight, though, and will not affect the sizing.
That's it! Select your size, double check it is correct on the add to cart button, and add to cart.
And just to be safe, Hanks Belts offers free exchanges if needed, so you never have to worry about additional cost if you do order an incorrect size.