When looking at belts it is so easy to think you are getting a great belt when the truth of the matter is instead of getting Chicken Salad they are serving you Chicken S**t!
Let's dissect this belt I picked up at a major box store and let me show you all the things wrong with it.
1. MADE IN CHINA
Ok, so let's get the most obvious out of the way quickly. Made in China. I am convinced you could shop hundreds of Big Box stores and never find a USA Made belt. So we could stop right there and put it back on the rack and that would be reason enough to eliminate it. But there is so much more let's keep dissecting!
2. Genuine Leather
This is one that really confuses people. Genuine Leather?? What the hell is genuine leather? This particular belt the Top of the belt is Genuine Leather. Sounds good right? Umm...no.
Genuine Leather is basically a term meant to completely mislead and confuse the consumer. It may be made of leather but it could be processed leather scraps, or super low-quality cuts bonded together.
There really is no way of knowing exactly what percentage of leather is in it or the quality.
All you can really be certain of with Genuine Leather is that it is crap.
Let's keep cutting...
3. BONDED LEATHER
Now we are getting into the real sewer of the leather industry...Bonded Leather. It should be called Leather Waste but who the hell would want to buy it then!
This stuff won't last 6 months before it starts to crack and split. It is actually made from leather fibers and scraps...true floor sweepings. It's usually mixed in with glue substances and formed in sheets and can be made to look like leather.
See the grain in that picture? Sorry, that was stamped in with a die to simulate the grain of Full Grain leathers. This is then bonded to the super thin "Genuine Leather" top to give it stiffness and form so it doesn't feel like an overcooked piece of spaghetti.
The materials to make Bonded leather are practically free to the manufacture. It doesn't cost much more than the price of shipping to get the leather scraps and fibers to make this.
That alone should be enough to wrap it around the neck of whoever made this but I saved the best for last!
4. $32.00 !!!!!
As the saying goes "To add insult to injury" this is just them laughing at you as you walk out the door with this.
I got news for you...in China, they would probably sell this belt for about $8 bucks and be thrilled!
A Hanks Gunner belt would outlast 40 of these belts. You do the math it's pretty simple.
WHAT YOU DO WANT TO LOOK FOR
So that pretty much shows you how a cheap belt is actually the most expensive belt you can buy.
What you want to look for is Full Grain for the best quality and longest life. It is tough, rugged, last decades, and looks great! It will have all the markings and scars that are desirable on leather goods.
Top Grain is also a good choice though a bit cheaper. It is still the top part of the hide but it generally has been split down and the split pieces are used to make gloves or other light duty leather goods.
So to finish up look for 2 basic things and you most likely end up with a quality belt that will last:
- USA MADE
- FULL GRAIN LEATHER
Pretty simple really!