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What kind of leather is ideal for your belt?

by Haris Zukić 01 Nov 2020

A real leather belt is one of the most important accessories for both men and women. Natural leather is the most sought-after material for belts today. With that being said, there are many kinds of top-end leather.

While genuine leather belts are easy to find today, with the advent of the internet, there’s a lot more to pick from. Though the internet made higher-quality leather like vegetable tanned leather more available, it also made lower-quality leather more common.

Because of this, today we’ll be delving into what kind of leather is ideal for your high-class leather belt. We’ll also be talking about which types of leather are most easily worked with to make your own.

Cowhide Belts

Cowhide is by far the most popular material used to make belts. This is because it’s by far the most “balanced” type of leather. It’s quite smooth, durable, and reasonably flexible to work with.

If you want to use this kind of leather, we suggest the Pecos leather. This French cowhide leather has been vegetable tanned and firmly tempered. It gets an Aniline finish, as well as a Matt experience and a unique scent. 

Another excellent brand of cowhide leather is the Ghost collection by Conceria la Bretagna. It is yet another French cowhide, vegetable tanned, and covered in white wax.

The wax is used to shield the leather from the elements, as well as wear and tear.

This leather is also great for hobbyists, as it’s not fragile enough to tear during leatherworking. So if you’re a beginner hobbyist, you’ll want to start with this kind of leather.

Pig Leather Belts

While pig leather is quite popular, it’s not our top pick for leather you’ll want your belt to be made out of. This is because pigskin is naturally very rough, which is very hard to get rid of in order to make a belt. It’s not exactly the most durable kind of leather out there either. 

With that being said, if you’re going for a more rugged, village look, then pig leather might be the pick for you. Don’t expect it to be very fancy though. Pig leather is an alright point to get into higher-quality belts.

This is because since pig leather isn’t very well-liked, it’ll be quite a bit cheaper even if they make itself is pretty good.

Goatskin & Others

Goat leather is mostly used for women’s high-class belts. This is due to the fact that it’s much more susceptible to strong, intense colors. It is also quite a bit more elegant than the other kinds of leather discussed here.

If you’re looking for a thin, feminine kind of look, then goatskin might be the leather for you. Note that it’s a bit more fragile than cowskin, so you might want to pay a bit more attention not to rip it in the process.

There are also other kinds of leather that are a bit more exotic. For example, horse skin is quite rough, and not very good for making high-quality belts in general. 

Crocodile skin is a material that can create a great belt, however, it’s really difficult to work with. Besides that, it’s also extremely expensive. However, if you can get past those factors, it’s probably the second-best material to make your belt out of, right behind cowhide.

Full, Corrected-Grain, Split, or Bonded?

This is another way to split leather. You might’ve heard the terms “split leather” or “full leather” before in your research. These actually refer to completely different things.

In this case, the answer as to which is the best is fairly simple- full grain leather is the best for making high-end belts.

Full-grain means that it’s entirely made out of leather, and it leaves markings such as grain patterns, hair cells, and even the animal’s scars. This form of leather is the strongest, and most valuable. 

The next best is corrected grain. This refers to leather that has erased some of the imperfections such as scars or scratches from the hide. The tannery usually covers the surface of this leather with a coat so that the grain itself can’t be seen. This kind of leather can also make a high-end belt.

Split leather is alright, however, it’s simply not high-quality enough to make a high-end belt. It’s usually made to imitate full-grain leather. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as good looking or durable.

Bonded leather, however, isn’t even leather. It has torn up leather fibers mixed up with artificial materials. In essence, it barely contains leather. This kind of “leather” tears extremely easily, and will never be used for a good belt.

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