Buying a belt can be tricky. With a variety of industry terms, it’s hard to tell what kind of belt you’re getting, the level of quality, and whether you’re paying an appropriate price for the quality. In this article, we will focus on the most important part of any belt (the leather) and what some of these industry terms mean when referring to leather quality.
Also known as PU leather, pleather and synthetic leather, artificial leather is exactly that: fake leather. There are a variety of materials and ways to make artificial leather, and some are better than others, but at the end of the day it’s not real leather.
Bonded leather is partially synthetic. It contains bits and pieces of leather that are usually ground up and mixed with the synthetic materials to give the leather the appearance of leather. Leather content will vary across brands, so this also happens to be one of the most unpredictable types of leather, quality-wise. Like fully synthetic leather, if you’re looking for the real thing, it’s best to avoid bonded leathers.
Genuine leather is real leather, but is the leftover parts from the two higher quality levels. The leather in genuine leather often doesn’t look as nice, so the part of the belt that’s exposed might be painted to look like higher quality leather, meaning that you won’t even see the real leather part. Genuine leather can also be several layers of lower quality leather glued together.
Top Grain Leather
Top grain leather is the piece of leather that is split from the top layer so that any blemishes and imperfections on the top layer aren’t seen. This is generally a quality leather, but because it doesn’t contain the top layer, this leather isn’t as strong as full grain leather. Top grain leather also won’t age nicely with wear and tear.
Full Grain Leather
Simply put, full grain leather is the highest quality leather available. At Orion, we offer a variety of different kind of leathers, all of which are full grain. It means that this leather comes from the top layer of the animal’s skin, without any low quality leftover leather parts. Full grain leather is one piece of solid leather—it’s not glued to another piece of leather or compiled from other scraps of leather.
There may be imperfections already present on full grain leather, which is a testament to its quality. These blemishes were already on the animal’s skin when it was cut. Full grain leather is also the most durable, which means it will age beautifully over time.
At Orion Leather Company, we only use full grain leather in our belts. The leather is tanned and the belts are constructed in the USA, so you know you are getting a high quality product. Shop our store today.