Track Belts Review Round-up
Belts are one of those fashion accessories taken for granted, yet is something which many use daily, both for functionality and to complete the outfit. In recent years there has been a surge in so-called track style belts on the market, so for my latest men’s fashion blog post review, I will be taking a look at some of the most popular models and once and for all crown the winner. Read on for more.
Track belts offer a unique take on the classic belt, typically packaged at an extended length so the user can trim to their own size and attach the buckle when satisfied with the fit. The end of the belt slides through the mechanism on the buckle, clicking into place without the need for holes, in turn allowing the belt to present a minimalist approach to design. Another benefit is that you can generally remove and replace the buckle or the belt to different colours and designs without having to purchase an entirely new belt.
Moving on to the individually mini-reviews of each belt, we will begin with one of the brands which started the track belt trend – Kore.
I originally reviewed one of Kore’s track belts a couple of years ago not long after they launched their iconic range – click here. I was impressed with their design and quality while adhering to the functions that make a belt something you need to add to your collection of accessories. .The old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rings true with the track belt from Kore. For this review, I am taking a look at one of their classics – Kore Intrepid Stainless Steel Leather Belt.
The belt is constructed using full-grain leather for that quality look and feel (even the smell of the leather oozes high quality). The buckle is fashioned out of stainless steel, finished with a brushed effect (a touch often missing from many men’s accessories). Kore offers alternative materials for their buckles including classic alloy, titanium and the stainless steel reviewed here.
The belt arrives full length accommodating sizes ranging from 24″ all the way up to 44″ with a standard width, fitting pretty much any belt loops you can throw at it (denim or trousers).
The reverse of the leather features increments every 1/4 of an inch, enabling you the option of 40+ sizing positions, ensuring that bespoke fit often missing from traditional belts. The track is also different from competitors, using a measurement of 10″ instead of 7″ which will allow it to sit more comfortably when worn.
Kore has made it an easy task in sizing the belt up to your body type, simply take your waist measurement and then add +4 sizes up, finding the relevant notch marking on the belt and cutting off the excess with scissors. Slide the freshly trimmed leather into the buckle and clipping it into place, voila! Your brand new belt, ready to wear! The quick-release handle is easy to activate too, thanks to Kore’s own built spring-mechanism, allowing a smooth release of your new men’s accessory.
One of the great features of these types of belts is the quick and easy manner in how the buckle pops off, either to swap belts or to allow an easy pass through security, such as airports (invaluable for those who regularly travel!). The Kore Intrepid arrives packaged in a sturdy brown box (bonus for storage) and within a waterproof dust bag. Finally, Kore has priced their belt very competitively, particularly compared to the competition at prices between $49.99 and $59.99 and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one year warranty, giving you peace of mind when placing your order.
Overall, you cannot fault Kore’s entry into the track belt category; although they only make belts for men so your wife or girlfriend is out of luck here.
Moving on we have a ratchet belt from Nexbelt from their Classic Series, first impressions were not very high, principally down to the packaging. Arriving in a plastic box with an open-top lid, it works fine in regards to function; however, it does not exude high end. The proof is in the overall quality of the belt, however, which is the most crucial factor.
Nextbelt uses PreciseFit rachet technology, fitting up to a waist of 45″ which will accommodate a vast portion of consumers looking for a good fitting belt. The buckle has a design akin to that of a dress belt, hiding the fact it has all the benefits of a track belt.
The leather is smooth to the touch, albeit standard instead of full-grain, the buckle is chrome metal, yet has a shiny appearance (which could sometimes appear too bold, especially at formal occasions).
Nextbelt recommends measuring your waist, adding 2 inches and then proceeding to trim the leather down. The belt works as you would expect, the track on the reverse features a stand-out red colour which I personally like, however, the release handle is quite fiddly and would be quite difficult to undo in a rush.
NextBelt has an average belt on their hands, letting themselves down with the overall quality, finish (loose threads on the leather had to be prised off), packaging of their product and usability (notably the hard to use buckle release). However, the RRP price is one of the lowest in the round-up.
Slidebelts get the ball rolling by bringing a dual-ratchet mechanism to the table. Rather than using a handle to release the buckle, you simply apply pressure to the right-hand side and pull it away from the belt, and it will unclasp, allowing you to remove the belt easily. However, when clipping the buckle into the strap, you will need to use a lot of force as it is very stiff to attach. The quality is overall very good, nice material, albeit faux leather for my review (but the company offers genuine leather along with canvas too). The buckle itself is silver in appearance, but also very shiny and will gleam brightly when the sun catches the metal.
Slidebelts offer a comprehensive amount of options for their range of belts, a variety of colours of the leather and numerous different buckles available.
In summary, Slidbelts have created a quality product, arriving in a black box with a lid closure featuring a spot UV effect to the logo, which is a nice touch. The belt will fit waists up to 48″, one of the highest in this feature which is a plus point. It was quite challenging to remove the buckle from the belt; I had to use a screwdriver, so exchanging for a different variation is not so simple.
Mission Belts offering comes straight into this round up boasting the cheapest price point of all of the five belts at only $34.95, which is a relative bargain! It would be optimistic to believe it would compare well against the competitors. The leather is genuine, albeit with a synthetic coating, which is apparent once you touch the material. The buckle is again silver, with a visible glow to its face in direct light.
The quick-release handle is adorned with a pattern, which almost gives off a western vibe. Unfortunately, this handle is too loose and may even catch when worn and cause the belt to slide out. The buckle is the only one of the selection to feature any branding, in this case, the brand’s logo is positioned in the bottom right corner, it is not overbearing, but nevertheless, it’s inclusion is worth noting if you are looking for something minimalist.
Despite the low price of the Mission belt, it still manages to hold its own in the fray, offering higher production values than NextBelt in terms of finish, but falling short with the other entries.
Finally, we have the Complete Belt from Anson, which ticks a lot of boxes from the get-go with some attractive packaging – card box finished in white and purple with a pull out drawer. Inside, there are cut out sections to fit the belt looped and the buckle.
Similar to the other belts in this round-up, the brand’s website has many different options when selecting your chosen product – belt colour, style along with the buckle design. The quality of the product is relatively high, boasting a thick width to the leather and a solid well made buckle.
There are a few negatives, however, mostly that the belt is quite cumbersome due to the thickness of the accompanying parts which can affect daily use and even how it sits on the user. Overall it is a good choice if you are looking for a ratchet-style belt.
I tested out five belts for this review round-up; it was surprising that almost all have positives and a few, unfortunately, feature some negatives. The Kore belt manages to dodge any issues and is the clear winner, thanks to a fantastic design, excellent production values and is the easiest to use of all of those reviewed. If you are on the lookout for a new belt and you are keen to acquire a track belt, I would highly recommend one from the Kore Essentials range.