Shopping for vegan belts is much like shopping for vegan neckties—a little inconvenient, maybe, but far from impossible.
If you’re unsure of whether a belt is leather or vegan, the label should tell you. As with silk vs. polyester, many consumers view leather as superior to man-made materials. As a result, just like high-end clothing stores often carry only silk ties, typically they only sell belts that are made of leather. You may therefore need to go downmarket to find a nice vegan belt.
In the 1990s I had an expensive leatherette belt that fell apart in less than a year. I don’t want to name names since the company is still in business, but if it’s marketed as vegan and very expensive, think twice. You’ll probably get something just as attractive that wears far longer by sticking to a “man-made” belt put out by a mainstream apparel company.
Some vegan leathers produced today are indistinguishable from actual leather, and they’re almost as durable as well. My current belt, a reversible Tommy Hilfiger that I picked up for about $12 at a local TJ Maxx, has lasted a few years.
You can also buy belts made from thickly-woven cotton, as well as Boy Scout style nylon blends. Nylon belts should outlast every other material including leather, especially if their holes are reinforced with metal grommets.
When buying locally, the best advice I can offer is that if you’re lucky enough to find a vegan belt that you really like, buy several since you probably will never see it for sale again. Figure most belts will last two or three years, so it’s great to have a couple in reserve for when your current belt is starting to go.
It’s frustrating to go from one clothing store to another and not find a satisfactory vegan belt. So if if there’s one product that it makes sense to purchase online, it’s this. Unlike ties, where the color and texture can vary wildly from its online photo, with belts what you see is what you get. Plus, belts are far less the focus of attention than are ties.
Amazon.com has a wide selection of belts, both from vegan companies as well as belts that are accidentally vegan and put out by popular apparel brands. It’s hard for me to recommend a high-priced vegan-labeled belt, since I don’t doubt the extra money gets you better materials or superior workmanship. But then this article was written by a guy who was suckered into getting a $70 belt that fell apart in less than a year. One day I suppose I’ll get over my disappointment, but for now I hope to at least keep you from making a similar mistake.