brown leather belt vs black leather belt: which is better featured image

Black Leather Belt vs Brown Leather Belt: Which Is Better?

There seem to be so many rules about matching belts, shoes, and outfits that it can honestly get overwhelming fast.

Do you buy a black leather belt or a brown leather belt? What about the buckle? Which one is the most versatile?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here.

The key is simplicity. Less is more. Most importantly, the choice heavily depends on how you wear your belts.

That’s why in today’s guide I will break down the:

  • Key features to look for in your staple leather belt 
  • Benefits of both the brown and black leather belt 
  • Tips on shopping for a quality leather belt and coordinating it with your wardrobe

What Is a Natural Brown Leather Belt?

The Natural Brown Leather Belt made by Popov Leather ticks all the boxes for your everyday belt. Its neutral tone, full-grain leather, and handmade construction make it a staple that will last generations.

Do you know what the best part is? The natural russet (driftwood) color of the leather strikes the perfect midline that will blend with just about any brown shoe or accessory you have that’s darker than tan.

Natural Brown Leather Belt from Popov Leather
Natural Brown Leather Belt from Popov Leather​​

Important Features of Natural Brown Leather Belt

  • 9-ounce Horween® full grain leather - Beautiful and durable leather grade that becomes more beautiful with age.
  • Neutral, natural brown leather tone - Neutral leather tone that isn’t too warm or cool and coordinates with multiple outfit and shoe colors.
  • Solid brass buckle and rivets - Solid brass metal ware is long-lasting and ages just as charmingly as the leather.
  • 1.5-inch strap width - The perfect width to go from formal to casual dress and suits a variety of body types.
  • Burnished and polished belt edges - The burnished sheen increases the wearability of the belt for a variety of occasions.
the choice heavily depends on how you wear your belts

Why Should You Buy the Natural Brown Leather Belt?

  • Dark brown or natural brown leather belts go with every outfit color and almost every shoe except black and tan.
  • Full grain leather and solid brass buckles coupled with handmade construction ensure durability and lifelong use.
  • The classic strap width fits all belt loops and suits for both formal and casual wear.
  • The lifetime guarantee means you get a quality product we stand by and any repairs for free.

In a nutshell, the Natural Brown Leather Belt gives you versatility, durability and beautiful, skilled construction. Check the latest price below and read other customers’ experience of the belt.

Brown Leather Belt vs Black Leather Belt

Now that I’ve discussed all the key features and reasons why a natural brown leather belt is a wardrobe essential, how does the black belt compare?

Natural Brown Leather Belt Black Leather Belt
holding a natural brown leather belt holding a natural brown leather belt
Goes with medium blue or gray tones
Goes with gray, black or white tones
Great for casual dress, jeans and khakis Great for formal wear
Goes with earthy warm tones Doesn’t go with warm brown tones
Doesn’t go with black
Doesn’t go with light colors such as light jeans washes or tan

If your wardrobe leans toward more formal wear and cool tones, then a Black Leather Belt is the best fit.

3 Defining Features of Popov Leather Belts

If you’ve ever had your belt split open like a banana peel or bulge and peel, then you understand the pain of searching for durable accessories.

In my opinion, a leather belt needs to work from boardroom to barbecue and every weekday in between and look better for it. To achieve this, you need the trifecta of features:

  • High-quality, full-grain leather
  • Burnished and polished finish
  • Solid brass hardware

1 - High-quality Full Grain Leather

Full grain leather is the most durable leather because, apart from the removal of hair, its natural grain remains intact and unaltered. It retains its oil-absorption properties and, therefore, its suppleness and ability to form a patina over time.

I’ve compared full-grain leather to a walnut table with a live edge when discussing leather grades.

Ideally, you’re not looking for the mass-produced uniformity of pigment-dyeing; rather, you’re looking for a belt with character that gets better with age.

When you think about it, manufacturing leather belts without altering the leather surface means that:

  • We’re starting with the highest quality raw hides as a non-negotiable.
  • The tanning process and knowledge is the best in the game bar none.

That’s why Popov Leather belts exclusively use Horween Leather, building on 100 years of excellence in leather tanning. It’s worth the splurge.

"I wear a belt every day. And after months of abuse from its owner (me) I can say this sucker is durable and looks better than the first day out of its packaging. I questioned if 100 bucks for a belt was worth the money. The answer is YES!"

— Mike W., ★★★★★ Verified Popov Leather Buyer

Expert Tip: Store your belts in a hanging position to allow the leather to rest and to avoid it curling into a fixed shape.

measuring the thickness of English Tan Horween Leather​​
M​​easuring the thickness of English Tan Horween Leather

2 - 1.5-Inch Burnished and Polished Strap

Do you know what makes me cringe? Seeing a too-narrow belt on a husky guy. It unflatteringly emphasizes the body proportions. The same goes for a massive belt on a smaller man.

So, what belt width is appropriate? 1.5 inches.

It’s wide enough to be functional and to appropriately accessorize more casual outfits, like jeans and khaki pants.

Additionally, a 1.5-inch leather belt works just great for formal occasions, provided the leather is smooth with a sheen.

That’s why you really need to look for leather belt straps that are burnished and polished to a sheen because of their versatility. The more textured the belt is, the more casual its application.

3 - Solid Buckle and Metal Hardware

You’ve got great leather and skilled craftsmanship. The cherry on the cake is metal hardware that has heft and is as durable as the leather it holds up.

I’ve seen well-loved belts whose leather looks great, but the coating on the buckle is fading away and it breaks my heart.

At Popov leather we picked solid brass for the buckle and rivets because it:

  • Can be polished to look new forever
  • Gains a patina along with the leather, creating a great aged look
  • Is resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Is very strong and durable, securing the keeper and buckle for lifelong use
solid brass buckle and rivets on our leather belts
S​​olid brass buckle and rivets on our leather belts

Price Range

It’s been my experience that inexpensive belts will often have lower-quality leather or artificial leather, poor construction, and glossy finishes to mask the imperfections.

What you get for cheap is a good-looking belt that falls apart after a few months of regular wear.

Your options for a leather belt with longevity fall into the designer brands category, high street brands or specialized handmade outfits like Popov Leather. Here’s the pricing comparison between the three vendor options.

Product Low Price High Price Average Price
Designer Leather Belt
$320 $790 $500
High Street Leather Belt
$240 $120 $180
Popov Leather Belt $79 $99 $89

I may be biased, but I’ll pick handmade any day knowing that the leather source is trackable, the manufacture is carried out by skilled craftsmen, and each piece tells a story.

What Others Said About Popov Leather Belts

I take tremendous pride in the leather belts we make at Popov Leather that are simple, well-designed and get the job done for as long as you need them to.

Our customers feel the same about the:

  • Quality of leather
  • Detailed and skilled construction
  • Versatility of the belts for everyday wear
  • Durability of the belts

Check out what some of our happy customers had to say.

"In an age of making products that are designed for obsolescence, it's great to get a product that I won't need to replace in a year or less."

— Jake E., ★★★★★ Verified Popov Leather Buyer

"Great! I gave this belt to my husband for our wedding and he loves it. It is now his everyday belt for the office and it looks great and feels great."

— Nicole R., ★★★★★ Verified Popov Leather Buyer

"I love it so much I put away my other 2 leather belts and ordered another Popov Leather belt in tan. My other leather belts made locally in Ontario don't come close to the Popov Leather standards. Well worth the money."

— Bradley G., ★★★★★ Verified Popov Leather Buyer

"This is my fourth belt from Popov Leather. If you buy only one belt, buy one of theirs. You cannot beat their quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail. I’ll be back again."

— David C., ★★★★★ Verified Popov Leather Buyer

How Do You Know Whether a Belt Is Real Leather?

Cracking, bulging, splitting, and peeling often point to impression leather. The obvious tells of real leather are the aroma, the feel and the patina.

Real leather:

  • Has a rich aroma, while impression leather has no smell or carries a chemical smell
  • Is soft, flexible, grainy and warm to the touch, while impression leather feels cool and stiff
  • Develops character and patina the more you use it

Should My Belt Match My Shoes?

The rule of thumb is black goes with black; focus on matching the textures and materials.

For example, a full grain black leather belt goes better with rugged boots than patent leather shoes. On the other hand, shades of brown darker than tan can be intermixed provided their cool or warm tones match. Never mix black with brown.

The goal is to coordinate rather than to match. If you’re going for the traditional, conservative aesthetic, then matching belt and shoes tone for tone is the way to go.

That said, the current fashion allows you to coordinate leather tones that aren’t exactly the same but go well together.

Other Leather Belt Options

So you’ve got your neutral brown belt in the closet, but what other belts form great additions to your accessories?

black leather belt tan leather belt brown leather belt

Hand made from full grain, 9 oz. Horween leather with solid brass metal wear, these three belts will round out your collection:

  • Black Leather Belt - The black belt is your second neutral that coordinates with any cool and dark colors.
  • English Tan Leather Belt - The rugged counterpart to your neutral brown belt, this tan belt lends its outdoorsy vibe to casual outfits, earthy tones, and well-loved boots.
  • Heritage Brown Leather Belt - The warm brown tone of this leather has both a vintage feel and a handy versatility that can take whatever you throw at it.

Get a Leather Belt To Last Your Entire Life

If you’re like me and you love buying well-made products that last a lifetime, then the Popov Leather belts, with their rich, durable, full-grain leather and skilled construction, are well worth your investment. You’ll love that you get to wear them every day and they just look better and better as their patina develops.

And listen—if forced to pick one, the Natural Brown Leather Belt takes the cake just because it's the most versatile. That doesn’t mean that you can’t build up a more complete leather collection with other brown belts and a black to truly make your options limitless.

Written by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Reach out with questions.

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