Food and diet are usually the first things that come to mind when most people start a new vegan diet. While those are arguably the most important aspect of going vegan, the next thing that most people look at is their wardrobe.
That’s because most of us spend our entire lives accumulating clothing and shoes derived from animals, such as sturdy leather jackets and boots or cozy wool hats and sweaters.
It’s not really our fault; we were just buying what was sold without thinking about all of the slaughter and suffering that goes into making designer clothing.
… And let’s be honest – most manufacturers don’t like to talk about THAT part.
Thankfully, times are changing, though. More retailers and clothing manufacturers are offering vegan clothing than ever before! So, with that in mind, I’m about to show you the best vegan leather belts for men and women.
Whether you’re looking to add a splash of style to your outfit or you just need something simple to keep your pants up, I’ve got you covered.
It’s time to donate your old leather and go shopping for some vegan leather belts!
What Are Vegan Leather Belts Made From?
Before vegan leather options became so popular, most vegans in search of a belt just went with a canvas belt or a belt that was made from some other type of vegan-friendly textile. The only problem is that cloth belts usually don’t look as good.
They also tend to fray or break easier than leather belts, which can be problematic if you’re trying to keep your pants held up!
Vegans today have a lot more options and can choose from a variety of leather alternatives used to make vegan leather belts, such as:
- Faux PU leather
- Plant-based leather
- Cork leather
Each of these materials has its own perspective benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a quick look before we jump into our list of the best vegan leather belts…
Synthetic Polyurethane (PU) Leather
Synthetic leather is the most popular leather alternative on the market and can be found in brick-and-mortar retail stores as well as online. At first, it was created as a cheaper alternative to leather, which led to criticism in the fashion industry. Now that veganism is “in,” though, it’s all the rage.
Don’t believe what you hear about synthetic leather being low-quality. Although there are certainly some cheap manufacturers out there, synthetic faux leather is usually far more durable than real leather.
That’s because synthetic leather is made from polyurethane, a type of plastic. PU leather is more resistant to tearing and abrasion, won’t be harmed by the sun’s UV rays, and can’t be damaged by water.
You’ll also never have to worry about mold with synthetic leather, as mold can only eat organic material.
Polyurethane’s synthetic strength also happens to be its main point of criticism. Because it’s a plastic product, it’s not exactly eco-friendly.
The production of synthetic leather contributes to more greenhouse gasses than the production of traditional leather, which is why there’s some debate over whether or not synthetic leather is more ethical than animal leather.
That being said, pollution can be fixed with filtration and responsible manufacturing techniques. Animal slaughter can’t be so easily fixed.
If I had told my grandpa that you could turn mangos, cacti, and avocados into leather, he probably would have looked at me like I had two heads. However, the future is here and it’s pretty cool!
Plant-based leather is one of the newest innovations in the vegan community and is incredibly exciting. Several small companies around the world have taken to turning plants into a hardened, flexible material that looks, feels, and functions just like animal leather.
These plant-leather manufacturers work with farms and production facilities to obtain produce that would otherwise be tossed out after failing quality control. They then grind the plants into a pulp, introduce a few hardening agents, and then bake and cool the resulting “leather pulp” into sheets of plant-based leather.
This solves two big problems at once:
- It helps reduce food waste, which is a big problem in today’s world.
- It provides vegans with a more natural, organic alternative to both animal-derived leather and chemically-produced PU leather.
Pretty cool, right? If you’d like to learn more, check out this video of how these guys make leather from cactus:
The main downside is that plant leather products tend to be on the more expensive side since the process is rather involved and there are only a few small plant leather manufacturers in the business. While the demand for plant leather is high, the supply is relatively low, which drives up prices.
The only other downside of plant leather is that it’s not as strong as PU leather. Since it’s made from organic material, it’s susceptible to moisture, decay, and the sun’s UV rays. Even then, plant leather can last just as long as real leather if it’s cared for properly.
Cork Tree Leather
Most people would never guess it, but the same material used to make the corks for your wine bottles can be used as a vegan substitute for leather!
That’s right, there are a couple of small companies that are turning cork tree bark into leather. The most notable company is Corkor, and I’ve reviewed a couple of their vegan leather belts below.
Before you ask, all of the cork bark used to create cork leather is sustainably harvested. The trees aren’t cut down to produce this leather. Instead, small strips of bark are removed from the tree or collected from the ground.
The tree’s bark quickly grows back, ensuring that the whole process is sustainable and won’t harm the trees or the ecosystem.
I guess this technically counts as plant leather, but the process to make it is a little different. Cork leather also looks and feels different from other plant-based leather products.
Cork leather is incredibly soft and smooth. It also has a natural grain that makes the material look very similar to a wine cork.
Like plant leather, it is an organic product; so it’s not quite as durable as PU leather and is susceptible to the elements. That being said, it’s still an incredibly durable product and far more reliable than cloth or canvas belts.
The Best Vegan Leather Belts For Women
Alright, let’s get down to business! My belts are one of the most essential items in my wardrobe, and I’ve been collecting vegan belts for several years now. So, I figured, “Why not share them with my blog?”
With that in mind, here are my favorite vegan leather belts along with my personal review of each.
1) Ayliss Women’s Vintage Vegan Leather Corset Cinch Belt (link)
Overall Quality Rating: 4/5
When I’m chilling at home, I’m usually a legging and t-shirt type of gal… But when I go out, I like to make a statement. If you’re looking for a super-stylish vegan leather belt, then this Vintage Corset Cinch Belt by Ayliss is a great choice. Not only is it super stylish, but it’s also very affordable as well.
It’s a large corset-style belt that’s designed to be worn around the waist. It’s less of a “jeans belt” and more of a “fashion belt” that you’d wear around your waist with a blouse or a dress.
It looks great and it also acts as a waist trainer, giving your waist a slimmer profile (a nice added benefit that I won’t complain about!).
The main buckle is made from synthetic PU leather that’s designed to be thick and durable. The belt strap itself is made from elastic textile, which makes it a “one-size-fits-all” belt, capable of fitting anybody with a waist circumference of 26” to 34”.
I own the red belt, but it’s also available in black for those who prefer darker colors.
- It’s fashionable and pairs well with sweaters, dresses, or a long blouse.
- It’s affordable.
- It’s made with a combination of high-quality PU leather and elastic textile.
- It gives your waist a slimmer profile.
- It’s one-size-fits-all.
- It’s more of a fashion belt, so it’s not designed to hold up your pants.
2) Corkor Women’s Cork Belt 25mm Wide (link)
Overall Quality Rating: 5/5
Remember how I mentioned that cork tree bark can be used to create vegan leather? Well, I’m here to present you with the world’s first-ever cork leather company – Corkor!
Corker’s 25mm Women’s Cork Belt is easily one of my favorite belts and is my go-to for everyday wear. Whether I’m wearing jeans, chinos, dress pants, or shorts, this belt looks amazing and does a great job of keeping my panty line right where it needs to be.
The belt itself is pretty thin, so it can fit in the belt loops of all of my clothes without any issues. The buckle is made from quality stainless steel that you won’t have to worry about bending or snapping.
The cork leather used to make this belt is incredibly soft, and you can feel it on your fingertips. In my opinion, it’s softer than real leather. Unlike most PU leather, which can get a bit stiff, the cork leather stays soft and flexible, so you’ll never have that “too-tight” feeling around your waist.
Considering that it’s plant leather, this belt is also very durable. I’ve had my Corkor belt for almost three years now, and despite regular everyday use, it’s still just as strong as it was the day I got it.
Like real leather, the color will change gradually over time, but that’s part of what gives the belt character and makes it 100% unique.
These cork belts are available in light cork brown (the one I have), dark brown, and black. Although they cost a little more than PU leather belts, these are the type of belts that will last you for years, so it’s worth the investment.
- Made from 100% vegan cork leather.
- Handcrafted in the USA.
- Cork leather feels incredibly smooth and soft.
- The belts are durable with high-quality stitching and a stainless steel buckle.
- They’re a little bit expensive.
3) Syhood Two-Piece Faux Leather Belt With Double-O Buckle (link)
Overall Quality Rating: 4/5
If you’re looking for style and function in a belt, then Syhood’s Double-O Buckle Vegan Leather Belt is perfect. When I’m looking for something that’s a bit more fashionable than my Corkor belt, but not quite as flamboyant as my corset belt, this is perfect.
The best part about this belt is that it comes as a double deal, so you’ll be getting two belts with your purchase. This is perfect for those who can’t decide on one color or who just want two colors to go with the different outfits in their wardrobe. The color combos you can choose from are:
- Black and Brown
- Black and Khaki
- Black and Leopard Print
- Black and White
- Black and Black Snakeskin Print
If you’re looking for something more modest, the black, brown, khaki, and white colors are perfect. On the other hand, the leopard print and black snakeskin print are perfect for making a fashion statement.
I love the shiny double-O buckle and it adds a bit of flair to an otherwise boring pair of jeans or chinos. It’s a great way to turn your workwear into your going-out wear if you don’t want to change your whole outfit!
The buckle is also very high-quality and stays in the belt hole, without falling out (unlike some of the cheaper buckles I’ve had before).
As far as the leather itself goes, I’m very pleased. It’s made from PU leather but the strap is thick, sturdy, and durable. Despite how much I’ve used my belt over the past year, the dye is still strong and there hasn’t been any chipping, cracking, or peeling.
- Comes as a double-deal (you get two belts).
- Looks stylish and modern.
- The belt width is just 1.3 inches, so it can fit in all of my belt loops.
- Made with ultra-durable vegan PU leather.
- These belts run a little small, so you may want to order one size up.
The Best Vegan Leather Belts For Men
As always, I haven’t forgotten the vegan men out there! The following vegan leather belts for men were recommended to me by a couple of my friends after I asked them what their favorite vegan-friendly belts were.
4) Corkor Men’s Casual Cork Belt (link)
Overall Quality Rating: 5/5
Not surprisingly, the first recommendation I got was Corkor’s Casual Cork Belt made with 100% vegan cork leather. It looks very similar to the women’s Corkor belt I have at home, but it’s a little thicker, the belt is wider, and the buckle is a lot heavier (all the stuff you guys appreciate).
The leather is incredibly soft, malleable, and durable, making it a great choice for business casual attire or a day hiking in the wilderness. It’s as stylish as it is functional.
My good friend, Aaron, told me that he’s had this belt for three years and it hasn’t faded, torn, or stretched. That’s pretty good for a men’s belt!
The Corkor men’s belt is available in dark brown and black, depending on your preference.
If you want to clean it, you just need a bit of dish soap and warm water. Since the belt is naturally water-repellent, you don’t have to worry about any of the dye washing off.
- Made with high-quality, all-natural cork leather.
- Naturally water-repellent and stain-resistant.
- Comfortable, durable, and long-lasting.
- Comes with a two year warranty in case anything unexpected happens.
- Corkor belts are well-made but expensive.
5) Reversible Dress Casual Vegan Belt by NYBC (link)
Overall Quality Rating: 4/5
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more appropriate for a suit-and-tie outfit, then New York Belt Co.’s Reversible Vegan Belt is, by far, one of the best options on the market. It’s fashionable, made with high-quality vegan PU leather, and features a nice high-gloss varnish finish.
As I mentioned, the belt is reversible, which means that you can flip the buckle around and take advantage of two belts in one. This NYBC vegan leather belt is available in brown/black as tan/black.
- Stylish and goes great with dress pants or a suit-and-tie outfit.
- Reversible, so you’ll have two different belt colors.
- Made with high-quality PU leather that won’t crack or stretch.
- Affordable quality.
- It’s only 1.25 inches wide, so it may be a bit too slim to wear with heavier pants or jeans.
Conclusion – The Best Place To Buy Vegan Leather Belts
If you’re looking for the best vegan leather belt, then you can’t go wrong with Amazon. There are plenty of reviews, so you’ll be able to tell the overall quality of the belt before you buy it.
Also, most of the retailers on Amazon allow you to return or exchange products if you accidentally buy the wrong one!
I’ve found it difficult shopping for vegan leather in retail stores, as very few employees actually know what the materials used in their products are. When shopping on Amazon, I have 100% confidence that the belt I’m buying is, in fact, vegan.
If you’re looking for a stylish, functional pair of vegan Timberlands to match your belt, be sure to check out my latest post here!