Lifting belts always were, and probably always will be synonyms for strength. Here we are looking at two types of lifting belts - nylon vs leather lifting belt.
Everyone’s seen a weightlifting belt, at one point or another in their lifetime. But if you ask the average Joe what a lifting belt is exactly? What it’s used for, or how it works - you won’t get an accurate answer most of the time. We’re here to fix that, so that you leave this article with fewer questions than you had at the beginning.
In this all-encompassing article, we'll explore the nylon vs leather lifting belt debate. We'll deep-dive and delve into their distinct characteristics, and give you clear answers to all the important questions so that you know which of the two types of belts is the one for you.
Nylon vs. Leather Belt - What is the Difference?
Nylon belts offer flexibility and a lightweight design, and hey are ideal for dynamic movements. A leather weightlifting belt provides durability and stability, which is perfect for heavy lifts.
Nylon Belt vs. Leather Belt Differences
Highly durable, resistant to abrasion
Durable, but may crack without proper care
Typically more expensive
Requires regular care to preserve quality
Lighter, often more flexible
May feel more robust, less flexible
More casual, sporty look
Considered more formal, classic
Water can stain or warp leather
Made from non-renewable resources, but recyclable
Biodegradable, but its production can have environmental impact
But what set these two types of belts apart the most are their respective drawbacks. And they are tied to the material used.
Benefits of a Nylon Belt
Here are some of the strengths of nylon belts.
Nylon belts, unlike leather belts, are much more comfortable. This is due to the fact that nylon belts are softer, and therefore, they move along with your body during lifts.
Leather belts, in comparison, are much more sturdy and rigid, and need to be broken down a bit before they start becoming more comfortable than they were when new.
Even when comparing these two, a brand-new nylon belt and a worn leather belt - the nylon belt would likely come as a winner in terms of comfortability.
Nylon belts usually come with a velcro tightening system, while leather lifting belts usually come with a buckle tightening system where you have a series of holes in which you place the buckle pin to keep the belt in place.
Because of the limitation in tightening sizes that leather belts have and the micro-adjustments that nylon belts can do with their velcro systems, nylon belts come as winners in this category.
Nylon belts are also amazing long-term, as you can rely on the micro-adjustment option if the size of your waist changes over time.
Drawbacks of a Nylon Belt
Here are some of the weaknesses associated with nylon belts.
One must exercise caution when considering the benefits of flexibility. It must be acknowledged that the nylon belt provides a different degree of stability in comparison to its leather counterpart and this characteristic renders it less effective for performing intense lifts or engaging in static exercises.
Depending on the quality of material used, nylon may get damaged and wear faster than leather. Also unlike leather, nylon cannot be treated with conditioning creams since the material is completely synthetic and it wouldn’t absorb the conditioner.
Nylon belts, unlike leather belts, do not change shape as time progresses and their usage time increases. They’ll retain the same shape throughout their whole product lifetime.
Benefits of a Leather Lifting Belt
Leather belts, if taken care of and maintained appropriately, can withstand several years of demanding use. Because of this characteristic, they prove to be an advantageous investment for committed weightlifters.
Tailored To You
As you wear leather belts, they gradually conform to the unique contours of your body delivering a tailored fit that ensures optimal comfort and assistance throughout your training sessions.
Drawbacks of a Leather Belt
Restricted movement is often a trade-off for superior support. This is particularly evident when comparing leather belts to nylon belts since leather has the tendency to limit one's mobility and flexibility. Therefore individuals participating in dynamic exercises may find that leather belts are not the most desirable option.
When it comes to leather belts, their typical bulkier and heavier design can pose a challenge to maintaining optimum comfort during lengthier training sessions.
Considering the aspect of cost. Leather belts typically command a higher price than nylon ones. Unfortunately this may lead to limited accessibility for those individuals who face financial constraints and are unable to allocate substantial funds towards purchasing such accessories.
Recommended Nylon Belt: Warm Body Cold Mind Nylon Weightlifting Belt
The Warm Body Cold Mind Nylon Belt is built to last, made possible by very high quality materials used, thus ensuring product longevity. The double-stitched edges offer an added layer of durability that ensures peace of mind during intense training sessions.
What truly sets this belt apart from other nylon belts on the market is its remarkable blend of flexibility and support - made possible by its high-quality nylon material.
The belt comes available in sizes ranging from S (27"-31") all the way up to XXL (45"-49").
The biggest downside of most nylon belts is breathability, or more precisely - the lack of. WBCM recognized this huge issue and made proper adjustments ensuring their Nylon Belt is super breathable. This is huge. The belt also includes a secure Velcro closure system that delivers a snug and customizable fit.
The belt is available in four different colors: navy blue, black, and khaki (which is pretty much just olive green), and pink. Great variety which some belts lack.
While this belt may provide slightly less rigidity and stability compared to leather belts for heavy loads or static exercises. Most lifters - including myself - find this trade-off minimal when considering its overall performance and versatility.
- Very easy-to-use and durable locking system
- Affordable price
- Four distinct color options
- Comes in a wide range of sizes
- The breathable material helps prevent odor retention, unlike most other nylon belts
Could be better:
- Due to the nature of nylon materials, the belt might slip a bit after a few intense reps
Recommended Leather Lifting Belt: Warm Body Cold Mind Leather Weightlifting Belt
The thick and sturdy design of this belt provides excellent support and stability for heavy lifts. One notable feature that sets this belt apart from other nylon options is its exceptional rigidity, since the strong construction of the leather creates significant intra-abdominal pressure. It’s a proper deadlift belt.
This allows you to maintain proper form and confidently lift heavier weights. Furthermore, the personalized fit of the leather belt, which molds to your body over time, enhances its effectiveness and provides added comfort. The belt is available only in black - so that is a blow.
The WBCM leather belt compensates for the limited color variety by offering six different sizes ranging from Small (28’’-35’’) all the way up to whopping XXXL (41’’-52’’). Very impressive.
The belt is also compliant with IWF Standard height requirements of 10 cm. The Warm Body Cold Mind Leather Belt features a heavy-duty double-pronged buckle system that ensures secure fastening and minimal slippage.
The initial stiffness of the WBCM belt may be slightly uncomfortable for some lifters initially, especially the less experienced ones that aren’t used to this; but that rigidity can be overcome with consistent use and proper care.
If you are in need of a belt that can offer steady support during intense compound lifts or similar exercises like back squats, and if you have an appreciation for the timeless appeal of leather, then this belt is absolutely worth considering as a wise investment.
- The belt comes in a very wide range of sizes, enabling almost everyone to find a fit
- The texture is non-sticky, providing you with a good experience even if you wear it on your bare skin
- Two layered premium leather for added protection and stability
- Even though it is super durable, the belt can still be easily rolled up for storage
Could be better:
- Only one color available
1. Can you lift more with a leather lifting belt than with a nylon belt?
There isn't a noticeable difference between how much you can lift with a leather lifting belt and a nylon lifting belt. Both provide the same effect.
The difference between the two is more connected to the quality of the product itself than the core difference in material.
2. Which is better, a nylon or leather lifting belt?
The answer is - it depends on your preference. Both nylon and leather belts have their own sets of advantages.
Weightlifting belts, in general, are capable of relieving back discomfort by enhancing proprioceptive awareness, limiting excessive movement of the spine and fortifying abdominal pressure.
Added to that, nylon belts offer flexibility, lightness, and versatility for dynamic movements; leather belt provides you with strength, stability, and durability.
3. Are leather belts more expensive than nylon belts?
Leather belts tend to be pricier compared to nylon belts. This is mainly because high-quality leather belts are crafted meticulously, while nylon in itself is cheaper.
By simply using a weightlifting belt, it is proven that you can get improvements of about 20%, according to a case study. So the question is not whether you should use a lifting bet, but rather “Which one?”.
Nylon belts provide flexibility, affordability, and versatility for those engaging in dynamic movements. On the other hand - leather belts offer durability, stability, and a customized fit for individuals performing heavy lifts. Ultimately. Your preferences, workout requirements, and goals will determine which choice best suits you.
I sincerely hope that this guide has shed some light on the intricacies of the Leather vs Nylon lifting belt discourse. If you have any questions or thoughts regarding this matter, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.
This is a guest article by Oleksiy Torokhtiy.