KORE vs SmartBelt 3.0 Holeless Track Belt Comparison Review

KORE vs SmartBelt 3.0 Holeless Track Belt Comparison Review

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Buy it at Amazon: KORE vs SmartBelt 3.0 Holeless Track Belt Comparison [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Both belts are similar in function but KORE provides more choice selection, more adjustment intervals, and a lower entry price.

Track belts are belts that don’t have any holes and instead adjust via a ratcheting track system combined with a latching buckle. Not only does this look cleaner visually, you can tighten and size the belt in smaller increments, allowing you to get exactly the feel and fit you’re looking for rather than be confined to the 5 holes in 1” increments of traditional belts.

I received two belts and buckles each from Kore Essentials, our sponsor for this video, and Harmattan Design's Smart Belt 3.0. The Kore belts come boxed individually in fabric pouches with the buckles wrapped separately to protect them from scratches. The Smart Belt 3.0 ships several to a box, and each buckle is wrapped separately in a cotton drawstring bag; each belt comes with an stamped tag from pelle al vegetale to indicate its Italian vegetable tannery authenticity.

The standard Kore belts have a 25 mm width and are 52” long which accommodates a 44” waist, though you can also get them in XL size for waist sizes up to 54”. The Smart Belts only come in one length of 49” with a width of 34mm and are stated to fit up to 45” waists. The track length of the Kore belt is 10” with 42 individual increments that you can adjust to, and the Smart Belt has 7.5” of track with 32 levels of adjustment. As for the type of materials used, Kore’s belts use full-grain leather for the outer layer and top grain leather for the inner layer which you’ll see is slightly bluish due to the chrome tanning method. The flexible leather core of the belt is 0.5mm thick, and you’ll also notice that the edging is double-stitched for durability and strength. The Smart Belts also use full-grain leather in their straps but have a thinner strip of leather in the core, and are single-stitched along the edges; they’ve added a layer of Kevlar in the middle to lend it some extra durability. That’s also why the thickness of the Smart Belts is a bit thinner at 3.75mm versus Kore’s belt thicknesses of 4.5mm. The Smart Belt’s strap leather is vegetable tanned, utilizing plant-based tannins as the preservative as opposed to chromium salts.

Both chrome and vegetable tanning help make the leather more durable, and while vegetable tanning is the historically traditional way of tanning leather, chrome tanned leather has about twice the tensile strength of vegetable tanned leather, produces a softer and lighter-weight leather, and also wears differently as the material ages. Vegetable tanned leathers will fade and change color over time as they are exposed to the elements and this discoloration is called the patina, while chrome tanned leather doesn’t usually develop a patina quickly and tends to maintain its original color as it ages.

Kore’s belt straps come in the following styles and colors: 7 colors of the full-grain leather belts, 3 colors of smooth top grain belts, 2 nylon web belts, 2 pebble-textured full grain belts, and 2 slim belts. With the Smart Belt 3.0 you can choose from black, brown, or cognac, in plain or gator finishes. I got the silver version of both of Smart Belt’s buckle styles, the classic and minimal. The minimal measures 2” x 1.5” x 5/8” thick and the classic is 3.5” x 1.5” x 0.5” thick. The branding is etched into the front, and the ratchet release lever is on the top side of the buckle. On the back, you can see the grip plates have 8 sharp cone-shaped teeth that will pierce and bite into the leather strap once it’s cut to size. You can also get these buckles in black or gold. For the Kore belts this one is the Trophy Titanium buckle and this one is the Evolve Stainless Steel buckle. Both are the same size at 2-7/8” x 1.5” x 0.5” thick. Neither has any obvious branding on the front, instead, placing the logo on the back over the grip plate; theirs has 7 angled teeth that apply inward pressure on the strap once it’s locked in. The release lever on these buckles are located on the lower bottom corner of the buckle. It's worth noting that Kore currently has 15 unique buckle styles made from materials like stainless steel, titanium, and alloy steel; their Express buckle is available in 3 finishes: gunmetal, nickel, and chrome.

When sizing the Kore belts, they’ve provided markings on the back of the belt to help you measure and cut. Simply take your waist size, add 4 inches, and cut at that number. So for me I can cut at the 32” mark. With the Smart Belts, there are no such markings, and they recommend putting the belt on first, holding it snugly against your waist, and cutting about an inch wider than your pants button. A bit less exacting but ultimately effective way to ballpark the size. Both belts cut cleanly and easily using a pair of sharp heavy duty scissors. And once they were in their buckles, felt snug and secure.

Functionally, the belts are very similar. Wear the belts as you normally would and simply slide the ratchet track over the latch and tighten to suit your comfort. If you need a little more room during the day, squeeze the release lever to let the belt out and adjust on the fly. The only difference was that the Smart Belt release lever tended to stick a bit more, and to avoid that they recommend pulling on the tail of the belt first before squeezing the lever and pushing the belt out of the latch. Both belts carry a 30-day money back guarantee and 1-year warranty against manufacturing defects and premature failure.

If you’re looking for a thinner, lightweight track belt with a Kevlar core, the Smart Belt 3.0 will set you back $59 for the early bird Indiegogo offer but retail at $75 when those run out. Kore belts, on the other hand, have more options for you to mix and match straps and buckles starting at $50, provide a greater range of adjustments, and even gives you the option to buy the straps and buckles separately. In addition, you can also order Kore’s dual belt hangers to conveniently hang up two at a time in your closet. Whichever brand you prefer, once you’ve experienced the ease and freedom of ratcheting track belts, you might not ever buy a traditional hole belt again.

Buy it at Amazon: KORE vs SmartBelt 3.0 Holeless Track Belt Comparison [Affiliate Link]


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