There are a ton of different buckles for belts that are designed to look either interesting or serve a functional purpose. Often, buckles are intended to do both. When it comes to functional purpose, however, the types of buckles on the market couldn’t be more different.
From looping the belt through rings to securing the belt with clasps, there are a gazillion ways to keep a belt in place.
Recently, the slide belt buckle appeared. Slide belts actually have a lot of advantages, which is why they’ve caught on, but how does a slide belt buckle work, really?
What Is a Slide Belt?
First off, slide belts are often called ratchet belts as well, and the names are interchangeable. Sometimes, it’s also called a click belt, a no-hole belt, or an automatic belt. That being said, how does a slide belt buckle work?
As you can tell from the “no-hole” moniker, the belt doesn’t have holes. Instead, slide or ratchet belts have a bunch of teeth that are sewn under the belt strap. In the buckle, a tab locks in with the teeth in a process similar to how a zip-tie functions.
How Can a Slide Belt Be Adjusted?
Though the slide belt is securely fastened in place, there is a release mechanism that allows the belt to loosen. Depending on the belt, it may be a button or a small lever. Some belts utilize a frame-release feature, wherein the buckle simply needs to be squeezed to release the belt.
Either way, this ensures single-hand loosening of the belt. Compared to traditional belts that use the combination of holes and a metal tongue, this is much easier to adjust quickly.
Isn’t a Slide Belt Just an Autogrip Buckle?
To many who are unfamiliar with slide belts, they do sound very similar to autogrip buckles, but there is an important distinction. With an autogrip buckle, the band must be pulled with one hand to retain tension while the other hand uses two fingers to slide a bar into place to secure the band.
An autogrip buckle does allow for a custom fit, which makes it sound very similar to a slide belt. However, the mechanism used not only requires both hands but also isn’t suitable for thicker materials like leather. Because of this, virtually all autogrip buckles are used with some form of cloth or canvas belt.
Obviously, cloth and canvas belts are not suitable for more than casual wear. Additionally, they also wear down much more quickly. The buckle itself, while initially very secure, is also prone to wear over time, as all the pressure is on a single bar mechanism.
A slide belt relies on the strength of the belt itself, and typically, as these belts are made of leather, it ensures excellent long-term performance of both the buckle and the belt.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Slide Belt?
Since slide belts utilize teeth rather than holes that affect the durability of the belt or need to be reinforced with grommets, it is possible to have many, many potential positions for the belt to rest in. This ensures the wearer has a proper, finely-tuned fit.
Compared to the six or eight holes that are customary with traditional belts, slide belts have as much as 20 or 30 positions, and sometimes upwards of even these many. Often, they are spaced out in extremely fine increments, such as quarter-inches.
Additionally, it also means that the wearer can trim their belts. Most ratchet belts have indicators on the back that show where to cut to match a precise waist size. This allows the wearer to reduce the amount of excess band that must be tucked in their pants’ loopholes to their taste.
Of course, it also means that the belt is easy to put on and easy to adjust, even one-handedly. Wearers do not have to look for holes or use both hands to operate the buckle, and adjustments can quickly and discreetly be made.
Lastly, the lack of holes or other weakening features helps to ensure that slide belts will last a very long time provided they are constructed out of sturdy materials. Most are made from genuine or synthetic leather and is designed with a buckle made of zinc or another scratch-proof metal.
Slide buckles are a relatively new form of buckles, but they are quickly catching on thanks to their ease of operation, versatility in both casual and formal situations, and ability to provide a custom fit. While many buckles that are quick and easy to operate are not suitable for leather, slide buckles are, and since leather or synthetic leather can come in countless colors, their potential for all occasions is limitless.
In the near future, it is highly likely that slide buckles will be much more common as they continue to catch on, so owning and learning how to use one simply makes sense.