A review of Nexbelt, the belt with no holes.

Remember when belts were available in two colors–brown and black–and they served the simple purpose of keeping your pants on your hips? There was even that weird “Sansabelt period” when belts disappeared from the fairways (let’s not go back there, though).

Over the last 10 years, there probably hasn’t been a trendier or more controversial accessory in the golf fashion landscape than the belt. The belt is no longer just a functional accessory, but it has turned into a fashion statement. Whether it’s vibrant colors, branded buckles, custom designs or just straight up bling, golfers of all sizes and ages are drawing attention to their waistlines–for better or worse. Even though the cool factor for belts has never been higher, we have apparently decided to live with the inherent flaws that they offer.

1. Belt straps stretch. Traditional pin and buckle belts require you to pull the straps when putting them on. Over time, this stretches out the straps.

2. The holes stretch. Similar to the straps themselves, the holes stretch and loosen over time, creating the dreaded sagging buckle.

3. The holes are at one inch increments. If you are between sizes, good luck. You basically have a belt that is too tight or too loose.

4. Wear marks. Have you ever lost weight (trying to keep it positive here) and then had to go to the next hole on the strap? Congratulations, but you have that hideous wear mark on the strap right in the middle of the buckle as a constant reminder of your more robust waistline.

5. Catching your forearm on the end of your belt during practice putting strokes. This may just be a personal pet peeve, but there is nothing worse than making a couple of practice putting strokes only to have your forearm catch the end of your belt.

6. Inconsistent sizing. Now, do you buy a belt that is two inches bigger than your waist? Or, is it one? If my waist is 33″, do I get a 34″ or 36″ belt? And good luck being from the U.S. and trying to order a belt in centimeters.

7. The need for retailers to carry multiple sizes. Green grass shops, big box stores, e-commerce sites–I feel your pain. Murphy’s Law states you will always have too many of size x when your customers want size y.

Well, the smart folks at Nexbelt have revolutionized the golf belt and at the same time they have solved the annoying problems that go along with traditional pin/buckle belts. See, Nexbelts do not have any holes. That’s right. Problems 1, 2 and 3 are solved.

With Nexbelt’s PreciseFit ratcheting system, you push the belt through the buckle, rather than pulling it, and you can adjust the size at 1/4″ increments without having wear marks. A lever under the buckle releases the ratcheting system for easy removal or resizing. This takes care of problems 1, 2, 3 (again) and 4.

Nexbelt uses a one-size-fits-most system. Their regular size belts fit waists between 28 and 40 inches and extra large fits 38 to 50 inch waists. You simply trim the belt strap to your desired length, attach it to the buckle and go. Problems 4 (again), 5, 6 and 7 are now solved.

My Experience with Nexbelt
Solving problems is great, but how do Nexbelts perform? I didn’t know what to expect with the Nexbelt. I was a bit worried that it might fit into the gimmick category. Also, aesthetics are important to me (after all, this is a blog about golf style), so I wondered how they actually looked in person.

I received the Bermuda blue belt from Nexbelt’s Colour Series (white belts may have started the belt trend, but colored belts are where it’s at now). The style of the belt exceeded my expectations.

20130424-170651.jpgThe leather strap has a nice texture, which gives it an exotic look that you would find on belts at a much higher price point, and the white contrast stitching is a nice added touch. What really separates this belt from others, though, is the buckle. It not only houses the ratcheting system, but it exquisitely hides it from the view of your playing partners. Matching leather from the strap is featured on the face of the buckle–creating a nice uniformed look–and it is surrounded with a thin chrome border. The chrome border provides just the right amount of pop without requiring the other members of your group to reach for eye black and polarized lenses. The face of the buckle also flips down where a hidden ball marker is located.

PreciseFit ratcheting system.
PreciseFit ratcheting system.

The size of the buckle and the width of the strap are perfect. At some point it became acceptable for us golfers to wear dinner-plated sized buckles attached to wide, clunky straps, but as I wrote in my golf style trends for 2013 post, those days are over. Thinner, more streamlined straps and buckles are the way to go these days, and Nexbelt is certainly on trend in this department.

The inside of the strap is marked with lines for various waist sizes, so customizing the belt to my size was easy. The strap was easy to remove from the buckle and I didn’t need to grab any heavy machinery from the garage to cut the strap. Simple kitchen scissors were all that was needed. Attaching the belt to the buckle was as easy as removing it.

Here is some advice that probably goes without saying. First, don’t let your ego get the best of you. Trim the strap to a larger size than you think you need. Second, as my dad always said, “Measure twice, cut once”. You can always take more off it, but the other way around is bad news.

My last bit of advice is with the ratcheting system. Releasing the system is as easy as flicking a small lever on the underside of the buckle, but practice a few times before heading out to the course. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you don’t remember where that pesky lever is or how it works.

Classic Series
Classic Series

In additon to the Colour Series, Nexbelt also offers the Go-In!, X-Factor, Heritage, Classic and Women’s Series. The Go-In! Series features the same design as the Colour Series with the hidden ball marker, but in more traditional colors–black, brown and white (funny, how white is now considered traditional).

Colour Series
Colour Series

The Classic Series offers the traditional look of pin/buckle or shield belts, while the X-Factor Series has an edgier vibe with a large “X” on the the buckle. The Heritage Series features buckles with flags from nine different countries. Most recently, Marc Leishman was seen sporting the Australian version during his T4 finish at the Masters. The Women’s Series brings some serious bling with six different styles of rhinestone-encrusted buckles along with a few conservative designs.

Heritage Series
Heritage Series

Custom options are also available for clubs, tournaments, teams and corporate gifts. You’ve probably seen PGA Tour Player Kevin Na strolling the fairways (albeit slowly) in a custom “NA” belt from Nextbelt. With the one-size-fits-most design you won’t have to worry about sizing issues and the distinctive packaging offers a nice presentation for gifts and unique merchandising options for retailers.

Unique Packaging
Unique Packaging

My Bermuda blue Nexbelt is firmly entrenched in my rotation and I see another style in my future. There’s a fine line between a gimmick and a great idea, and Nexbelt definitely falls into the latter category. Plus, with price points right around $50, you’ll still have some extra cabbage for a pair of pants to go along with it.

For more info on Nexbelt, check out their website at www.nexbelt.com, or follow them on Twitter (@_Nexbelt_), Facebook or Instagram (@nexbelt).

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