PowerliftingTechnique.com is independent and supported by our readers. Please note that we may earn a commission if you buy through any of the links in our article (at no additional cost to you). For more, see our disclosures page. And thanks for supporting our team!
Today I’m comparing two of the best lifting belts on the market: Inzer belt vs. SBD belt.
So, is the Inzer or SBD belt better? The Inzer Forever provides better value compared with the SBD belt. Not only is it more affordable than SBD, but it also provides significant support with minimal “breaking in” time. I prefer the 10mm version because it is more versatile, but it also come in 13mm for larger individuals or elite powerlifters (click for today’s price on Amazon).
Want to know more? Let’s explore each of the belts further!
Table of Contents
I always like to start my comparisons by looking at the big picture. This way, you can easily understand the actual differences and make a truly informed buying decision.
Inzer Forever Belt
I’m pretty sure that there’s no lifter, novice or professional, that hasn’t heard about Inzer. Their gear is well-known for having the best quality at reasonable prices.
The “Forever” belt does live up to its name. I’ve owned the 10mm version for more than 15 years now and I couldn’t be more satisfied.
- Takes little time to break in
- Comes in a wide variety of colors
- There are pronged and lever versions
- Highly durable
- Covered by a lifetime warranty
- The lever position can’t be adjusted without a screwdriver
- Doesn’t look that premium
Because it’s fairly new, SBD doesn’t have that many products in its arsenal. Nevertheless, they pride themselves on providing superior quality and performance. That’s why their gear usually costs double the average.
The most unique thing about their belt is the patent-pending lever design. As you’ll see later on, it utilizes the adjustably of prongs while benefiting from the convenience of levers.
- Premium, sleek design
- A state-of-the-art hybrid lever
- Easy to clean
- Might feel too stiff
- Takes time to break in
- Comes in a 13mm version only
A Detailed Face-To-Face Comparison
Alright, let’s start dissecting the actual differences that may make or break your lifting performance.
To start off this duel, let’s look at the differences in the basic construction.
Inzer Forever Belt
Throughout the course of my training career, I’ve stumbled upon hundreds of poorly-made belts. No-name brands often manufacture their belts by stacking 3-4 sheets of leather to achieve the required thickness. And to make matters worse, they typically use low-quality glue to hold them together. You’d be lucky if such a belt lasted more than a year!
Inzer was among the first companies to change this trend. The Inzer Forever is built from a single piece of high-quality leather that doesn’t stretch or tear with time. I’ve owned the 10mm version for 15 years and counting; it still looks as good as new!
Because it’s based in England, SBD manufactures its belt exclusively from English leather that’s well-known for being stiffer than the usual. They even prepare it with special solutions for 5 months in order to ramp up its strength to the fullest.
The Winner: Inzer Forever
You might disagree, but I think that SBD’s construction feels like an overkill. You don’t need that insane support unless you’re a Strongman athlete or world-level powerliter. If you’re just beginning to make your way in the world of powerlifting, this belt would probably feel unduly uncomfortable for you.
That’s where the Inzer Forever excels. It’s not soft, not by a long shot. But it provides just the right tightness while maintaining comfort.
Without a doubt, you should never base your belt choice on the looks. However, it’s important to highlight the differences in the design since this might have an impact on performance.
Inzer Forever Belt
The two faces of the Forever belt are laminated with single sheets of suede. To guarantee durability, this sheet is stitched in place by four (sometimes six) rows of corrosive-resistant, high-density nylon.
In addition to enhancing comfort, the suede lamination adds a crucial anti-slip perk. Without it, the belt might start sliding out of position whenever your body gets too sweaty.
By default, the Forever belt comes in black. But on the official website, you can tailor the belt to your personality by choosing from more than 20 colors! Although this might appear insignificant, it’s actually pretty rare to see other brands doing the same.
It’s important to note, however, that you’ll have to wait about 6 weeks to receive colored belts; your order will be handcrafted upon your request. If you can’t afford to waste any time, the black version should be your best bet since it’s always kept in stock.
On the outside, SBD painted its belt with black oil — that’s why it appears slightly shiny when placed next to the Inzer Forever. Unlike suede, the sleek oil doesn’t allow your sweat to settle, which facilitates the cleaning process.
On the inside, SBD followed Inzer’s idea by adding a suede lamination to improve stability. I don’t know why, but they colored that suede in bright red.
According to their official website, as the red suede absorbs your sweat, it might bleed onto your shirt, much like what happens when you don’t sort your laundry! If you ask me, I don’t think that’s a nice thing to experience in a belt that costs more than $200.
The Winner: Inzer Forever
The red suede of the SBD is pretty absurd. It doesn’t make the belt look any cooler since this side will always be facing your body. And as for the oiled exterior, it’s not that helpful since most of the sweat will be absorbed by the inner layer. That’s why I think Inzer Forever wins this point.
Both belts tighten by a lever that excels over the classic prong in terms of convenience and ease of use. However, there are some significant differences in the lever design.
Inzer Forever Belt
Inzer adopted the basic lever design that you can typically see with most of the other famous brands. The lever base is attached to one of the belt’s ends by 2 flat-head screws. The belt can be tightened or loosened by relocating those screws forward or backward. And of course, you’ll need a screwdriver to do this.
After that pretty tiresome setup, the actual use couldn’t be more convenient. All you have to do is hook the lever teeth to one of two sets of holes that are pierced into the other end. Then, flick the lever’s latch to achieve the maximum tightness. And that’s it!
The SBD’s lever is probably the only thing that’s worth that extravagant price tag. They’ve actually filed for a patent, but it has yet to be issued. Their ingenious design combines the gliding action of a lever with the adjustability of prongs.
The lever base is attached to one of the belt’s ends by 4 screws. There are no holes between which the lever can be relocated. Alternatively, all the holes are pierced into the other end.
This way, you can hook the lever’s teeth on any set of holes to achieve the preferred tightness on the spot. You don’t need to use a screwdriver, which is way more convenient than Inzer.
Beginners may have a hard time coping with SBD’s lever at first. See, with Inzer, there’s zero guesswork. The tightness is already predetermined; you’ll just latch it and start lifting.
With SBD, you might not always hook the teeth in the right holes. Your only choice, in that case, would be unlatching the belt, changing the holes, and trying again. You can’t really anticipate the tightness of each hole since most of them will seem pretty loose before latching the lever.
With that being said, SBD proves, yet again, that its belt is exclusively intended for highly-experienced lifters. To make matters worse, it doesn’t release a pronged version.
The Winner: Tie
I couldn’t really pick a winner here. Beginners who value ease-of-use will appreciate the Inzer Forever because of its guesswork-free technique. Still, the ingenious concept that SBD introduced is truly revolutionizing.
Not sure about what to choose? Check the following points to know the differences.
10mm Belts Are Generally More Comfortable
It stands to reason that the thinner the belt, the more comfortable. 13mm belts won’t bend easily with your body. That’s why they’ll typically dig in your torso in deadlifts, rows, and any exercise that requires bending.
The heftier build of 13mm belts would be ideal when you want to maintain an upright torso during 400+ lbs squats.
10mm Belts Take Less Time to Break In
I hate to break it to you, but whichever belt you choose, you’ll probably hate yourself the first time you wear it!
Any leather belt would feel infernally stiff at first. You’ll feel like you’re wrapped in a splint, you’ll have a hard time taking it off, and you might think about throwing it in your wardrobe forever!
All of this will come to an end when the leather starts “breaking in” around your body, much like how gloves perfectly fit your hands.
Thanks to the thinner build, 10mm belts take much less time to break in when compared to their 13mm alternatives. That’s why I always recommend them for beginners.
10mm Belts Are More Versatile
Since it allows for minor bending, 10mm belts can be used for various exercises like squats, bench presses, rows, deadlifts, etc.
13mm, on the contrary, isn’t typically used in anything other than squats. In fact, I know lifters who own that thickness specifically for squats. After they finish, they revert back to their primary 10mm belt.
The Winner: Inzer Forever
The Inzer Forever 10mm belt was and will always be my favorite lifting belt.
I’ve written a separate article detailing all the differences between 10mm and 13mm belts; make sure to check it out if you still can’t make up your mind.
Approval for Competition
As you might already know, most of the professional powerlifting competitions prohibit the use of non-approved gear. Here are the technical guidelines that the lifting belts must meet as stated by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).
- The belt should be made of leather, vinyl, or similar rigid materials.
- Laminations can be glued or stitched.
- Padding and bracing aren’t allowed.
- The belt shall tighten with a single prong, double prongs, or a lever.
- The buckle must be securely fixed with stitching or studs.
- The design has to be plain with no logos unless approved by IPF.
- The belt must not be wider than 4” or thicker than 13mm.
- The buckle’s inside and outside width should be 11 and 13 cm respectively.
- The tongue loop should be placed within 25 cm from the belt’s end.
- The tongue loop can’t be wider than 5 cm.
Whichever belt you choose, you’ll have to pick a suitable size in order to guarantee acceptable performance. Luckily, the measuring process is fairly simple.
Get a flexible tape measure, and measure the size of your waist. Ideally, you should be measuring at the level of your belly button. However, if you tend to wear the belt higher or lower, mimic its location as much as you can.
Please, do yourself a favor and don’t suck in your stomach while you’re measuring. This will leave you with an absolutely tight belt that may restrict your movement to a great extent.
So, make sure you’re measuring in a relaxed state. Then, tighten the tape measure until it just starts digging to your skin. You don’t want it too tight, though.
Now write down the measurement you read and pick your size from the following table. As you’ll see, SBD’s sizes overlap each other. Ideally, you should pick a size that has your measurement lying around the middle. For example, if you measure 39”, you should pick XL (34.5-43.5) instead of 2XL (37.5-47).
As you saw, the SBD belt offers strikingly wide ranges when compared to Inzer. This has to do with the innovative hybrid lever that I detailed earlier.
What Makes Each Belt Stand Out?
After discussing the previous aspects in detail, let’s see what’s unique about each belt.
- Cost-effective: The Forever belt lies around $100. Yes, you’ll find more affordable products on the market, but none of them can be as durable as this belt.
- Great force/comfort ratio: the leather construction of the forever belt gives sufficient support without digging in your torso. The fact that it comes with a thickness of 10 mm makes it ideal for novice lifters.
- Lifetime guarantee: Inzer is so sure about its design and materials that it offers a lifetime guarantee! Like I said earlier, I’ve been using the 10mm version for 15 years now without noticing major changes; it does live up to the name “Forever”!
- Color variety: Inzer allows its customers to tailor the Forever belt to their personality by offering more than 20 color schemes. But bear in mind that you might have to wait about 6 weeks before receiving your shipment.
- Hybrid lever: The patent-pending lever combines the convenience of traditional levers with the adjustability of prongs. You can easily alter its tightness in the middle of the workout without using a screwdriver.
- Premium design: The black oil finish that SBD sprayed over the outer face adds a nice premium touch. It also makes the belt smooth enough for hassle-free cleaning.
- Superior force: SBD exposes the already-robust English leather to 5-month processing that ramps up the strength even more. And since it’s only supplied in the 13mm thickness, you can’t find anything stiffer.
The Final Word
Based on the facts I introduced, I think that Inzer easily wins the Inzer belt vs. SBD belt duel. Nevertheless, here’s a brief list recapping their best uses.
Use Inzer Forever belt if:
- You’ve just started lifting.
- You don’t want something too stiff.
- You care about durability.
- You want freedom with color choice.
- You’re interested in a cost-effective option.
Use the SBD belt if:
- You usually squat with super heavy weights.
- You want to easily adjust the tightness during the workout.
- You don’t mind spending more than $200.
- You want a hassle-free cleaning