How to Replace a Belt Buckle

October 16, 2023

Custom belt buckles are flexible and convenient because they can be removed from one belt and attached to another. This works of course if you have the right belt.

Higher end leather belts are designed with snaps that can be unsnapped and re-snapped making it easy to remove and replace custom belt buckles.

This might seem a little odd to some that a person would want to switch out their belt buckle in the same manner as a person switches out their earrings, but it’s true. Custom belt buckles are just as much a fashion statement as earrings. They are a perfect accessory to be accessorized. Not all events or occasions call for that 4-inch belt buckle but when the time arises you want to be able to make the switch.

So, if you are a custom belt buckle wearer, and looking for a new belt it is important to check the design of the belt with one question in mind; “Can I replace the belt buckle?”

There are two types of belts, one that has snaps, and one that has rivets. A snap belt allows you to open the snaps and remove the belt buckle. A rivet belt is permanent, meaning you cannot release the rivets to remove the belt buckle.

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How can I tell if the belt has snaps or rivets?

You can usually tell visually what type of connection is on the belt, but I recommend you always check closely. Here are a few tips to help you determine what type of belt you may be dealing with.

  1. Test the snap

The ultimate test of a belt with snaps is to open the snap. If it opens and closes you have a good belt, if it doesn’t then keep looking. A word of caution. If the belt looks like it has snaps but you are unable to unsnap them on your first attempt don’t give up. Often belt snaps are very tight initially. The more the snap is released the easier it will be to open and close. Be persistent, but of course don’t damage the belt.

  1. Visually inspect the snap or rivet.

As a general rule, snaps are larger and bulkier than rivets. A rivet may be about 5mm in diameter compared to a snap that may be 10mm in diameter. Also, rivets will be much flatter than a snap that will poke up a little more from the surface of the belt.

  1. Check the quality of the belt.

Lower quality and lower priced belts will rarely have snaps. Snaps are more labor intensive and more expensive so it only makes sense they would only be put on higher quality more expensive belts. If the belt is made of plastic, or nylon, or imitation leather these are all ingredients for cheap and less expensive. The quality of the material would never hold up to a snap being opened and closed repeatedly, it would eventually rip the belt at the snap.

Snaps are generally only put on genuine leather belts as leather is very durable and can hold up to the tug and pull of opening and closing the snaps.

  1. Check the size of the belt.

This is not an obvious indicator but is worth mentioning. Belts less than 1.25 inch are typically too small to hold 2 snaps side by side and therefore rarely have snaps. Even if the belt is a good quality leather belt, it's just too small, and probably couldn’t support a custom belt buckle anyway. So, as you scan the rack of belts, look for wider belts that are 1.5 to 2 inches wide and most likely you will find a quality leather belt that has snaps.

  1. Check the tag.

Not all belts that are sold in retail stores have tags with descriptions. You will probably be lucky to find the size of the belt on the individual tag. But often the words “genuine leather” is stamped somewhere on the back of the belt indicating quality, and probably rivets. Also check any signage on the belt display that may indicate replaceable belt buckles. And then the full proof test is finding a belt that doesn’t already have a custom belt buckle attached. No buckle attached means one thing, you can add one.

How to replace a custom belt buckle

We’ve talked a lot about opening and closing the snap, so you are halfway to replacing the custom belt buckle. But here are the steps.

  • Lay the belt face down on a solid surface with the back side of the belt face up. The buckle will also be face down.
  • Locate the snaps on the belt, grab the excess belt on the right of the snaps firmly with your fingers and pull hard until the snaps release.
  • Slip off the custom belt buckle by sliding it along the belt to remove.
  • Take your new custom belt buckle face down and the knob of the custom belt buckle to the left and the loop of the belt buckle to the right.
  • Slip the end of the belt through the loop of the custom belt buckle and fold over the end and re-snap the belt.

Because nothing you do is permanent when replacing a custom belt buckle, if by chance the buckle ends up upside down when you put it on, just redo the process and switch the direction.

What is a typical size for a custom belt buckle?

Custom belt buckles range in size from as small as 1.5 inch to 5.5 inches. The most common size would be 3-4 inches. This is a good size buckle but not overbearing. If you live in Texas, then 4-5 inches may be your size as everything is bigger in Texas.

Because custom belt buckles are typically bigger than formal or traditional belt buckles, they typically work best on belts that are 1.5 to 2 inches wide.

The only thing to remember when buying a custom belt buckle is to know the width of the loop on the back of the belt buckle and the width of the belt. These two things need to fit together so you can’t buy a belt wider than the loop on the back of the belt buckle.

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