10mm vs 13mm Belt – Which Is Best For You?

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10mm and 13mm leather belts are often used by amateurs and professionals powerlifters in competitions and training, but an average person can also, without a doubt, take advantage of these kinds of belts in day-to-day training in the gym, especially if the routine contains compound movements.

It doesn’t really matter if you are a powerlifter or just a person who likes heavy training when you are in the position of choosing between a 10mm or 13mm belt because there are several questions that cross everyone’s mind.

If you are uncertain about the type of belt you should buy, you are in the right place, because in this article we will try to make this topic easier to understand. By the end of this article, you should be able to tell if you need a 10mm or a 13mm belt, or at least have a better idea of what the main differences between the two are.

10mm Belts

Probably the type of belt with the biggest popularity in the powerlifting world, the 10mm leather belt is great to have in the gym bag on a daily basis. The simple reason behind this is its versatility. A 10mm belt can be used for almost any type of exercise while providing more than decent support. Its popularity is reflected by the large number of powerlifters who choose it over other types of belts, even though some people think that all heavyweight powerlifters wear 13mm belts.

13mm Belts

Leather belts with a thickness of 13mm are frequently chosen by bigger guys, but this doesn’t mean that individuals with an average weight won’t get the exact same benefits by picking it over other belts. The main advantage of this type of belt is the superior support provided, due to its imposing size.

What Are The Main Differences Between 10mm and 13mm Belts?

The Comfort Level

One of the first aspects to take into consideration is the comfort level. Due to its smaller size, the 10mm belt allows better mobility, which could be really important for exercises like the deadlift. Overall, the 10mm belt wins in terms of a comfort compared to a 13mm one, which is more rigid due to the extra thickness.

The Price & Versatility

It makes perfect sense that a 13mm belt is, in general, more expensive than a 10mm one. Besides the actual difference in price, we also have to take into consideration other aspects.

Although a 13mm belt is great for certain exercises, it should come as no surprise that the number of these is not that great. Most athletes prefer this type of belt for exercises like squats and other compound movements, but for some individuals, it can be really uncomfortable in certain situations, like getting into the starting position for deadlifts. 

The lack of versatility of the 13mm belt can cause some problems and it may force you to have a second belt for other exercises, which means another spending.

One solution to those problems could be to have a 13mm belt for the exercises that do not create any issues, and a second comfortable Velcro belt for the rest of the exercises that do not require top-level support. The Velcro belts are decent in terms of support, and their price is fairly small.

The Time Required To Break-In The Belt

Most 10mm leather belts have the advantage of being quite easy to break-in, depending on the brand. Even if some are more rigid than others, it’s always going to be harder to break-in a 13mm belt than a 10mm one. 

This process can take quite a while, but there are some tricks you can apply in order to make your job easier. Eventually, any lifting belt will conform to your body shape.

What Type Is The Best Depending On Your Goal?

It’s important to mention that either one will work well for both recreational lifters and powerlifters, but the 13mm version will be superior in terms of support for most individuals. If even the smallest difference in support is important to you, then a 13mm belt is the best choice. On the other hand, you should know that even some professional powerlifters prefer a 10mm belt instead of a thicker one, which proves that this type of belt has no problems in holding big weights.

Is The Upgrade From A 10mm To A 13mm Worth It?

If you already own a 10mm belt and wonder if the upgrade to a thicker one will produce a noticeable difference, the truth is that it depends on the person. I suggest that you only upgrade to the thicker version if you feel like the support is not exactly what you are looking for. 

This scenario is not that common, but if that is your case and you have a friend who owns a 13mm belt, a good idea would be to borrow it and see how it feels before you actually make the upgrade.

10mm vs 13mm Belt - Final Thoughts

Both 10mm and 13mm belts are great to have in your gym arsenal, but there are some differences between the two that make each one more suitable for certain people.

Without a doubt, both versions have advantages and disadvantages, therefore it’s very important to have basic knowledge about the topic if you want to maximize the chance of choosing the best type for you.