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Inzer Forever vs Pioneer Double Suede – 10 mm Lifting Belts

Inzer Forever belt versus Pioneer Double Suede - Belt Review

If you’ve been lifting for any length of time, you undoubtedly know about the Inzer Forever Power Belt and the Pioneer Double Suede Power Belt. You may also know that there is no shortage of praise and positive reviews for both of these belts – so much so that telling you that these belts are awesome wouldn’t exactly be breaking news. So setting that aside, the question then becomes how does one choose between two popular and seemingly identical belts?

Well I have both the 10 mm Inzer Forever and the Pioneer Double Suede. I also have both the lever and the buckle versions of each of these. Rather than preach about how fantastic each belt is in its own right, I’m going to compare the two side-by-side. I’ll share what I think the pros and cons of each belt are, and let you decide which (if either) of these belts would work for your needs.

I’ll tell you right now that even though both of these belts have the same basic design and application, and they look the same at a glance, they are very different when it comes to the finer points. There are situations where one belt is clearly a better option than the other and some situations where it’s a wash and just comes down to price.

Update: prices are current as of January 15 2018.


Quick Specs Rundown

The table below summarizes and compares the more important specifications of the Inzer Forever and the Pioneer Double Suede. I’ll go into more detail below when necessary.

Inzer Forever Belt Pioneer Double-Suede
 10 mm buckle ¹ $89.95 $74.95-$79.95
 10 mm lever $89.95 $94.95-$99.95
 actual dimensions 11 mm x 10 cm 10 mm x 10 cm
 turnaround time * 4-5 weeks 1-2 weeks
 color options 21 19
 customizable? ² no very
 hole distance 1″ on center 1″ on center
 size range (waist) 25″-62″ 22″-52″
 warranty lifetime lifetime
 made in USA yes yes
 IPF-approved yes no

¹ – Your choice of single or double prong from both brands.
² – Customizable meaning embroidered names & logos, stitch color, etc.
* – The holidays tend to increase delay time among all belt manufacturers, of course.

I like both of these belts equally; just for different reasons. The Inzer Forever is perhaps the most durable leather belt on the market – and it’s also IPF-approved. The Pioneer is easier to break in, and is far, far more comfortable. Pioneer’s buckle belt also have a slightly lower starting price. They both have their place in the market.


Crafting & Hardware (Durability)

When it comes to which belt is assembled to a higher standard, I used to think Inzer had an upper hand because their belts are so thick, and they use massive rivets and more rows of stitching than Pioneer does. I’ve come to learn that the extra thickness of Inzer belts is from the use of a hard filler (the reason Inzers are so hard to break in), and the jumbo rivets and extra stitching don’t really make for a a better belt. That is to say, it’s just overkill.

Inzer Forever (left) and Pioneer Double Suede belt thicknesses

A Pioneer belt is actually 10 mm in thickness – two layers of suede and the inner hide. The Inzer belts have an extra mm-plus of material – that filler I mentioned. If belts were actually prone to tearing or something maybe the stiff bonus filler would be fine, but they’re not, and that filler just keeps the belt super rigid; lacking pliability.

So sure the extra large NASA rivets are a nice touch, and extra stitching won’t hurt, right?  Correct, but if I wanted a stiff, thick power belt I’d buy a 13 mm belt. I didn’t want a 13 mm belt, I wanted a 10 mm belt that can be broken in. A Pioneer is pliable, and the smaller (and 50% increase in quantity of) normal rivets are never coming out of that leather, nor will that suede ever separate from the inner hide simply because it doesn’t have 4 rows of stitching.

Pioneer Double Suede (top) and Inzer Forever

The Pioneer has 50% more rivets, but the Inzer rivets are just massive. The buckle hardware is the same, but Inzer leaves less of a gap in the leather for the prong to move around in.

So in terms of durability I seriously don’t expect either the Inzer or the Pioneer to ever come apart. However, if you were somehow able to equally accelerate decades of use and abuse while intentionally trying to pull the belt apart, perhaps the Inzer would hold better from the giant rivets. Be that as it may, both belts have lifetime warranties and I’m confident that you aren’t going to go out of your way to destroy your expensive belt.


Lever Hardware

Pioneer Lever Belt (top) and the Inzer Forever Lever Belt

No difference in hardware, but the Inzer has extra stitching. NOTE: my (pictured) Inzer Lever Belt is 13 mm so it has six total rows of stitching. The 10 mm Inzer will have only four rows.

The hardware on the lever belts is the same on both the Pioneer and the Inzer Forever – literally the same. Be that as it may, the Inzer Forever Lever Belt is not only less expensive than the Pioneer, but it has the extra stitching and its IPF-approved. Because of all this, the Inzer is going to be the go-to for the majority of people when it comes to a lever belt.

The exceptions to this would be if you want to customize the belt with embroidery, you want the belt crafted specifically to your current waist size, if you want the belt to actually be 10 mm rather than 11 mm or more, or you want a belt that will actually break in. All of these are perfectly valid reasons to spend an additional $5 to $10.


Customization and Sizing

As far as belt sizes go, Inzer does offer bigger belts than Pioneer (62″ maximum waist size versus 52″). However, Pioneer offers smaller sizes than Inzer (22″ versus 25″.) The bigger boys are probably going to need an Inzer Forever Belt, while young lifters and smaller girls may need a Pioneer.

Pioneer does have an advantage in the sizing department, and that is the fact that General Leathercraft will craft your belt to your exact specifications simply by asking. What does that mean?

Let’s say that your a size 34″ waist. That particular size falls at the high end of small and the low end of medium; neither of which is ideal. Well you can just give your 34″ dimension when you order and ask that the belt be made so that the 34″ hole falls in the middle. This gives you the most freedom with the belt to gain or lose weight (shall we say; bulk and cut.) With Inzer you just have to make due with the closest size.

Pioneer Double Suede (top) and Inzer Forever

You can see the indentation from the buckle on both belts, and it’s dead center on the Pioneer because I asked for it to be made to my waist size. There’s also an extra hole on the Pioneer.

In terms of customization, Inzer has none beyond color and size. With Pioneer’s belts you can add embroidery and logos, change the stitching colors, have a different color suede on the inside and outside of the belt, choose different hardware colors for buckles and levers, add edging, and on and on. All of these “upgrades” cost more money, of course, but you can easily have the most unique belt on the block with a Pioneer Double-Suede (examples below – see mine in there?)


Shipping Time

With Inzer you can have a belt in about a week if you order black in normal sizes (S-2XL). If you order any color other than black or any extreme sizes (XS & 3XL+), your shipping time shoots up to about a month or more. The Forever is one of the best belts in the world so the wait is the wait. The only other drawback to the long turnaround time is the mysteriousness of it. You will not be notified when it will ship, or even when it does ship. It will just show up one day.

Pioneer belts are on a 1-2 week time table, and this is for any color or size belt. Obviously this is the way to go if you need a belt in a hurry (relatively.) I believe that the only thing that delays an order significantly is embroidery. Changing stitching or hardware colors should not slow your order down.

To give a little perspective though, some custom power belt companies take a few months to ship your belt, so even Inzer seems pretty quick by comparison. Honestly I don’t know what in the world takes anyone 2 or 3 months to make one belt, but what do I know about making belts!


Competition Worthiness

Both belts function identically, but the fact is that Inzer Belts are certified for use by the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation), and Pioneer is not. If you’re going to compete, you need an Inzer; or some other belt off the IPF List of Approved Equipment.


Comfort

Comfort is secondary to function obviously but it still matters, and the Double Suede is the more comfortable belt of the two. It’s more pliable than the Inzer Forever, and that cuts that break-in time down considerably. The Double Suede just feels great right out of the box.

My Inzer has some miles on it, so it’s not nearly as stiff and rigid as it was new, but it’s still less comfortable overall. I don’t find that all that extra rigidity in the Inzer makes it any more effective, not to mention that the stiffness can lead to some very uncomfortable pinches in the hole; pinches I don’t get in the Pioneer. I could further break-in the Inzer, but why? With the Pioneer sitting there I tend to just grab that all the time.

Keep in mind though that fit, feel, and comfort is all subjective. How a belt feels on me at 6’4″ and 230-pounds may have absolutely no similarities to how a belt fits and feels on you and your frame. Also keep in mind that the Inzer Forever is one of the best-selling belts in the world, and if they couldn’t be broken in and made to conform to our different bodies, they wouldn’t be this popular.


Buckle vs Lever

Personally I prefer a single-prong buckle over a lever, and I think most people do as well. I know levers are all the rage on YouTube but I prefer to take my belt off in-between my sets. Lever belts are not meant to come on and off, only to be loosened. Levers are just not for me – but your preference is your preference.

In terms of Inzer vs Pioneer, I see no significant difference between brands. The levers are identical in every way, and both companies use what might as well be identical buckles. I will point out that both companies use seamless rollers though; just so you know.

I do have one double-prong belt, and I cannot even begin to tell you how much of a pain in the ass it is to use. Removing that thing can be an exercise in patience – especially when it’s new and super firm. You should probably avoid double prongs.


Pioneer Double Suede Belt Pros

Pioneer Double Suede Power Belts by General Leathercraft

  • Practically no break-in time. Comfortable, pliable, yet supportive right out of the box.
  • High-quality craftsmanship – Pioneer belts are sourced and handmade in the USA.
  • Inner hide is single-piece (not layered), 100% genuine vegetable-tanned sole leather.
  • Suede is high quality garment grade, and the colors really look sharp.
  • Super fast turn-around time on non-embroidered belts.
  • More customization options than just about any other belt on the market.
  • Customer service is amazing, and simply by asking when ordering you can have your belt custom-sized to your exact waist measurement.

Inzer Forever Belt Pros

Inzer Forever Single-prong Buckle Belt

  • Prong belts have over-sized rivets that simply cannot fail, and all 10 mm Forever Belts have four rows of stitching instead of the standard two.
  • More color options than most belt manufacturers, including a couple multi-colors.
  • Buckle prongs do not waver back and forth. They only slide one direction; in and out of the hole.
  • Sizes go all the way up to 62″ so that even the biggest of the big can wear a Forever, and prices for these massive belts are no higher than the smaller belts.
  • Lever belts are actually cheaper with Inzer than Pioneer.
  • Inzer Forever Belts are made in the USA using US-sourced materials.
  • Inzer Advanced Designs is on the International Powerlifting Federation list of approved equipment providers, which of course means they are competition legal.

Summary

If all you want is a functional, reliable power belt, and a slightly better price matters more to you than bells and whistles, I think you need a Pioneer Double Suede single-prong belt. It’ll set you back $75 and you’ll have it at your door in no time. It does the job exceptionally well and it feels amazing right out of the box – almost no break-in needed.

If you prefer a lever over a pronged belt, I could argue for either. Inzer is less expensive but Pioneer will be more comfortable sooner (and will still never fail.) If you want any kind of customization besides suede color, Pioneer is your only option of the two. If you need an IPF certified belt, you have no choice but to go with the Inzer.

If I’ve overlooked anything or you have a question, use the comments. If you’re feeling kind, please share this article.


 

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Tony March 3, 2016, 8:27 pm

    Thanks for the article! After your initial belt guide I was eyeing the rogue ohio belt, but given that the pioneer is only $64.95 I’m thinking it may just be more bang for buck. How do you think the two compare?

    • jburgeson March 3, 2016, 9:55 pm

      The Ohio and Pioneer? I don’t have an Ohio here, but it is the same leather as the Pioneer – vegetable tanned sole. Well, minus the suede outer. The Ohio is supposed to be easy to break in just like the Pioneer; more pliable that Inzer. I’ve thought about picking one up, and the only problem I have with it is that it’s kinda expensive. I may still though; it’s a very nice looking belt.

  • K March 4, 2016, 7:20 pm

    I started with the Rogue Ohio 10mm and then I found a deal on a Rogue 13mm. It was overkill so I went back to the 10mm. Thought I would try the Inzer Lever or a whim to see what all the fuss was about and bought a “like new” 13mm lever on ebay for 60 bucks. It’s awesome. Maybe it’s just personal preference like you said but I could never go back to a buckle now. Flip it tight, do a set, flip it loose so you can breathe again. Love it! It’s just so convenient. I’ll probably hang on to the 10mm Rogue as a backup but I’m drinking the Inzer kool-aid now you could say

    • jburgeson March 4, 2016, 11:40 pm

      So you had a 10 mm, went to 13 mm and didn’t like it, but bought an Inzer 13 mm and love it? That’s random, but that’s just how it goes I guess. Who’s to say what’s best for each person. And yes, it is kool-aid, but for good reason.

      • K March 5, 2016, 8:14 am

        Lol I guess when you put it like that I sound like a crazy person but the 13mm Inzer was just the first deal I came across so I thought I would give it a try. I think one of the biggest annoyances with the 13mm Rogue was trying to get that beast on and get it tight. Not to mention after a tough set where you are gasping for air and your muscles are toast and you are trying with all of your might to take it off. With the lever you can just flip it closed and it’s always nice and tight. Then when you are done, flip it open. I should probably try the 10mm Inzer but at the moment I have 3 expensive belts so I should probably unload some first!

  • gthing March 8, 2016, 3:59 pm

    Great article, thanks! After years of crap belts, I finally grabbed an Inzer 10mm tapered belt 3 months ago. The thing is, it’s always riding up my torso when I do squats and deads, and i’ve got it at almost the last notch. Have a 36in waist, but does this sound like I need to go down a size? Thanks, I might grab a Pioneer belt, too!

    • jburgeson March 8, 2016, 4:11 pm

      How tall are you? And do you mean like when you get into a deep squat position, the backside of the belt starts to ride up?

      By last notch you mean the one closest to the middle of the belt? If so yeah it sounds like you’re running out of room. Also you have a very large portion of the belt that ends up being double thickness because of so much flap. That might be part of what causes the belt to shift when you get deep.

      • gthing March 8, 2016, 4:45 pm

        5’10”. Yes, I’m nearly at the notch closest to the middle. Yep, in the deep squat position, and when I’m deadlifting it tends to ride up, too. Sounds like I may need the next size down, if I understand you right. Any thoughts appreciated.

        • jburgeson March 8, 2016, 5:06 pm

          Yeah, and you’ll probably want to purposely break it in and make it pliable as soon as you can. When the belt touches your thighs in those deep positions, at least in my experience, the firmer belts just move. That is, the thighs push on the belt from the bottom and the backside moves up. The more pliable the belt, the more the belt itself will give a little before shifting. Also just play with positioning a little, maybe a half an inch higher will make all the difference in the world, if possible. See I’m tall, and I can have issues with a 10 cm high belt, so I can’t imagine what it’s like to have even a shorter torso.

          • gthing March 8, 2016, 6:48 pm

            Thanks! Any tips to accelerate the breaking in of the belt?

            • jburgeson March 8, 2016, 7:03 pm

              Roll it up tight in one direction and pin it down so it can’t unravel, then leave it overnight. Next night, roll it the other way. Repeat. Also taking the belt from both ends and twisting it back and forth kind of like a DNA helix helps loosen it up. 10 mm Pioneer belts won’t need all that; well mine didn’t. It’s the Inzers (especially the 13 mm) that need to be coerced like this.

              • gthing March 8, 2016, 7:29 pm

                Thanks! Will do!

                • jburgeson March 8, 2016, 8:57 pm

                  Rgr, good luck!

  • Pioneer March 20, 2016, 4:55 pm

    Hey guys,
    Another well spoken and informational article and I appreciate the constructive feedback and review. Only one thing I have to mention. We can and have made belts 70+ inches long, so if anyone needs a belt longer than what is available on the site, just email or call us and we will make it!
    Thanks again,
    Matt

  • Tony March 23, 2016, 1:39 am

    Looks like the price of the pioneer went up $10.

    • jburgeson March 23, 2016, 8:22 am

      Interesting… it sure did. I hate when that happens so soon after publishing something. =/

  • Tony March 23, 2016, 8:27 am

    Maybe it happened BECAUSE you just published something about it.. Maybe there has been an uptick in demand. Pioneer did just comment on here as well..

    • jburgeson March 23, 2016, 8:31 am

      Yeah, I dunno. I made the edit to reflect the new price though. It’s still cheaper, it’s just not an ‘exciting’ price difference anymore.

  • Pioneer March 23, 2016, 3:56 pm

    I can assure you that this post had nothing to do with the price increase. In fact, I had no idea this article was being written. I’m sure John can attest to that. The price went up because my suede prices increased. Leather is a commodity and increases without notice and never goes down (imagine that). My wholesale customer base had to incur the price increase as well, so again, please don’t assume that I increased prices one a whim out of greed or anything of that nature.

    • jburgeson March 23, 2016, 4:42 pm

      Yeah sorry Matt, I didn’t catch that implication at first. I certainly didn’t mean to sound as though I was entertaining that idea. Also you are correct. I did not advise either Pioneer or Inzer of the publication of this article.

      • Tony March 23, 2016, 5:14 pm

        Hey Matt, sorry as well. I’ve seen prices bump up after reviews before and was being admittedly flippant. Anyways, I always appreciate a company that goes out of its way to be communicative with its customers and potential customers. I’m definitely eyeing your belts!

  • Isaac August 10, 2018, 2:12 pm

    What do you think about the new pioneer cut belt with extra holes?

    • jburgeson August 11, 2018, 12:10 am

      I haven’t handled one yet. I kind of like the idea but I’m just not sure how important 1/2″ increments are for a power belt. I don’t see myself paying extra for this feature.

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