“You get what you pay for.”
I don't know about you, but I don't enjoy buyer's remorse. When I make a purchase, I hope to extract enough value from it to justify the price tag. The level of remorse is magnified of course when the price tag is higher, the psychological attachment is stronger, the perceived benefit is greater, etc…
Does gym equipment fall into this category?
Sure it does. Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this review.
It's not easy picking one piece of equipment that this is most true for, but I have to think a lifting belt is up there.
While they aren't as expensive as many items, they play a huge role in lifting more weight and keeping you safe in the process.
If you want to lift for a long time and you want to increase your numbers, buying a proper belt is a really good investment.
Please don't go buy a Valeo belt.
Save a little extra coin and buy yourself a proper belt that will last years and help you break PR's.
One such belt would be the Inzer Forever Lever Belt.
I own it, and I love it. But would I buy it again? Read more to find out.
Just to preface this review, this belt is not intended for Olympic weightlifting, Crossfit, etc… it's made primarily for powerlifting and strongman movements.
Inzer Forever Lever Belt
Inzer has been making powerlifting gear for decades. They've remained a household name in the powerlifting game because of their top-notch equipment. This has led to much of their equipment being approved by powerlifting federations including our IPF overlord.
Aside from singlets, wrist wraps, etc… their belts have garnered the most attention, and deservedly so – they're awesome. I've talked to people who have been using the same Inzer belt for 20 years. That is mind-blowing longevity considering the abuse these belts go through on a regular basis. I've personally owned mine for three years and I haven't had a single issue.
Let's take a deeper look at what makes this belt one of the best… but first…
Why Buy a Lever Belt
When it comes to buying a belt you basically have 3 options:
- Single Prong
- Double Prong
I strongly suggest not buying a double prong belt. They don't provide any additional benefit and they're more difficult to put on.
That leaves the single prong and lever belt options. While both options are awesome, they each come with their own pros and cons. Since we're talking about lever belts here, I'll discuss those below.
In short, a lever belt is one that has a lever on one side and holes on the other. The teeth of the lever insert into the holes, and tightness occurs by closing the lever to sit flush with the belt.
The biggest benefit of the lever belt is that you can tighten the belt very quickly and you can release it instantaneously. This is really nice when finishing up a heavy set.
The second biggest benefit of the lever belt is the ‘lever flick.' Imagine you're in a game of Mortal Kombat and you're absolutely destroying someone. You get that one combo and the guy commands you to ‘Finish Him'! Are you going to casually walk up and perform a boring leg sweep? Of course not. You're going to rip their heart out of their chest and hold it up for everyone to see. That's the lever flick. When you hit a big lift, you flick the lever like a badass.
The biggest con to the lever belt is that it's not as easily adjustable as the single prong. If you like different levels of tightness on certain lifts, a lever belt will require you to move the lever to another series of holes. You do this by unscrewing the lever, sliding it over, and screwing it back in. It doesn't take a long time, but it's definitely not as easy as a single prong belt.
I really don't think you can go wrong with either choice. Personally, I find the benefits of the lever belt outweigh the cons. If you like the idea of the quick release, you should consider buying a lever belt. If you plan on varying your tightness on different lifts, you should consider buying a single prong belt.
The Inzer lever belt differs from a lot of other belts in that it's made from a single piece of leather. Some other companies have been known to glue several pieces of leather together to achieve the desired thickness. This leads to a shorter lifespan and a belt that may loosen over time. The thickness of the belt can either be 10mm or 13mm depending on your body type, firmness preference, etc… At 5'8″ and 160 lbs, I chose the 10mm version, and I'm glad I did. I've heard from some others that the 13mm version is a bit uncomfortable. For what it's worth, the 10mm gives me everything I need.
Overlaying each side of the leather is a single piece of suede that comes in a variety of colors. Aside from looking really nice, the suede actually serves a practical purpose by providing a soft, non-slip surface. With some belts that are leather throughout, sweat can cause the belt to slide around on the body. This simply doesn't happen with the Inzer lever belt.
The suede is attached to the leather by four rows of lock-stitched, corrosive resistance, high-density nylon. I've examined my belt from end to end and there isn't a single thread that looks out of place or loose. It's very well done and it speaks to the level of craftsmanship and Inzer's commitment to providing a great product.
Lastly, the lever itself is a high-quality piece of metal that attaches to the front of the belt via two screws on the underside. I've heard horror stories of cheaply made lever belts that will literally explode at the hinge points. While you will always run the risk of failure in joints like this, the Inzer lever belt is known to weather the storm. Yes, there are stories of the lever malfunctioning on the Inzer. They aren't completely absolved from this. But they do have a lifetime warranty on their levers (hence “forever belt”).
Do not… I repeat… do not buy a cheap lever belt. If the price seems too good to be true, it is.
Inzer Belt Sizing
Picking the right size for this belt is very important and it's a question commonly asked by people looking to buy the belt.
The below chart shows the belt size along with the suggested waist size of the person:
- Extra Small (22-25)
- Small (26-29)
- Medium (30-33)
- Large (34-38)
- Extra Large (39-42)
- 2X Large (43-46)
- 3X Large (47-50)
- 4X Large (51-54)
- 5X Large (55-58)
It's important to note that those numbers do NOT represent your pant size. You should measure your waist about four inches above your pants in a relaxed state. Don't suck your belly in – nobody is judging you.
If you're in the middle of those ranges, the choice is pretty easy – just go with the size you fall in.
It's those on one side or the other where it gets a little trickier. There are about two inches to play with on each side of the range. That is, there are two sets of holes spaced one inch apart on either side of what Inzer recommends. If you transition into the next range up or down beyond those two inches, remember this:
You cannot make a belt bigger, but you can make a belt smaller.
If you're on the very upper end of the range and you expect that you could end up being on the lower end of the next size up, my suggestion for you is that you pick the next size up. Let's say you have a waist size of 33 (medium), but you're bulking and you think you may be a 34 (large) soon. I suggest you pick the large. Should you end up staying at a 33 (or dropping to a 32), you're still covered by the rule of two inches. If for some reason you aren't, you can cut new holes at the end and effectively make the belt smaller.
If you're on the lower end of the range and you expect that you could end up being on the upper end of the next size down, my suggestion is that you stick with the size that fits your current size. So let's say you're currently a 34 (large), but you think you could end up being a 33 (medium). In that case, I suggest you pick the large still. If you do end up dropping to a 33 (or even a 32), you're covered by the rule of two inches. If for some reason you aren't, you can again cut new holes at the end and make the belt tighter.
The rule of thumb here is to lean towards the larger size if you're on either end of the range. If you gain a lot of weight, you're covered. If you lose a lot of weight, you're still covered.
In case you're wondering, my waist is around a 30 – I have the medium.
Breaking in Your Inzer Belt
When your belt arrives at your door, it's going to be stiffer than a 13-year-old boy watching scrambled Cinemax. You might find that it's a little uncomfortable to use the first few times. That's because this bad boy is like a wild horse… you gotta break it in.
Depending on whether you bought the 10mm or 13mm version, the break-in period could be shorter or longer. My best tip to soften the belt up is to roll it over and over… and over… and over again. Try to roll it as tight as possible and go in both directions. That is, roll it up in the same direction as the bend, and then roll it up going against the bend.
I found this to help a lot when breaking mine in. Don't be afraid to start lifting with it though. After all, that's why you bought it. Eventually, it will break itself in and start conforming to your body (especially the 10mm).
To put it simply, this belt just performs. I use it with regularity on my heavy sets of squats and deadlifts. The 10mm is a perfect thickness on both lifts for me, whereas I think the 13mm would be uncomfortable.
I can make the belt as tight as I want, but I usually keep it at the same level regardless of lift. This is partially because I don't feel the need to adjust the tightness between movements and partially because I don't feel like moving the lever. If you do need to move the lever, a flat head screwdriver is easiest, but you can do it with a coin or something similar.
I will say that it did take me a little time to find the perfect placement of the belt itself. I don't have the longest torso, so I had to play around with it so it wouldn't dig into my ribs or hips. This is more of an anatomical nuance for me personally, but I'm sure some others can relate. I also can't really fault the Inzer belt for this, as the dimensions are similar to other belt manufacturers. Still, it's something to keep in mind as you break in your belt.
As I mentioned earlier, the Inzer belt can be made in a variety of colors. I own the Royal Blue version, and I have to say… it looks beautiful. I'm a big fan of the suede fabric both from a visual perspective as well as a functional one. The other thing I like about the suede is that it shows off the chalk, which I just think looks cool. It shows people you mean business. When you hit them with a lever flick on top of that, they won't know what to do.
The lever itself does not have a sheen to it, which I much prefer. The flat matte look to me has a cooler vibe than a glossy chrome-like finish. It also doesn't show scratches as much.
The one area I think Inzer could improve on is their ability to customize. You see guys like Pioneer Belts who are making these beautiful custom embroidered belts with colored levers and you have to wonder if Inzer could potentially take back some market share.
I just don't see them doing that though. Inzer seems pretty keen on providing exactly what they have already done for years. There's nothing wrong with that at all, mind you, but a lot of people are paying the extra money for the custom jobs.
All things considered, I think Inzer makes a beautifully aesthetic out-of-the-box belt.
Pricing and Customer Service
The Inzer belts are priced at $89.95 for the 10mm and $97.00 for the 13mm, which are very competitive prices. Pioneer, for example, charges between $94.95 and $99.95 for the 10mm belt and between $119.95 and $124.95 for the 13mm belt. The Pioneer belts can get well over $200 depending on your customization options.
The customer service at Inzer, at least when I bought my belt, was not the greatest. When I called to place my order, they took my credit card information down as you would expect. However, they didn't run my card until 8 weeks later when my belt actually shipped. Not only that, but I had no way of knowing when to expect my belt until I saw the transaction go through. This was a bit frustrating. I can't say for certain if they have adjusted their process, as that was three years ago, but I hope they have. I will add that they were friendly on the phone when we talked.
Regarding shipping, they tell you on the website how long to expect to wait for the belt. They typically carry black belts in stock, but color belts can take about 6-8 weeks. To be fair, this seems to be consistent with other manufacturers producing similar belts. Pioneer for example, as of the time of this review, is also running 6-8 weeks on embroidered belts and 4-6 weeks on non-embroidered belts.
Inzer Lever Belt – Pros and Cons
- The quality of the Inzer lever belt is top notch. It's made from one solid piece of leather and it offers fine craftsmanship on the stitching.
- The lever is made to handle a ton of abuse, unlike some cheaper competitors.
- The belt comes in two thickness options based on your proportions and preferences.
- The suede is non-slip, which prevents any issues with belt-slide.
- Aesthetically, the belt looks fantastic. The suede is vibrantly colored and it has not faded in the three years I've owned it.
- The belt is priced well and it represents a really good value.
- The lever flicks are amazing.
- The lever belt may not be the best option for people who require different levels of tightness between lifts. This is more of a general lever belt con, but it's something to consider.
- The ordering process wasn't great and Inzer's customer service doesn't have the best reputation… at least they didn't at the time I bought the belt.
- You can't customize the belt, which may or may not be important to you.
The Inzer lever belt is just a phenomenal product. It's priced well, it's built well, it looks great, and it will undoubtedly help you lift a lot of weight. As I mentioned earlier, I've owned the belt for three years. It hasn't failed me once, nor has it shown any sign of coming close to failing.
When it comes down to it, you have to ask yourself if you want a lever belt or a single prong belt. Only you can answer that. If you decide a lever belt is what you want, Inzer is a great option.
At the beginning of the review, I asked if I would buy this belt again. The answer is yes, but only if I wasn't customizing it. When I bought this belt originally, belt customizations weren't a big thing. If I were buying a belt today, I would personally buy one from Pioneer so that I could have it customized. That comes at a much higher cost though. If I were just buying a colored belt, I would likely stick with Inzer. Also, another important factor to consider if you're a competitive powerlifter, is that Pioneer is not currently IPF approved. They are planning to resubmit in 2018.
I am incredibly happy with my Inzer purchase. I have no buyer's remorse at all. I'll own this belt for years to come and I'll hopefully continue to set PRs with it.
If you want to read more about powerlifting equipment in general, check out my ultimate guide to building a powerlifting home gym.
If you have any questions about this belt or belts in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own this belt and want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.If you found this review useful, please feel free to share it on social media!
The bar is loaded,