Arcade Performance Stretch Belt: Quick Review – by Guitar Ted
In a world of Lycra shorts, it isn’t too often that many committed cyclists may want a belt like the Arcade Performance Stretch Belt we have on review today. However; there are times when you are cycling in baggies, or maybe you are a commuter, and well, it is embarrassing if your pants fall down. Most of the time….. Anyway…..
A good belt for cycling, when you need one, isn’t always easy to identify. I’ve made use of several belts over the years and have found that a good, real leather belt is pretty sturdy and does what I need it to do. But they can be a little less than flexible while cycling, and they don’t deal with sweat well. They eventually can be damaged by rain, mud, and just wearing over time. Besides this, if you are a vegan, or similarly conscientious, they aren’t an option anyway. So….. I kept searching for something and eventually the Arcade belt came across my radar. I had one sent out to me and the following will let you know if this stretchy, synthetic belt material is worth your consideration.
What It Is: Arcade Performance Stretch Belts offer a wide range of colorful designed belts, most of which are made from a recycled material called Reprieve®. This material is an 85% recycled polyester thread sourced from consumer recycled plastic bottles. Arcade belts are also machine washable and carry a Lifetime Guarantee. The belts are micro-adjustable, so there are no holes. The buckles are made from a high-density, molded plastic and are claimed to be tough and durable.
Arcade belts come in two sizes. The regular sizes fit most, but they also offer an “Extra Long” option in a limited range. Checking the sizing charts, I fell at the long end of the regular belt sizing, so instead of taking a chance that the belt wouldn’t fit, I opted for the Extra Long belt size. (More on that later) This cut down my options to a limited amount, unfortunately, so no fun, wild patterns here! But that is okay and I requested the Ranger Long model in a Midnighter Black. Here’s a feature list from the model’s webpage:
- Performance Stretch – Freedom of motion to move with your body, providing a secure hold with no pinching
- Custom Fit – More precise than holes, micro-adjustable buckle dials in your exact fit
- Recycled Materials – Webbing is made with 85% post-consumer recycled REPREVE®️ polyester
- Low-Profile Buckle – Minimizes bulk where you bend
- Long-lasting Materials – Our buckle is molded with high density plastic that is durable, yet lightweight, designed to endure the toughest outdoor adventures
- Machine Wash and Dryable – Throw ’em in the laundry with your pants
- Travel Friendly – Metal-free buckle makes airport security a breeze
The Ranger Long belt is $33.95USD and is available on the Arcade website.
First Impressions: The Ranger Long arrived and I took a look and found that the Reprieve® fabric feels a lot like cotton, but it is more than just a little stretchy. I was a bit surprised by that. The belt webbing is beefy, and the buckle seemed to me to be reminiscent of many a hydration pack’s waist belt buckles. So, if you are a hydration pack user, you will feel right at home there.
The belt uses a clever loop to secure the loose end of the webbing you pull through to adjust the belt to length. Now remember that sizing issue I debated on? Whether I was taking a risk on a regular length belt being too short for my 38″-ish waist? Well, the sizing chart says that the regular belts they offer are good up to a 50″ length. But keep in mind, belts are often much longer than your actual waist size. They have to accommodate the thickness of whatever clothing you may be wearing, and not be too tight or too loose. Sizing a belt gets tricky in hurry. So, again, to be sure I could wear the thing, I opted for the Ranger Long. Alas! Once I tried the Ranger Long on I realized that I could easily have fit their regular length belts. But when you are guessing and cannot try before you “buy”, or in this case, “review”, things like this can happen. Suffice it to say that between how much the Reprieve® fabric stretches and the length of a regular belt, I would get a regular size next time. That did not affect my experience other than that I had an extra amount of belt I didn’t really need.
Ride Performance: Wearing the Arcade Ranger Long with a pair of baggies I have which have belt loops, I found that the soft, flexible Reprieve®fabric moved with me and did not cause any binding or chafing which a stiffer belt might have caused. The stretchy nature of the fabric did leave me wanting a bit for a material that was a bit less apt to feel loose. I tend to like to feel a bit of resistance to stretching in my belts, but you may enjoy the nearly invisible feel of the Arcade belts. I did find that my shorts would creep down a bit though due to the ability of the belt to stretch so easily. Especially if I had a cell phone, keys, and any change in my pockets.
I wore the Ranger Long with my civvies and in cotton canvas shorts, denim pants, or even dress pants the belt was at home and looked good. Again, I probably would want a bit snugger feel to my belt, but that is probably just me.
Bonus points for being washable and the fact that you can leave the belt in your shorts- just make sure you buckle up the belt before washing- and throw it in the laundry. This would be especially good if you were cyclo-touring or bikepacking. (Wait! Aren’t those two things the same thing? Anyway…)
At The Finish: The Arcade Ranger Long belt is definitely a keeper. While I like a bit less stretchy material than what Arcade’s Reprieve® fabric is, I probably will get used to it. The belt works really well while cycling, and as long as I’m not carrying too much heavy stuff in my pockets, I would be fine.
Sizing apparel is tricky if you cannot try before you buy. I’ll say that in the case of Arcade belts that the stretchy Reprieve® gives you some grace, and if you are a larger sized person this material will be better than others perhaps.
So, if you are looking for a comfortable, easy to live with belt that can cover your cycling needs and double as a casual belt for everyday, this is worth a look.
For more on Arcade belts, see their webpage here: https://arcadebelts.com/