belt sizes guide chipkos

Belt Size Guide: The Simple Trick For The Right Fit

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Have you ever spent an hour combing through a belt wrack looking for your size and then finally realize it’s not actually your size? You aren’t alone. Finding your belt size can be a tricky task and depends on things like brand, country, and even gender.

Fortunately, getting a handle on things is simple. This quick belt size guide will help you learn what belt size to buy, why that size might be different depending on where you live, and even how to measure your belt size.


  • The buckle vs. leather’s End measurement problem
  • Learn how belt sizes match up to waist sizes
  • Comparing Units of Measure
  • Learn the quickest ways to calculate your belt size

How are Belt Sizes Measured

The first thing to know is that belt sizes are not the same as waist sizes or pants sizes. Belt sizes are measured from the end of the belt to the middle hole. Typically, there are 5 belt holes. Now here’s the first spot where things can get tricky: some manufacturers start measuring at the end of the belt and others at the end of the buckle. This can make it difficult to understand how belt sizes work. Consider the following illustrations:

chipkos belt measurement illustration
Some belt manufacturers measure size starting at the end of the leather
chipkos belt measurement illustration buckle start
Other manufacturers measure from the end of the belt buckle

What’s the difference you may ask? A couple of inches most likely—and that’s not something to ignore. The end-of-the-leather (measurement #1) is the most accurate as it measures the point of constriction on your waist. In other words, that measure is the closest to your actual waist size (assuming you use the middle hole.)

Belt Size Charts

Honestly, you can spend all day trying to figure out whether to measure from the buckle, which holes to measure to and how that relates to your waist. Picking out a belt shouldn’t involve so much thinking, really. To make things simple, use the charts below to determine which belt size is likeliest to fit your waist. Remember, depending on which belt brand you buy (and how they measure) you may need to wiggle a few inches one way or another.

Men’s Belt Sizes Chart

Belt sizes for men are relatively straight forward: they’re usually labeled in inches. If you’re unsure what your size is just measure your waist and you’ll likely be within 2-3 inches of the correct size. If your waist size is less than 28 inches or greater than 48 inches you’ll have a hard time finding belts in-store. Be ready to go online.

General Size Numerical Size Waist Size Length of Belt
XS 30 26.5-28 28-30
S 32 28.5-30 31-32
M 34 30.5-32 33-34
M 36 32.5-34 35-36
L 38 34.5-36 37-38
L 40 36.5-38 39-40
XL 42 38.5-40 41-42
XL 44 40.5-42 43-44
2XL 46 42.5-44 45-46
3XL 48 44.5-46 47-48
4XL 50 46.5-48 49-50

Women’s Belt Sizes Chart

Women’s belt sizes aren’t as easily determined as men’s. The measurements are based on the same real-world values but they often get labeled as a general size measure like Small, Medium, or Large. The chart below outlines which general size declarations pair up to which measured size ranges.

General Size Numerical Size Waist Size Length of Belt
XS 28-29 25-26 27-28
S 29-30 26-28 28-30
M 31-32 28-30 31-32
L 33-35 31-33 33-35
XL 36-37 34-35 36-37
2XL 38-39 36-37 38-39
3XL 40-42 38-39 40-41

Kid’s Belt Sizes Chart

Kids sizes are where things go completely off the rail. At some point, someone decided to attempt to pair age ranges with waist sizes. That’s to say: a size 7 kid’s belt is meant for a seven-year-old kid. Our collective waistlines have grown since then so there’s not much use for this numbering system anymore. Below is a general pairing of kids’ waist sizes with the labeled numerical sizing system.

Age/Clothes Size Belt Size (inches)
7 Slim 24
7 Regular 26
7 Husky 26
8 Slim 24
8 Regular 26
8 Husky 28
9 Slim 24
9 Regular 26
9 Husky 30
10 Slim 26
10 Regular 28
10X Husky 30

Units of Measurement Matter

Belt sizes will be labeled differently depending on the country you’re purchasing from and maybe the country where the belt was manufactured. As a general rule, the country in which belts are sold is the measurement system that gets used. After all, the customer’s always right!

That means if you’re in Europe you need to pay attention to centimeters and in the United States, it’s important to consider things in inches. In case you’re lacking the home-field advantage, here’s a belt size conversion chart:

US Belt Size (IN) European Belt Size (CM)
32″ 81 cm
34″ 86 cm
36″ 91 cm
38″ 97 cm
40″ 102 cm
42″ 107 cm
44″ 112 cm
46″ 117 cm
48″ 122 cm
50″ 127 cm

How to Measure Your Belt Size

tailors tape measure illustration chipkos
A Tailor’s tape is the easiest way to accurately measure waist size

Before you buy a belt you need to know your waist size. This is incredibly simple if you have a tailer tape measure. You can also use an existing belt, string, or anything generally flexible enough to wrap around your waist. After marking your waist, unroll the measuring device and measure it with a general tape measure. If you don’t have a tape measure, you can use a ruler and measure 12 inches at a time. If you don’t have a ruler—you’re stuck using the two fingers = an inch system (good luck.)


Belt sizes can be deceptively hard to understand. It’s beyond comprehension why some brands measure using the buckle and some from the end of leather. After all, not all buckles are equal width but, when it comes to finding the end of the leather—the end is the end, right? No matter; with the above charts you can strut into the store and select your next belt with confidence. You should still probably try it on first.