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Pioneer WEigh Lifting Lever Belt Review

Pioneer Weight Lifting Belts are designed for those serious about weight lifting and back support. Pioneer Belts come from General Leathercraft Manufacturing Inc., which makes some of the best weightlifting belts in the US.

General Leathercraft Manufacturing was founded in Sidney, Nebraska in 1979 as the manufacturer of Pioneer Fitness Products. It’s a family-run business with 3 generations of leather craftsmen. Today Pioneer belts are made in the heart of central Texas.

Their motto is

Don’t buy OUR belt, buy YOUR belt.” 


Today I am reviewing Pioneer’s 10MM Thick untreated – stock lever belt. By stock, I mean no customization or enhancements were ordered. It’s Pioneer’s base lever model, with no frills or extras.


Retail is $116.99 – $121.99. The base model starts at $116.99, but for those that need an XL or double XL, there is an additional $3 or $5 cost.

Sizing: You will want to consult Pioneer’s sizing charts to get the appropriate size.

I thought it would be rather cool to review some of the industry’s best weight lifting belt companies and PIONEER aka General Leathercraft Manufacturing was high on my list. I contacted Matt Hadden, who is president and CEO for General Leathercraft Manufacturing and he was kind enough to send a sample out for review.

General Leathercraft Manufacturing makes a wide range of Pioneer weightlifting belts from your more standard hole belts and buckles to the more futuristic ratchet-style lever belts. Beyond just the base models, when ordering a Pioneer belt you can go full customization for an additional cost.

Pioneer Dual hole buckle type belt

As far as I know, GLM has one of the best customization setups for weight lifting belts in the industry.


Unboxing the Pioneer Lever Belt was pretty painless. The belt came in a typical mailing box with nothing fancy. The belt’s hardware was wrapped in bubble wrap and came in 2 parts. The buckle and the buckle attachment, known as the PAL lever system.

High quality leather and craftsmanship were very apparent when looking over the leather belt.


Setting up the belt is rather straight forward using Pioneer’s PAL lever system.

You will need either a Phillips or Flathead screwdriver to attach the lever system to the belt using the 6 screws and screw plates provided.


When ordering your belt, you will want to make sure to order the correct size.

VERY IMPORTANT Don’t make the mistake of ordering based on your waist size. Use their belt size measuring guide to help you determine what size you are. This is especially true if you are going to order a custom belt. Nothing is worse than getting an amazing belt and then realizing it was too small or too big.

Their standard sizes are as follows if you are confident in your belt size:

  • Extra Small (22-31)
  • Small (27-36)
  • Medium (31-40)
  • Large (35-44)
  • XL (39-48)
  • XXL (43-52)


The 10mm untreated stock belts are made using a full-grain vegetable-tanned sole leather. The outside is quite smooth with its natural finish. The inside has a more rugged rough unfinished feel and is designed to help combat slippage during workouts.

Sizing can be achieved in 2 ways using the Pioneer PAL lever system.

Front of the Pioneer Lever Belt showcasing the lever
Rear of the Pioneer Lever Belt showcasing the Pioneer branding

Each lever belt comes with a dual layer that will need some breaking to feel complete comfortable.

Pioneer belt with 2 layers of leather
Medium Pioneer Lever Belt next to the Strong Medium buckle Belt


If you want one of the best lever belts for a reasonable cost, the Pioneer Lever Belt is a fantastic option.

Check out Pioneer Weightlifting belts ( and their whole lineup of weightlifting fitness equipment.

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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