Arcade is a company that was started in 2010 by Cody Townsend, David Bronkie, and Tristan Queen. They thought they could do belts better, and they got to work.
A belt that was specifically built for climbing, riding, tricking, and descending better do a few things:
1) Hold your pants & shorts up
2) Stay in place, not loosen up
3) Be comfortable
4) Neither restrict movement nor get in the way (especially the belt buckle)
5) Be durable
6) Be easy to adjust
7) Look good
Several BLISTER reviewers have been wearing Arcade belts for a while now, and so far, so good. A couple of us will weigh in now, and others will weigh in later to see if they agree.
The Arcade Standard: worn ~200 days; ~100 days skiing
The Arcade Foundation: worn ~60 days; ~15 days skiing
A Little Context: Patagonia Tech Web Belt
For years, I’ve worn a Patagonia Tech Web belt. I’ve liked it a lot for wearing around, and liked it for the most part for skiing. I like the thickness of the belt: 1.5 inches of polyester webbing—not too thin, yet not so fat that it’s tough to thread through belt loops. But the main thing I’ve liked: it doesn’t slip. If you’re wearing a belt and it loosens up as you wear it, that’s an epic fail for a belt.
I don’t, however, like the Tech Web Belt for bouldering or mountain biking, and I won’t wear it for these activities. When throwing a heel hook on an overhang, or placing a high foot, the belt can get restrictive, and the good-looking aluminum buckle is all up in my abdomen. Same holds true when rallying down a bike trail, squatting behind your seat post a couple of inches above your tire tread.
The Tech Web belt also comes really long, so unless you’ve just been crushing Cinnabons and grande nacho plates, there’s a good chance you’re going to need to cut this thing. And when you do, you’ll need to cauterize the end, or the thing will fray like mad. It’s not a huge deal, just get a lighter or a match and you’re good to go, but you’ll likely need to do it.
The Arcade Standard and Foundation
These belts are the same thickness as the Tech Web, 1.5 inches, and they don’t come loose, same as the Tech Web.
But I haven’t needed to cut and sauter this one, simply adjust it as I would a goggle strap.
And I’ve yet to find these to be restrictive, whether skiing, bouldering, or biking, because these are made of a high-tensile elastic webbing that stretches. Nice.
And yeah, this belt is way, way better belt for bouldering. Arcade has been targeting the ski / board / skate / surf demographic, but for you climbers out there—perhaps especially boulderers—this has worked. I tend to get upside down a lot more when I’m bouldering than when I’m skiing (does tomahawking count?), and the freedom of movement of the Arcade belts has been fantastic. I’d stopped wearing a belt when bouldering. Now I can.
And while this is strictly a matter of personal preference, I like the look and feel of the new buckle design better than the original one. But so far, both have worked just fine.
Well designed, well executed. Good stuff.
NEXT: WILL BROWN’S TAKE