I write this review 15 months after I bought the belt, and on the day I threw it in the bin. Others have commented on the belt's stiffness, and some have mentioned pain felt above and below the belt when wearing it. One reviewer claimed that the belt felt as if it were made of stiff cardboard. Well, I can tell you that that's because it is made of stiff cardboard!! Mine was slowly tearing for months, and when it finally packed in this week, I could clearly see that its construction is of two thin (1-2mm) layers of leather, sandwiching a thicker layer of cardboard in the middle. I'm not joking. In fact, on close inspection, you can see the cardboard even where there's no damage, along the edge of the belt. The main purpose of the 'reinforced', 'heavy-duty stitching' is no doubt to keep the three layers together! For 15 months, I've been relying on about 4mm of cardboard and a couple of leather strips to keep my spine safe. Gold's Gym are clearly cowboys. They describe this belt as being made of leather; they do not mention the cardboard. I'll never buy from them again.