- 1 Modern Wallet Materials
- 2 Lower-end Leather – Alpine Swiss Mens Leather Flipout ID Wallet Bifold Trifold Hybrid
- 3 High-end Leather – Hammer Anvil Men’s Slimfold Wallet
- 4 So what should I choose?
- 5 Textile Bifold – Herschel Supply Co. Roy Wallet
- 6 SlimFold MICRO Soft Shell Wallet
- 7 MaxGear™ Stainless Steel Card Holder Case
- 8 Dynomighty Men’s Mighty Wallet
- 9 Modern Wallet Styles
- 10 Fossil Men’s Ingram Extra Capacity Trifold Wallet
- 11 Timberland Men’s Blix Slimfold Wallet
- 12 Simpac RFID Blocking Bifold Slim Genuine Leather Thin Minimalist Front Pocket Wallet
- 13 HUSKK Slim Front Pocket Minimalist Wallet for Men
- 14 Alpine Swiss Mens Wallet Leather Money Clip Thin Slim Front Pocket Wallet
- 15 Conclusion
With the huge number of diverse wallets out on the market today, we feel that it’s important that every man have a comprehensive, informed knowledge of what, exactly, they’re buying when they look at a product online.
This can be tough – buying something like a wallet online is always different that buying one in person, and there’s a lot more risk to it, as you’re sometimes not quite sure what it is you’re getting, or confident in the quality of the materials used to make it. This is especially common in off-brand, lower-cost wallets.
So we’ve put together a comprehensive wallet-buying guide to help you through this process. We’ll look at best wallet brands, modern wallet materials, styles, and even give you some product recommendations in each category so that you can shop confidently, happily, and end up with a wallet that you can love for years to come.
Modern Wallet Materials
Leather still dominates the wallet world, but there are plenty of other materials used to make wallets as well, often in concert with leather in “hybrid” models. Let’s take a look at these materials now, so that you can better understand the wallet market today.
Leather is probably the oldest wallet material on the market today, and when you think of a wallet, you probably think “leather”. There’s a reason for this – it’s durable, somewhat inexpensive in the quantities needed for wallets, and it ages very well, making it a great choice when investing in a wallet.
However, not all leather is created alike. There is a wide spectrum of leather on the market today, and some leathers are much higher quality than others. This is not to say that even lower-grade leather wallets are not worth your money – they’re generally quite inexpensive, and even polyurethane-coated “split-grain” leather wallets can last you years.
But these cheaper wallets usually won’t age well, so we’ll quickly go over a couple products to help you recognize the differences between leather types.
This wallet from Alpine Swiss sits firmly on the lower end of the price spectrum when it comes to leather wallets, but that doesn’t mean it’s “low quality”. In fact, this wallet is one of the best reviewed on Amazon – it’s high quality and well-made, despite a slightly lower leather grade. It’s got plenty of storage, durability, and features for the price, including an ID slot and a flip-out cardholder that gives you tons of space to stash your stuff, alongside a full billfold slot.
Compare this to the below wallet:
Yes, this wallet is approximately 6x the price of the Alpine Swiss wallet. Is it worth it? Well, that’s really up to you. This wallet maintains most of the functionality of the Alpine Swiss wallet, with a quick-access card slot on the front, an ID slot, and plenty of card and cash storage. It’s also made out of an unbelievably high quality leather that’s beautiful, supple, and easily boot or shoe-grade, and will certainly last you decades with proper care.
So what should I choose?
The decision between high-end and low-end leather is really related to how long you intend to keep a wallet. If you’re willing to invest in a leather wallet that’s higher-end, you’ll pay out the nose, but it’ll last you decades. If you want to sample different types of wallets, or have a tendency to lose wallets, high-end leather might not be right for you.
An expensive wallet will never be a waste of money if it’s constructed well, and most cheap wallets won’t give up the ghost after only a couple months of wear, contrary to popular belief. They’re both legitimate options, and the choice between the two is really a matter of taste and budget, not “which is absolutely better”. The answer will be different for each person, and this part of our guide is built to help you find the answer.
Textiles have been growing in popularity for wallets in recent years. This can be attributed to their high durability and low cost compared to mid and high-end leathers, their light weight, and the thinness that high-quality textiles can offer in wallets.
As smaller wallets have come in vogue, textiles have been great for creating minimalistic, easy-to-carry wallets. If you like light weight designs and aren’t interested in leather, you might want to check out some textile wallets like these:
This textile bifold is pretty much just an interpretation of the classic leather bifold. It contains 8 interior pockets for receipts and cards, and a large billfold area for stashing plenty of cash, and it manages to do so in a slimmer silhouette and with a lighter weight than most leather bifold wallets, which makes it popular with the more minimalist crowd. However, it’s still a pretty traditional design, and incorporates a simple, 100% polyester design with a lined interior. There are some even edgier textile wallets on the market today, and we’ll look at one below.
This wallet is thoroughly modern. The high-tech material is waterproof, impact resistant, tear resistant, and totally durable, while maintaining an absurdly light weight and unparalleled durability. Unlike the Herschel wallet, this wallet is thoroughly modern, with an incredibly slim design that still allows for plenty of storage.
This is probably one of the most cutting-edge textile wallets on the market, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see many more like it popping up in the market as advanced materials get cheaper and continue to improve.
Leathers and textiles (or some combination thereof) comprise probably 95% of the wallet market, but there are other, more exotic materials as well, including both metals and plastics. Here are a couple examples of these niche wallets.
Most metal wallets are limited to card holders, as the inflexible design makes them mostly incapable of folding into more classic bifold or trifold designs. If you’re not in the habit of carrying cash, or don’t mind sticking it in a card slot, you may be interested in one of these minimalist, metal, accordion-style card cases. They offer plenty of card storage, and an unparalleled amount of RFID protection due to their all-metal designs.
The Mighty Wallet is certainly the industry leader for plastic wallets. It’s made out of HDPE – High Density Polyurethane, a durable, tear-resistant plastic made of many interlocked, twisting plastic fibers that are woven together for strength and durability.
This is a popular wallet for people who are looking for something even lighter than textile wallets – this entire wallet is featherweight, and can hold plenty of stuff with the billfold pockets and stretchable, expandable internal card slots.
Though traditionalists may scoff at these unique, non-leather or textile wallets, they’re certainly growing in popularity, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see even more unique, specialty wallets in 2017.
Modern Wallet Styles
That’s it for materials, so let’s move on to wallet styles. Most of these are perennial favorites that have been used since the invention of the modern wallet, but there are plenty of offerings that modernize these designs, and some that are totally unique, modern inventions. Let’s take a look at the most popular styles of wallet on the market today.
Trifold wallets are classics. They offer plenty of storage space in a relatively compact profile compared to bifolds, but they are generally quite a bit thicker. That makes sense, of course – a piece of paper folded in half is thinner than a piece of paper folded into thirds – but can sometimes turn some people off of trifold designs, especially if they prefer to carry their wallets in their back pockets. Front pocket wallet wearers are huge fans of trifolds.
Despite their flaws, trifold users love the huge amount of organization and storage space usually offered by these wallets. They’re generally very customizable and can contain plenty of cards, cash, and miscellaneous items. Let’s take a look at a typical trifold on the market today.
It doesn’t get any more classic than this. This trifold wallet by Fossil includes a huge amount of storage space – 9 card slots plus 3 extra interior pockets below them, along with a dedicated ID slot. The generous rear pocket allows for plenty of billfold storage, and it still maintains a slim silhouette due to the trifold design, measuring in at only 3” wide, even when fully loaded.
This wallet combines classic design, great materials, and a roomy interior to create a wallet that’s truly emblematic of modern trifold trends.
Bifolds are another classic wallet design that have been popular since time immemorial. They can be thought of as a cousin to the trifold, and they’re probably more popular overall. This is because, unlike the trifold, they are more suitable for wear in the rear pocket, due to their generally lower height.
They usually offer a smaller amount of storage space compared to a trifold, but a similar amount of organizational options, and a generally flatter, more spread-out profile.
Let’s take a look at an example of a modern bifold now.
Compared to our trifold offering, the storage capacity of this wallet by Timberland looks quite limited indeed, but it’s still got plenty of space, with three dedicated card slots that can hold two cards each, along with an ID slot and two interior pockets that can be used for cards or receipts, or other miscellaneous items such as business cards. This is finished off with a large billfold slot in the back, which gives plenty of space for cash.
Though it’s more limited than a trifold, this bifold still offers plenty of storage space, and this is the trend you’ll see overall between bifold and trifold users. Bifolds are a great middle ground between the maximalist trifold and the minimalist cardholders and even smaller wallets, making them certainly the most popular wallet style on the market today.
Money Clip Hybrid Bifolds
This is a relatively new kind of wallet on the market today. We’re not sure how exactly it came about, but this style of wallet was clearly created to solve the “closing crunch” problem that can sometimes become clear when you’re stuffing a bifold wallet full of stuff. Think about where all of those items will meet first when you try to close your wallet – the middle! This makes the middle “crunch”, and causes the ends of the wallet to flare out, giving it a larger profile than is comfortable, and creating issues when you try to store the wallet in your back pocket.
The money clip hybrid bifold solves this problem by keeping all of your stuff stacked up in a single line, creating a slim profile that still maintains plenty of storage space. Let’s take a look at one now.
This wallet by Simpac incorporates great features with a slim, modern design. The internal money clip can hold plenty of cash, and there’s a quick access card slot on the front of the wallet for your most used card (or two!). Inside, you can find another card storage slot on the front, as well as an ID slot with a fine, micromesh plastic cover that offers plenty of protection and visibility. On the other side, you’ll find several more card slots for your lesser-used cards, and you can easily store up to 10 total cards in this wallet, along with plenty of cash in the middle money-clip.
This modern style is one to look out for if you love carrying plenty of cards and cash for every occasion, but don’t like large trifolds, or even larger bifolds. This super-slim silhouette isn’t for everyone – some people don’t like money clips – but we certainly recommend it if you’re looking for a lighter weight, contemporary storage solution.
Card Cases/Minimalist Wallets
Card cases and minimalist, non-folding wallets have grown in popularity steadily over the last 5 years or so, given the fact that just about every store accepts credit cards, and the rise of alternative payment methods such as NFC smartphone payments like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and others. People are ditching high-capacity wallets in droves for simple, sometimes two-pocket solutions that are lightweight, but hold everything that the modern man needs – an ID, debit card, insurance cards, and a little bit of cash.
If you’re interested in really slimming down your pockets, these minimalist wallets are just what you’re looking for. Let’s take a look at one now.
This minimalist wallet was designed specifically for front pocket use, but can be worn anywhere you like. It features three total slots – two external card slots that can hold 2 cards each, and a roomier interior pocket that can hold some cards and cash – up to 8 total cards, or 6 cards and a couple folded bills.
One trend we find in these sorts of wallets (and a huge benefit) is that they can be made of premium materials – such as this genuine Italian leather – for much lower prices than other wallets, because they use far less material. That’s certainly a bonus if you’re looking for a very high-quality wallet at a low price.
While this style of wallet isn’t for everyone, minimalist cardholder wallet users swear they never want to go back, saying it simplifies their life, and makes them think about what they really need to carry with them.
Money Clip Cardholders
Money clip cardholders can be thought of as a sort of intermediate step between a bifold (or bifold money clip) and a minimalist cardholder wallet. They offer both plenty of cash storage space and card storage space, in a profile that sits somewhere between a slim bifold and a cardholder wallet in size. Lets check out a typical product now.
This wallet by Alpine Swiss offers a great combination of cash storage and card slots in a minimalist, thin profile. It’s fully featured, with 3 card slots and a front ID window, and an included magnetic front money clip that can easily hold 10+ bills, making it perfect for anyone who wants to go minimal with their cards, but still needs to carry plenty of cash.
While it’s thicker than a minimalist cardholder wallet, and has fewer storage and customization options than a comparable bifold wallet, it strikes a great balance for this money clip cardholder niche, and is a great example of this growing wallet niche.
There are other wallet styles out there, but in this guide we believe we’ve covered about 95% of them, and with our guide on materials, styles, and wallet options to look out for in 2017, we hope we’ve given you a good idea about what products are available to you, both vintage and modern in style and capacity.
With the information you’ve gotten from this guide, along with our product recommendations and our discussion of features and options, we hope you’ve gotten all of the knowledge that you need to make an informed decision on what wallet to buy. It may seem a bit silly to put this much work into researching wallets, but think about it – you use your wallet every day, and you will probably be doing so for the rest of your life.
That makes it quite important, and that’s why we think finding your perfect wallet is so necessary. Because it’s the little things that matter, and having a wallet that’s suitable for your lifestyle, simple, and easy to use and easy to carry is a little thing that matters quite a bit.
Good luck, and happy shopping.