Note: This is an honest review. Neither Sweatpants & Coffee nor the authors have been financially compensated for this review.
If there’s one thing this review has brought into sharp relief, it’s how much the things we choose to use on a daily basis reflect our personality. Android or Apple? Mac or Windows? Facebook or Instagram? Okay, that last one isn’t fair because they’re the same company, but the point is that design matters a lot more than we tend to realize. Some wallets, like platforms, feel right, and some absolutely don’t.
So when considering what a wallet will or won’t do, start by taking a look at what the owner is carrying around in it. If it’s mostly empty, a minimalist style wallet could be a good choice. If it’s crammed so full of stuff it can serve as a pillow, minimalist is probably not the way to go. Wallets are such a personal item you really need to consider whose pocket it’s going to fit into, so think about who Dad is when making your final choice.
Just offhand, some things that might be in a wallet:
- Financial: credit card(s) debit card
- Insurance: health, AAA
- Member: groceries, warehouse club memberships
- Transit pass
- Driver’s license
- Business cards
- Emergency key
So with all that in mind, here are three good wallets for different types of situations.
The Traveler’s Wallet
KeySmart Bifold Wallet
Cost : $50 at their website
This sleek and stylish minimalist wallet is designed for someone that wants to travel light and look good doing it.
- Fold flat design
- Space for five cards
- Pull tab to extract buried cards
- A holder for a spare SIM card and a swapping tool
- RFID protection
- Has a special pocket for a Tile, in case your wallet and your phone are ever separated, one can find the other under the right circumstances.
- 360 degree RFID blocker for anti-theft purposes
- Tile support for tracking
- SIM tools
- Comfortable to wear in a front pocket
- Durable material that resists scuffs, stains and water and looks great
- The smaller design means that bills have to go in parallel to the wallet to fit. There’s not a lot of wiggle room, so it’s tough to get cash in when you’re in a hurry.
- The fold flat design necessitates a gap in the bottom of the billfold, so paperclip sized items have an extra opportunity to fall out.
- There was a lot of friction in the ID pocket, which I found defeated the purpose of having a hole cut out of the pocket to push it out with a thumb.
- The pull tab to extract buried cards didn’t pull them out enough to get a good grip, and with the force I was using to get them that far, I was afraid of ripping it off.
Overall: This wallet is clearly oriented towards travelers, with an emphasis on features that could be helpful away from home. For those who travel light and are less reliant on using cash it is a good looking and durable choice.
The General Purpose Wallet
Cost: $16 on Amazon
A serviceable fabric wallet for those on a budget.
- Zipper pockets in the bill compartment and on the right fold.
- Card holder on the center fold
- Clear plastic cover pocket for ID on the left fold
- Being a trifold, it’s got more room and is half again as long as a minimalist travel wallet, so even with nothing in it it approaches the size of the travel wallet. Plus each fold has a pocket underneath it.
- Velcro seal to keep the wallet closed.
- Lots of room for your stuff
- There are two Velcro straps on the outer fold that act like notches in a belt, allowing the wallet to be sealed if empty or full.
- It is not optimized to be small or to be carried in a front pocket
- The fiber texture may not appeal to all users in that it has texture resembling corduroy. On the one hand, this makes the wallet easy to grip, but on the other users may encounter difficulty removing it from tight pockets, or not be a fan of the texture. This would be a noticeable difference for anyone used to using leather/nylon wallets.
Overall: This is a safe choice for a wallet. It’s a fairly traditional trifold design, should hold just about anything one would put in a wallet to begin with. It’s not nearly as cool looking as the other two wallets, but it’s also one-third the price.
The Business Wallet
Cost: $45 at their website.
- Metal clip to keep the wallet closed
- Six card pockets – two on the outside of the wallet
- Strategic wholes in the card pockets allow east removal of cards
- Split on one end of the center pocket that makes it easier to get bills in and out
- Classy looking leather fabric and stainless steel clip with a modern design
- The clip assures this wallet will open only when you want it to.
- Cards slide out of the pockets easily with a push of the finger, but not so easily that shaking will eject them
- Minimalist design in a classic material makes it appropriate for formal occasions
- There’s a one card per pocket limit, so if you’re carrying more than six, this is not going to work for you
- Opening the clip is a two handed operation, and I’d worry about wear and tear where the clip is attached to the leather.
- The clip design means that there is no overstuffing this wallet, however it’s not as minimalist as the Keysmart wallet.
- The design necessitates a quarter inch hole on each of the fold seams in the center pocket.
Overall: From a functional standpoint, this lands between the other two wallets. It’s more general purpose than the Keysmart, and more formal than the Green Breeze. It would certainly work well as a formal occasion wallet, or as a graduation gift, but if you’re carrying more than six cards and have a lot in your center pocket, this may not be ideal for you.