The classic Seinfeld skit where George’s overstuffed wallet explodes on a city street would be funnier if men didn’t often suffer from the same problem. That fat wallet, with its half-filled punch cards and expired mail-in refunds, is only slowing you down, even as its besieged seams threaten to give up the ghost any minute.
If your wallet has seen better days, now’s the time to update it before you, like Costanza, see your life in paper float away in a strong breeze.
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Whether or not you want to go minimalist with your next wallet, there are plenty of options. Rugged leather, technical fabrics, and synthetic weaves all pop their heads up in the modern space. Plus, you may want to opt for a radio frequency identification (RFID) blocking wallet to help prevent credit card and identity theft. Oh, and wallets make great gifts.
Our advice: Find the wallet you’d want to pull from your back pocket at your favorite bar. That’s your next best friend.
For the man who realizes he can do more with less, the Rail Jamie Magic wallet provides quick access to necessities while eschewing the bulk and that telltale bump on your bottom.
Pros: With construction worthy of any magician, the two-part Jamie seems like a normal card wallet, with each side holding two slots’ worth of cards. But with the quick flip of the wrist, its elastic connectors open the inside to reveal cash and a special reserve pocket. The slim shape has plenty of space while creating the slightest of silhouettes in your back or side pocket. It’s also equipped with RFID protection technology.
Cons: For dads who still carry photos of their family, we worry that its open design won’t offer enough protection. Without a plastic protector and a sealed fold, we’re seeing serious wear in any photo’s future.
Our favorite Detroit bicycle- and watchmaker has some beautiful men’s accessories, and the Shinola Navigator money clip case has all the charm and dependability of the company’s better-known products. It’s a great way to get the best of both words when it comes to managing your pockets.
Pros: Some men prefer a wallet; others prefer a money clip. For the man who enjoys both, the Navigator delivers. On one side, rich leather creates three deep slots to secure cards. On the other, a gunmetal-finish brass clip secures cash and sundry small papers, letting you have your cake and eat it, too.
Cons: While this Shinola wallet does a lot in a little space, it still skews toward the minimalist, and as such, some many need more space. If you’re confident the light life is too sparse for right now, go with a more traditional option.
Everyone is concerned about digital security, and RFID protection offers peace of mind when you’re moving through big groups, whether on vacation or on the way to the office. Herschel Supply Co.’s Hank RFID bifold wallet combines a great-looking package with added safety.
Pros: On its face, the Hank is reminiscent of most Herschel products: a durable polyester weave fabric and its trademark patch logo. Inside, a leather-like material includes three slots for cards and a transparent plastic protector for an ID, with a main bill compartment lined with a contrasting striped fabric. But unseen to the eye, RFID protection ensures that your digital details stay safe.
Cons: While built like a regular wallet, this runs on the small side.
Few companies know leather as well as Frye. (Just ask your wife about her favorite boots.) As such, it’s no surprise that its Logan leather wallet is an easy pick. Its classic good looks and durable construction give us confidence we’ll have it for the long haul.
Pros: We could laud its features, like an interior ID window, currency pouch, slip pockets, and three card slots. But what sells this wallet for us is its beautiful chestnut-brown cow leather. Thick and supple, it looks good out of the box but better with a few months’ wear. The unique patina it displays is distinct to you, telling a story of all the places you’ve been.
Cons: With Frye, a lot of your money goes into the quality of the leather rather than the features themselves. As such, when broken down by bullet points, this isn’t an especially noteworthy wallet. But for men who like the classic materials—brass, waxed cotton, and leather—this is something they’ll love.
Odds are if you don’t own a pair of Red Wing’s iconic men’s boots yourself, one of your buddies does. As such, this guy’s favorite knows a thing or two about durable, cool accessories, and its leather card holder is another sure favorite.
Pros: Minimalists, rejoice: This card holder wallet has slots in a bifold design hold business and credit cards, along with an ID. Admit it: You gave up cash in the last few years and big wallets just provide fertile ground for clutter. The Holder gives you everything you need and nothing more.
Cons: As with other minimalist wallets, this option can run a little lean for some men. If you must carry more, you’d best keep looking.
This wallet, by Bellroy, is another top choice for minimalists. It holds between four and 12 cards, plus folded bills. And it's made from supple leather.
Pros: Blue steel, indeed. This is the wallet for guys who want to make a quiet statement. You get a surprising amount of storage, for a slim profile. And it’s great for men who carry cards, but aren’t cash-heavy.
Cons: Some say it’s too small, and falls out of pockets.
The ultimate minimalist knows that the best way to trim down is not to slim individual items but to combine them, thereby reducing the number of things you carry. You’re already going to have your smartphone with you, so the Speck Presidio wallet makes it easy to include ID and credit cards as a package deal.
Pros: While providing impact projection from dings and drops up to 10 feet, the Presidio also includes a three-card slot on its back, allowing you to carry an ID and two cards. It’s the company’s slimmest case ever despite a substantial capacity. We also liked the raised edges around the face, which offer additional screen protection from the unexpected.
Cons: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the fatal flaw in this theory is that if you lose your phone, you’ve also lost your ID and two cards. If you’re careless with your phone, this case is only going to make your life harder.
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