Ahhh, that lump of cowskin you haul your valuables around in – often neglected, rarely updated. At Carryology, we think the traditional wallet is a bit broken. Thanks to unchallenged design legacies, these traditional bi-folds and tri-folds result in a huge wallet and an ugly pocket bulge (Costanza anyone?).
Thankfully, there are ever increasing options in the world of wallet formats. We’ve picked out a number of wallets and card cases that do what they do well. Some are still a little bulky, but are only intended for a few cards so you can get away with it. All of them love their leather, and give you a bit of craft to carry on your daily adventures.
Makr oozes that vibe that we all wish we had. There’s a respectful geekiness drawn from their craft and American heritage cultures, there’s the cheeky irreverence from skate and surf cultures, and there’s the clean cut simplicity from a modern design language. Their Cordovan Flap Slim in scraped cordovan shows this the best, with an incredible horse leather created in America’s best credentialed tannery (Horween), then stitched in Florida under Makr’s tight control. It’s a fairly standard card carrier format, with pretty thick hide, but the details just feel right.
Did you know there’s not a word for ugly in Swedish? Well, not really, but it is rare to see unbeautiful things from this northern star. Sandqvist have that whole heritage thing going on, but with a nice Scando twist. Zip wallets can be rad, but they’re often too broad (think of the classic CDG version). The Vilgot cuts the size back, gives you a broad opening, and let’s you keep all your cards tucked in neatly and with protection.
Alice park is a classic architect designer. Seemingly inspired by modernist structures, she’s taken a stripped back aesthetic to the world of products, looking for the fewest gestures that will give the desired result. Her wallets only ever have one or two folds, and just one or two stitch lines, yet they manage to hold on to your cards and bills admirably. So long as you don’t mind folding those bills, her Folded Card Case will serve you well.
Yeah, this is a little excessive to just be carrying notes with, but man it’s carry poetry. Leffot sell shoes. Really good shoes. So they know how to celebrate leather. It’s Horween hide again, but this time without stitching, forming, or anything other than cutting and an emboss. If you’re the sort of person that is drawn to a money clip, go with this instead (money clips are kinda 90′s).
Like the Leffot Fold, there’s not a stitch on this card case. However the Peroni manages to give you an enclosed protective leather case to keep business or credit cards in. It does it with some neat leather working tricks; forming and sealing the vegetable tanned leather while hiding it’s construction trickery with oh so subtle joins. The Peroni is Italian, they sell lots in Japan, and it’s a leather geek’s feast for the work that goes into it.
While most of the carry world is going for stripped back craft approaches, Isaac Reina are sticking with super refined and sophisticated techniques. Skived leathers, edge embossing, and premium hides that you just want to touch. Repeatedly. This gear ain’t cheap, but if you dig the whole luxury fashion thing, you could do worse than Isaac Reina.
Yeah, we’ve been sucked into this whole American Heritage thing a bit when it comes to small pocket carry. So here’s another great leather craft brand, using American leathers, and making poetic origami folds. Barrett Alley have a strong feel for hand-stitched craft, and so you’ll see thick hides with thick stitching, in wallets that are more of a feature piece than an efficiency piece. But if you’re looking to carry some business cards, this is a great way to make an impression.
A few of the Carryology guys are also involved in a wallet brand called Bellroy, which is hell bent on reducing the size and bulk of wallets. They recently released their Travel Wallet, which through some clever design tricks lets you carry all your travel documents in your pocket (rather than those huge man-purses we’ve always struggled with). Tickets, itinerary and bills go in a long section, which then gets folded around a mini travel pen without creasing. Kinda neat.
Lucky number 9: a black full grain leather zip wallet from Mismo that looks good, keeps your goods in check and is not insanely thick.
Note: If you do shout yourself a new wallet, please, please, please spend some time getting it organized. We’ve put down our top 5 tips for slimming your wallet, which is well worth a read before moving in to your new hide: http://www.carryology.com/2010/06/17/slimming-your-wallet/