If you look into your pocket right now, you will probably find at least three things; your phone, keys, and yes, your wallet. The wallet is such a universal thing when it comes to items people carry in their daily life. No matter what your job is and how you spend your day, you will need a wallet. It carries your cash, business cards, credit/debit cards, driving license, bills, keys, coins, and many other things and makes sure that they are accessible right away. The purpose of this post is to help you chose among the best leather wallet out there.
When it comes to choosing your wallet, leather made is the obvious choice. Metallic and carbon fiber wallets are also out there to experiment with. Still, when style and class are in focus, nothing can outmatch the beauty of a perfectly crafted and skillfully stitched top quality leather wallet.
In this article, we are going to look at 5 features that makes a nice wallet.
Features of best leather wallets
#1 Leather Quality
Not all leather is created equal. Leather is such a versatile material that it comes in all shapes and forms. The type and quality of leather from which the wallet is crafted can make it the best wallet out there or just an average one.
We have discussed the types of leather in a separate blog post so without going into much details, here is the tldr;
There are many classifications of leather. The most important classification is based on the part of animal hide from which the leather is made. The animal hide is quite thick and unusable as it is. So, to make it more useful, it is split into several layers. The topmost layer is called full grain leather, which has many natural imperfections. When these imperfections are buffed/sanded, the resulting layer is called top grain leather. The leather obtained from all the other layers below that is termed genuine leather.
Good quality wallets are almost always made from full grain leather. Full grain leather is tough, resists wear & tear more than other grades of leather, and develops a beautiful patina when used for a long time. On the other hand, a genuine leather wallet might not last very long.
Question is, how to identify full grain leather wallet? Full grain leather has small dots on the surface. These are the places where the hair was once attached. Apart from the small dots, full grain leather surface might also have natural imperfections and scars from insect bites. To identify a full grain wallet, examine the leather surface closely and, if possible, use a magnifying glass.
At Aurochs, all our wallets are crafted from full grain leather obtained from one of the finest tanneries of South Asia.
#2 Design and Capacity
Functionality is as important as longevity when choosing a wallet. You don't want to be stuck with a very good quality wallet for a long time that isn't helping you much with your everyday needs.
Designers often tend to struggle with balancing functionality with aesthetics. Slimmer and more minimalist looking wallets are all the rage these days, but they come with a lot of compromises and not much room for anything.
Before you get the perfect wallet to suit your needs, you will have to look into your current one and figure out how many cards, cash, and other items you carry daily. If you are a minimalist and only carry a few items, your choice of wallet will be different (think of a card holder) from someone who carries a lot of these.
Most bifold wallets can carry 6-8 cards and a good amount of cash. That's what a normal person would optimistically carry in his wallet. A trifold wallet can have slightly more carrying space but it will be a little bulkier if not properly designed. We kept this in mind when we were working on designing the Infinity Wallet.
Also, there are wallets designed for special purposes. For example, if you are buying a travel wallets, it should have space for your passport and boarding passes and should be able to accommodate major international currencies. Similarly, zip wallets have special zip closure to protect your valuable items inside and are quite popular with both ladies & gents.
#3 Size of Wallet
Again, the size of a wallet depends on how much you want to carry in your pocket. But do keep in mind that bigger size doesn't always mean more carrying capacity. A badly designed wallet with unnecessary pockets and extra layers of leather might make it big without adding any considerable space to it.
Wallets come in all different sizes. Which one is better for you depends mainly on how you carry your wallet. If you mostly carry your wallet in your jeans front pocket or chest pocket, you might want to look at front pocket wallets. They are smaller in size than normal bifold or trifold wallets and are suitable for smaller pockets.
If you carry your wallet in your jeans back pocket like most people, then any bifold wallet will work fine, but the average size of a wallet we have found to work best is around 4 x 3.5 inches. A wallet smaller than this will keep sliding left & right in your hip pocket, and a large one will not fit properly.
Some people are also accustomed to carrying large wallets mostly in their hands. These are generally called long wallet. Their size allows them to fit even a smartphone inside which is pretty handy.
So, the perfect size depends on how many items you want to carry in your wallet and where you normally keep your wallet. Make sure you get the wallet that meets your usage behavior; otherwise, it will be a pain the a** not just figuratively but literally.
If this was a sorted list, I would have put this at the top. Craftsmanship is how things are made. It's the name of paying attention to every minute detail in the product and only comes from years and years of practice and perfection.
A poor craftsmanship can completely overshadow a good design and high quality leather. A great craftsman can make a product look great and live long so its an important consideration while searching for your perfect wallet.
To judge the craftsmanship of a leather wallet, you have two options.
First, look where the manufacturing is based. Cultural traits matter a lot when it comes to doing a routine job. You can find high craftsmanship in the south Asian region, where people are associated with the art of leather crafting for thousands of years. The habit of doing things right to the core, attention to detail, and dedication to their art is something that has been transferred from generation to generation.
Secondly, look at the product itself and pay attention to the sewing, corner bends, internal pockets, and other hidden areas where a bad artisan might ignore the details. As they say, the devil is in the details; a perfectly good looking wallet might have serious craftsmanship issues when looked at closely.
#5 RFID Protection
Our way of life is changing every day with arrival of new technologies. With the constant changing demands of our everyday life, our wallets have to adapt too.
Credit cards were previously using magnetic strips to conduct swipe transactions at checkouts. Now, RFID enabled cards have made the transactions contactless. But at the same time, RFID cards are prone to unauthorized scanning called RFID skimming. If you want to know more, we have a dedicated blog post just to explore RFID skimming.
Your new wallet should have one or more RFID protected pockets to shield your contactless cards from skimming. RFID blocking wallets blocks all electromagnetic and radio waves from penetrating your wallet to read the classified user data on your card, thus making your pocket more secure.
To summarize the whole discussion, you should be looking at the following points before you buy your next leather wallet:
- It should be made of full grain leather because that's the best quality.
- The design and capacity should meet your everyday carry requirements.
- The size should assist the way you normally carry your wallet in your pocket or your hand.
- The craftsmanship should be of high quality.
- The wallet should be RFID protected if you are carrying contactless cards.
Apart from these general features, you should also look at any specific feature that you want, like a special passport pocket in case of buying a travel wallet, a phone pocket in a long wallet, and a coins pocket if you carry a lot of coins.
At Aurochs we design and refine all our wallets keeping in view how people use them in daily life. One of our best selling design, Aurochs Gravity, has gone through 3 major design upgrades since we first launched it in 2016 to make it better and more versatile based on user feedback.