So you got a brand new leather wallet. Congratulations! But after opening the box and taking out your wallet, you might have felt that your new mens wallet is not as soft as you expected. Also, the pockets seem narrow and tight, and you can’t get any cards inside.
This is not something to be worried about. This stiffness is quite natural. You just need to break into your new leather wallet. In this article, I will tell you how to do that.
Why is your leather wallet stiff?
Leather is by nature a hard and stiff material. It is only made soft by a process called leather tanning. Leather tanning adds necessary oils to the leather fibers to make them soft and supple.
When a leather product is manufactured and stored for a longer period, the natural oils evaporate, and the leather dries up. When the product is in constant use, it absorbs oils from our hands and replenishes the lost oils. But in storage and during shipping, this doesn’t happen, and your leather wallet ends up being hard and stiff.
Also, newly crafted and stitched leather wallet pockets will have some residue adhesives around their corners. These adhesives are used to hold two leather pieces together during the stitching process.
This excess residue is cleaned during the finishing process, but some remains, which causes your pockets to stick together and become narrow around the edges. This is a problem specially in small wallets like a card holder.
What does “breaking in” mean?
You know when you wear new shoes, they are not always comfortable and hurt your feet? Because the curvature of the shoes and your feet are not in perfect harmony. It takes time for the shoes to expand and curve at some locations to fit your feet.
The same is true for a wallet. If you use it for a long time, it adjusts its shape to the shape of items you store in your wallet. But we don’t want to wait for a long time for our wallet to adjust. We want to do this quickly so that we can start using our wallet comfortably from Day-1.
The process of working the wallet shape and pocket sizes to fit your items is called “breaking into a wallet”.
how to break in a new wallet?
Breaking into a new leather wallet is quite easy. All you need is:
- A pack of plastic cards (old or new bank cards will do)
- A good leather conditioner or oil (Lexol is my fav)
- A dry and soft cloth
Before you start, make sure your wallet is clean and free of any dust particles. Because if you oil a dusty wallet, it will get dissolved and absorbed into the fiber and ruin the leather color. You can use a slightly damp cloth as well to clean your wallet. Be sure to dry the wallet in the air before breaking in.
Once you get your wallet nice and clean, it’s time. Follow the following easy steps to break into your wallet:
- Take one card at a time and insert it into each pocket. You should feel some resistance because of the residual glue around the inner edges of the pockets. Slowly slide the card fully.
- Insert 1-2 additional cards in each pocket to force them open. Although each pocket is usually designed for a single card, inserting multiple cards and overstretching them will lose them up a bit.
- Apply leather conditioner to both outer and inner surfaces. To evenly apply the conditioner or leather oil, put a small amount on the cloth and slightly rub the leather surface and expand outwards in a circular motion. Repeat this till every part of the wallet receives an equal amount of oil or conditioner.
- Once your wallet is fully conditioned, keep it under a slightly heavy load (a few books will do) for a day. This time will be enough to stretch the leather slightly and make your wallet more accommodating. If it is a zip wallet, try opening and closing the zip a few dozen times to smooth out the rough edges.
- After a day has passed, take the extra cards out and start using your wallet. Now, your wallet is fully conditioned, soft and the pockets are also fully open to access your cards easily.
I hope you will find this short guide on how to break into your wallet helpful.