Wallets are tricky–they’re an absolute necessity, but they seem to be either too small or too bulky; too stylish and lacking function, or too practical and lacking personality. And it always seems like the coolest wallets are out of budget, so we sought out to find a balance of visual and practical appeal. We also tried to find the best picks regardless of how you carry your wallet; whether it’s in a backpack, purse or pocket, we’re sure at least one of these wallets will suit your needs.
Obstructures A2+1 Aluminum Wallet, $40
We headed first to Kicksarter for this category–there are a ton of well-designed and innovative wallets seeking funding. But the former Kickstarter project A2+1 continues to top the list due to its unique design and strong materials. While it doesn’t look like much, it’s been designed to cut down on the back pain caused by bulky back-pocket wallets. Sandwiched by two aluminum plates and bound by a heavy-duty band, the best part of this wallet is its ability to expand or contract based on how many cards you need. It’s also RFID blocking.
Spec-Ops T.H.E Wallet J.R, $29.79
This choice has made the rounds on EDC forums, and we still think it’s a great pick (our assistant editor, Andrew Warren, owns one). The Velcro-less closure is known as the SHARK-BITE, a custom Spec-Ops design that allows the user to open the wallet quietly. The underfold also closes tightly and securely. Several grommet holes allow for the wallet to be worn on a string around the neck. And an external ID slot on the back lets you show your ID without having to open the wallet. With several pouches and slots for cards, there’s plenty of storage space.
Pacsafe 100 Walletsafe, $32
Pacsafe wallets are popular travel choices but also make for nice EDC wallets due to their simple design and abundance of interior space. A chain hooks the wallet onto bag straps or belt loops, but don’t worry–it’s subtle enough to keep your wallet close to your person, but you won’t look like you’re rocking a style from the 90s. Available in several colors, the Pacsafe is surprisingly compact for a trifold wallet. We chose this for sporty folk because the material, which repels water and keeps interior contents protected from the elements.
Wallets aren’t the most technological item of a techie’s EDC, but there’s still ways to integrate a wallet into gadgetry. There’s no shortage of phone cases that also double as wallets, but some venture a little far into novelty for our taste. But the CardNinja is a simple enough concept with a nice, clean minimalistic design. It comes with a sticky side that you can attach to the back of your phone, laptop or tablet, depending on what you carry most often. It doesn’t damage gadgets, either, as the adhesive peels off easily leaving no residue. It’s an unassuming and compact way to carry just what you need.
Slim Timber Walnut Wood Wallet, $45
Wood EDC items always remind us of the trendsetter style type–perhaps it’s because wood is such a versatile, sustainable and durable material. This wood wallet is best for those who carry their wallet in a separate bag, rather than the back pocket of jeans, although customers have reported that it’s perfectly comfortable wearing in pocket, too. With a beautiful wood stain and a classy leather strap to keep cards in place, this wallet is certainly a conversation starter. Plus, Slim Timber makes all of their products in the U.S., and no two wallets are exactly alike.