• May 28, 2024, 5:42 pm

The best wallets in 2023 SoftAIT

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Update : Thursday, November 9, 2023

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Digital wallets make it easier to pay for things than ever, but there are still plenty of times when you need cash and cards, so an IRL wallet remains an essential accessory. Today’s wallets have progressed from the models that created outlines in back pockets (though you can still find those if you want). In addition to holding your credit cards, ID, and money, many new wallets protect against identity theft and even help you find them when they’re lost. Here are the best wallets and some tips for finding the one that will serve your needs.

How we chose the best wallets

In rounding up the best wallets, we looked for options from brands known for the quality of their workmanship, such as Bellroy and Frye. Wallets that made the cut are made from a range of materials, from supple leather to military-grade aluminum. We also looked for wallets that served a range of lifestyles, from classic picks to sleek, multitasking wallet/smartphone case combos.

We took into account the size of the wallet and its construction, including both traditional bifold and trifold wallets and an option that doubles as a case for the iPhone 15 Pro. In addition, we looked at the capacity of each wallet, whether they could hold three cards or up to 15 and change.

In addition, we prioritized options with built-in security, including RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)-blocking technology that helps prevent identity thieves from using RFID readers to access information on the tap-to-pay chips in credit cards, passport, and identification. We also picked a wallet designed to fit an Apple AirTag, so you can track the location of your wallet if you misplace it.

Finally, we looked for options that were durable and came in at a variety of price points.

The best wallets: Reviews & Recommendations

Accessories often play a side role to main players like a tote bag, purse, or laptop backpack. But a wallet is an item you’ll likely be reaching for many times every day. Whether you prefer streamlined modernism or a capacious model that will fit all your store credit cards, we’ll help you find the best wallet for you.

Best overall: Bellroy Folio Mini Leather Wallet

Specs

  • Material: Leather and recycled polyester
  • Dimensions: 3.3 inches x 4.5 inches x 0.8 inches
  • Capacity: 12 cards
  • Colors: Black, Charcoal Cobalt, Deep Plum, Hazelnut, Teal

Pros

  • Classic design
  • Holds 12 cards and has a change purse
  • Features RFID-blocking technology
  • Made with recycled materials

Cons

  • May be too large for people seeking slim option

Founded in Australia in 2010, Bellroy is known for creating work accessories made from sustainable materials. Their sleek wallets are made from eco-tanned leather and polyester made from recycled bottles. The Folio also provides plenty of space for up to 12 cards and your keys, and a change purse with a magnetic closure. The Folio is also designed with RFID-blocking technology that helps protect you from identity theft. Finally, this versatile cardholder wallet is unisex and is available in five rich colors (Black, Charcoal Cobalt, Deep Plum, Hazelnut, and Teal).

Best RFID: The Ridge Minimalist Slim Wallet For Men

Five colorways for the Ridge Minimalist Slim Wallet on a sheepskin.

Specs

  • Material: Aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium, stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 3.39 inches x 2.13 inches x 0.24 inches
  • Capacity: Up to 12 cards
  • Colors: Black, Burnt Titanium, Carbon Fiber, Forest Green, Forged Carbon, Forged Ember, Forged Gold, Forged Pacific, Gunmetal, Gunmetal Titanium, Half Dome Topographic, Matte Black Titanium, Matte Olive, Matte Olive Titanium, Mopane, Navy, North Shore, Red, Rose Gold, Stonewashed Titanium, The Narrow

Pros

  • Comes with RFID-blocking
  • Minimalist design with expandable elastic straps holds up to 12 credit/debit cards (or many business cards)
  • Can customize with either a money clip or cash strap

Cons

  • Some users had issues with build quality

The Ridge Wallet has been a clear front-runner in the minimalist wallet world and aims to modernize and streamline how we carry our everyday essentials while providing important protections against identity theft.

This hard-sided wallet manages to hold a substantial number of cards (up to 12) in a tight, slim profile that can easily fit into front pockets, reducing the bulk associated with traditional bifold or trifold wallets. Made primarily from metal (aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, or carbon fiber, based on the variant you choose), it’s built to withstand daily wear and tear far better than traditional leather wallets. And, in an age where digital theft is a genuine concern, the Ridge Wallet offers RFID-blocking capabilities to prevent potential unauthorized scanning of credit cards, adding an extra layer of security.

While the Ridge Wallet itself is minimalist, the Ridge Wallet options are far from. With choices available in a wide array of colors and finishes, there’s a Ridge Wallet style to fit nearly everyone’s aesthetic preferences. And the wallet’s design allows users to disassemble and reassemble it, meaning parts can be replaced if they wear out or if users wish to customize it. For instance, one can choose between a money clip or cash strap based on personal preference. The kit even includes a small Torx bit driver and instructions to modify the wallet as desired.

Admittedly, there is a slight learning curve to accessing cards efficiently (Pro tip: place your most frequently used cards in the front and back of the wallet). And it’s not particularly conducive for those who often carry a large number of bills. But the Ridge Wallet is an excellent choice for individuals seeking a durable, unadulterated card-carrying system that offers a level of protection against potential digital theft. — Scott Ferguson

Best for men: Fossil Derrick Leather RFID Bifold with Flip ID Wallet

A dark brown leather Derrick Men's Wallet by Fossil on a plain background.

Specs

  • Material: Leather, plastic 
  • Dimensions: 4.5 inches x 3.5 inches x 1 inch
  • Capacity: 8 cards
  • Colors: Brown, Dark Brown

Pros

  • Classic design
  • Protects against identity theft
  • Certified for using sustainable practices during manufacture

Cons

  • Some users say the leather started to peel

Looking for a traditional bifold wallet that still provides protection against identity theft? Fossil’s Derrick Leather Wallet checks both boxes for men’s wallets. At 4.5 inches by 3.5 inches wide, this wallet can fit into a back pocket. The Derrick wallet also features RFID-blocking technology to protect your credit cards and IDs from skimming. With two clear ID panels, eight card slots, and two slide compartments, this wallet should easily fit the essentials. And it’s Climate Pledge-friendly and has been certified by the Leather Working Group for using sustainable practices.

Best for women: FRYE Melissa Zip Around Leather Wallet

A basil (green) FRYE Melissa Zippered wallet against a plain background.

Specs

  • Material: Leather and metal 
  • Dimensions: 7.5 inches x 4 inches x 1.5 inches
  • Capacity: Up to 14 cards
  • Colors: Basil, Beige, Burgundy, Cognac, Dark Brown, Evening Rose, Khaki, Mushroom, Parchment, Red, Carbon

Pros

  • Rustic look
  • Plenty of space for storage
  • Ages well

Cons

If you’re someone who likes to carry with a bunch of cards and cash with you, FRYE’s Melissa Wallet can help you keep them all contained and organized in one place. Designed by a brand that has been making leather goods since 1863, this women’s wallet features a beautiful finish that will complement a range of purses or bags. The MELISSA wallet holds up to 14 cards, includes a change purse, and has room for business cards and some small documents. It’s also available in 11 rich colors.

Best leather lightweight wallet: Steven Card Case

Specs

  • Material: Leather, recycled polyester
  • Dimensions: 4 inches x 2.75 inches x 0.25 inches
  • Capacity: 4 cards
  • Colors: Slate Black, Medium Brown, Insignia Blue

Pros

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to stick into a pocket
  • Made in part from recycled materials

Cons

Not looking to be weighed down by nickels and dimes? The sleek Steven Card Case by Fossil lets you boil it down to the essentials. Made of leather and recycled polyester, this thin wallet fits easily into any back pocket at just 4 inches long by 2.75 inches wide and a quarter-inch thick. It can hold your cash and up to four credit cards. And it’s available in three colors: Slate Black, Medium Brown, and Insignia Blue.

Best iPhone wallet case: Bellroy Phone Case and Wallet

An everglade green iPhone case and wallet made by Bellroy.

Specs

  • Material: Leather, plastic  
  • Dimensions: 3.19 inches x 6.46 inches x  0.63 inches
  • Capacity: 3 cards
  • Colors: Everglade, Black, Cobalt

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Designed to protect phone
  • Contains hidden section

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold much
  • No security

Is your smartphone essentially your wallet? Then you’ll appreciate the Bellroy Phone Case and Wallet. Designed for the latest iPhone 15 Pro, this versatile product allows you to travel lightly. Made of eco-tanned leather with plastic bumpers on the edges to protect your phone, this wallet/case can hold up to three cards. At 6.46 inches by 3.19 inches by .63 inches, this case is easy to toss into a tote bag or backpack or just carry on its own. And it’s available in three colors: Everglade, Black, and Cobalt.

Best minimalist: Ekster Aluminum AirTag Wallet

A gray Ekster Aluminum Wallet with an AirTag attached shown from the back and the side.

Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 4.09 inches x 2.5  inches x 0.39 inches 
  • Capacity: Up to 10
  • Colors: Black, Graphite

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Allows for AirTag tracking
  • Pops cards out with the touch of a button

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some users say it holds fewer cards than advertised

Modern design and security come together seamlessly in the Ekster AirTag Wallet. Handcrafted from durable aluminum, this minimalist wallet measures 4.09 inches high by 2.5  inches wide by 0.39 inches thick and has the capacity for more than 10 cards. It’s also designed to eject your cards with the touch of a button and comes with a cash strap and hidden compartments.

But what really sets this modern wallet apart is its security features. Like many other wallets on our list, it’s designed with RFID-blocking technology to help protect your cards from skimming. The Ekster wallet also features a compartment to hold an Apple AirTag so that you can track your wallet should you misplace it or it gets stolen.

Best budget: Tommy Hilfiger Passcase Wallet

A black version of the Tommy Hilfiger Men's Passcase Wallet against a plain background.

Specs

  • Material: Leather
  • Dimensions:  5 inches x 5 inches x 0.5 inches
  • Capacity: 6 cards
  • Colors: Black Cambridge, Black Dore, Black Enamel Flag, Black Minimal, Black Stockton, Blue/White/Red, British Brown, British Tan, Dark Black, Deep Brown, Deep Red, Navy Cambridge, Navy Dore, Rich Brown, Oxford Black, Rich Beige

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comes in a range of colors
  • Includes RFID-blocking technology

Cons

  • Some users say the leather is lower quality

Not looking to spend a lot on your wallet? The Tommy Hilfiger Passcase Wallet provides the basics along with a measure of security at an affordable price. Made of leather, this wallet has space for two cards, an ID window, and two pockets. It’s also designed with RFID-blocking technology for extra security. And it’s available in 16 colorways, from various shades of black to the classic Tommy Hilfiger blue, white, and red logo.

What to consider when picking from the best wallets

When it comes to an accessory that you’re likely to rely on every day to carry some of your most important identification and cards, it’s important to make sure it’s going to serve your needs and be secure as possible.

Material

Wallets are made of a range of materials, from supple leather to aluminum. Before making your purchase, consider your style and whether you’re looking for a wallet that will last and weather gracefully over time or a minimalist option that works with the latest version of the iPhone.

Design

Wallets come in a range of shapes and sizes, from generously sized models that can store more than 12 cards, cash, change, some receipts, and maybe even your phone to minimalist models that are designed to hold just three cards and feature a money clip or cash strap. More traditional designs for men include bi-fold wallets and tri-fold wallets that are typically made of leather and provide ample space for cards and cash.

Security

Many wallets today are designed with RFID-blocking technology. This technology helps prevent identity thieves from skimming, or using radio waves to capture identifying information from electronic chips attached to a driver’s licenses, credit cards, work identification, etc. Experts say a variety of protections are in place that make the threat of skimming pretty low, but it doesn’t hurt to have the protection just in case. 

It’s more likely that you’ll misplace your wallet or even get it stolen. That’s where it can help to have a wallet that’s designed to accommodate an Apple AirTag to help you find it.

FAQs

Q: How much is a good wallet?

Wallets range in price, depending on the quality of the materials and whether they are made by prominent designers. While a Cartier wallet can cost nearly $4,000, the options on this list range from $109 to $23.

Q: Do men still use wallets?

Yes, some men still use wallets, but many don’t still opt for the classic bi-fold leather model. Some are content using a binder clip, while others use smartphone cases designed to double as a wallet. A case can also be made that for many people, their smartphone is their wallet.

Q: How long should a wallet last?

How long a wallet will last depends on the quality of the materials from which it is made. Generally, high-quality leather wallets can last up to 10 years, while you may get only a handful of years out of synthetic nylon models. That said, wallets made from extremely durable materials such as carbon fiber can last indefinitely.

Final thoughts on the best wallets

While a wallet isn’t something we shop for very often, it’s a tool that we use every day and rarely leave behind when we leave the house. Admittedly, more and more consumers have been moving away from traditional billfolds in favor of digital payments, so more minimalist styles of wallets have gained popularity because of their sleek designs and easy access to a few key items.  But whether you’re someone whose wallet contains everything from months-old receipts to pictures of loved ones or you prefer minimalist, multitasking smartphone cases, they’re still essential for keeping your ID, some cards, and cash in one place. Even if your phone is mostly your wallet these days, backup is never a bad idea.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.



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