Our Guide to Choosing a Wallet Material
What should your wallet be made from?
One of the first things you need to consider when purchasing a new wallet is what material you want it to be made from. Often an overlooked consideration you’d be surprised by the range of materials available for a wallet in today’s market. From your traditional leather which has been used in leathercraft for a millennium through to modern innovations like Tyvek or metal the range is almost endless.
This article is going to go through in great detail the advantages and disadvantages of each wallet material and provide some best examples of wallets on the market for each. Let’s delve straight in.
What Different Materials Offer
I explain a lot of this in my article ‘How to choose a wallet’ guide but I’ll go into a little detail of what each wallet brand has to offer.
Search by Wallet Materials
Below is a table that shows all the different materials we’re going to discuss in this article. To jump to a certain section of the article just click on the corresponding link below.
Leather is a classic material. The chances are your currently own a leather wallet so now might be a good time to consider changing. If you want to stick with a leather wallet then it’s probably a good idea to learn about the different grades of leather and how they affect the quality and price of wallets. We have a full article regarding the topic of leather grades so check that out first.
The great thing about leather is how versatile it is. There’s a reason it became a stable for men’s wallets since forever. Regardless if you’re looking for a slim minimalist wallet or want to stick with a traditional bi-fold leather provides you with a huge variety of options to choose from.
Another consideration with leather is the type. Most wallets are made from cow leather but the range of more exotic leathers on the market today – ranging from snakeskin to crocodile – is ever increasing. These types of leathers don’t provide any additional benefits other than changing the look and feel of the wallet. This all comes down to your individual preferences. To view our review of our best men’s leather wallets click here.
Our top pick: Wingback wallet
Metal wallets are all about style and provide a huge range of options available. Metal is strong and hardy material so metal is great for people who are more likely to go traveling outdoors or in extreme conditions where the chances of damage is higher. But the main advantage of metal is simply the range of innovative styles you can find it in. Whether you’re looking for a futuristic wallet or a classic clean look and design a metal wallet provides an almost endless array of options.
Due to the static nature of metal most metal wallets are minimalist in size. That’s because it’s basically impossible to create a bi-fold out of metal so it’s limited in terms of its size and features. We have a full review of our top-rated metal wallets which you can view here.
Our top pick: Ridge Wallet
The natural and unique material of wood makes for some of the best looking and most attractive wallets on the market today. Like Metal, wood is a sturdy material so you’re limited in terms of the features the wallet can have. Wood wallets are more about aesthetics and do offer a range of innovative looks and designs.
Wooden wallets tend to be slim or minimalist in size. This is due to the restricts of working with such a material. Wood wallets are recommended for people looking for a unique look and the range of wood wallets that look absolutely gorgeous are amazing. Read our full article on our top wood wallets on the market today.
Our top pick: Madera Union Wallet
An origami wallet you say? Paper wallets have become a popular material in recent years with the success of brands such as the aptly named ‘paper wallet’. Paper is a lightweight material so it’s often good for people who want to carry less and have a lightweight wallet. But that does come at a cost. Paper is thin and is more prone to deteriorating faster overtime
The paper can begin to rip and it obviously doesn’t do too well in wet conditions. Many brands – including the paper wallet – have innovated and use a material called Tyvek which is basically a glossy coated paper material that solves a lot of the issues mentioned above.
Paper wallets can also be printed upon so the design variations are limitless with unique designs available. Some brands even allow you to print your own custom designs! So if you want a truly unique wallet then this could be the material for you.
Our top pick: Paper Wallet
With 3D printing on the rise, many wallets are popping onto the market made entirely from plastic or similar materials. With many of the benefits of metal and wood, plastic allows great variation in design and usually at a cheaper price tag. The only issue with plastic is it’s generally an unpleasant material to use. It looks and feels cheap and this deters a lot of people who want a wallet with more style.
Our top pick: Ezgo wallet
Lightweight and easy to clean elastic is a great material for those looking for a cheaper alternative to leather without some of the cons. The only issue with elastic is it doesn’t look or feel like a very premium product. If you’re looking for a more designer style elastic is not for you. Nevertheless, the prices of elastic wallets tend to be a lot cheaper so it does balance out quite nicely.
Our top pick: Skint wallet
Combination of materials
Many wallets don’t just stick to one material. Many use a combination of materials to help produce a wallet with a unique look and feel. For example, many leather and metal wallets exist or wood and metal wallets.
Our top pick: Dango Dapper D01
Some of the most unique wallets you can purchase are made from recycled materials. This could be anything from repurposed flooring through to old tires. Wallets like this have the added benefit of being more sustainable and in a world suffering from the effects of global warming is an added benefit of recycling materials into wallets.
Our top pick: Firefighter Wallet