How Long Should your Wallet Last?

The potential longevity of a wallet is commonly overlooked when it comes to deciding on your next wallet. People often prioritize size, functionality, and price over the potential for a wallet to last a lifetime or simply become worn out in a matter of years (or less in some cases). Wallets are prone to getting pretty worn out quickly simply down to the fact they’re one of the very few items we used religiously every single day. They get manhandled, thrown about, and shoved in your pocket with other things. It’s really no surprise that factoring in the quality and durability of any wallet is a must. 

This article is going to look into some of the main factors you need to consider when it comes to how long a wallet should last, and the types of wallets, and brands, that are most likely to provide you with a wallet that won’t have you forking out for a new wallet just a year down the line. 


The Wallets Material

Probably the most important factor is what you’re wallet is made from. We’ve written in the past extensively regarding ‘how to choose the right wallet material’ but will go into more detail here regarding how a wallet’s material choice influences the likelihood your wallet will last the test of time. Below are just a few examples of common wallet materials that’ll we’ll each talk about in turn. 

Leather: The Most Popular type of wallet material, but also the most difficult to get right. Not all leather is created equal and based on the leathers ‘grade’ will depend on whether a wallet with last or not. A rule of thumb is to avoid ‘Genuine Leather’ like the plague. This is created using the offcuts, is thin, and degrades fast. On the other hand, full-grain leather is top quality and of the utmost quality. 

Metal: Nobody thinks of Metal and immediately assumes ‘poor durability and this general ideology speaks truth in the wallet world. Metal is hardy, and depending on the type of metal you choose (usually a choice between steel or aluminum) you can tailor the wallet to your needs (increased tightness or durability)


The Functionality of the Wallet

The more complex a wallet is in its design the prone they are the potentially breaking or becoming worn out over time. A great example of this is wallets that use zippers or have a combination of materials such as leather and elastic. Over my years of using thousands of different wallets, I’ve started to see a personal trend in issues revolving around wallets that have more functionality or more elaborate designs. 

Simple wallets such as those made entirely from leather, one material or, smaller sized minimalist wallets tend to fair the best lasting as long as the quality of the construction and choice of material allows it to. But those with added features including and not limited to pop-up wallets, and zipper wallets tend to find themselves less durable over long periods of time. Zips breaking, or the pop-up mechanism getting clogged and ceasing the work are such common examples of issues that can evolve over time. 


How You Treat your Wallet

Finally, the most logical and self-explanatory reason why a wallet might degrade or break is generally down to how you use and treat the wallet. If you’re careless or more likely to be in extreme or stressful situations (like at work or in extreme weather/sports) a wallet can easily be exposed to harsher conditions that cause the breakdown of its material. Leather is a good example of this. Scarpe and scuffs or exposure to water are examples of why this could occur. 

When on the topic of leather, you also need to address the fact caring for it correctly is a simple but effective way to increase its longevity. Treating leather with specific waxes or oils is one example of how a wallet that has worn down or is looking a little worst for wear can help give any leather wallet a new lease of life – after all, you are working with organic material. 


So How Long Should a Wallet Last?

It’s hard to come with a concrete answer to this question. So many factors go into the quality, maintenance, and eventual life of a wallet simply down to the fact they’re an item religiously used daily. If I was forced to come up with a ballpark as to how long I think the average wallet should last I’d put it around 2 – 3 years. At this point and further, you can expect a wallet to slowly degrade to the point where you’ll be forced to buy a new one.

That being said, with the right choice of material and care, there’s no reason why a wallet can’t last decades. I’ve come across many posts across the web of wallets people have had since childhood or for multiple decades showing the care, and the right choice in the wallet is the most important factor in how long a wallet should last. 


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