Quality craftsmanship. Elegant, simple appearance. Multiple slots for credit cards. Several window slots for ID presentation.
More expensive than other tri-folds. Slots may be tight, making extraction difficult. Not suitable for multiple photographs. Slow to break in.
A lot of slots and compartments for the price. Material breaks in quickly. Two compartments for currency and paper products.
Can be bulky if fully loaded. Compartments may be sewn too tightly for easy money handling.
Bears the distinctive Tommy Hilfiger logo. Lightweight and slim. Gets top marks for construction and durability.
Limited card holding capacity. Some questioned the authenticity of the material. Could be prone to knock-offs.
9 horizontal slots, mesh slot for ID presentation, very short break-in period, Levi's brand recognition.
Not truly a slimfold when loaded; some durability issues; mesh ID slot inconvenient.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A wallet is one of the few items carried daily by just about everybody. While the basic function of a wallet is utilitarian — holding money, credit cards, photos, and ID cards — your wallet can also serve to make a fashion statement or express your status.
The right wallet looks good, holds your necessities, fits into your pocket or purse without weighing you down, and makes it easy to organize your money and credit cards. If your wallet is starting to look worn and tattered, it’s time to shop for a newer version that is both stylish and practical.
But choosing a wallet can be quite a chore. There are so many varieties, materials, styles, and colors: how do you know which is best? That’s where we step in. We’ve done the research for you and narrowed the information down to the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new wallet. We’ve even included some we think stand out from the crowd.
Wallets aren’t complex, but there are still quite a few decisions to make when choosing one, including style, materials, and features. And, of course, there are wallets geared toward men and women, although there are no fashion police to ticket you should you prefer one wallet style over another. When deciding on your perfect wallet, consider how many credit cards you generally carry, whether or not you want a coin pocket, if you like to carry photos in your wallet, and if you need space for cash.
Bifold: These are the classic men’s wallet. These simple wallets fold in half, making them thin enough to fit comfortably in a back pocket and light enough for easy transport in a jacket or purse. Most have a long pocket for cash and a few slots to hold credit cards. Some have a larger slot for a driver’s license or other picture ID so you can show it without having to remove it from the wallet. Most bifold wallets geared toward men don’t have a pocket for coins, but some women’s bifolds do. The typical men’s bifold wallet doesn’t have a clasp or closing mechanism, while many women’s versions have a small clasp or zipper.
Trifold: These wallets fold into thirds and are usually somewhat larger than bifold styles. Along with a long pocket for cash, most trifolds have several slots for credit cards or photos, a larger slot for a picture ID, such as a driver’s license, and a zipped or latched pocket for change. There’s usually a clasp or zipper to close the whole wallet as well. These wallets are usually too large to comfortably carry in a pocket, but they aren’t too large or heavy for a purse or backpack.
Sports: These small wallets are perfect for runners, joggers, or other outdoor athletes. They attach to a band that fastens with elastic or hook-and-loop fastener around your wrist or ankle. They have just enough pockets to hold an ID and perhaps one or two credit cards. Some have a clip for keys, too. This isn’t likely to be your everyday wallet, but it’s perfect for use while exercising. Most are unisex in color and pattern.
Travel: These wallets are larger than everyday wallets, with extra pockets for holding a passport, train or airline tickets, important documents, and ID, as well as money, keys, and photos. Many travel wallets have a neck strap so they can be worn under clothing for extra security. Others take the form of a belt worn around the waist. A travel wallet is a wise purchase if you plan to travel far from home. Most travel wallets have a unisex design, particularly those intended to be concealed.
Money clips: These are generally marketed to men. They are the simplest type of wallet and, in fact, are nothing more than a large metal clip that holds folded cash and a few credit cards for easy transport in a pocket. Some are decorative, but many are very simple.
Wristlets: These are simple wallets usually favored by women. Most have one zipped or clasped pocket to hold a few credit cards, ID, and some cash, with a small loop that fits around your wrist. Wristlets are handy when you need access to your money but don’t want to be bothered carrying a purse. They are especially useful for running quick errands, going to the gym, or enjoying an evening out with your friends.
Clutch: These wallets are larger than wristlets and intended to take the place of a purse. These handheld, usually fashionably designed wallets are large enough to hold money and credit cards, house and car keys, lipstick and a few other small makeup items, and perhaps your phone.
Credit card: These wallets, also called minimalist wallets, are becoming a popular choice with both men and women who don’t generally carry cash but do carry credit and debit cards. These very simple wallets typically don’t fold over or close. They have several slots for cards and a clip or strap to keep the cards from falling out. These are very easy to slip into a front pocket.
Checkbook: These wallets are falling out of favor because fewer people carry checkbooks, but some women still like to carry them. These large wallets have a section designed to hold a checkbook, along with pockets for cash, ID, and credit cards. Most have a loop to hold a pen as well.
Leather: This is the classic material for both men’s and women’s wallets, particularly bifold and trifold designs. Leather is durable and attractive, and it comes in a huge range of colors and designs. On the downside, it can stain easily, isn’t water resistant, and can be heavy.
Nylon or polyester: These are both very popular choices for lightweight wallets, particularly wristlets, travel wallets, sports wallets, and credit card wallets, but you’ll also find a wide range of bifold and trifold nylon or polyester wallets. Benefits of these two synthetic materials, aside from their light weight, include water resistance, a wide range of bright colors and patterns, and suitability to those seeking a vegan alternative to leather. They usually aren’t as durable as leather, however.
Metal: These wallets are somewhat new on the scene, but they have become very popular. Aluminum is the most common, due to its light weight, but you’ll also find stainless steel wallets. Looking something like a small box with a clasp, metal wallets generally have a few pockets for holding credit cards and ID but rarely include a designated pocket for cash or coins. Metal wallets can be very decorative, with bright patterns and colors. They’re durable but can dent.
Hemp, jute, and other plant-based fibers: These are not as common as the three materials above, but with a bit of a search, you can find wallets made from these natural materials, which are favored by many people who prefer a green or vegan lifestyle.
RFID-blocking wallets help prevent thieves from stealing your credit card information.
Inexpensive: For less than $20, you’ll find a wide range of simple leather, metal, nylon, and polyester wallets. Don’t expect a lot of card slots or separate sections in this price range, but if you’re looking for something to carry the basics, you should find a wallet that will serve you well without breaking your budget.
Mid-range: Between $20 and $40, you can expect quality leather, well-known brand names, and nice features, including RFID-blocking, multiple card slots, and unusual materials like hemp, jute, or even cork.
Expensive: Above $40, you’ll find high-quality leather, unusual designs, and trendy brand names. This is also the price range for stylish wristlets or clutch wallets, particularly those from well-known designers.
Choose a wallet that matches your fashion sense, whether that is trendy, traditional, funky, or just plain fun.
Typical items carried in a wallet include the following:
Coins (usually women’s wallets)
Credit cards (Don’t make the mistake of carrying more than one or two. If you lose your wallet, you’re putting yourself at risk.)
Driver’s license or ID
The following items should not be carried in your wallet:
Social security card
Passwords to any secure website
More cash than you can afford to lose
Carrying your wallet in your front pocket instead of a back pocket makes it harder for a pickpocket to steal it without your noticing.
While we really like our recommendations in the matrix above, there are certainly other excellent wallets available. If you’re looking for something unusual enough to invite conversation, or you just prefer to avoid leather, check out the Corkor Bifold Wallet. This slim, simple wallet is made from the outer bark of the cork oak. It’s smooth and durable and has lots of character.
Or maybe you’re looking for a wallet with enough slots to carry everything you need for a day on the town, including your smartphone. If so, you’ll like the leather Lavemi Wristlet, which comes in a wide range of colors and includes RFID blocking.
Q. I see many wallets claiming to offer RFID blocking. What does this mean?
A. Unfortunately, thieves are able to steal your credit card information without even touching your wallet these days, simply by using a radio-frequency identification (RFID) reader to remotely scan the information on your credit card chips. That’s why many wallets now have a very fine metal mesh lining that blocks RFID readers from being able to access your information. If you travel extensively, use public transportation, or live in a big city, it might be worth the small extra cost for an RFID-blocking wallet.
Q. How many slots should my wallet have?
A. There’s no hard and fast answer to that question because it depends on the number of cards you generally carry with you. As a general rule, you’re better off carrying as few credit cards as possible, both to ward off potential overspending and also in case your wallet is stolen. Before choosing a new wallet, count the cards you absolutely need to have with you, and then look for a wallet with sufficient slots to hold that many cards.
Q. How do I decide on the right color wallet?
A. This is another question with no definitive answer. While you’ll never go wrong with a basic brown or black leather wallet, there’s certainly no reason to limit yourself if you prefer something a little — or a lot — more colorful. Consider your wardrobe. Do you wear a lot of bright colors or stick with neutrals? Do you prefer pastels? Is your style traditional or au courant? Whatever your look, there’s a wallet to match, so go with the color or pattern that makes you smile when you see it.
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