When does a wallet become more than just a wallet? Well, it’s pretty simple. A wallet becomes a crucial essential, and not just an afterthought you grab as you dash out the door, when it’s so well-made that you simply can’t help but remember it. Metal wallets fit nicely into the middle of a sort of Venn diagram of your everyday carry, one that values both form and function. And when you’ve got a rugged and durable metal wallet in your possession, that’s when the simple cash-carrying device becomes a crucial essential.
Companies and designers have long been in the business of making your life easier and simpler, as well as stylish, but things have really ramped up in recent years. Take other components of your everyday carry, for instance: It’s no longer enough for you watch to tell time. It’s got to monitor your health, your every step, your messaging and plenty more in one concise package. The same can be said for your efficient stretch denim, or leather boots that are increasingly adaptable to the contours of your foot.
A metal wallet acts in much the same way for your daily carry. The best metal wallets on the market go the extra mile in terms of sleek design, a low profile and the proper technology and functionality. Your boots used to just be average, your denim used to be made only of cotton rather than performance materials, and your wallet was perhaps a chunky, receipt-filled nightmare.
Now, each of those crucial parts of your everyday carry and your daily wardrobe are getting a big-time lift, which is great news for you and discerning customers everywhere. It’s all about looking for upgrades wherever you can in your daily life, including the small details like your wallet. This is certainly the case in plenty of different scenarios, but think of all those times when you want to make a solid first impression.
Heck, ever been on a date and gone to pay, and then had to fish through an oversized wallet to do so? A common problem (we’ve all been there), but the best metal wallets solve that issue handily. That’s really only the start of a whole laundry list of improvements a tough metal wallet can help with when it comes to your daily haul.
The right metal wallet is, of course, hard-wearing and lasts longer than a leather wallet. To be sure, some heirloom leather wallets will last for years, but if you’ve been skimping on a leather wallet that’s cheaply made, it’ll fall apart well before a metal wallet even gives way an imperceptible amount.
The metal wallet that’s right for you will also streamline your look and your style. After all, slim jeans and, say, slick combat boots just don’t look quite right if you’ve got an overly bulky front-pocket wallet. Plus, a metal wallet also slides easily into the front pocket of your flannel overshirt or moto jacket, to name but two staples you should be layering up with when the weather starts to turn.
This style of wallet is certainly made for more uses than a leather wallet (ever encountered a downpour at a music festival while carrying around a leather wallet, for instance?). A metal wallet can withstand drops and dings all the more easily. While we wouldn’t recommend submerging your metal wallet on a dive, for instance, most should resist corrosion, if you step up to the plate and buy the right one.
Plus, a metal wallet is easier to carry around in, say, the interior pocket of your blazer, for instance. It also slides into the chest pocket of your field coat (and that flannel overshirt we mentioned). Anywhere you go, this style of wallet can go, too. You should also feel comfortable streamlining a metal wallet with just the essentials, as in, the cards you use the absolute most. It’s a tall order for some, but once you try out a metal wallet, you might never go back.
A metal wallet is also nicely suited to the fashion trends of today, which don’t often leave space for bulky add-ons.
And here’s the thing about the fine art of finding a metal wallet: You’ll be able to use it every day, season after season, so even if you invest a bit more cash up front, it’ll assuredly pay off. How else to know if you’ve found the right metal wallet? Allow us to offer up a few pointers here.
How to Choose the Best Metal Wallet on the Market
- Find one to suit your needs: Companies that specialize in minimal everyday carry gear seem to have thought of everything when designing products that fit every possible need or circumstance. For example: There are metal wallets out there that have space for cards as well as cash, but there are also metal wallets that dial things down to only a handful of cards (or even act as an attachment on a phone case). If you like to have cash on hand for emergencies, consider a metal wallet with enough space to help you out.
- Be prepared to spend (but not too much): Metal wallets seem to fall right in the sweet spot as far as the overall cost of your daily carry is concerned. Some leather wallets from heritage brands — a solid purchase, but sometimes too bulky — can run you nearly $100 or more. That’s all well and good if you have enough room in your field jacket or work pants, for instance, but sometimes, the modern man on the go has to, well, stay on the go. That’s where a metal wallet comes into play, and plenty will run you around $50 or so. That’s not a bad deal for a highly effective everyday carry essential.
- Don’t be afraid to go futuristic: The best metal wallets offer the sort of hidden tech features once only found in sci-fi movies. For instance, metal wallets can go where your typical leather wallet might not be able to go, tech-wise. Take RFID-skimming technology, the kind used to steal credit card info wirelessly. Metal wallets often block these sorts of devices, which are all too common these days. That’s piece of mind and highly effective style and functionality, built right into a subtly stylish, useful package.
There’s a laundry list of benefits to metal wallets, but the best ones fit the above criteria. With that in mind, here are the metal wallets you should be shopping this very instant.
The Best Metal Wallets for Men to Buy Now
The Ridge Half Dome Topographic Metal Wallet
What’s not to love about this metal wallet? It’s got plenty going for it if you value the great outdoors and adding some personal character to your daily haul (and really, isn’t that what it’s all about?). The Ridge Half Dome Topographic Metal Wallet blends a “topographic design mapping out the summit of Half Dome” with the kind of production that can take a beat (as The Ridge says, this wallet features “lightweight aluminum plates with a laser engraved design”). It’s sleek, it’s well-designed, it’s innovative and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Sounds great to us.
Nimalist Premium Steel Wallet
When shopping for a wallet, you remember the three keys to keep in mind, yes? Well, this Nimalist wallet manages to check off all of those boxes, and then some (and more beyond that). Let’s start with the remarkable design and construction of one of the best metal wallets we’ve seen, shall we? High-durability steel features that critical RFID-blocking technology we mentioned, while it’s also got space for up to 16 cards and 20 bills. It’s like nothing we’ve yet seen, and Nimalist calls it “a reimagination of what the modern wallet can be.”
Trayvax Original 2.0 Wallet
The best metal wallets, if you recall, hit the sweet spot between affordability, durability and blowing out your budget. Thankfully, Trayvax metal wallets are affordable and durable, yet not cost-prohibitive in the slightest. The Original 2.0 Wallet is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, and is made in the USA with a simply astonishing 65-year warranty. Take your pick from five colorways for under $40.
Ekster Aluminum Cardholder
Some metal wallets, like Nimalist, take things a step further and use steel, but brands like Ekster also do a fine job at making tough-as-nails aluminum wallets. Both are worthy of your consideration when it comes to the best metal wallets, especially with the simple, utilitarian design used by Ekster. The brand notes that the push of a button “fans out your cards at the click of a button,” giving you standout carrying capacity without the bulk of your old leather wallet.
Fantom Wallet Aluminum Minimalist Wallet
It seems that Fantom has come up with the perfect name for its barely-there wallets, which is a great thing if you value sleek, uncomplicated carrying solutions for only your most essential credit cards. Select from options that give you the ability to carry up to 13 cards, then customize it even further with a money clip and a wide array of richly crafted color options. A wallet that’s personalized to you for not a heck of a lot of dough? That’s the way to go in the world of metal wallets.