One theme we like to keep coming back to in Cult of Carry is how our carry items change based on technological trends.

Similar to how every day carry backpacks evolved to always include a laptop compartment and why gym bags have a shoe compartment, the recent trend in minimalist, slim wallets is no different to the cultural trend of us needing to carry less because of the pervasiveness of the digital world.

10 years ago, slim wallets or cardholders weren’t a thing, as most wallets were designed to hold all of your cash, cards, coins, receipts, and other tidbits that you might carry with you.

It was more about all of the features and pockets you could fit in the inside of your wallet, whereas today, the focus is on putting those features on the outwards.

When carrying cash and receipts no longer becomes a necessity (almost the same with credit/debit cards with the rise of mobile payments), then it opens up a lot more real estate in your wallet for designers to create.

The slim wallets that we see coming out by product designers in recent years are pushing the envelope of minimal by minimizing the capacity while maximizing the usability.

From the ability to push a button (or webbing) to get easy access to a card, to phone stands, to the rise in non-traditional materials, there are many cool wallets for men and women that combine a minimalist wallet with features made for different lifestyles.

Slim fit for front pockets

Most minimalist wallets in 2019 are designed to be the size of a credit card or business card and are typically made in leather or aluminum.

Although you’ll occasionally find slim bifold wallets, many of the best minimalist wallets are card holders since they are simpler and strip away much of the bulk that a bifold or trifold wallet might have.

The best front pocket wallets prioritize ease of access and are designed around the cards that fit in the cardholder sleeves. A priority of certain things that you can get to faster than others.

One handed operations

Like many thin wallets for men or women, a key part of what makes a great minimalist or slim wallet is the ability to use them with one hand; perfect for when you’re on the go or if the other hand is occupied.

Many of these thin wallets will have a webbing strap or some sort of stretchy material so you can access one item. Because of this, it forces you to prioritize certain cards for easy access over others. This can be achieved via:

  • Card pockets on the exterior for quick one-handed access, typically through an elastic type webbing.
  • Some sort of perforation where you can put your thumb through a hole for easy access to your cards.
  • A mechanical type operation where you can actually push something, via an internal spring mechanism inside of the wallet.

Multi-Tools

While the capacity of things that we need to carry with us on a daily basis has gone down, it has also given rise to a new type of alternate features that are designed to fit a certain lifestyle and the way that you might carry your essentials.

Depending on your needs, you can find minimalist wallets made for your front pocket that have additional features like RFID blocking, wireless tracking, bottle openers, phone lens/stands, and more.

There’s now valuable real estate available in your pocket that was previously used before. We think that we’ll continue to see a trend in minimalist slim wallets and other carry items that bring in features that are not traditionally seen in a wallet, but are uniquely fit your lifestyle.

Materials

Full grain leather wallets are still the dominant material used in minimalist wallets today because of its rich history.

The unique wallet size though and it’s use as an item to be carried in your front pocket has seen a rise in material trends of a movement away from leather into other materials like woven fabrics and structured materials (wood, aluminum, carbo fiber, titanium, stainless steel).

Part of this rise lends itself to the everyday carry movement, which is geared towards tactical tools.

Another reason for the popularity of alternative materials could be how culture has evolved into being used to carrying structured things in our front pockets, like phones.

Closing thoughts

Following the trend of things becoming smaller and unpacked, there’s now valuable real estate available in your pocket for minimalist and slim wallets that was previously unavailable.

Cool wallets for men and women with multitool features built in while still keeping with a minimalist and slim profile will continue to grow in popularity as our digital footprint gets larger.

But just because something is available doesn’t mean you should go out and do it. While there are certainly thoughtfully designed use cases around slim wallets, finding the right balance between usefulness, aesthetic, and innovativeness will be the true test.

The battle for your pocket has begun.

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