The Endless Selection of Wallet Alternatives for Men

January 04, 2017

The Endless Selection of Wallet Alternatives for Men

One of the first things we should define is what an wallet alternative is.  Honestly, anything beyond the traditional leather bifold or trifold could be considered alternative.  Those iconic wallet designs have stood the test of time, but have become tired, and with the continued advancement of payment technology, have opened the door for more designs and ways to carry what’s important than ever before.
Another reason wallet alternatives have grown in recent years, is because we’ve become more intelligent about what we should be carrying in our wallet.  As minimalism has taken hold, doing a wallet audit has left people with fewer and fewer “critical” items to carry. That’s good news for your pocket and opens up great opportunities for designs and options.

What Should You Carry in Your Wallet?

Talking about what are “critical” items.  Surveys have listed the following as must haves:
  • Driver’s License
  • 1-3 credit cards
  • Weekly used membership cards (try for no more than one)
  • Insurance card
  • Oyster or other access cards

A study showed that if you have a picture in your wallet, it’s more likely to be returned in the event you lose it, so a small picture of your family, included in your alternative wallet, wouldn’t hurt either. Everything else can be stored in your phone if necessary for reference or include on the given day when you’re at home. That leaves you with plenty of capable wallets due to the minimal contents to be carried.

Leather Wallet Alternative

Believe it or not there are plenty of alternative materials in addition to designs.  Some of the alternative materials being used include recycled vintage tie fabric, recycled fire-hosevegan wallets (made without any animal material), vinyl, and frankly, anything else you can imagine.  Doing an Internet search will provide a tremendous selection.


Even though we’re talking about physical wallets there’s an option to just go digital.  Similar to how digital books have revolutionized how we read and decide what we want to keep digital (one and done books), and those we want to keep physical (classics and emotionally connecting books), there are things we can keep digital versus physical in wallet alternative contents.  We can keep credit cards digital…but only to a degree.  With the advent of NFC readers we can use our mobile phones and wearables to make purchases.  But until all point-of-sale devices support this, physical cards will still be needed.

Okay, there’s really not a way to get rid of everything that requires a wallet alternative.  Let’s be honest, until government allows us to keep all our issued ID’s digitally we’ll always need something to carry them in, so let’s enjoy the simple pleasures of a wallet! — but in the mean time, why not go digital as much as possible by remove all the bulk from your wallet by keeping a picture of it for reference. 

Other Alternatives

In moving away from the traditional wallet there are other options that many people have creatively found to become their new go-to alternative wallet.  Card holders are a great example.  Traditionally used for business cards they are perfect for ID, credit cards and any other similar cards (are there other types?).  They generally come in minimalist footprint form and can be very customizable.  

Cigarette holders have a great life as unique wallet alternative.  With a hard shell, they’re great for protecting what you put in them and you can get a variety of engraved, metal-based versions as well as ornate leather covered options.  Maybe not as flat as you’d like it to be in your pocket, but very cool, hipster and retro to say the least.

Let’s not forget the traditional money clip.  Used for holding more than just money it can handle the half-dozen or so cards you’d carry in addition to any cash needs (sans coins), with an uber-minimal footprint.  Like the cigarette holder, there are many options to choose.
Finally, any do-it-yourself wallet works great if you roll that way.  Vinyl, paper, duct tape, comic book, Tyvek and about any other composite or fabric you can think of, the potential is only limited to your imagination.

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