As online payments gain traction, our reliance on cash and credits has diminished. Yet, I firmly believe that all different types of wallets remain as indispensable as ever. Here's why:
- Apple and Google Pay fail occasionally, like all tech solutions, so it’s wise to carry some cash and a credit card, just in case.
- A wallet is still the best way to carry your license, club memberships, discount and business cards, rather than a money clip.
- A wallet is not only a utility item; it’s a statement of your personal style.
So, which type of wallet is best for your needs?
Wallets have evolved in shape and size, meaning that there's a perfect fit for every pocket.
Considering the various types of wallets available, I’m sure we can find your ideal wallet among the following four popular wallet types.
table of contents
There are 4 main types of wallets:
- Bifold Billfold Wallet, sometimes called a Traditional Wallet
- Trifold Billfold Wallet, sometimes just referred to as a Trifold
- ID Leather Wallet, sometimes referred to as a Minimalist Wallet
- Long Leather Wallet, sometimes called a Biker Wallet
A money clip is not a full wallet, so we haven't included it in this particular summary.
Each wallet type has a different set of features. Very important! Understand the features as that's how how you choose between them, and find your best fit.
So, we're going to start by first thinking through the different features, and how they relate to your everyday life.
Features of Wallets: Explained
From the traditional bifold wallet that promises easy cash access, and a few card slots to the long leather wallet that can cater for 10+ cards and includes a chain, each wallet type offers a different set of features, ensuring you can organise your life and essentials with happiness and ease.
In my mind, wallets are more than just everyday accessories; they are functional tools that need to cater to my needs and preferences. As such, I like to think carefully before I make a purchase.
So, let's take a look at the feature set in each wallet, and how it can help you manage your cash and cards.
Black is a classic colour that looks just as good on the table at a fancy restaurant, or on a picnic rug in the garden.
As you can easily imagine, this is our most popular color. As a patina develops it isn't as obvious in the lighter browns, but this might make it feel ‘newer’ for longer.
English Tan sits in between Heritage Brown and Natural leather colors.
It has a caramel color, with mottled fire points and patches of deeper browns.
This color just gets better as it ages. The patina can be quite stunning, especially if you take care of it with a leather balm.
Heritage Brown has a richer, chocolate, warmer tone that blends beautifully with natural colours, rather than the starkness of black.
It's a good color choice if you'd like something that has traditional tones, but looks different to everyone else with their black wallet.
And then there's Natural: It sits at the end of the leather color spectrum, and is a popular choice especially if you're buying a gift.
The Natural color feels more modern and neutral. It has a ‘flatter’ aesthetic that people appreciate.
In the realm of premium leather, when it comes to quality leather, full-grain and top-grain are the best choice for wallets, and far better than the so-called “genuine” leather touted online.
A wallet crafted from full-grain leather promises durability, resisting tears, developing a gorgeous patina and retain its form for years on end.
Either way, at Popov Leather, we value a good, ol' fashioned patina, regardless of colour.
And, that's what you'll end up with after years of loving care, if you buy a full-grain leather wallet.
Even though this feature doesn't affect the way you use your cards and cash, it affects how you feel about this everyday carry item.
If you have multiple bank accounts, memberships, discount cards or frequently use loyalty cards, then you'll need to buy a wallet that has higher card-carrying capacity.
Count how many cards you regularly carry, and then consider catering for two more slots, just in case. If you're like me, you will have forgotten a medical card or similar.
For this purpose, consider the Long Wallet. It comes with a sturdy biker chain so you'll never worry about it slipping out of your pocket, without permission!
Do you often carry more than $100 in cash, resulting in many smaller denomination bills filling your wallet?
You'll need a billfold to take the weight of all that money.
Choose between bifold or trifold, depending on whether you prefer a smaller surface area in your pocket, and also depending on whether you need to hold international currency (trifold is a better option).
Metal chains are more durable than plastic, and provide a better safety aspect. They also look cool!
If you have motor coordination difficulties in terms of not being able to reliably reach into your pocket every time, it can be easier to grab a chain as it usually sits outside your pocket.
Something to keep in mind if you're buying a wallet as a gift for an older person, or someone with coordination difficulties.
Has ID Window
Do you need to show ID often? Passing security checks, or taking public transport?
Our trifold wallet includes an ID slot that fits your ID or a family photo.
The clear panel makes it easy to read fine print and details.
Has Money Clip
With a money clip, you won't need an extra layer of leather to create a pocket for cash.
Instead, a clip, usually metal, will hold your cash in place.
Plastic tends to become brittle with age, especially exposed to humidity and warmth from your body, so metal is best.
Well, now that you have a good understanding of the features available in different types of wallets, it's time to jump into more detail about each type. Let's go …
1 - The Traditional Bifold Leather Wallet
The traditional leather wallet has stood the test of time since we started using wallets to carry our first paper currencies. The reason is its versatile design that adapts to different needs.
This billfold hits the middle-ground between moderate size and sufficient space for money and cards.
It’s the go-to choice if you combine tangible and digital means of payment in your daily life, and you want to store other essentials, such as your driver’s license.
Its classic bifold configuration comes with one generous pocket on the inside for bills and several slots for cards and IDs.
Our Popov Leather Traditional Wallet has six card slots so you can fit up to 12 cards, and comes with enough room for your bills and important notes.
It’s made of beautiful full-grain leather, making it so durable that you can pass your wallet down to your son or nephew as a family heirloom.
"The wallet looks, feels, and smells amazing. I love the red stitching, which reminds me of a baseball, and the full-grain leather reminds me of a great old baseball mitt. You can feel the quality when you hold it in your hand. I had it engraved with just my last name. I will give it to my son someday."
The secret to the traditional wallet is its versatility:
- It balances a convenient size that fits most pockets with enough room for all your essential items.
- This wallet works great if you still rely on physical payment or if you only require a couple of cards and bills for backup.
- Its straightforward design helps you unfold it quickly, take what you need, and fold it back.
2 - The Spacious Trifold Leather Wallet
The trifold leather wallet, also called a billfold wallet, became popular with the widespread use of credit cards in the 60s and 70s.
Many people started collecting cards and the room in bifold designs wasn't enough for them.
This wallet is an excellent choice for men who rely heavily on credit cards and cash, and like to carry several membership cards, business cards, or even family pictures.
Heck, if you simply want to store a lot of stuff in your wallet, this option will work for you.
Popov Leather's Trifold Wallet has four slots that can store eight credit cards and an ID window for up to two identifications.
It’s 9.8" wide, so you can easily carry a sizable stack of bills of any currency, as well as receipts and notes.
"The design and durability of this piece are first class. It carries all my cards easily and has plenty of room for my bills and folded documents. The high quality of this product was 'given away' the moment I opened it and smelled the unique scent of real leather. It is the best!!!"
The trifold leather wallet has specific advantages:
- Its ample space gives you more freedom to decide what to carry.
- Because it folds twice, this wallet packs its contents tighter and more securely.
- Its heftiness makes a strong statement when you take it out.
Expert Tip: Protect your credit cards from cloning with our RFID Blocking Card.
3 - The Minimalist ID Leather Wallet
With the arrival of online payment, minimalist designs, like the ID Leather Wallet, have become much more popular.
They appeal to men who’ve embraced digital payment but still need an ID, a credit card, and perhaps a little cash, just in case.
Also, they can be used on special occasions when you want to pack light; for example, when you're having a night out.
There are many variations of minimalist wallets, but they all include one to three slots for cards and a few folded bills.
Popov Leather's ID Wallet sports a convenient outer window that lets you show your ID just by taking out the wallet.
It also has a slot in the middle where you can put folded bills or additional cards, and it's only 4.1" wide.
"This is my first high-quality wallet. I love the design and the craftsmanship. Very functional and yet sleek. It is exactly what I was looking for in a slim wallet to store my cards and a couple of bucks. Thank you, Popov Leather!"
The ID Wallet has a unique minimalist design that comes with its benefits:
- Its window on the outside is perfect for men who need to show their IDs often (i.e. frequent travelers or guys with active nightlives).
- The wallet fits comfortably in your front or back pocket, even if you wear slim jeans or trousers.
- It is a compact and efficient way to express your sense of style and keep your essentials with you.
4 - The Distinctive Long Leather Wallet
Business executives are in love with long wallets because they fit in their jacket's breast pockets. Few things have more allure than taking out a long leather wallet from the breast pocket of your fancy coat or blazer.
Long wallets first became popular among bikers who carried lots of cash for tolls and on-the-road purchases (imagine trying to pack thirty folded bills in a bifold or trifold wallet).
The standard design included a chain that motorcyclists attached to their belts so their wallets wouldn't fall off while they were traveling.
This type of wallet is a blend of sophistication and ample space. It can store more cards and cash than a trifold without getting bulky, and its hallmark shape is a testament to elegance.
Popov Leather's Long Wallet takes these qualities to new heights. The signature design has eight slots to store up to 16 credit cards or IDs and two inside pockets where you can carry unfolded bills, concert tickets, or even a checkbook.
True to its legacy, this long leather wallet comes with a detachable 12" solid brass chain with a leather belt loop and a snap button enclosure to keep your items stored securely inside.
"Just the feel, the smell, the quality of the leather, and the workmanship make this an outstanding wallet. It's tall, but not much taller than a full-size iPhone, so carrying it is much less of a problem than I expected."
The long wallet provides functionality and class and adapts to different scenarios:
- This is one of the most spacious wallets. You can store many items and not worry about running out of room.
- Its elegant design makes it perfect for fashionable men who frequently use blazers, coats, jackets, or suits.
- For everyday use and traveling, you can use the chain to wear it safely with jeans or to attach it to a backpack.
Quality Leather Wallets for Your Way of Life
Wallets have kept pace with modern life's changes and remain staples of convenience and style.
The wallet for you is the one that suits your lifestyle. The following table compares four types of wallets I discussed above and their advantages.
|Traditional Wallet||4.3" x 3.3" x 0.5" (folded)||
|Trifold Wallet||3.45" (9.8" - unfolded) x 4.25" x 0.75"||
|ID Wallet||4.1" x 3.3" x 0.3"||
|Long Wallet||7.5" x 3.5" x 0.5" (folded)||
I hope you've found your ideal wallet among these options.
You can explore my entire selection of leather wallets if you're still undecided.
Whichever wallet you choose, remember that quality is as important as design. If you invest in a premium wallet, you’ll acquire a timeless piece that will stay with you for the rest of your life and even become an heirloom your family will cherish for generations.
With Popov Leather, I take pride in knowing the value of agelessness in these times of fads.
I create each of my wallets with a lifetime guarantee, using only full-grain Horween leather manufactured in the US and thick Tiger thread, regarded as the most resistant in the world.
You’ll see your wallet gracefully age alongside you and develop a lovely patina while retaining its strength and durability.
Author's Note: I've updated this article on Sunday 24 September 2023 to include more information about the features of a wallet. If you don't know what the features are, then how can you pick the best version for you? I've also added in new product details, updated pricing and colors, and removed old products that have been discontinued. Get in touch via the comments if you have questions. Happy to offer answers.
Written by Ryan Popoff
Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Reach out with questions.