Wallets are an exceedingly interesting piece of gear. And the reason is several-fold. For starters, versions of them have existed for just about exactly as long as currency has – literally thousands of years – as people have always needed a means by which to carry their money. Secondly, their iterations are about as wide-ranging in shape, size, and appearance as currency itself, which is likely a result of differences in cultures, needs, and even individual preferences. Lastly, they have never been (and perhaps will never be) perfected.
The likelihood that no perfect wallet will ever be built has not stopped people from trying, however. In fact, we recently got our hands on what could arguably be called one of the better contenders for that unique throne (at least in regards to everyday carry): The Ridge minimalist wallet. And while it seems like a herculean task in and of itself to say we can determine whether or not it’s the ultimate wallet, we’ve done our best to breakdown all of the specs, benefits, drawbacks, and our opinion on this hardly traditional piece of everyday carry gear in the following review.
Slim & Trim
Perfect For Front Pockets
By just glancing at the admittedly sleek and well-designed branded packaging, the wallet looks like its going to be a bit on the larger side of the spectrum. Thankfully, however, this is not the case. With a lift of the lid, it’s revealed that the Ridge wallet itself actually takes up very little space in its box. Rather, a large portion inside is dedicated to housing the wallet’s included two-piece Torx driver – an inclusion we’ll return to later. Upon extracting the Ridge from the padded container, you’ll notice that its silhouette is only slightly larger than the size of a credit card (and its profile isn’t much wider, either). Also, it comes already loaded with a single credit card-sized plastic insert, emblazoned This cash and card carrier offers exactly the kind of heft, format, and appearance befitting an excellent minimalist wallet.with a list of simple instructions as to how the wallet functions – a thoughtful and helpful addition. It’s also shockingly lightweight for something made mostly of metal (aluminum, in this case).
All in all, our first impressions are good. This cash and card carrier offers exactly the kind of heft, format, and appearance befitting an excellent minimalist wallet – and then some. If we had to gripe, however, it is worth noting that the finish is especially susceptible to fingerprints. Although, they are as easy to clean off as giving the wallet a quick swipe with a piece of cloth. Still, for a wallet that is otherwise unique enough to be attention-grabbing upon removing it from your pocket, it’s an unfortunate drawback. That being said, it’s a small issue in the grand scheme of a piece of gear that seemingly gets every other point right.
Tough Without The Tactical
It’s important to note that the aluminum version of the Ridge wallet is the entry-level original offering. It also comes in high-grade titanium, polycarbonate (the same stuff used in bulletproof glass), and carbon fiber options. Though – for our review – we’ve stayed strictly with the aluminum. We should make something abundantly clear: ‘entry-level’ does not mean ‘cheap’ by any stretch, as evidenced by the fact that we did our best to try and bend the Ridge out of shape, but to no avail. We’re glad to know how securely built the Ridge actually is.It held securely and showed no signs of strain – which is of huge benefit to anyone who doesn’t want to have to worry about the state of their wallet at any given moment.
This wallet’s unique construction also offers another benefit unheard of with traditional leather bifolds, trifolds, or even card carriers: it can be taken apart for maintenance. You see, the wallet is held together by a series of Torx screws, which is exactly why the Torx driver was included in the packaging. Should the wallet construction ever fail (though we’re not sure how) or should you need to replace the money clip or cash strap (you can choose one of the two when making your purchase and pick up replacement parts from Ridge), all you have to do is grab that driver, take the wallet apart, replace the necessary bits, and put the whole thing back together again. And while unscrewing and re-screwing the parts is certainly a bit tedious, we’re glad to know how securely built the Ridge actually is. Though its looks are sleek and modern, the careful attention to detail in regards to materials and the method by which it is constructed leave us feeling confident in carrying it around every day.
Room Enough For All
As is the case with any “minimalist” gear offering, we wanted to make sure the Ridge wallet actually had enough room for all of the cards and cash we’d be carrying around on any given day. So, we loaded it up with what we believe is a more than generous number of credit cards: eight. And we were shocked both by how easy it was to fit that many cards. They also stayed securely within the wallet without bulging or sliding out. Furthermore, the cards were simple to extract, thanks to the finger slot on the upper back spine of the cash and card carrier. All you have to do is grip the wallet between your fingers and give the cards a push. It can even be done one-handed fairly simply. That’s the trade off: the cash strap is slimmer, but the money clip is more secure.It is unfortunate, though, that picking out a single individual card requires you to thumb through each piece of plastic you’ve stuck inside the wallet. Still, that’s the price you pay for keeping things slim and simple. Of course, most people will likely stick to the top two cards most of the time.
Then, there’s the question of whether you’d prefer a cash strap or money clip adorning the outside of your Ridge wallet. Luckily, we got our hands on both. The cash strap is quite nice for its elasticity and, by extension, an expandable capacity and the addition of small grippy bumps on the underside adds a bit of security to the thing. We did find, though, that the cash can still slide a bit and will potentially begin to come loose as time goes on. Thankfully, as we mentioned, it can be replaced when it gets worn and stretched out. The money clip is notably more secure, but is also a little stiff and juts out from the wallet – which worries us about getting it either caught on our favorite jeans or that it might eventually wear through the fabric of our pants. But, that’s the trade off: the cash strap is slimmer, and the money clip is more secure – you’ll have to choose which is more important to you.
Get To The Skinny of It
While it would be arrogant and presumptuous to call the Ridge Wallet the ultimate wallet, we are certainly surprised at how close it comes, thanks to its sound construction, ability to be repaired, and hearty capacity. All told, the specifications claim that the wallet can hold up to 12 cards and some cash, though we have trouble believing that any reasonable person would need to carry that much around in any given day. Still, the option remains and is a huge boon for such an impressively slim and pared-down carry option. Our biggest complaints are that the finish does have a tendency to smudge and the card-deployment system doesn’t allow for specific cards to be extracted – but those are hardly worth noting when compared to all of the things that the Ridge Wallet does right. It’s handsome, tough, capacious, and might actually be the closest to perfection that wallets are ever going to get.
© Photography by HiConsumption
Best Minimalist Wallets
Still want to thumb through a few more options before you make a decision? Well, then you’ll probably want to check out our collection of the best minimalist wallets.