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Have you ever hopped in your car and felt like your seat was suddenly very lopsided? It’s probably because your giant wallet has been smashing down one side for years, and the first time you get in wearing gym shorts you realize one side of you is sitting about an inch low. That’s not the only problem. While your utilities might accommodate large wallets just fine, service and dress uniforms frankly look like trash with a big, fat rectangle protruding from your backside. The same goes for the jeans you wear on the weekend. Let’s be honest with each other: none of us make so much money that our pocket cash needs to be visible from the outside of our pants. 

A minimalist wallet can eliminate unnecessary material to leave your pockets more streamlined, comfortable, and fashionable. You’ll still have room for your CAC (please don’t call it a CAC card), driver’s license, credit cards, and a little bit of cash.

Credit to this Fossil minimalist wallet for shedding weight and still looking just as good as any traditional wallet. Opting for this card case will get you the craftsmanship and quality materials you expect from Fossil. Real leather forms the durable exterior and cotton twill lines card dividers for a secure fit and easy access. The transparent ID window is a nice touch many minimalist wallets don’t offer. In addition to that, you’ll get slots for two credit cards and a pair of pockets for cash or receipts. You can fit several credit cards in the money pouches, but we recommend keeping this wallet light to take advantage of its best characteristics. The whole wallet measures four inches wide, 2.75 inches high, and only 0.25 inches thick. It’s our pick for something that’s equal parts stylish and functional.

You know Magpul isn’t going to mess around with products that can’t take a beating, and their Daka wallet is no exception. This is the lightest wallet in their collection and it’s one we recommend taking on every field exercise, range day, or deployment. In those situations, you don’t need a stack of credit cards and rewards cards; you just need your CAC, one credit card or debit card, and maybe some laminated custody cards for serialized gear. This wallet makes room for those items and not much else. The result is a super slim shape that could even slip into a breast pocket under your body armor without discomfort. The reinforced polymer fabric used to build this wallet keeps everything in place with a non-slip texture and sheds water for added protection. Use it in the field or as a discrete travel companion that keeps your money out of sight.

Some of you might not want to jump straight into a minimalist wallet, but you can still ditch the chunky wallet you’re carrying now by switching to a slim wallet from Zitahli. This wallet folds open like you’d expect it to. It has a clear window for your ID and a slot for your most-used card on the outside. It has the usual card holders inside. However; unlike what you’re probably carrying now, it replaces the oversized cash pocket with a slim metal clip that holds folded bills neatly inside. A pull-strap reveals more card storage tucked inside–a great way to keep a few cards out of sight. Fill it up, and you’ll be able to carry 12 cards including your ID. Leave some space vacant, and you’ll have a slim wallet that’s almost as thin as the minimalist options on this list.

All-leather construction makes this Buffway slim wallet a stylish alternative to your bulky traditional wallet. It also fits more than many minimalist wallets, so it strikes a convenient balance between the alternatives and old-fashioned wallets. Eight slots are included to organize all your credit cards, membership cards, and cash. That includes a clear window that’s great for keeping your CAC ready every time you come through the front gate. Card dividers even feature thumb cutouts so you can slide them out easily–that’s a nice touch. Fully loaded, this wallet still measures less than half an inch thick. Choose from several types of leather and 12 different colors to match your personal style.

If you want a minimalist wallet with a more casual twist, the Herschel Charlie is for you. This thin, lightweight wallet is made out of polyester. That makes it durable but inexpensive. If you tend to be hard on your belongings or plan on taking your wallet along for outdoor activities, this might be a great way to avoid damaging and having to replace an expensive leather wallet. That being said, there is a leather version of this wallet if that’s something you prefer. This slim card holder has room for four credit cards or ID cards and a center slot for cash. You can pack in more if you have to, just don’t get carried away. Take your pick from 13 colors to find just what you’re looking for, or grab a few for different occasions.

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Types of minimalist wallets

  • Slim wallets: Slim wallets take traditional wallet design and reduce weight and bulk by removing layers and taking advantage of thinner materials. You’ll still get the fold-open design you’re used to, just in a more manageable size. Expect to get a large pocket for cash, several dividers for credit cards, and a place for your ID.
  • Truly minimalist wallets: Real minimalist wallets forego conventional design and ditch the bulky exterior. What they’re left with is a single layer that can hold several cards and a few folded bills. They often use thinner materials like lightweight leather, textiles, or even aluminum and carbon fiber. They hold everything in place just as well as your old wallet, but they need a lot less space in your pocket to do so.
  • Money clips: Money clips are the simplest and thinnest way to keep track of your cards and cash. No pockets, no dividers, just a firm grip to hold a stack of necessities together. Some leave your items exposed, but others act as a pair of bookends that tightly sandwich your ID, credit cards, and spending money to offer a little more protection. This is a great way to go if you don’t mind digging through a stack of cards to find the one you need. 

Key Features of minimalist wallets

  • Size: As the name implies, minimalist wallets are significantly more compact than traditional wallets. By saving space, they shed weight and create a slimmer package that slips into your pocket easier and isn’t as uncomfortable to sit on. Very few minimalist wallets fold open, so expect them to be a little bit larger than a credit card.
  • Storage: Thanks to efficient use of space, many minimalist wallets can carry just as much as a larger, conventional wallet. We found options with dividers for multiple cards, clear windows for your ID, and clips for holding folded cash. Options like this mean you can get a smaller wallet without deciding which rewards card to leave at home.
  • Protection: Even though they might not offer wrap-around protection like a normal wallet, minimalist wallets still offer a fair amount of protection. Waterproof materials can protect against rain and spills. Rigid frames can prevent cards from folding and cracking. Being hacked by a remote skimmer isn’t really a threat we’re worried about, but RFID wallets can protect against that, too.

Benefits of minimalist wallets

For starters, you’re freeing up space in your pockets and looking better for it. Most of the bulk you’re carrying around isn’t actually cards or cash, it’s thick leather separating your wallet’s contents. Minimalist wallets cut out unneeded layers to leave you light in the pocket without spending a fortune. After all, there’s nothing fashionable about having a money bomb of a wallet in your back pocket. Do you even know what’s in that wallet of yours? Ditch the old library card, sort through those punch cards for restaurants at your last duty station, and upgrade to a wallet that carries the essentials without making a scene in your back pocket. Durable materials allow minimalist wallets to be just as rugged as you need without being bulky. If leather isn’t your thing, try a heavy-duty textile option. If you want something stronger, look for aluminum or even carbon fiber wallets. We’re willing to bet that most of these wallets will outlast all of us.

Minimalist wallet pricing

For less than $20, you can get a quality minimalist wallet that does everything you need it to. Just be prepared to pass on one or two features. High-end minimalist wallets that cost more than $20 can do everything a normal wallet can, but with more efficient use of space. Expect stylish designs and quality materials.

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