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Upgrade your wallet: Better ways to keep your cash and cards safe

A wallet is one of those essentials that you have to have to function in daily life, but one that you probably don’t want to waste time thinking about or spending a lot of money on. It’s kind of like buying socks: practical and completely necessary, but not nearly as fun as buying new shoes or a new jacket. We know the feeling well, but having a wallet that suits your lifestyle can make daily transactions that much easier. Some people carry every business card they’ve ever received in their wallet along with cards, cash, and receipts, while others prefer to function with their license and credit cards alone. We’ve taken a look at every possible wallet style and selected our favorite picks for different people and functions. 

Classic & Rugged 

These three wallets are made for those who like to keep things classic and not mess around with any trends. Trends come and go, but a great-looking leather wallet can last you for years, or even decades.

For the ultimate in long-lasting leather simplicity, we like the Saddleback Medium Bifold Wallet (left, $45), which is crafted with 100% full-grain leather and stitched together with industrial marine-grade thread. As the company’s website clearly notes, this wallet is ‘unfancy’ but will hold your cards, cash, and comes with a 100-year warranty.

For those who like to keep things simple and want something with a sleek, upscale look, the Valextra Leather Cardholder (middle, $165) is a perfect match. This simple black grosgrain leather cardholder is a slim-down on the traditional wallet, but will hold cards (in six slots) and a few paper bills in style.

If you like the idea of a slim wallet but prefer something with a classic feel, the Kenton Sorenson Modern Man Front Pocket Wallet (right, $90) will fit the bill, no pun intended. Crafted from full-grain vegetable-tanned cattle hide, this slimline wallet (two card slots and cash in the middle) will stand the test of time and build a golden brown patina with use. 

For iPhone

If you have an iPhone, which is probably a fair number of you, chances are that you carry it around and use it just as much (if not more) as your wallet. Smartphones are now just as common in a purse or back pocket as paper bills or chapstick, so it makes sense that you might want something that would allow you to grab your phone and your wallet in one fell swoop. Luckily for us, plenty of manufacturers and designers have had the same thought. 

Our first pick is the ultimate hybrid of wallet and phone. The CaseMate ID Credit Card Case (left, $35) puts the priority on phone instead of wallet, but is perfect for those who constantly have their iPhone handy and only want to carry a few wallet items like a driver’s license and a credit card or two. The hard plastic shell and snap-on design protect your iPhone 4, but leave just enough room for your essentials. This case also comes in a rainbow of different colors to suit your mood. 

For something a little more classic with a humorist twist, we like the TwelveSouth BookBook for iPhone (middle, $60), which looks like a vintage leather-bound book from the outside but functions as a full-featured iPhone wallet inside, while also giving you full access to your phone and all vital ports. The iPhone-sized wallet has a clear ID slot and can hold about four credit cards, along with cash and receipts in the vertical pocket. 

For a hybrid wallet-case that has pouch styling and a cozy feel, check out the Pack & Smooch Leicester Case (right, $54). This case and wallet combo is made from pure vegetable-tanned leather on the front side and soft Merino wool felt on the backside. The wool felt protects your iPhone from bumps and scratches, and the front pocket has room for cards and cash. 

Sporty

If you’re someone who likes to keep things sporty with tough materials and bright colors, we’ve chosen a few good options for you. These choices are perfect for people who lead a laid-back life and never worry too much about dressing up or which suit to wear to a meeting. 

Our first pick is a little bit different than a traditional bifold wallet, opening with a small tab and fully sealing your wallet contents into a small case made from soft, flexible polymer material. The Pockitt (left, $25) was also designed to be RFID-friendly, meaning that you can use Smart Cards (like a metro or transit card) without removing them from your wallet. 

If you’re a fan of the simplest black  nylon wallet out there, but want to upgrade to something a little more adult, we have our eyes on the Ragged Edge Carbon Fiber Bifold Wallet (middle, $50). This sturdy wallet is made from woven Carbon Fiber, which is stronger than steel but is lightweight. This wallet has all your basics covered, including card slots, a cash pocket, and a marine-grade clear ID slot that won’t crack or discolor. This wallet will withstand even the roughest treatment. 

The Dosh Classic Wallet (right, $45) is similarly tough and made from flexible polymers that help it mold to your body when you’re moving and keep it waterproof. It has room for cards, bills, and an integrated compartment for coins or keys. All the materials used are recyclable and the wallet comes in plenty of sporty color combinations.