For some time now, men and women worldwide have grown somewhat weary of carrying around bulky wallets. Men, in particular, have discovered that hauling around a large bulge on one side of your front pocket pants doesn’t exactly have the desired effect that they would want, especially when that shape is square or rectangular.
Enter the mighty minimalist wallet. Increasingly popular, and with a constantly growing selection to choose from, you can now do the proper business of downsizing your pocket bulge. Taking up less space and getting you to consider what cards to carry around with you at all times, companies like The Ridge have mastered the art of making a beautiful, well-made, sturdy, and sexy minimalist wallet. I’ve written elsewhere about the best metal wallets for men and women, and The Ridge Wallet was high up on that list. Its appearance on the list was precipitated by the fact that I’ve now been using this as my EDC wallet for over three months. And in that time, I’ve grown quite fond of it.
While I didn’t put this wallet through any fake durability tests or try to do something you normally wouldn’t do, I’ve put it through its paces. With multiple accidental drops on various surfaces, what must be hundreds of opens and closings, and many hours spent in my pocket shorts and pants, I can confidently say that I’ve had enough experience with this metal wallet. Here’s my formed and educated opinion on it, and whether it’s worth your money.
But before we get to the good, the bad, and the ugly of this wallet, let’s quickly review where The Ridge Wallet started. Originating as a wildly successful Kickstarter project that raised over $200,000 in 2013, The Ridge Wallet remains the company’s flagship product. Since then, the company has sold well over half a million wallets, which has allowed them to expand into other EDC product categories. Their offering now includes pocket knives, key chains, backpacks, phone cases, and mobile power banks. Founded by a father and son team, the Ridge is evidently a company dedicated to the minimalist product aesthetic.
The Ridge Wallet
So let’s talk about what you’ll get in the box. First, understand that there are two primary choices you’ll have to make when purchasing this wallet. First, you’ll have to pick between getting a Cash clip version or a cash strap version. For this review’s purpose, we’ll be talking about the Cash clip version as that’s the wallet that I’ve been hands-on with for the past three months.
Second, you’ll then have to choose between material and colour options. While this has changed over time and will undoubtedly continue to change as the company experiments with various options, at the time of this writing, here are your options:
- Carbon Fiber
Colour & Graphic Options (only available on the Aluminum version):
- Woodland Camo
- Matte Black
- Forged Carbon
- Raw Silver
- Matte Olive
- Desert Tan
- Rose Gold
As you can see, there’s no shortage of choices to personalize this fine metal wallet to suit your tastes and aesthetic preferences.
What You Get
Upon opening the sleek and itself minimalist box, you’ll be greeted by The Ridge wallet and a few other items. The info card is unsurprising, but then comes the Pentalobe screwdriver. Wait, why do you need a screwdriver for a wallet? Well, young EDC Padawan, metal wallets aren’t like your traditional wallets, sometimes they need a bit of tinkering. And while The Ridge is ready to go right out of the box, the included screwdriver, which itself is somewhat nice, will ensure that you’ll likely own this wallet for a very long time.
The seven, almost impossibly tiny screws around the wallet, keep things nice and tight and secure on the inside. But there will be a time, perhaps 2-5 years from now, depending on how heavily you use this wallet, that you’ll need to unscrew it and replace the magic elastic band on the inside. But don’t worry, The Ridge sells those replacement elastics for a mere seven bucks. You’ll also need the screwdriver if you ever want to remove the cash clip on that version of the wallet. Finally, the Ridge realized that there are more than a few clumsy and butterfingered individuals out there like me. So if you ever lose a screw (literally not figuratively), they’ve also included a handy tiny paper enveloper with some extra teensy-weeny screws. You know, in case you ever drop one into some unretrievable abyss.
I’m not going to lie. I don’t think this is the single most beautiful minimalist metal wallet in the world. But it’s pretty close. First, the dizzying variety of colour and material options ensure that no matter your tastes, you’ll likely find a wallet finish that you like. It’s sleek, stylish anodized aluminum finishes look crisp and even, and silky.
Meanwhile, the form factor is that of a rectangle with a thumb notch to boot. The money clip on the back is also very well made and integrates nicely with the rest of the design. Yes, this minimalist looking wallet is right up my alley.
The Ridge Wallet feels unconditionally amazing in my hand. And while I’m not a giant burly man with Paul Bunyan sized hands, I’d say my hands are probably average sized for a man to give you some perspective on my opinion. The truth is that I’ve been nursing an old leather Fossil wallet, which, considering I’ve owned it for over 11 years, has held up quite well, but the difference between that traditional bifold and The Ridge wallet is night and day. At only the size of a credit card, this stupefyingly compact wallet, even at full capacity, is just what my pocket doctor ordered.
There’s plenty to like with this wallet, but it isn’t perfect. I suppose almost no product is. So here, I’ll give you the good, the bad, and the ugly of it. Prepare your eyeballs; there’s plenty to read on.
- The cards you wind up selecting and keeping in The Ridge wallet will remain quite secure. I’ve never had to worry or even think about one sliding out for no particularly good reason.
- The overall construction of the wallet is impeccable. Tolerances are very low, and I suspect that laser measuring is involved in cutting these aluminum pieces.
- Feels and remains very compact, even at full capacity with cards and cash bills.
- Fully blocks all forms of RFID. I suppose this could be a negative if you keep your office card key in your wallet. But better safe than sorry, right?
- You can choose between a money-clip or an external elastic band option.
- Ridgid, durable, non-bendy, whatever synonyms you want to throw at the fact that this is a solidly made wallet, all apply.
- There are three primary ways to access the cards inside. First, you can use the thumb or finger notch to push out cards. Second, you can spread the wallet like an accordion (though this takes a bit of practice, more on that later), and third, you can fan out the edges of the wallet.
- Unlike leather wallets and other bifold contraptions to keep your cards and money, The Ridge wallet will keep its shape forever.
- The interior plastic that makes this wallet possible is replaceable.
- As I mentioned earlier, this wallet comes with a Pentalobe screwdriver, allowing you to take it apart and make adjustments as necessary.
- The two sides of the wallet are secured with seven high-quality Stainless Steel T5 screws.
- Comes with extra screws in case you ever lose one or two, because frankly, they’re almost impossibly tiny
- The money clip can be removed, thus turning your wallet into a pure cardholder.
- Speaking of the money clip, it has a very nice shape, the spring has just the right amount of tension, and is also nicely anodized. It’s just the right size and has a beautiful Ridge logo embossed.
- The Ridge Wallet comes with a lifetime warranty, which is not much of a surprise, given its quality.
- After three months of solid use, this wallet has kept its shape and tension perfectly.
- Lightweight, because it has the forcing function of making you pick your most used cards. If you’re coming from a traditional bifold leather wallet, you’ll be wowed by the weight reduction.
These are the minor quibbles:
- Beyond stuffing 7-8 cards, getting at each individual card becomes increasingly difficult.
- The outside of the wallet is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, so you’ll likely be wiping it down from time to time to maintain that sexy sleek look.
- Spreading the wallet like an accordion to access a card inside is something of learned behaviour. You’ll fumble with that method of retrieving any given card in the wallet at first.
- There is a bit of an overall learning curve at first with this wallet. However, once you train your hands and muscle memory on the preferred way to get cards out, it becomes easier to use.
- No ability to carry coins.
- In three months of carrying, multiple drops on both hardwood floors, grass, and concrete, I’ve seen two minor scratches and one small scuff on the wallet’s back-side. I’m not even sure where those came from, but it could very easily be from the fact that I tend to carry around my keys in the same pocket as my wallet.
- There is limited capacity for cash. I wouldn’t carry around more than 6-8 folded cash bills in the external clip. Beyond that is a bit of a challenge.
These are what I would consider the not-so-minor grievances:
- The manufacturer claims that the wallet can carry up to 12 cards, and while I think that’s technically possible, it’s not very practical. Beyond 8-10 cards, and the wallet does start to become chunky. Worse than that, though, it becomes more difficult to use.
- So if you can’t reasonably condense your ID, credit card, and banking card collection down to your most used 8-10 cards, I wouldn’t recommend getting The Ridge.
So at $75 for the Aluminum versions and $105 for the Titanium version, is the Ridge wallet worth it? Yes, but with a minor caveat to say that there are many other good metal wallets on the market that are more affordable. That said, I’ve yet to come across a metal wallet with the level of build quality the Ridge wallet provides. Also, be wary of cheap knock-offs at a much lower price point. They don’t even come close to the quality of the original Ridge wallet.