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Wingback is a company committed to high quality, clever design and sustainability. Their focus is on creating rugged, personalized products that for last decades, not just through the latest fad. Think a classic adventurer style, something you’d see Indiana Jones using while paying for a drink in Kathmandu. [Ed: Going a bit over the top there, aren’t you?]
The Review: Wingback Cash Wallet
The box of the Wingback’s Cash Wallet describes it as “built to last many journeys through the city and on the road, gaining a little more character with every adventure.” And that’s really what it is. A standby ready to stick with you whether you’re doing a deep trek into the Himalayas or just heading out to the store to buy milk. It’s not the hippest of minimalist wallets, but it is exquisitely made and full of character. Made to last through whatever life throws your way.
But is it right for you? Read the full review to find out.
Central Cash Pocket
As the name implies, cash-carrying is really what defines this wallet. One side of the traditional cash pocket is cleverly removed, allowing bills to fold on themselves while tucked into one end. This removes the heft you get from a traditional three-section wallet, while also providing an additional bit of security because the bills and the wallet end up rolled up together.
Wingback claims that the cash pocket can hold up to 20 bills, which is much more than most minimal wallets. A quick test with bunch of ancient bills from my international backpacking days shows that it does hold the stated number of bills, but things get a bit bulky at that point. It’s also nice to see that the wallet holds all types of currency. Aussie dollars, Yen, Euros, you name it, this thing is made to hold cash.
Another nice feature of having the cash pocket feature so centrally is that you don’t have to open the entire wallet or touch the card area to access your cash. Pop open the first fold, and you can start pulling out bills. You’ll still need to keep both hands firmly on the wallet when you do this though. A cash wallet suitable for “making it rain” this is not.
Interior Card Slot
The card slot is tiny on this wallet, but it’s not an afterthought. The beveled leatherwork around the edges of the card slot is impressive and allows cards to pass in easily in and out through the open corner at the top of the slot. Even though it’s designed to carry cash, they’ve really tried to make it card friendly, too.
But does it work?
The top of the card pocket is open even when the wallet is closed, which does allow you some access to your cards. If you squeeze a bit, you can fan out your cards and choose the one you need. It’s a nice thought, but a little clunky in practice.
And right out of the box it only holds 3 cards comfortably, which is pretty limiting. Credit card, ATM card and an ID, then boom, you’re done. Of course, leather has the ability to stretch over time, so if you wanted to really stuff it with cards and let it grow you could. Wingback claims that the card pocket can hold up to 8 cards and that seems possible. But it would be a mistake to look at this as a carry-all wallet for both cards and cash.
For added security, the wallet comes with a machined metal fastener on the front that snaps into place. It’s a lovely accent, too, giving an air of sophistication to the rugged leather. The female end of the snap inside the wallet also features the words: “For Your Journey”, which is a nice, subtle bit of branding.
On the Wingback site, there’s a disclaimer that orders are “dispatched in 3-7 working days”, which seems like quite a long time to wait for a wallet.
Each Wingback Cash Wallet is made to order with a slew of customizable options: 5 colors of leather to choose from, 3 types of metal for the snap fastener, 7 colors of thread for the stitching at the bottom of the wallet, and even the ability to laser engrave a message of 35 characters or less on both the inside and outside of the wallet.
With that kind of customization, you’re bound to get a combination that exactly fits your style…if you’re willing to wait.
With the face of the Wingback Cash Wallet coming in at 2.7” x 3.6”, it fits squarely in the bounds of what you’d expect from a minimalist wallet. It forms a good envelope for credit cards, but it doesn’t veer into classic bulky wallet territory.
When empty, it cuts a thin profile at 0.5”, and when loaded up with 10 bills and 3 cards, it stretches up only to 0.6”, which is pretty impressive for holding that much cash.
Wallet Material & Colors
Wingback takes the sourcing of their materials very very seriously, devoting an entire section of their website to them.
Since it makes up the majority of the product, the leather gets particular attention. The vegetable tanned leather is sourced from a private, family-run tannery in the town of Santa Croce sull’Arno near Florence, established in 1955.
Sounds like quite the pedigree, and when you pick it up, the quality is apparent. The smooth finish on the outside of the wallet is soft and tender to the skin, while the interior retains the grain of unfinished leather, ready to cling to the bills placed there.
Wingback even goes further to say that all their leather is a byproduct of the meat industry, thereby eliminating waste. It’s a nice spin and a good way to look a using a leather product. But if you try using that on any of your hardcore environmentalist friends and you’ll get some strange looks.
The possible combination of colors is impressive:
- Leather Color Options (5): Charcoal, Whisky, Chestnut, Chili, Cognac
- Thread Color Options (7) : Blue, Red, Black, Brown, Yellow, Orange, Green
- Snap Fastener Options (3): Brass, Stainless Steel, Black Steel
If my math is right, that gives you 105 possible combinations to choose from. That’s quite a lot of customization for a wallet!
This is a very well-made wallet.
It makes you realize why wallets have been traditionally made from leather. It’s rugged, yet pliable and easy on the fingers. And unlike wallets made of metal or synthetic materials, leather will bend and shape itself in response to the environment. It will get worn from pocket wear and scratched by your keys, but it won’t break. It develops “character” as the leather enthusiasts say.
The stitches used to hold the wallet together are also incredibly strong and durable. They are put in using a technique called saddle stitching, which can only be done by hand.
A lot of manpower is invested in making a product of this quality, so Wingback really stands by it. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all products.
The Wingback Cash Wallet is an excellent wallet if your purpose is to carry cash and you want something that uses elegant traditional materials like brass and leather, but still has a modern design. It’s made to last, too, and the company takes great care in creating a quality product. The real drawback here is the card-carrying function. It works well enough, but it’s really not enough if carrying cards is your primary use.
Alternatives to the Wingback
Are you intrigued by the Wingback Cash Wallet, but still not completely sold? Here are a few more similar wallets.
Where the Wingback Cash Wallet is for the adventurers who see life as a journey, the Trove Cash Wrap is for city folks who want their bill folds to dazzle. Like the Wingback, The Trove Cash Wrap’s two-fold wallet comes in genuine Italian veg-leather, but it also comes in other materials like carbon fiber and vegan reflex, featuring bright, bold, modern colors.
Unlike the Wingback Cash Wallet, the Trove Cash Wrap comes with a pull tab that allows for easy access to cards, as well as an interior change pocket. This comes with a drawback in durability though, as its elastic strap is sure to wear out long before the Wingback’s metal snap ever will.
Wallet brands love to boast, but The Wrap Wallet’s claim to be “The Best Wallet in the World, Guaranteed” goes one step further making a $20 bet with anyone who buys their product. If you aren’t completely blown away, they won’t just offer you a refund, they’ll send you $20.
In many ways, it lives up to the hype. It’s one of the most practical wallets I’ve looked at. The cash pocket functions the same as the Wingback, but comes with three card sleeves. This includes a clear ID pocket on the outside of the wallet for easy access. As advertised, it easily holds up to 10 cards.
It’s also customizable like the Wingback with 6 colors of leather and 5 colors of thread to choose from. The only drawback is that it doesn’t quite have the elegance or style of the Wingback.