I will never understand the overflowing, folded leather wallets most guys carry around. They encourage you to stuff them with cards and they’re uncomfortable to sit on. I anxiously look forward to the day when I can just pay with my phone wherever I go, but until that day comes, I’ll be using the smallest wallet I can possibly find. Right now, that’s the Ridge.

A few years ago, my wife got me a Tumi leather money clip, and it was a huge upgrade over my old wallet. With a traditional wallet, your pocket is already bulging from the wasted space of layers of leather, even before you fill it up with needless junk. My Tumi clip wasn’t immune to this, wasting more pocket space than was necessary. 

I was skeptical of the Ridge wallet when I first heard of it. The metal look isn’t quite as “adult” as the leather money clip I had, nor did it seem to provide as easy access to my cards. And while RFID blocking is a nice plus, but it’s not strictly necessary. But none of that matters: the Ridge wallet is impossibly small, and after using it for a few months, I’m a convert.

The standard Ridge is made from RFID-blocking panels bound together with elastic straps. Each has an aluminum face plate screwed on either side—mine are silver, but it comes in many different colors and patterns. Unlike leather that tends to stretch out as you use it, the Ridge comes with its own screwdriver to tighten the faceplates onto the wallet. I haven’t needed to tighten mine, but it’s a good idea to check and make sure everything is secure once in a while.

Otherwise, storage is simple: just slide your cards between the plates. The curved notch on the bottom allows you to push up the cards to find the one you want, and once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy. As for cash, you can buy the Ridge with a standard clip on the back, or a more space-saving elastic strap.

It wasn’t until I put it side-by-side with my old money clip that I was truly convinced, though. Even with the same stuff in it, my leather money clip is 60% thicker than the Ridge. When you hold the two in your hands (or pockets), the size difference becomes incredibly apparent, and when I go back to my old wallet, it seems enormous in comparison. When I sit down, the Ridge slides to the edge of my pocket without me even noticing, and I’ve never felt like there was an annoying lump under my butt—which I have with every other wallet I’ve owned. 

As for downsides, I haven’t found many in my time with it, though I’ve heard from others that the anodized aluminum can scratch pretty easily if you keep it in your front pocket with other things (like keys). I haven’t had this issue, but keep it in mind when you pick one out—I imagine some colors would take to that patina look better than others.

The other downside is the cost. The standard aluminum Ridge costs $80, and you can get it in titanium and carbon fiber if you’re willing to spend a bit more. Over the past few years, plenty of “knockoff” brands have flooded Amazon with very similar wallets, and while I can’t speak to them all, the ones I’ve tried—while functional—don’t have quite the same level of polish as the Ridge. I’ve seen some with a lower quality finish on the face plate, for example, and this one made an almost nails-on-a-chalkboard scratching sound as I pulled cards out of the wallet—unlike the Ridge, where they slid out smoothly and quietly.

Unfortunately, while I’d love to ditch the wallet and rely on my phone for everything—where’s my digital driver’s license, California?—it looks like physical cards are here to stay for a while. For something I plan on using every day for a long time, the Ridge’s size and build quality are a worthy investment.

The Ridge Slim Minimalist Front Pocket Wallet

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