I started using a minimalist wallet eight years ago. Years of sitting on a chunky bi-fold, spending long hours driving across the Western US, had taken a toll on my back. Thick wallets throw your hips out of alignment and can lead to any number of lower-back issues, so before the pain I was experiencing got worse, I decided to slim-down my everyday carry.
Along with positive health effects, investing in a slim-wallet or card holder is a lot like decluttering your life. You get rid of receipts and punch-cards you don’t need, you throw away gift cards with low balances, you realize what you actually need to use on daily basis. Over the years, I’ve used a number of different leather card holders with both glued and stitched constructions. They each developed a unique patina with use, but over time seams or stitching failed and they became unusable.
Last fall, Arc’Teryx Veilance released its take on the minimalist leather wallet. Unlike existing styles, the construction produced a stitchless wallet that was both incredibly slim and highly durable. If you think this sounds to good to be true, you’re in the same boat I was in. I had to check it out myself to see if this wallet really stood up to the claims.
The Good: This wallet is incredibly slim, has a simple design, and it can hold up to eight cards. Despite its understated profile, it’s a hardwearing, water-resistant wallet that will stand up to years of daily use. The Veilance-spec Horween leather is designed to resist an obvious patina over time, so this wallet will continue to look distinct as years pass.
Who It’s For: From the design to the actual capacity, this is a wallet for minimalists. If you’re a lover of card-holders or you’re looking to slim your bi-fold wallet, you’ll enjoy this Veilance piece. No matter your style, you’ll find this wallet easy to carry with its lack of obtrusive branding.
Watch Out For: This wallet takes a little while to break in and is a little stiff from the first use. Though it can hold up to eight cards, don’t expect that out of the box. Start with four cards, then stretch it to six and try for eight in a month or two. If you’re someone who loves to carry lots of cash around, this may not be the wallet for you (alternatively, you could carry fewer cards and have room for a few bills). Like other Veilance products, this wallet has a higher price point than many other cardholders. You get what you pay for, though, and the unique leather and progressive design is exceptional.
Alternatives: In the world of laminated wallets, there are a few options. Discommon offered a thermoformed leather card holder with a grey tweed interior for $125, but sadly, it is no longer in stock. Another solid option if you like the profile of laminated wallets is the Ion wallet from Pioneer Carry. Unlike the Veilance and Discommon options, this one is made from an off-brand Dyneema and costs $60. If you want a leather card holder and don’t care about progressive constructions, you can pick up a stitched leather card holder from Red Wing Heritage for $99 or from Billykirk for $65.
Review: A few months ago, Arc’Teryx Veilance Chief Brand Director Takanori Kasuga was walking me through the brand’s latest collection. As expected, the outerwear was second-to-none, but when I saw Veilance’s stitchless Casing Card Wallet, I was skeptical. The last stitchless leather cardholder I owned from Il Busetto fell apart after eight months of use and ended up in pieces in the top drawer of my dresser. Taka sensed my reservations and pulled out his personal Casing Card Wallet which he had been using for well over a year. The wallet had stretched to accommodate the shape of his cards but showed no signs of structural failure. This, I learned, was because Veilance utilized a lamination process that fixed the leather to a durable nylon backing.
“What we were able to achieve was something that’s so smooth, so flat, and so streamline — in a way that’s completely non-reliant on any sort of sewn processes,” said Lars McKinnon, the Head Designer of Veilance. “It’s an entirely laminated process, but it’s also, inherently, a very strong construction.” For the wallet, Veilance worked with technical soft goods designer Shane Ellis who also worked on the Oculus Go, Apple’s leather iPhone case and Patagonia’s Ascensionist Pack, among other things. The design features fine-grain, water-resistant Horween leather developed especially for Veilance. Hides are precisely split and laser cut before the lamination process. The construction is very clean, though the wallet’s edges are left unfinished (likely the best choice for the product to age gracefully). The two card slots are tight and feel like they can hold a couple cards each, but will stretch with time to accommodate up to four cards each.
When I received the Casing Card Wallet in the mail, it arrived in a flat black envelope. I honestly didn’t expect the wallet to be inside, but upon pulling a tab, the wallet slid out. The leather felt luxurious — supple and smooth — and like other leather card holders, it took a few weeks to crease and break in. The wallet comfortably held the card I needed for daily use (credit card, metro card, driver’s license) along with a few bills for buying lunch from street vendors. The nicest thing about this wallet, other than the ridiculously low profile, is it can be whatever you want it to be. It can be your daily carry, your business card holder or an extra wallet for travel. It won’t seem out of place if you wear a suit to work, you’re into technical apparel or you’re a vintage clothing fanatic. This versatility sets it apart from many other card holders on the market, and its construction guarantees you’ll use it for years to come.
Verdict: If you’ve got the money, this is one of the best leather card holders you can buy. At the price-point, it is admittedly a luxury, but it offers a number of things that other options do not. Its stitchless construction and water-resistant leather give it an edge up on durability, and its lack of branding and simple design make it highly versatile. If you need a super-slim profile wallet, and you want to invest in leather, this is the cardholder for you.
What Others Are Saying:
• “The Arc’teryx Veilance wallets deliver a clean combination of progressive construction and premium materials. They look and feel great, exuding a minimalist style that’s sure to draw admiring glances. However, like any design, there’s room for improvement such as reexamining how the crinkling comes through and making access easier. Overall, these wallets are an exciting development in Arc’teryx’s design direction and we’re keen to see where they’ll lead.” — Andy Fallshaw, Carryology
• “It’s refreshing, then, to see someone like Arc’teryx Veilance shake things up with their new Leather Goods collection. The amount of attention to detail that went into these wallets is genuinely impressive.” — J.D. DiGiovanni, HiConsumption
• “I could go on and on about the card wallet, but the short of it is that it’s very compact for how luxe and durable it feels, but it isn’t exactly the smallest in its class (bested by the Discommon x Venn thermoformed wallet). It looks super sleek and timeless but one issue is that because of its symmetric design and lack of external branding, you have no visual cue to know at-a-glance which cards will be on what side. Maecenas.” — Bernard Capulong, Reddit
Weight: 20 g
Material: Veilance-spec water-resistant Horween leather
Card Slots: Two
Capacity: Up to eight cards
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