Everything You Need to Know About Custom Wallets
Custom wallets are an awesome designer accessory that's a great addition to a thoughtful daily carry. But it can be hard to separate genuine quality from marketing hype.
Here’s everything you need to know about custom leather wallets and how to create the perfect wallet for you or the rugged connoisseur in your life.
What Is a Custom Wallet?
Custom wallets allow you to completely customize the look and functionality of your wallet. A true custom wallet goes beyond basic personalization (engraving). That means wallet customization involves choosing:
- The style of your wallet (i.e., bifold wallet vs. money clip wallet vs. slim wallet).
- The design of the pockets and features (this is where most wallets that claim to be custom simply don't deliver).
- The color of leather used.
- Any engravings you may want.
What Materials Make The Best Custom Leather Wallet?
To make a quality product, custom wallet makers must invest in high-quality leather and lining fabric. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know which wallets truly use high-end materials—certain leather buzz words sound good but are really just meaningless marketing used to sound more impressive.
Let’s look in detail at leather and lining materials to help you determine what types you should prioritize and trust in your wallets.
Many custom leather wallets made from cowhide claim to use “full-grain leather.” While this may be technically true, it's unlikely that the leather is thick enough to retain the benefits we expect from full-grain leather. The precise folds and layers needed for wallet construction are nearly impossible with full-grain cowhide, which creates a bit of a conflict between quality materials and the reality of making something small and intricate. Unfortunately many manufacturers resolve this by splitting the leather until it’s so thin that it loses all durability.
At Allegory we chose to source kangaroo leather for this application. Full-grain kangaroo leather is much thinner than cowhide, meaning you can create malleable and sturdy wallets with full-grain quality. It’s the strongest leather per millimeter of thickness in the world, and among the most sustainable as well
This isn't to say full-grain cowhide leather can never be used, for something with more minimal construction, like a card carrier, it can still be its full thickness. The problem comes into play when a manufacturer tries to make their leather behave like fabric. Using thinned cowhide for something like a bifold wallet will mean the leather is so thin that the wallet won’t last much longer than a year.
Heavy bull denim fabric strikes a great balance between feel, thickness, and durability.
Wallets often use synthetic fabrics for their linings. These look nice and can offer a variety of custom patterns, but that benefit doesn’t last very long. After a while, the fabric can tear and wear out since the fabric itself is much less durable than the wallet’s leather.
At Allegory we use bull denim, a lightweight, soft, thin, and durable material. It's also good to remember that money is going to get any fabric dirty, so it's probably best to choose a lining that looks just as good after it's been in use as it does in the picture on a website. So we skip the fancy printed fabric and go with classic black.
How Allegory Customizes Wallets
To offer a truly customizable experience for your leather wallet, Allegory aims to give you total freedom to create the perfect wallet for you or someone you think would appreciate a handcrafted gift. We want your wallet to be uniquely yours—something you can easily identify and use as a conversation starter whenever you pull it out to pay for dinner or to buy groceries. Every customization comes with no additional cost, and the whole process breaks down into three easy steps:
- Choose your wallet style.
- Configure your pockets.
- Choose your leather color.
Step 1: Choose Your Wallet Style
Allegory has three custom wallet options. Here are the three custom wallet bases you can choose from (and then further customize in the following steps):
- The Kit Slim (Front Pocket Wallet): Our most minimalist custom wallet, the Kit Slim comes with two spaces for custom pockets and a center compartment you can load with cards and cash.
- The Kit Clip (Money Clip Wallet): A slim and functional wallet, the Kit Clip features a ultra slim spring money clip, two large card pockets, and space for two custom pockets.
- The Kit Fold (Bifold Wallet): The classic, the Kit Fold features four spaces for custom pockets. It also has a spacious interior pocket that’s lined with bull denim for all of your cash and receipts.
Step 2: Configure Your Pockets
The Kit System has lots of options for custom pockets you can put almost anywhere on our three wallet designs.
Our pocket options are really where our wallet customization feature shines. Depending on the wallet you choose to customize, you may customize two or four pockets. For each pocket space, you can choose from the following options:
- Card: A sleek sleeve that can hold between three and four cards.
- Stretch: Similar to the card option, the stretch sleeve is a high-capacity elastic option that holds six to eight cards.
- Zipper: A small zipper pouch that is perfect for loose change and small valuables.
- Keys: Three elastic loops that can hold up to two keys each (six keys total). When not in use, they can be tucked away.
- Clear: A clear vinyl pocket that’s perfect for credentials like driver’s licenses, public transit cards, or other forms of identification.
- RFID Shield: A metallic fabric-lined pocket that holds up to three cards and can protect your RFID-powered cards from scammers.
- Clip: A money clip insert with two attachment points. If you already have a preferred money clip, you can swap out the included one to further customize your wallet.
- Strap: An elastic strap you can cram with cash, cards, receipts, or anything else.
- Clip+Card: Instead of a money clip with two attachment points, there is only one. The other attachment point is replaced with a card pocket.
- Strap+Keys: Two elastic key loops and an elastic cash/card strap.
You simply won’t find customization options at this level anywhere else.
Step 3: Choose Your Color
Our custom kangaroo leather wallets come in three different colors, all of which feature durable, full-grain leather that only looks better with age:
- Saddle: Just like it sounds, the reddish tan that we associate with aged leather. Darkens with age and develops the most patina.
- Coffee: A medium brown that will remain more consistent in color over time, yet will still darken and develop some patina.
- Charcoal: Classic black. Enough said.
Most wallets that market themselves as "custom" are actually personalized. A standardized product where the user gets to add engraving of text, initials, or sometimes an image. The Kit System offers personalization, too! Once you're done creating the perfect wallet design, you can add engraving.
Create Your Custom Wallet Today
Ready to make the custom handmade leather wallet of your dreams? We’d love to help. Check out our custom wallet options and see what your perfect leather wallet looks like.