Minimalist wallets are still having a moment after they began trending over the past few years. Long gone are the days where men are carrying a bulky monstrosity of a wallet (aka. the Costanza wallet), packed to the brim with cards, receipts and other nonsensical things.
Wallets like The Ridge have capitalized on the popular trend of slim wallets. And with advertising budgets out the wazoo, many brands are able to spread their message far and wide through media outlets, influencers and even celebrities. One thing’s for sure that there’s always been power in advertising to generate brand awareness and ultimately get eyeballs on products.
Enter Ridge Wallets.
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The Ridge Wallet Review (Hands-On + Video)
To date, I’ve amassed a few dozen minimalist wallets and so I have many reference points as to what comprises a quality minimal wallet. In fact, you can watch my Best Minimalist Wallets roundup (opens in YouTube) featuring 25 different slim wallets. (P.S. and updated video is coming soon).
In this hands-on, in-depth review, I’ll cover the following:
- What We Want in a Slim Wallet
- Brief Brand Background
- The Style & Design
- The Quality & Construction
- The Functionality & Durability
- Does it Pass the Drop Test?
- Pros & Cons
- Is it Worth It?
What We Want in a Slim Wallet
Simply put, here are 3 primary areas that you shouldn’t compromise on:
- A well-made product that lasts
- A stylish and clean, minimal design
- A functional build for easy access to essential cards and cash
I’ll be touching on all 3 of these areas and much more.
Let’s get started.
The Ridge was founded in 2013 as a father-son team of Daniel and Paul Kane via Kickstarter. The mission is simple—to maximize your life by minimizing what you bring along. And so they’re all about streamlining daily life through quality products and eliminating excess.
While the Ridge wallet was likely made with men in mind, I’ve surprisingly ran into 2 women already, carrying a Ridge wallet which took be by surprise, but then again Ridge is everywhere these days.
The Imitation Game
You know what they say about imitation. With the success of Ridge wallets, it’s no surprise that they literally have dozens of copycats. Brands like ARW and Mountain Voyage carry almost exact replica wallets along with similar functionality, all the while undercutting the Ridge with cheaper prices.
Some companies have even successfully iterated on the Ridge wallet design, implementing additional features to further enhance the slim wallet’s functionality and customizability. 2 brands come to mind— Furid with its pull-tab and Axwell with its fully customizable Mag-Lock™ cover plates. Both of these brands are aluminum plated with a similar matte finish as well.
What about the Ridge, though?
The Ridge Wallet
So, The Ridge is a modern, slim front pocket wallet that keeps your everyday carry in check and gets rid of the bulk. The main compartment is expandable and holds 1-12 cards (I was able to fit 16) securely and RFID-protected.
The wallet comes with your choice of Cash Strap or Money Clip, which both secure your cash while keeping it easily accessible.
The Style & Design
The Ridge is one of the more minimal and most compact wallets on the market today. They’re highlighted by a hard case, aluminum—their flagship material which provides a balance of durability and weight. Some would rather call it a card holder instead of a wallet in the traditional sense because of the form factor.
The one I have is the popular Alpine Navy color that came equipped with the cash strap and money clip attachment. I also have the Forged Ember which is a slate gray/red mix, made of forged carbon with a matte finish and infused with red aluminum flakes. It’s quite a striking design.
The Ridge has myriads of different styles and designs to choose from in their vast collection from the premium design 24 Karat Gold to cool Carbon Fiber, slick Matte to unique Laser Engraved and even Limited Edition collabs.
Is the Design Bulky?
Nope, it’s super compact and minimal, in fact one of the most compact wallets I’ve tested compared to the several dozen I own. Though it is ultra-compact, the 2 plates do have some thickness to them and so it’s not quite as slim as the ultra-thin Nomatic or Flowfold wallet, for example, which have an entirely different construction.
The Ridge wallet easily fits in your front pocket or jacket pocket. I honestly haven’t carried a wallet in my back pocket for over a decade now.
How Many Cards Can it Hold?
The whole point of getting a minimalist wallet or cardholder is to carry less. So, while The Ridge is able to hold 12 cards with no issue, why would you? While testing, I actually managed to squeeze 16 in without a hitch, but that’s pretty absurd.
I currently only carry 6 cards max with a handful of bills and a tracker card from Chipolo that conveniently alerts my phone anytime I leave my wallet behind.
My recommendation is to pare down to the absolute essential cards that you might need, like:
- Driver’s license/ID
- 2-3 credit cards
- 1-2 debit cards
- Insurance card
- Tracker card
That’s it. No membership cards, access cards, etc. We’re living in a digital age and most of your other cards can be accessed digitally via your mobile device.
- Holds 1-12 cards without stretching out
- RFID blocking to prevent wireless theft
- Scratch resistant
- Lifetime warranty
- 99-day risk free trial
- Replaceable elastic and screws
- 6061-T6 aerospace-grade aluminum | Anodized
- Weight: 2 oz | 86 x 54 x 6 mm
The Quality & Construction
All Ridge wallets are RFID-blocking which is sort of standard in a majority of minimalist wallets these days. It’s a pretty lightweight wallet, coming in at anywhere between 1.6 oz. to 2 oz. depending on the material. The aluminum is a bit heavier while the carbon fiber is the lightest.
This anodized aluminum plated wallet in the navy color is scratch resistant and so you don’t have to worry about your keys scratching it up or if you happen to drop in on concrete, it will hold its own.
Is it Well-Made Though?
Along with the compact nature, the wallets feel really well-built. It’s feels as good in hand as it looks on display. From what I can tell, the aluminum is solid and strong. It doesn’t get bent out of shape, though the aluminum plate is relatively thin.
Additionally, the elastic band is quite durable, stretchy and has plenty of give without warping out of shape with regular use. The band is also replaceable incase you happen to destroy it.
Furthermore, the Ridge wallet is constructed with 7 screws that you can easily remove if you wanted to swap the elastic band for the money clip or switch out to a different design plate.
With the clean, minimalist design, the Ridge along with many other wallets like it make compromises on functionality. And while it’s not the worst thing, it’s one of the biggest criticisms against Ridge wallets.
Are Cards Easy to Slide in and Out?
There are two ways you can access your cards with the Ridge wallet. And no matter how you do it, there’s no real super simple way to get your cards out.
Where the Ridge shines with the design and construction, it suffers in functionality. Sure, the card storage is compact, but it’s not as secure and some other wallets and cardholders. And there’s no mechanism in place organizing the individual cards in the wallet.
While the top card is easiest to access (that should be the card you use the most), it’s a bit tricky sliding the cards in the middle out. But you get used to it after awhile and it becomes relatively easy getting access to all of your cards via the thumb slot.
Many (myself included) find it more difficult via the fanning method, although this could be easier for some. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference. I do like that The Ridge provides 2 ways to access your cards.
Better Options for Functionality
The Ridge has a crescent thumb cutout that makes it slightly easier to access your cards, but it does take some getting used to. In my opinion the best functioning wallets are ones with a quick press button (like Ekster) or a pull-tab (like the Vaultskin Chelsea or Nomatic) to access your cards.
I’ve been field testing the Ridge wallet for the past 6 months.
How Does it Hold Up to Daily Use?
The Ridge is a solidly built, compact wallet that was made with pretty hardwearing material whether the aluminum or aluminum-infused carbon. I don’t destroy my wallets or drop them all that often, but my Ridge wallet has been pretty solid these past handful of months.
No scratches, marks or egregious dents, it’s still as clean as its been from day one. I honestly have nothing negative to say when it comes to the durability of the product. Bonus points that they offer a lifetime guarantee if your wallet does ever happens to self-destruct.
The Drop Test
So, does it pass the drop test? Yes, with flying colors.
Some wallets with a similar build to the Ridge wallet (ones held together with an elastic band) will literally explode on first contact with the ground, creating a nightmare scenario.
Thankfully Ridge wallets do not suffer this fate. Not that I drop my wallet all that often, but I tested this on indoor wood flooring and upon drop after drop after drop, my cards always remain secure and not once did the cards or cash fly out.
Only once, did my cash pop out on the 10th drop, well it was more so me throwing it in the air 7 feet. Other than that though, crisis averted with the Ridge and the drop test.
The Pros & Cons
- Super sleek style and design
- Ample storage capacity
- Solid construction and overall durability
- Customizable to change the colors and design
- Choice of cash strap or interchangeable money clip
- Sacrifices functionality for style & design
- Pricey compared to similar competitors
Is it Worth It?
For starters, the Ridge Wallet isn’t cheap. Clocking in at $107 retail (slightly cheaper on Amazon) for the aluminum wallets, $150 for the aluminum-infused carbon wallets, and $250 for the premium 24 Karat Gold design. That’s pretty penny for many.
Overall, the functionality of the Ridge wallet could be improved. While I did get used to using it after awhile, the experience is never as simple as a click-to-expand wallet or a wallet with a pull strip.
This could be a dealbreaker for those who value functionality above aesthetics, but for many, it’s only a slight inconvenience that’s overcome by all the great features as well as the attractive form factor which is a huge buying point.
This may sound cheesy, but there’s something to be said about how the wallet makes you feel. I know, an inanimate object making you feel things? Hear me out…
The absolute best thing about the wallet is how it looks and feels in my hands. It has one of the slickest wallet constructions with a compact build that actually brings me a slight tinge of pleasure every single time I pull it out to transact with a cashier.
Plus, the sleek style and compactness of the wallet feels as great in hand as it looks lying on a counter or table. Who knew something like an inanimate wallet could actually boost my mood. No other wallet I’ve used has given me that feeling.
And that in my humble opinion makes the Ridge wallet worth every penny.
The Bottom Line
If you don’t mind the sacrifice of functionality—and care primarily about the style/design and quality/craftsmanship—the Ridge is perhaps the best wallet money can buy.
What are your thoughts on The Ridge Wallet?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.