For years I suffered from a condition my friends mockingly referred to as “Costanza wallet,” a reference to a 1998 episode of Seinfeld in which George presents a wallet comically overstuffed with useless receipts, loyalty cards, and foreign bills. Like Jason Alexander’s iconic goofball, I too insisted that every saved scrap was necessary, and, similarly, carrying around such a generous pocketful of ephemera did make sitting uncomfortable and compound my back pain.
I eventually fixed this problem by switching to a minimalist card wallet, thereby eliminating any extraneous storage space. The only problem is that these ultra-slim wallets tend to be of dubious quality, sacrificing durability for utility.
Luckily for me, this March longtime GeekDad favorite WaterField celebrated Wallet Month, the culmination of a community-sourced project that asked us loyal users what we were looking for in a wallet. Throughout the month, WaterField unveiled a new product line encompassing everything from simple bi-fold and zippered designs to special fare like their Cycling Ride Pouch.
Of particular interest to me, though, was a pair of gorgeous minimalist wallets, the Clyff and the Minemo. After putting them through their paces over the past couple of weeks, I’ve picked a clear favorite, but I’d like to share my thoughts on both to help my fellow Costanzas find the solution that’s right for them.
Clyff Minimalist Wallet
The Clyff is WaterField’s take on the classic small-form wallet. Weighing in at 0.8 oz. and measuring 4″ x 2.5″ x 0.25″, it’s a very clean design that fits comfortably in your front pocket or back. Either side sports a slightly diagonally cut exterior card slot for easy access, with a center pouch for additional cards, cash, or coinage.
Like all WaterField products, the stitching is sturdy and subdued whether you choose black, brown, or vibrant blue leather. But, as leather tends to stretch and shape as it’s aged, you’ll likely find it a tight fit for your storage needs early on.
The exterior slots are designed to hold up to three cards each—though, again, it’ll be a little tight at first—with the center pouch accommodating another three to four or a moderate wad of cash with ease.
Functionally, this wallet is an absolute dream. Its footprint is even smaller than similar minimalist designs, with the only knock against the Clyff being… well, WaterField’s eye for quality construction. Unlike similar wallets, this thing is made of full-grain leather. This means it looks beautiful and is built to last, but at its thickest point, there are four layers of reinforced leather.
Add to that a half-dozen cards—your ID, a bank card, a credit card or two, and maybe your insurance cards—and it can get a little on the thick side, though certainly not as hefty as a traditional bi- or tri-fold. If you are a true minimalist, the Clyff is a fine fit, but if you regularly carry a lot of cards, be prepared for some bulk.
Minemo Slim Wallet
In addition to the Clyff, I also managed to score its diminutive compatriot, the Minemo. Of the two, this is clearly my favorite, mostly because of its clever, almost counterintuitive design and its unique material construction.
Also weighing just 0.8 oz., the Minemo is around 4″ x 2.6″ x 0.375″—only slightly larger than the Clyff because of its innovative low-profile bi-fold design. When fully open, it’s still just a hair above 5″, and a number of inspired options can really make this the perfect wallet for anyone.
You can choose from three full-grain leathers (black, brown, and blue) or the even lighter waxed Italian canvas (in brown, blue, and red). Either boasts an outer quick-access pocket for your license and bank card, and two spacious fold-out card pockets.
I keep around eight cards in my Minemo—in luscious Forest Brown canvas—and it’s still well under 0.5″ in thickness. It slides effortlessly into my back or front pocket, and the canvas is surprisingly durable. Though I’ve weened myself off folding wallets, its inside pockets are just big enough to carry what I need and fill up nicely and evenly without overfilling.
The Minemo has become my new everyday carry, and it’s fast becoming my favorite WaterField product period.
You can pick up the leather Clyff Minimalist Wallet for $39. The Minemo Slim Wallet is slightly pricier. Leather options start at $59, while Italian canvas models can be had for $49, and you can add RFID protection to either material for an additional $10.
Whatever your needs, from minimalist to travel-ready to foreign currency, WaterField surely has a wallet for you. Their quality is unmatched, and the results of this community-sourced project show that WaterField’s fans are just as passionate about their products as their own talented design team.
Review materials provided by WaterField.