Prepare to geek out on how we can offer a 100 year warranty on a leather wallet and why some wallets are more expensive and last longer than others.
Hint: It’s not just marketing.
Read the quality details and story behind our wallets at the bottom of this page below the pictures. The leather we use for our wallets and belts is the toughest, densest and longest lasting leather available. And each wallet is sewn with the strongest thread available. Geek out on the details at the bottom of this page. Even the detail of how far away each stitch is on our belts and wallets was considered. To offer a 100 year warranty is easy. To back it up is another story.
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Long Lasting Leather Wallets are Full Grain Leather
Imagine a cow is killed and skinned. Maybe don't imagine that. But the cowhide is sent to the tannery and its thick skin is then split, the top half from the bottom. Now the tannery has two hides to sell to wallet makers.
The very expensive top half of the hide is called full grain because it has the full amount of grain. They sell it to companies with thick wristed, calloused handed skilled craftsmen like ours. The grain is the top layer of super tough, tight and water resistant fibers that protected the cow and what gives leather its bareknuckle tough reputation. Grain to leather is what shingles are to a roof.
Not Long Lasting Leather Wallets are Genuine Leather
Genuine leather he super low priced bottom half of the hide has no grain and the fibers are looser. It's sold to low quality companies somewhere over the sea whose craftsmen have soft little tear stained hands. That leather wallet falls apart because it can't keep the moisture in or out very well and dries out quickly.
The bottom half of the hide is called split or genuine leather and is painted and shined up to look pretty. That's like a roofer PAINTING pretty shingles on the decking of your roof instead of laying shingles down.
Perforated Pre-Torn Wallets
A sewing machine is actually a perforation machine and every hole is the beginning of a tear in the wallet. If the needle holes are too close together, then the leather will tear like perforated paper. We purposely sew our leather wallets at no more stitches than 7 per inch. Most sew at 9 plus stitches in a single inch. If that hole is in tight fibered leather, it won't tear. But if there's a needle tear in a loose fibered leather wallet, then when the leather dries out in those holes the tears will expand.
The Best Thread for a Leather Wallet
Wallets sewn with low cost low quality nylon thread fall apart quickly because the thread is made from a whole lot of really short fibers wound together to make a long thread. Those fibers release from each other with light friction, heat and UV light and the wallet falls apart.
Our expensive German thread was engineered for strength and durability. It is made from long continuous filaments of Polyester with no breaks in it. Polyester is the best for thread for leather wallets, but bad for almost everything else. It causes bad sleep in bedding and infertility and skin problems with clothing. I wrote about it here.
Pigskin Lined Leather Wallet for Added Strength
Instead of lining our wallets with some shiny pretty nylon fabric that tears, we glue and sew tough smooth pigskin to the back of the already tough and thick full grain leather. Since the pigskin is tougher than the cowskin, our wallets are 2X stronger than most everyone else's.
Natural Selection for the Best Full Grain Leather Wallet
The Survival of Our Fittest Leather Wallets is on display here. We designed and launched and discontinued wallets through the years and kept the crowd favorites. And then we designed and launched and discontinued some more and then did it again. and these are the wallets we ended up with. All of them have strong followings, but some have been around longer than others. And so it has gone for 15 years. These are the best of our best wallets. Only the strongest have survived and their great reviews prove it.
This goes for all categories; back pocket bifolds, minimalist front pocket, passport and simple card wallets to bring you our refined and perfected collection of the most popular wallets of our history. All but the Front Pocket ID is lined with a Radio Frequency ID (RFID) blocker. We design and build all of the leather wallets at our own factory. They'll fight over it when you're dead.
The Best Leather for a Wallet
Leather is a natural material and each cowhide has its own individual strength, stretch, thickness, grain pattern, scars, and markings. That's why one pair of shoes can last 20 years and another pair falls apart in a few months. The better the quality of the leather, the longer lasting the product will be.
There are four basic grades of leather; full grain, top grain, genuine, and bonded. The better the quality of the leather, the higher the grade and price.
Full Grain Leather Wallet
Full grain leather is the best quality of leather. It includes the outermost layer of the hide and has all of the natural grain. The natural grain pattern gives full grain leather its strength, breath-ability, and durability. All our wallets are made of this, good leather is not good enough, that is why we use the greatest leather to make the best leather wallet money can buy.
Top Grain Leather Wallet
Top grain leather is the second highest quality of leather. When you don't want the best leather wallet, then this might be for you. While it will not make the best wallet, it can get close to a good leather wallet. The outermost grain is shaved enough to get rid of the blemishes and make it easier to work with.
The problem is that in the process of shaving off the imperfections to make top grain leather, some of the strength, breath-ability, and durability will be removed as well. Top grain leather wallets might even last a couple of years, but you will not find them being backed by a 100 year warranty.
Genuine Leather Wallet
Genuine leather is lower quality than full grain and top grain leather. It is made from the inner layers of the hide which are weaker and have less grain. The grain is also sanded down or buffed off to give it a smooth uniform appearance.
This leather will not make a good wallet, but some people don't know any better and buy it anyway. That is why businesses overseas will keep making them, marketing them, and selling them cheap. They are not meant to last a lifetime, they are meant to last until next Christmas or Father's Day. They are in the business of repeat customers for the same product.
We are in the business of selling you the last wallet you will ever need because it will last more than your lifetime!
Bonded Leather Wallet
Bonded leather is the lowest quality of leather. It is made from the dust and bits of leather that are left over from making other leather products. It is held together with adhesives and finishes and dyes. It falls apart easily and does not make a good wallet.
Think about particle board, it is just a bunch of pieces of wood chips glued and pressed together. That is just like bonded leather. It might be useful for something, but not a wallet, or any other quality leather product.
The Different Types of Leather Wallets
Now that you know the different grades of leather, it is time to learn about the different types of leather wallets. There are some basic types of leather wallets; bifold, trifold, front pocket, and card holder, to name a few, along with coin purses, the original money holder!
A Bifold Wallet is the most common type of leather wallet. It is a simple fold in half design that has two compartments for cards and cash. They are usually not too thick and fit nicely in your back pocket. We have small, medium, and large bifold wallets to fit your needs.
A Trifold Wallet is similar to a bifold, but it has three compartments for cards and cash. They are a little thicker than a bifold, but not too thick to fit in your back pocket.
Front Pocket Wallet
A Front Pocket Wallet is a slim wallet that is designed to fit in your front pocket. They are small and have compartments for cards and cash. This makes it easy to pull out and access your card or some cash and stick it right back in.
Card Holder Wallet
A Card Holder Wallet is a slim wallet that is designed to hold a few cards and some cash as well. This is quickly becoming a favorite wallet for many people because it is so convenient.
Leather Coin Purse
A Leather Coin Purse, or coin pocket, coin holder, coin pouch, whatever you want to call it, is a small leather purse that is designed to hold coins. This keeps your coins more organized, instead of digging in your pockets for them. And they are fun to open and close!
A little history for you, the leather coin purse was the standard for carrying money around until the 1690 when paper currency was introduced. Almost immediately after, the wallet as we know it was invented as an easy way to keep that new paper money safe.
Choose the right leather wallet
Now that you know about the different types of leather and wallets, it is time to choose the best one for your personal style. Consider what you will be using your leather wallet for, is it just for carrying the essentials, or are you the type of person who likes to carry everything but the kitchen sink in your wallet.
If you just carry a few cards and cash, then a cardholder or front pocket wallet will work great for you. If you like to have everything with you, then a bifold or trifold is probably a better choice. No matter what, when you shop for a new leather wallet, make sure to get one made from full grain like the quality leather wallets from Saddleback Leather!
Leather Wallets with a Radio Frequency ID (RFID) blocker
It is a sad time in society that we have to think about this, but it is important to stay protected against the bad guys. Did you know someone can be just a few feet from you and scan your credit card data? Some forms of government ID even include RFID chips!
This is why it is crucial to protect yourself with a leather wallet with an RFID blocker built into it. This gives you peace of mind. All of our leather wallets are lined with a Radio Frequency ID (RFID) blocker (aside from the Front Pocket ID).
The History of Wallets at Saddleback Leather
Back in 2006, I found a small factory to start making my bags because the father and son duo couldn't keep up with demand. The guy started making just my original leather briefcase, no wallets, that was it. But there was a lot of scrap leather laying around on the cutting room floor that I had already paid for.
He suggested I make some leather wallets or keychains or some other small leather goods to use up all of the really nice quality leather I had already paid for. With a gravelly Mexican accent, I told him, ‚ÄúI don't need no stinkin' wallets‚Äù. At the time, I wasn't planning on making this a business. Up until then, I was just selling leather bags on eBay as a side so I could keep working with Young Life. So, it wasn't important to me to make wallets or do anything else with the scrap.
In 2007, I bought a small front pocket wallet out of a Johnston and Murphy store in the airport that I LOVED. It was a huge deal because the leather wallet fit in my front pocket and I hardly noticed it was there. But after just a few months, it started to fall apart and the plastic on the ID window started to cloud up look ugly. That, along with the owner of the factory continually suggesting to me that I let him make leather wallets for me, I finally gave in.
I redesigned one like the front pocket wallet that I loved so much. I expanded the radius of the corners because I felt the corners on my favorite one were too sharp. I beefed up the wallet in a 4 ways. I used Full Grain leather, which my Johnston and Murphy front pocket wallet was made out of, what appeared to be, Top Grain. I did away with the super thin thread at 9 stitches per inch and used a little thicker Polyester thread and sewed it at 7 stitches per inch instead. That was a big deal, but not as big of a deal as when I decided to line it with pigskin, which is one of the toughest leathers on the planet. So, now the body of the wallet is twice as strong as it used to be with just the leather.
Lastly, I took out the plastic from the ID window of the wallet. I made the window a tad bit smaller so my driver's license wouldn't fall out and so the edges of the leather wouldn't lift up when the wallet was overstuffed.
I figured that even if a wallet lasted for one hundred years, but the crappy plastic window was cloudy and dingy yellow, who would be proud of that. And who would compliment a great beautifully patinaed wallet with a low class scrap of plastic on it.
So that's the story of how Saddleback's first leather wallet came about. It's what I wanted for myself. And I absolutely love it to this day. Of course, over the years, I've heard feedback from users with out to tweak it to make the leather wallets even better. And that's what we do. We listen to people like you who are using our products and help us make them better.
If you're looking for a great leather wallet that will last more than a lifetime, then Saddleback Leather is the place for you! We've got a wide selection of wallets in all different styles to keep your money safe with a lifestyle statement of a person that enjoys quality.