Difficult card slots hamper an otherwise attractive wallet
The Vaultskin Manhattan wallet makes a great first impression, arriving in a handsome, compact box and featuring a gorgeous Italian leather exterior. It’s a bi-fold that’s holds bills flat rather than the folded bills of other minimalist designs and advertises a capacity up to 9 cards.
This is an attractive, simple wallet. Elegant and businesslike, it’s undoubtedly a 10/10 for looks. The fine Italian leather pops without being ostentatious, and the simple embossed logo centered at the bottom of the outer flap looks great. It feels soft and supple in hand, which speaks to the quality of the materials used. There’s a handy outer pocket for easy access to your most-used cards, and the inside features a large bill space and symmetrical card slots on the left and right hand side.
Those symmetrical card slots are where we hit our design snag with the Manhattan. The back slots are too deep so they hide the cards, requiring you to pull all of them out while hunting for a specific one. The front slots have a small cutout but my average-sized fingers had trouble finding purchase, making it tough to get a good grasp on the card without the opposite-slot cards getting in the way.
This was a bigger problem the colder it got outside. I actually scraped the top of my middle finger on a card while trying to yank a fuel rewards card out of the left front slot in a subzero Chicago wind. The cards don’t nest, they only stack, so you’d better memorize what order you’ve put them in and what side they’re on, or you’ll find yourself pulling all of them out to get to a specific one.
On top of that, a simple filling of 7 bills and 6 cards prevented the wallet from folding fully closed and made its back-pocket presence uncomfortably noticeable. I found myself removing the wallet as soon as I sat down in my car and switching it to a jacket pocket anytime I found myself on a hard chair. For a wallet that’s “engineered to be slim,” this was a disappointing discovery. I suspect that the semi-firm RFID-blocking material inlaid in the leather added to the bulkiness.
I pared down to three cards and the wallet worked better in the back pocket, but then I found myself arriving at the train station without my Ventra card because it hadn’t made the cut. At that point, I had to swap the lovely Vaultskin out for a more efficient design. Shame — it’s a handsome, well-built wallet. For true minimalism and comfort, you’re better off with one that nests the cards better, usually by requiring folded bills.
If you’re a front pocket or jacket pocket wearer and you carry 4 or fewer cards, this fits the bill. Back-pocket guys and full-wallet warriors, I’d skip this one.