MAKR Wallets Review

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Coming off a streak of handling mostly modern minimalist cardholders, I decided to take a look at other interesting, EDC-worthy wallets. Taking some suggestions from our readers who prefer more traditional materials, I opted for wallets made from leather. 

Not just any leather, though. I was aiming high.

I reached out to a local leather goods and carry brand — MAKR out of Orlando, FL. They’ve been in the leather goods game for years, hand-crafting high quality wallets, keychains, and other essentials. They graciously sent over some samples for me to test.

In this review, I’ll go over two of my favorites: the Round Wallet in Matte Navy and the Zip Slim Wallet in Charcoal. There are enough similarities in these wallets to do a double-feature review, but they’re unique enough on their own to deserve some specific commentary.

The Specs

Round Wallet

  • Size: 4.375” x 3.125” x 0.3”
  • Materials: Navy matte Horween Leather
  • Construction: Handsewn, edge painted with rolled edges. Made in USA

Zip Slim Wallet:

  • Size: 4.5” x 3.25” x .75”
  • Materials: Horween Latigo Leather
  • Hardware: YKK zipper & Horween Shell Cordovan pull-tab
  • Construction: Made in USA

Design, Fit & Finish

Horween. Leather. I picked these wallets specifically to better understand what the fuss is about. I can assure you this leather is the real deal. It’s maybe even next level material if you’re into the whole “hard goods” aesthetic when it comes to your carry.

The attention to detail, fit, and finish on these wallets are impeccable. In the Round Wallet, you’ll notice its edges are finished with paint for a smooth, glossy look to contrast the matte leather. The hand-sewn stitching holding the wallet together looks almost like rope, unlike the insubstantial thread you might find on cheaper wallets.

The Round wallet has two external pockets, intended for cards, and a main central pocket for bills or larger notes. Realistically, cards and cash can fit in any pocket interchangeably given how much larger the wallet is overall. It’s not as space-efficient as other offerings, but it’s far from a bulky bifold.

The Zip Slim Wallet intrigued me with its L-shaped zip closure design, as well as its internal flap organization. Most zip wallets I see are little more than a glorified coin purse. Others unzip all the way around like a clamshell.

MAKR’s take is something in between, giving just enough clearance when unzipped to finger through its “pockets” separated by thick, supple leather flaps.

When closed, the Shell Cordovan zipper pull is carefully proportioned to not extend past the edge of the wallet. It’s all very well thought out.

Performance & Operation

I appreciate the simplicity behind these wallets. It allows MAKR to focus on exceptional build quality in favor of bells and whistles. There’s no RFID shielding or hidden pockets, but as wallets, these things work. You won’t have to dig through different slots to find the right card. You can stuff cash into them without having to step aside from the register and fold it all up.

Of course, however, this does mean you lose out on organization and quick accessibility. As you can see above, the Round Wallet has cards sit a bit deep into the pocket. Even cash rides low in the main pocket.

The Zip Wallet performs a bit better overall, if you can get used to unzipping it. I found its zipper to be a bit sticky at first, but breaking it in resolved that issue. The pull tab helps not just with retrievability from the pocket (using it like a lanyard), but also with quickly unzipping. I found that just zipping it to the first corner is enough to get cards in and out from the center “pocket.”

Unzipping it fully lets you carry more than you usually might with a traditional wallet. During testing, I took advantage of its completely closed design to carry a bluetooth tracking locator, a movie ticket voucher I received, and some oil blotting sheets (it’s humid down here!) in addition to the usual cards and cash. I was impressed with its capacity. In some ways I appreciate that versatility, but ultimately the bulk got out of hand.

I could easily let go of some of the wallets' shortcomings during actual use because the overall experience of having these in your hands is unlike any other wallet I've come across. The beautiful way the leather wears, the feel in hand, the heft, the substance, and the smell… After somehow catching my first whiff of these wallets I learned two things — that if you bottled this scent it would read "Quality" on the label, and that I had to live with myself knowing I was probably going to have to sniff these wallets at every opportunity.

Carry Options

The tradeoff of having such luxurious, thick, buttery Horween leather is that the wallets can get thicker than your average.

When I’m not reviewing wallets, I typically opt for money clips and keep things as thin as possible. But with the Zip Slim Wallet especially, it pained me to have to rotate it out. I suppose the term “Slim” here is relative to other offerings in the MAKR lineup.

Having a zipper secure my paper essentials encouraged “over carrying” with time, and the Horween leather magnifies the bulk it picks up. It’s definitely something to consider if your pockets are already crowded or if you wear slimmer pants.

With the Round Wallet, this was less of an issue, but still not something I would consider thin. It has presence in the pocket, but the smooth Horween leather lets it slip in and out efficiently.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Fantastic materials (Horween leather & YKK hardware)
  • Hand-made with impeccable fit and finish
  • Actually very easily accommodates bifolded cash
  • Frustration free, luxurious experience whenever you pull them out of your pocket
  • THE SMELL

Cons:

  • Both wallets take on bulk very quickly
  • Round Wallet: Organization and access is nothing to write home about
  • Zip Wallet: Zipper needs some break-in time

Conclusion

The two wallets here are probably not for pure minimalists or utilitarians. Instead, they should vibe nicely with people looking for something sensible, modest, and timeless.

At just over $100, these wallets are not cheap. Their price simply reflects the quality in materials and craftsmanship involved. After handling these, I suspect they can outlast two $50 wallets — they fall into that “buy it for life” echelon of build quality. If extreme thinness is not your goal when picking out a wallet, but rather, something simple that will last you forever, definitely consider something from MAKR.

Shop on MAKR: Round Wallet in Navy ($110) / Zip Slim Wallet in Charcoal ($110)

Disclosure: These samples were sent free of charge to be considered for review. This does not affect my opinion of the product.

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Discussion (3 total)

This is the first time I've actually lusted over a wallet. I. Must. Smell. Shell. Cordovan.
Slim wallet looks dope!
Yeah I really like the Zip Slim actually, gets on great in my baggier pants. B)