Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Vegan Wallet Brands for Men and Women
Wallets are an everyday essential. Unless you’ve spent all your adult life walking around without cash or an ID – which we know you haven’t – you probably have one. And if you’re a fashion freak, we can guess you change your wallet to something more stylish every few years.
That said, different people have different tastes when it comes to getting a new wallet. For vegans, not just any kind of wallet will do, with ethics often coming before style – even though it’s possible to have both.
Throughout this article, we’ll look at the best vegan wallet brands for men and women in 2021. And because we know style and quality aren’t for non-vegans alone, we’re providing you with only the top options on the market.
Also, we believe protecting nature should be a priority for everyone, and on that note, we’ll look at the advantages of opting for artificial leather over animal skin.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Vegan Leather Materials: What Are They Made From?
If you’re not a vegan, you’ve probably not paid much attention to leather materials that aren’t from animal skin. You probably don’t even know such materials exist. But they do, and unsurprisingly, they’re more environmentally friendly than animal skin leather.
At this point, though, you’re probably thinking, okay, I get that, but what is vegan leather made of? Well, let’s find out:
What Materials are Vegan Leather Made from?
Vegan leather – otherwise called faux leather – is typically made from plant or plastic substances. The most common of these materials are polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and Pinatex.
Of course, while these synthetic materials are not 100% environmentally friendly in their own right, they’re still far more sustainable than animal skin – which accounts for 14.5 of global GHG emissions.
Quickly, let’s take a close look at these products.
Polyurethane is the most popular material used to create vegan leather. Generally, it is produced by combining polyester fabrics, plastic chemicals, and petroleum with adhesives. Of course, PU isn’t entirely harmless, but it’s a safer option than other forms of artificial leather and animal skin.
That said, polyurethane is quite flexible, soft, and light. It also has a leathery feel similar to animal leather; as such, you’ll easily find other fashion items like jackets and backpacks made from PU.
However, it’s also significantly expensive compared to other faux leather materials, such as PVC, but it’s a lot cheaper than animal skin. There are various forms of PU, though, with some manufacturers combining animal skin with polyurethane to form Bicast leather.
We suggest you go through the labels of any wallet or fashion item you’re buying to find out if it’s 100% polyurethane or a hybrid material.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC is the least environmentally-friendly vegan leather and the one everybody should avoid. Typically, it’s the preferred leather material for most cheap vegan leather brands; however, its affordability means sacrificing health for the budget.
Generally, vegan leather manufacturers create PVC using a combination of carbons and chlorides from petroleum products. They further use plasticizers (alcohols, acids, and other substances) to soften the end result.
These chemicals used to produce PVC are generally not healthy, and throughout its production and use, toxins are released into the atmosphere and oceans. This toxic contamination of nature results in critical health conditions, such as cancer and damage of the immune system.
While regular PU is safer than PVC and animal skin, it still has its fair share of toxins. To reduce the percentage of these toxic chemicals to zero levels and make polyurethane more biodegradable, some fashion brands are creating PU vegan leather from cereal crops, vegetable seeds, or plant oils.
Piñatex is vegan leather produced from the fibers of pineapple leaves. The material first hit the market in the 1990s in the Philippines, after Doctor Carmen Hijosa found a way to convert pineapple waste to sustainable leather.
Why Is Artificial Leather Better?
Environmental sustainability is one of the main arguments against using animal skin as a production material for leather fashion items. In a nutshell, the manufacturing processes for natural leather make it one of the most damaging products in the ecosystem.
For instance, the tanning process for natural leather involves the use of chromium salt, which results in significant amounts of toxins being a part of the eventual waste product that ends up in the aquatic ecosystem.
Not only does this toxic waste cause considerable damage to aquatic life forms, but it can also be hazardous to human health if it makes its way into our diet. That aside, the meat industry contributes almost 15% of the greenhouse gases emitted annually.
When we consider all of these, it’s no surprise most people are opting for artificial leather as an alternative to animal skin. But is synthetic leather better for the environment? Well, that depends on the material.
For example, Polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane are faux leather made from plastic and fossil fuels. These two materials are not biodegradable and contribute to the microplastic pollution across water bodies on earth.
What About Plant-based Leather?
There are other alternatives to plastic-based leather, though, such as piñatex, which is vegan leather made from pineapple waste. Importantly, it is plastic-free; however, it still requires petroleum products to hold its fibers together, although the amount is significantly lesser than PVC and PU.
Fashion brands have also made leather fashion materials from other plants, such as cereals, apples, mushrooms, and mango.
While they aren’t 100% environmentally friendly – thanks to the use of fossil fuels to hold their fibers together – they’re considerably better than plastic-based leather. They also do not have traces of chromium like animal skin.
That said, if environmental sustainability is your reason for opting for vegan leather, you should know that, while some of these products aren’t as harmful, they still pose some threat to the planet.
What Does Vegan Leather Look Like?
Most people often hesitate to consider vegan leather because they worry it won’t look like natural leather.
But while there are synthetic leather materials that look far from the real thing, some top designers are able to take the texturizing process a step further and create vegan leather that has that leather-like look and feel.
That said, different types of vegan leather fashion items can look and feel different, depending on the designer, the production process, and the material used.
Vegan leather also won’t have that darker shade – called a patina – that natural leather has after years of use. This doesn’t make them inferior in quality, though.
What Wallets Can You Buy?
Most people don’t change wallets all too often, but when it’s time to get a new one, you can quickly end up confused figuring out which brand to pick.
If you’re considering getting a new wallet soon, let’s help you make the right choice. Here are our top wallet brands for men and women in 2021:
The Best Wallets for Men
Based in Portugal, Corkor uses 100% sustainable materials to make wallets that are sleek and durable. The company takes care to ensure that no oak trees are harmed during the cork-harvesting process.
Also, cork is renewable and biodegradable, meaning you have complete assurance that you’re not harming the environment by purchasing this product. On top of that, Corkor wallets are soft, lightweight, and water and scratch-resistant.
If you asked us for a recommendation, though, we’d say you go for the Corkor Vegan RFID wallet.
2. Matt and Nat
Matt and Natt is a Canadian fashion brand that has made a name for itself by producing durable and stylish fashion items, such as handbags and wallets, with plant-based and recyclable materials. Their vegan wallets are a top pick for many people, and we’d recommend you consider the Matt and Nat Wristlet Wallet.
Doshi makes its vegan wallets from microfiber-based vegan leather, making them supremely durable, sustainable, and scratch-resistant. The company doesn’t sacrifice environmental sustainability for style, though, with its wallets featuring sleek designs across a wide range of colors.
SlimFold stands out from the crowd with its elegant super-thin, minimalist wallets. But don’t let the size fool you, though: you can fit your cash and cards in there perfectly.
Add this to the fact that a couple of them come with RFID protection, and you know you’re getting security alongside style when you purchase a SlimFold wallet. But it’s the materials they’re made of we’re concerned about.
SlimFold sticks to using 100% vegan materials throughout the production of its wallets. So you don’t have to worry that they’re punishing the environment to give you a fashion statement.
As always, we’ve got a recommendation for you, and it’s the SlimFold Original Tyvek wallet that is our pick.
5. Tree Tribe
When you talk of protecting the environment, it doesn’t get much better than Tree Tribe. These designer crafts wallets from banana and teak leaves and plants ten trees for every wallet it sells. Amazing stuff!
The company also makes a point to stick to elegance, with their hand-crafted wallets looking nothing short of perfect. The water-proof Tree Tribe Banana Leaf Slim wallet is our top pick, though.
The Best Wallets for Women
PaperWallet combines convenience, elegance, and environmental sustainability to make the perfect vegan wallets from Tyvek paper. Its flat, minimalist wallets not only save space but also store your cash and cards perfectly while offering you utmost security with RFID technology.
The colorful and artistic designs of Bungalow360’s wallets are what make them to-die-for. Add this to the fact that the company makes its products from cotton canvas, and You have the environmentally friendly vegan wallet you’re craving.
We particularly love the Panda Cotton Canvas Zip Wallet. It’s 100% vegan, with four interior card slots, one interior clear ID slot, and two paper bull compartments. Just what you need for that quick stroll to the grocery store.
Nautica is a fashion brand that specializes in making sustainable and elegant fashion accessories, including a wide variety of totes, bags, and wallets for women.
Their wallets are made from high-quality polyurethane, feature multiple slots to keep you organized, and have an RFID lining to protect your credit card details from digital thieves.
If you’d love to try out one of their products, we’d suggest you get the Logo Embossed Gift Set With Box.
4. Denise Roobol
Denise Roobol is a vegan fashion designer who launched her brand in 2013. With the belief that no animal should be hurt to make fashion accessories, Denise Roobol has dedicated her life to making trendy vegan fashion products.
She crafts her fashion items from vegan microfiber sourced from Guangzhou in China. Alongside being sustainable, her products are also supremely durable.
If you’re considering getting a Denise Roobol wallet, we’d recommend the Nude Stripe Wallet.
5. HFS Collective
Based in Los Angeles, HFS Collective is one of those companies that has taken it upon itself to protect our planet by producing vegan fashion items with sustainable materials.
For instance, their Convertible Wallet in Camello Rafia is made from deadstock raffia and eco-suede sourced from post-industrial recycled polyester and post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. By using these materials, the company has helped reduce plastic waste that would have ended up in landfills.
Alongside the Convertible Wallet in Camello Rafia, the brand also has the Convertible Wallet in Meadow Raffia made from natural, plant-based raffia and eco-suede. Both products offer you convenience and elegance alongside being environmentally friendly.
For most people, elegance, and convenience are the most vital factors when buying a new wallet. However, for vegans, environmental sustainability comes first before a fashion statement.
Fortunately, there are several vegan fashion brands that care enough about nature to stick to eco-friendly leather. These companies also do not sacrifice style in their bid to protect the planet.
In this article, we’ve discussed some of these brands and their products, and you can check them out if you plan to shop for a new wallet anytime soon.