RE:FORM RE:02 (Card Holder) Review
The RE:FORM RE:02 (Card Holder) is a minimalist wallet that retains a familiar billfold design—and it has magnets.
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- Slim design doesn’t take up too much pocket space
- Multiple card slots offer organization
- Magnetic closure is tactile and satisfying to engage
- Material’s rubbery texture can add too much grip
- Slots need just the right amount of cards for a secure fit
- Takes some fiddling to get bills slotted in
0.81 oz (23 g)
4.13 in x 5.43 in x 0.04 in (10.5 x 13.8 x 0.1 cm)
RE:FORM has two minimalist wallets in its lineup, namely the RE:01 (Coin Sleeve) and RE:02 (Card Holder). The straightforward naming alone appeals to our logical thinking, but both wallets are also quite practical in their respective designs. See, unlike other minimalist wallets, the RE:02 (which we’ll be focusing on in this review) more or less resembles a typical billfold wallet. It has three card slots, and it folds in the middle—it’s really just that simple.
Did we mention it also has magnets? Yep, embedded into the rubbery material (RE:FINE) are magnets that make opening and closing this wallet all the more satisfying. The catch? Well, apart from your usual minimalist wallet woes, such as limited space, that rubbery material is also, well, rubbery. That means cards are held in place firmly, and the wallet itself has trouble getting out of tight spaces.
Despite its minimalist design, the RE:02 still retains a familiar billfold design. There’s a card slot at the front and two inward-facing inside, plus magnetic strips along the inner edges that meet when you fold the wallet. As for branding, well, it’s hard to spot, but it’s present if you look close enough at one of the aforementioned magnetic strips.
If there are any accents to the wallet, they’d be the bartack stitching along the sides of the card slots. They’re small silver dashes that honestly slip to the back of our minds as we use the wallet daily. That’s not to say they have a meaningless existence, just that they’re doing their jobs supporting the wallet’s integrity in a very subtle way.
If you opt for the RE:01 (Coin Sleeve) variant, the half that only has one card slot gets swapped out for a coin pouch and bills slot. We’ll keep it brief since we spent most of our testing with the RE:02, but the RE:01 is mostly the same, plus the added ability to carry coins. We especially like the magnetic closure RE:FORM engineered here. The hinges are small but robust, easy to open and close firmly. If you still find yourself needing coins on a daily basis, the RE:01 is the way to go.
The key ingredient that makes the RE:02’s so slim is RE:FORM’s RE:FINE material. If we were to compare the material to something more familiar, that would be Hypalon, which we often cite for its grippy texture. In a nutshell, RE:FINE is a synthetic material that’s made to be very durable against chemicals, temperatures, and UV light. However, we’re afraid pockets are rarely ever subject to any of those three, so how does it fare in day-to-day use?
Compared to other typical wallet materials like leather, the RE:FINE doesn’t seem to break in or wear out, at least not as easily. This is most apparent with the RE:02’s card slots which feel more or less as tight as they were when we first got the wallet. There’s even some bartack stitching at the sides for added support.
You can see the minimal amount of stretch in both a negative and a positive way. On the one hand, it helps the slots keep cards in place securely. On the other hand, you need just the right amount of cards inside, or it becomes too hard to get them out (if there are too many).
Based on our testing, you can fit three thick cards, whether they’re made out of metal or PVC, per slot before it gets too sticky to get just one card out. In our case, we’re able to put an Apple Card, an American Express Platinum card, plus a PVC-based credit card in one slot. If your cards are thinner, like the ones issued for buses and trains, your mileage may vary.
The same goes for bank notes. Because bills are made of paper or polymer and are foldable by design, getting them in the slots can be a challenge. There’s some fiddling involved to prevent bills from kinking as you insert them into a slot. Not to mention you have to fold bills in order for them to fit at all.
The good news is that even the tall Japanese yen banknotes fit just fine if you fold them in half twice. We’re able to fit three of them relatively easily, but again your mileage may vary depending on factors like how worn out your bills are (worn-out banknotes tend to be thicker based on our experience).
If cards and cash can have a hard time getting pulled out because of RE:FINE’s rubbery texture, the wallet itself also has trouble. If packed into a tight space, like a tight-fitting pants pocket, the material can grip considerably against the pocket’s liner or other gear like a smartphone.
On the flip side is that the RE:02 is just so slim. Its overall footprint isn’t that much bigger compared to the credit cards it can hold. As marginal as it may seem, it does save a considerable amount of space inside a pocket or sling. It’s even more impressive if you go for the RE:01 since you’re also compressing coins into a small package.
Here we have a lineup of other compact wallets to put the RE:02’s size into perspective. From left to right, we have the RE:02, The Ridge Wallet, Magpul DAKA Everyday Wallet, Secrid Cardprotector, Trayvax Original 2.0. As you can see, the RE:02 isn’t the smallest among them, especially versus the metal-based ones.
However, what the RE:02 has that none of these other wallets do is its billfold layout. The rigid, metal-based ones mostly cater to cards and maybe some bills if you clip them on. The Magpul DAKA Everyday Wallet is the most comparable to the RE:02, but it’s more of a two-sided card holder that’s even more minimal.
Of course, all of the wallets here have their own merits. The rigid metal-based wallets are for those who carry cards primarily, while the Magpul DAKA Everyday Wallet is for those who carry very few cards and bills altogether. Meanwhile, the RE:02’s billfold layout is arguably easier to transition to if you’re coming from a regular leather wallet, for example. All in all, it’s a much more balanced approach to a minimalist wallet—more so if you’re eyeing the coin sleeve version.
- A little stiff and needs to take the right amount of cards—very little stretch
- Magnet is a nice touch
- Cash needs to be folded in order to fit in
- A bit grippy—cards won’t fall out if properly filled but cards can be tough to pull out
- Rubbery material has proven to be interesting to use—with too many cards inside, they can get stuck—too little, and the cards can slip out
- Magnetic closure has proven to be a fun fidget toy
- Still rubbery, still holding up with zero stretching out
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