SlimFold Original Soft Shell Review
Opening the SlimFold Original Soft Shell feels like an event, with 11 cards readily accessible in their slots, all while keeping a slim profile in your pocket.
- Eleven card slots eliminate need to stack
- Fits tall bills without a problem
- Almost everything is neatly laid out once it’s open
- Card window doesn’t show relevant information
- Fabric texture seems cheap to some people
- Can make you feel conscious whenever you fully open it in public
1 oz (28.3 g)
10.1 in x 3.5 in (25.7 x 8.9 cm)
Cash takes a back seat with card-focused minimalist wallets like the SlimFold Original Soft Shell. Yes, it still has space for good ol’ fashioned banknotes, but it also has room for eleven cards. Maybe you’re thinking, “Ah, any wallet can fit 11 cards if you shove hard enough.” Fair enough. However, the Original Soft Shell distinguishes itself by having a slot for each card. No more stacking your debit card with your Blockbuster Video membership card; they can each have their own.
This makes it appealing for those trying to go cashless, have a lot of work-related cards, or just want to have their favorite trading card with them all the time. It’s well-built, too, though first impressions are a bit mixed depending on who you ask. Some Pack Hacker team members think it’s well-made; others think it’s on the cheaper side. That said, let’s take a closer look at everything sandwiched between that outer fabric to see how it all works.
A huge part of the Original Soft Shell’s appeal lies in its unique fabric. The creator boils it down as a cross between Gore-Tex and Kevlar, two very strong materials with heavy-duty applications. Unfortunately, SlimFold doesn’t have a name for this material—maybe they were so busy with the design that they forgot. Regardless, the fabric does indeed feel tough and abrasion-resistant, and it’s even water-resistant. Plus, SlimFold claims to have subjected it to 70mph crash tests, and we’re inclined to agree it can survive such punishment.
Well, not all of us. See, the Pack Hacker crew each had a go checking out the Original Soft Shell. While most of us agreed with the good build quality, a few pointed out that it reminds them of IKEA gear, which isn’t always premium. Not the most positive of impressions, but it is something to keep in mind if you’re coming from an fancy leather wallet.
In terms of looks, we dig how it’s a blend of classy and friendly. We can’t quite put a finger on it, but it reminds us of a Jacob’s Ladder toy. Perhaps it’s the orange stitching on the denim-like colorway (it’s Navy/Orange, to be exact) giving off this vibe. At the time of writing, there’s Orange/Grey, Black/Black, Black/Gray, Black/Orange, Black/Red, and Charcoal/Orange for the RFID-blocking variants. Non-RFID-blocking variants are limited to Black/Black and Black/Orange.
While looks are ultimately subjective, two aspects of the design stand out to us in a practical way. First of all, despite its abrasion resistance, the fabric also has some stretch. This is in contrast to the ALPAKA ARK Bifold Passport Wallet, which features X-Pac—a tough fabric in its own right with very minimal stretch. The lack of flexibility makes it tough to fit cards snuggly. You want some stretch so that the fabric hugs them close and securely.
Secondly, while the fabric is notably thin, it’s reinforced. No, we’re not talking about the stitching (although that is also important); we’re referring to the subtle underlying frame sheet. This gives the Original Soft Shell some structure, so it doesn’t totally rely on your cards and cash to form a backbone. Our sample also features RFID-blocking material, which is great for a card-focused wallet.
The way that the four segments are divided by the stitching kind of makes you think this wallet folds into four. That’s not the case, however, and the Original Soft Shell opens like any typical billfold wallet (that is to say, like a notebook). Inside you have seven slots immediately presented, each having a diagonal opening. The first one on the left is a single slot with a built-in window. While the window is a typical feature of billfold wallets, this one doesn’t show much useful information, at least with a Michigan driver’s license, so your mileage may vary.
To the left are six card slots, with a pair in each of the remaining segments, bringing the total to seven, which is a lot for most users already. BUT WAIT, there’s more. Within the cash slot are four more card slots. These are best for cards that you use the least since they’re not immediately accessible. As for the cash slot itself, it can fit even tall bills like the Japanese yen without a problem—that’s a nice benefit of making a wallet as tall as the length of a typical credit card.
With every slot occupied, the Original Soft Shell does start to get thick, though it’s still relatively thin compared to more typical leather wallets. It’s easy to slip into your back pocket, and the footprint isn’t bad, either. Folded up, it’s basically the size of two credit cards side-by-side, plus a few extra millimeters of margin.
Admittedly, it’s closer to passport wallet size than typical everyday billfolds, but it’s still very pocketable. The more pressing “issue” is using the wallet when paying. Opening the Original Soft Shell feels like an event, with you presenting to the world all your cards. It’s like a statement that you’re here to do business and have a card for any occasion. But hey, if you’re bringing a ton of cards, it’s a reasonable compromise, if a bit amusing.
Since the Original Soft Shell is a card-focused wallet, we’re comparing it to the Secrid Cardprotector and the RE:FORM RE:02 (Card Holder). There’s no getting around the fact that both of these are smaller, but they each have their disadvantages. For one thing, they can’t fit as many cards, or not comfortably, anyway. The Secrid Cardprotector tops out at around five, and the RE:FORM RE:02 at about nine if you stack three in each slot. As for banknotes, you’ll have to fold them in the RE:FORM RE:02 and strap them to the Secrid Cardprotector with a rubber band.
For additional context, we added the Bellroy Hide & Seek to the lineup. It’s a leather wallet, so while the footprints are closer, the Hide & Seek is noticeably thicker despite containing fewer cards. That said, leather just has a unique appeal that’s hard to say no to, so it’s also a worthwhile consideration.
- Feels very satisfying when all packed up—it’s flat and solid
- Dig that there are 11 different pockets for cards inside of this thing
- Looks like it should be folded into quarters, based on the stitch marks, but it’s just in half
- The aesthetic/form reminds us of a Jacob’s Ladders toy
- Our team has mixed feelings on the soft shell fabric—it’s very thin and lightweight, and SlimFold claims it’s similar to Gore-Tex and Kevlar, though one of our writers says it feels like Ikea—time will tell on the durability!
- Opening up the big wallet felt like an “event” in a good way – it’s easy to get access to any card you want quickly
- The flat carry is nice – barely noticed it in the pocket while using