March 05, 2022 6 min read

Everyone needs a good wallet, but companies often make luxury wallets that don’t have ethics or sustainability in mind. The good news is there are some incredible and sustainable alternatives to leather wallets.

Let’s look at some of the best alternative non-leather wallets made from eco-friendly materials, vegan leather, and upcycled materials.

Why Choose a Leather Alternative Wallet?

Ethical leather wallets do not exist. Even the most expensive leather wallet is not a sustainable choice because it’s an animal byproduct; millions of animals are killed every year just for leather. Not only is it cruel to animals, but leather is also cruel to the environment. Leather is often tanned, which means around 250 toxic chemicals like cyanide, chromium, and arsenic are being used.

You should switch to using a sustainable wallet because they minimize their impact on the environment by using materials that are eco-friendly. This could be canvas, cotton, hemp, cork, banana leaves, etc.

You may also find that companies use upcycled materials like recycled feed bags, bicycle tires, kite sails, billboards, and cement bags, to name a few. There are also vegan leather wallets that will get you the closest feel to a leather wallet.

Materials Used in Leather Alternative Wallets

There is a wide variety of leather alternative materials, some more popular than others. Keep the below materials in mind when choosing a vegan wallet.

Canvas

A canvas wallet may not sound all that impressive; however, a wide range of brands, including designer brands, offer canvas wallets. Canvas is a long-lasting, durable material known for its resemblance to leather.

Canvas wallets offer individuality and variety where leather wallets cannot. That’s a big reason why so many people prefer them. Canvas wallets come in a wide range of designs and colors.

One major pro for canvas wallets vs. leather wallets is their ability to keep clean. Canvas wallets can easily be cleaned with a mild detergent mixed with water and a soft-bristled brush.

Paper

Believe it or not, paper is an excellent alternative to leather. Of course, the "fabric" used is paper; it’s not the most durable leather alternative option, but it’s more durable than you think. An example of its incredible durability can be seen in our Debut Paper Backpack.

These wallets are extremely thin and light; the paper fabric has significant pros. This is it is 100% recyclable and the use of otherwise discarded materials being used in the production of new products.

Nylon/Polyester

You may be wondering, which do I choose, Nylon or Polyester? Well, nylon isn’t better than polyester, and polyester isn’t better than nylon. However, they both have slight differences from each other that can make one better than the other in high-performance situations. Still, when it comes to choosing between nylon and polyester for a vegan alternative to a leather wallet, it comes down to aesthetics and value.

Nylon and polyester wallets are great alternatives to leather wallets because both nylon and polyester are quality synthetic threads. Nylon is excellent for its water resistance, and polyester is perfect for its UV resistance.

Nylon and polyester don’t wrinkle or age quickly; they’re lightweight and not as bulky as leather wallets. Overall, this means you’ll have a sturdy and durable wallet.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane, a common type of vegan leather, is a product that uses a combination of synthetic and natural ingredients. In appearance, polyurethane can look highly similar to genuine leather, which makes it a great alternative aesthetically.

Polyurethane isn’t the best leather alternative, but it’s a solid choice because the fact that it uses fewer resources than leather to make makes it more sustainable. Not only does it use fewer resources than leather, but polyurethane products also cost less than genuine leather because it’s easier to manufacture.

On top of its lesser cost and requiring fewer resources, polyurethane doesn’t dry out over time and doesn’t absorb water, which makes it easy to clean.

Cork

Cork is one of the alternatives that best mimics leather regarding function and form. The production process of cork sheets is pretty straightforward.

Cork is an easily recycled, completely natural product. It comes from cork oak trees which are harvested every nine years and have a life span of over two hundred years. This makes it a sustainable material to use.

Cork planks are left out to dry for about six months to get them flat and improve the quality. This results in cork planks that are then treated with fungicide and heated water to remove dirt and make the materials flexible. The cork is then pressed into blocks that are later sliced into thin sheets that are used for cork products.

Leather has a lot of heavy chemical processing; cork production is almost entirely chemical-free. 

Incredible Alternatives to Leather Wallets

Here are some of our favorite incredible alternatives to leather wallets.

Corkor Slim Bifold Wallet

A brown bifold wallet with six card slots and a cash compartment.

Corkor makes all of its products from certified cork. This means that the cork oak forest they harvest from is protected, and conscious harvest practices are used to prevent deforestation. The products are all 100% animal-free and have PETA’s vegan certification.

The wallets behave and feel like the traditionally used leather wallets. So if you want a wallet that looks like genuine leather, don’t worry. You can choose a wallet from Corkor that shows off the natural cork material, or you can choose one that looks like genuine leather.

Doshi Mini Wallet

 

 

 

The Doshi Mini wallet is a simple yet smart mini-wallet that shows that the best wallet leather doesn't have to be leather at all. It’s luxurious and made from durable, microfiber vegan leather. It can keep all of your cards organized and be carried in a purse or via the wristlet. Its high-quality construction, a detachable wristlet, PETA-Approval, and RFID protection make it a great choice.

When Doshi sets out to make a product, we consider the materials being used, how the product is being made and look to find ways that we can make the product last. Synthetic materials have made considerable strides in minimizing the resources used to create them. We do our best to find factories that purchase recycled base material and reduce chemicals and solvents when making their materials.

Green Banana Paper

 A front and back view of a bifold wallet made from patterned paper depicting a blue sky and banana plants.

The company Green Banana Paper makes wallets made from natural banana fiber. They extract the fibers from sustainably sourced banana trees and use the threads to create a leather-like material. This material is tear-resistant, lightweight, naturally water-resistant, and biodegradable.

Green Banana Paper uses rainwater and solar power to create their products. The wallets feature a one-year warranty and have designs inspired by the islands.

Roy RFID Wallet

A fabric bifold wallet in navy blue with black and white stripes across the upper right corner.

One of the best things about polyester compared to leather is how easy it is to customize it. Polyester wallets come in so many options, which allows you to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The Roy Wallet from Herschel benefits significantly from this. This wallet is a classic bi-fold wallet with card slots, a currency sleeve, and an RFID blocking layer. The Roy RFID Waller comes in six different fashionable designs.

Dash Slim Wallet 5.0

A black cardholder wallet.

Source

Dash Slim has created this ultra-light synthetic canvas wallet using the same material as many luxury brands.

This wallet is exceptionally durable, features RFID is lightweight, and can hold up to 10 cards while still being minimal. The cards can be stored via the pull tab on the backside of the wallet.

The wallet is weatherproof, durable, animal-free, and 100% vegan. Furthermore, they use premium microfiber leather that are pressed and finished to be more weatherproof and durable than genuine leather. In addition to this, the Dash Slim Wallet 5.0 is recyclable and eco-friendly.

Wrapping Up

Here on the Doshi Blog, we want to encourage and support people in buying and wearing vegan and ethical products.

Vegan products are just as timeless as the conventional version; they also have price advantages. When you compare vegan designer items to ones made of genuine leather, you’ll often find that the vegan options are cheaper. For these reasons, vegan accessories/products make great alternatives!

Are you interested in getting vegan accessories to finish the look? We offer a variety of handmade designer vegan options. You can check out our women’s wallet options here and our men's wallet options here.


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