Six Long Wallets To Go With Raw Denim

Chrome Hearts Long Wallet Featured Image

Our appreciation for denim owes a lot to the Japanese American Casual subculture. While some of its elements have been enthusiastically adopted by denimheads outside Japan – like work shirts, engineer boots, and heavyweight leather belts – others, like flashy souvenir jackets and rayon shirts, have mostly stayed in Asia.

The long wallet is somewhere in the middle. Though common in Japan, such wallets are rarely seen in American or Europe.  So where did the long wallet come from, and why should we care, anyway?

Like most of the other Japanese clothes that orbits around a nice pair of selvedge jeans, the long wallet had its origins in American culture – originally, such wallets were worn by bikers or truckers, usually with a chain.

Back then, America was still a cash-dominated culture, making the long wallet practical for men who spent a lot of time on the road and needed to carry plenty of cash with them. In addition, the chain helped to avoid accidentally leaving one’s wallet at a rest stop – or avoid instances of the biker’s wallet falling out of the back pocket while riding a motorcycle.

While wallet chains have become something of a fashion statement in certain subcultures, the long wallet itself all but disappeared from the American consciousness.  Today, slim and minimalist wallets dominate, and for many men, spending more than $40 on a wallet seems a bit ridiculous and excessive.

So where does Japan come into the story? During the 1980s, Keiichiro Gotoh traveled to the US and observed Native American leather and silver artisans, who inspired him to begin his own leather crafting company, Redmoon.

Influenced by Western saddles and belts crafted from saddle leather, Gotoh began experimenting with leather on his own. Through trial and error, he applied these techniques to wallets, and one of the company’s first products was the CW-02A, which introduced the long wallet in its familiar present form.

Long wallets were quickly adopted in Japan by fans of the burgeoning American Casual subculture and found a functional, not just fashionable, place in Japan. Unlike in the west, Japanese mostly pay by cash, and credit or debit cards are a rare exception. This made the long wallet immediately appealing for its greater storage space.

As American visitors to Japan may quickly notice, Japanese treat their cash with a great deal of care, and you’ll rarely (if ever) receive a wadded-up bill or decaying coins in Japan. Since long wallets don’t require bills to be folded or bent like in a bifold or trifold wallet, they keep your money neat and easy to access.

Outside of cash-based countries, long wallets aren’t a purely functional item (though in an age of cell phones, one could say much the same about watches.) But they do add a distinct touch to the denimhead’s outfit, which is rarely seen in the Occident.

Most men’s jeans – even slim-fitting pairs – aren’t very tight in the seat, and can often sag and look awkward over time. One benefit of the long wallet is that it can help even this out by filling up the rear pocket. So what are a few recommendations? Read on for six of our favorites.

Looking for our more compact alternatives? Check out our previous article, “12 Wallets To Go With Raw Denim“.

1. Redmoon CW-02A

Redmoon CW-02A Wallet

The first long wallet in its modern form, the CW-02A introduced many (maybe all) of the familiar elements. It has a snap enclosure with a native-style coin concho, a tough, thick design, and a braided rope with hanging strands and beads. These have been relentlessly copied by other brands, but the CW-02A was the original.

Though it’s available in several other colors, the raw Japanese cowhide leather is by far the most appealing. It’s pale white at first, but turns to a beautiful golden brown over time and molds comfortably to the shape of your body.

The downside is that such raw leather is vulnerable to indigo staining, and especially to raindrops that can permanently imprint the leather.  Though it’s machine stitched and the coin is nickel/brass alloy, the wallet’s design remains classic and attractive.  The nature of the leather and construction gives this wallet high potential for wabi-sabi aging over time.

The interior layout is simple, and while the card slot (which is designed to have cards stacked on each other, rather than side-by-side) seems less intuitive than separate slots, it actually helps to protect the cards from damage.

The only downside is the price – which, at about 43,000 yen (approximately $425.00 USD), is rather high for a wallet that’s not hand-stitched or equipped with real silver ornamentation. However, the biggest draw of the CW-02A is the leather – which I feel is unequally by any other saddle leather I’ve handled – and the basic, classic design. For those wanting simple functionality and classic styling, the CW-02A is a great place to start.

2. Obbi Good Label Freeman

Obbi Good Freeman Long WalletObbi Good has arguably done more than any other brand to bring the native-influenced styles of Japan to the attention of denimheads living around the world. The Singaporean brand does everything by hand with a small crew of leather artisans, and have developed their own style and identity over several years of leather crafting.

The Freeman is one of their signature long wallets. Though it has familiar elements such as a coin concho and snap flap, the layered stitching on the front gives it a unique vibe. The interior layout is similar to Redmoon’s standard, with the exception of six card slots for easier access.

The reasonable price ($280.00 USD) makes this a fine option for a first long wallet, although you will need to buy a rope or chain separately. The detailing and London Tan color (available in addition to raw and black colors) gives it a slightly European vibe that’s an innovation for Obbi Good as well as long wallets in general.

Obbi Good is also receptive to custom orders, so if you have something a bit different in mind, their leather artisans can probably accommodate it.

3. Hollows Leather

Hollows Leather Long Wallet

One of the most distinguished leather craftsmen to emerge in the denim scene in recent years is Nicholas Hollows. The man behind Hollows Leather, he’s quickly managed to develop a reputation for leather crafts that reach an ideal blend of vintage and modern, function and style.

Though he doesn’t offer a standard long wallet model and his workload prohibits custom orders at times, Hollows is a good choice for getting a completely custom long wallet that won’t break the bank. However, Hollows doesn’t seem to work with zippers – the coin pockets usually have a snap button enclosure.

4. Angelos Leather

Angelos Long Wallet

A small-scale Taiwanese leather shop, Angelos specializes in custom orders, and is another good choice for getting a long wallet made to your exact specifications that can be as simple or complex as you like. Their wallets are stitched with heavy-duty threads, and feature a sleek inner design that can be customized.

The leather is high-quality, and Angelos is especially distinguished by their excellent edge-burnishing – which means that the wallet will have smooth, sleek edges rivaling the quality of much more expensive wallets.

5. Kawatako

Kawatako Long Wallet

Kawatako has quickly established a reputation as one of Japan’s leading leather brands, and for good reason. They offer a large line of short, medium, and long wallets – ranging from fairly inexpensive machine-stitched wallets to ultimate quality hand-stitched items.

Kawatako‘s wallets are mostly made from European saddle leather, with a different color and texture compared to the more common American and Japanese varieties. They incorporate familiar features such as a coin case and several card slots, guaranteeing that the user will have plenty of room.

However, Kawatako is distinguished by minimalist designs – there’s no coin concho or decorative touches, only the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship. This wallet is equally at home in your back pocket, or in a bag, and suitable for casual and dressier apparel.

6. Flat Head FS-33C

The Flat Head FS-33C Long Wallet

Made at the Stockburg leather studio – located only minutes from Flat Head’s suburban headquarters – the FS-33C is one of Flat Head’s top-of-the-line long wallets.

Each of Stockburg’s wallets is made-to-order, allowing quite a bit of room to customize the exact specs of the wallet. Although quite expensive at 74,000 yen (approximately $730.00 USD), these wallets justify their price. The leather is Flat Head’s proprietary harness leather, which is tanned according to a unique process that takes twice as long as regular tanning; cordovan from the Shinki Leather Tannery is also available.

The concho and ring are hand-carved from 925 silver (one reason for the high price) and the wallets are hand-stitched with two intertwining strands of cow tendon thread for extreme durability.

One of the nice touches that separates the FS-33C from the competition is the lining – the yellow or red pigskin gives the inside of the wallet a clean appearance, and allows for smoother access to the bills and cards, which slide easily over the surface.

The interior features a sliding gusset for easy cash access, as well as several card slots on the right and another hidden under the coin case. The coin case is available in zipper form, but the insert flap deserves special note – it opens to a wide surface, giving you more space to handle your coins.

While Stockburg’s wallets still have a western vibe, their designs have a unique touch which separates them from other wallet brands. If you want a beautiful wallet that will last for a lifetime, it would be hard to outdo this.

Do you have any other long wallets you’d like to recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kyle

Kyle lived in Japan for several years and has worked in the denim industry. He likes writing, playing electric guitar, and listening to Japanese indie rock bands.

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  • Toocheapforthese

    I dabble in leather work and if I could find someone willing to pay the kind of money people are paying for these I’d quit my day job in a heartbeat. “These wallets justify their price”!? What a joke.

    • toocheaptotalk

      it would be great if you could share some of your price-justified-products bro :)

      • Stilltoocheapforthese

        In my mind, a dark and foggy place albeit, the work required to hand stitch one of these wallets is comparible to a one man brand guy like Ande Whall making a pair of jeans. Materials wise, ie leather vs selvage, I’m no expert but i can estimate that they are close to the dame cost but the tools required to make a pair of jeans far outweigh basic leather work tools in cost. So either we aren’t paying enough for a pair of jeans or they are charging too much for these wallets. Just my two cents. I suppose if people are buying these who the fuck am I to say. If I ever have a spare mortgage payment burning a hole in my pocket I still wouldn’t buy one of these wallets but more power to those who can.

        • Kyle

          I can’t speak for other brands but in Flat Head’s case, the Stockburg leather workshop has a 4-6 month backlog of orders, they have a hard time keeping up with the demand. So things are priced accordingly; it’s still expensive but makes more sense when you balance that against the size of the operation, the quality of the materials used, and the techniques involved.

          • falerbrand

            I just want to chime in, being my self a leather craftsmen. The cost of leather is one large factor in producing goods but the largest is the time involved in making a piece. Each leather wallet made is an artistic endeavor, making each unique and special. For a workshop like Stockburg or any for that matter, time(man hours) is a crucial part of what the item costs. Making jeans and making wallets is completely different, both in time and expertise. Sometimes consumers forget that the craftsmen and women( are real people not automated machines) need to provide for their families. Each item you purchase from a workshop like Stockburg not only shows tremendous attention to detail but has been touched by a real person who is expertly trained and should be paid accordingly. The cost of said items reflect their quality and craftsmanship…worth every penny.

    • Kyle

      It’s worth pointing out that a big part of the cost of that FH wallet is the silver; if you get one without it, it’s quite a bit less. Again, watch/jewelry analogy for why this stuff costs what it does.

  • cincinnatus

    I don’t find these very appealing to my taste. I think i’ve seen so many of these types of wallets paired with Jordans and Nike Free’s that it scorns my eyes a bit. I’m sure they are very nice but I don’t need to look like i’m wearing a tool belt to my desk job, as I already have a leather key fob. Tanner Tradesman Wallet maybe? Understated design, great quality, and affordable. Guess they are just too “played” though?

  • Matt Reyes

    Long wallets are actually from when suits were worn daily. People kept their wallet in their inner pockets, not their butt pockets back then. Instead of a wallet, guys would have handkerchiefs lol.

    • Kyle

      I’m aware of breast pocket wallets (I think I’ve got one somewhere, actually) but aside from the length, they don’t share much in common with the bigger trucker/biker-style wallets that are tougher and designed to go in a back pocket. But they are a nice compliment to a suit.

  • Johnson Benjamin

    Hmm. These look very well made, but not really to my personal taste/style.

  • Gee

    Good article Kyle covers most of the top drawer wallet brands that appeals to denim heads. I prefer mid length myself just long enough to peek out the top of the back pocket. It is hard to justify the price of these wallets but then hey, it’s hard to justify the price of my Iron Hearts to someone who only wears high street brands. Having owned 2 Obbi Goods Label wallets and bearing in mind they’re completely handmade they do represent the best value on the list and will age incredibly and last a lifetime.
    On the subject of value Born and Bred if your in the UK and Daeng Smith if your in BKK both do very good quality and affordable mid and long wallets.

  • Anotherpoorteen

    If i picked up one of these wallets ( with the belt strap aswell ) I wouldn’t have any money to put in it! I would love to have one though

  • Devan Prithipaul

    Another great article from Kyle, but really, how does a wallet go with raw denim? How a wallet goes with regular denim is already beyond me but how a wallet goes with raw denim? seems a bit far-fetched. seems more like a “Six Long Wallets that Raw Denim users like”. and missing voyej? however, i just got a wallet from there and the chain, hook thing broke -_-. Ill contact them once I am home and see what I can do.

    • Kyle

      Voyej makes great stuff, but I’ve never seen a long wallet by them; I would have included it if they did. I’d say that these wallets go with raw denim because most of them are made from saddle leather, silver, and other materials that will age over time along with your denim.

      • Devan Prithipaul

        I have a long wallet from Voyej the Acadia II, they have 3-4 models of long wallets. But doesnt regular leather also age, and most of the wallets dont have silver, only the flat head one i think.

      • Grandier

        Voyej do make long wallet, they have the standard long wallet and the travel wallet listed in their webstore.

        i personally find the wallets with silver button a bit…tacky. could you recommend a long wallet with a minimalist design?

        • Kyle

          Kawatako’s long wallets are pretty minimalist. Redmoon offers some simple designs, and all of the custom makers I mentioned (Obbi Good, Angelos, Hollows, Flat Head) can make a plain long wallet design if you’d like.

  • Walletpirate

    FINALLY AN ARTICLE ON LONG WALLETS AND DENIM. Long Wallets are awesome as they can actually be seen when worn at the back pocket of jeans. Whether brand-makes, customs or DIY’s, it is something really cool to have. Hand-tattoed long wallets are nice additions too!!! Nice article Kyle!!

  • BillygoatsGruff312

    Some of these look cool (really), but they seem like manboy purses. I mean, other than a cell phone, some credit cards and cash, what else are you carrying around that would warrant hauling around a wallet this size (in addition to your cell phone and case)?

    • Kyle

      Why wear a watch if you carry a cell phone around?

  • Theman

    What about tanner goods?!

  • bryan solid

    Not making a comment on anyone’s taste, but these are all pretty ugly. Not to mention, having something so massive in your pocket is just uncomfortable. Personally, I prefer a slim wallet and carry the minimum amount of stuff in it- ID, bank card, cash, a few other pieces of ID.

    Can’t imagine ever needing a European Carry All (Seinfeld fans will get this) in my pocket.

  • Minnesota

    Hats off to you Kyle. It’s about time somebody wrote about the long wallets. The more I hear about how much people dislike long wallets the more I appreciate them. 6 or 7 years ago people used to make fun of my jeans and called the back pockets odd. Now I wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of true religion jeans. Now people find it weird that I would pay $300 plus for a pair of jeans and then on top of it wear them at the least a month straight without washing them. In my opinion accessories are what makes the outfit. So if I can shell out money for some raw denim, some red wing boots and whatever else I decide to throw on my long wallet just compliments the look. And the biggest plus of all is I’m almost guaranteed to be the only one wearing one. I don’t want to spend big money on quality items just to look like everybody else ( TRUE RELIGION ). And just case anybody cares I actually posted some videos on you tube showing off some of my goods. NorthstarAlchemist Or just type in redmoon and the flat head long wallet.

  • wowza!!!!

    This is a article???? This “article” is opinions from someone that knows nothing ! Come on rawr!! Get some real writers.

  • Thomas

    What’s the leather on the first photo? Harness or Shell?