The Best Slim Wallet: Bellroy Elements Sleeve

About 2 years ago I purchased Bellroy’s Card Sleeve in “cocoa”. It was great except for one thing. Prior to the Card Sleeve I had developed the sensible habit of only purchasing wallets with a spare key holder. Before my habit, I’d been locked out of my home on occasion as a result of losing my key, or forgetting to unbundle my home and car keys when loaning my vehicle to a family member. Incidents like that can easily lead to a “Gates Gate”, and that's no fun for anyone. Needless to say, though I loved my Card Sleeve, I missed the security of a spare key in my wallet. Back-up plans are a good thing. Speaking of contingencies, I also prefer to have a wallet with a couple of honest-to-goodness cards and identification, as opposed to solely relying on Apple Pay, or alternatively conjoining my phone case and wallet into the love-it-or-hate-it mutant wallet phone case. Sentinels hate it. Still, I am mostly a minimalist and refuse to carry an Indiana Jones satchel as a wallet.

Enter the Elements Sleeve.

Bellroy’s Elements Sleeve, is awesome. The reason for the Elements Sleeve’s name, is its resistance to earth, wind, water and… well, maybe not so much that other element. Even so, you will be hard pressed to find a thinner wallet that offers more protection and still holds up to 6 cards. The Elements Sleeve is mostly made from one piece of folded leather for an extremely durable finish. One component not a part of the main folded hide, is the pull-tab, which makes reaching your cards super convenient; Bellroy has (or had) a patent pending on the mechanism and carries it over from some of its other wallets. Simply, all of the above makes for a stellar product, but the coup de maître is undoubtedly space for my beloved spare key. Bellroy included a holster for a spare key on the back side of the pull-tab; as you pull the tab up to gain access to your cards and cash, it also raises the spare key. Brilliant. I've owned at least 10 wallets in my life, ranging in price from about $30.00USD to $100.00USD. The Elements Sleeve is by far, my favorite wallet of all that I have owned. Considering that it will likely be my wallet for a long (long) time I think it well worth the price ($69.99USD to $89.99USD).

So what’s wrong with the Elements Sleeve? In short, not much, if anything.

I have been using (and abusing) the Elements Sleeve for a little under a year now; the pictures immediately above are most recent. My gripes are purely stylistic. For example, I wish I could have purchased the Elements Sleeve in the Cognac color without light colored stitching; the contrast between the leather and stitching makes it a tad flashier than I would like. The thread color that sandwiches the pull-tab on the protective flap would have been perfect to use as the sole thread color. Relatedly, I imagine that potential customers would like the ability to choose different thread and leather color combinations, though I wouldn't hold my breath for a plethora of different colors. The Elements Sleeve is currently available in 3 colors, black, brown and gray (or black, "cognac", "slate") and Bellroy states: 

We really want to make products that are used and loved for years, and so we try and pick more classic colors. If you really want us to do something brighter, get some friends together and start a petition. We might still be convinced!

Bellroy also shows customers the best way to use the Elements Sleeve, but you may miss it, so I’ll say it here explicitly. Tuck the protective flap under the front card pocket, and then insert your most used card. In other words, insert that card after closing-up-shop, so that you can remove and insert said card without disturbing or untucking the flap.

You can’t do better than the Elements Sleeve if you are in the market for a minimalist wallet.


It’s durable, resistant to the elements, has a spare key holder, and has a beautiful understated design. I will add my own warning to Bellroy’s good advice of avoiding the back-problems of a Costanza Wallet: ‘to all those brandishing a mutant wallet phone case, beware the Sentinels’.