Several months ago, I reviewed an awesome belt from Mike over at Wild Frontier Goods in Tokyo, Japan. I not only loved the belt, but I also started to chat often to Mike through Instagram. During one of our conversations, he asked if he could send me a wallet for review and I was more than happy to oblige given how nice the belt and bracelet I had from him were.
I also jumped at this chance because I really like the direction Mike has taken the brand. The bracelet and wallet designs are some of my favorites on the market today and the leather used is always top notch, vegetable tanned Japanese saddle leather, often dyed with natural materials such as indigo and kakishibu. There are quite a few designs and more importantly, all of them are quite good in my eyes.
The specific wallet I have today is a very simple, but elegant card case. It is a special makeup that Mike did for me, knowing the types of colors and leathers that I personally prefer. The pictures will show that he did an excellent job. The two leathers used here are both from the very highly regarded Tochigi tannery in Himeji, Japan. Their vegetable tanned saddle leather is quite famous and I was excited to compare it to two of the other Himeji tanneries, Shinki and Shonan.
On the outside of the wallet is absolutely gorgeous golden, burnt amber leather. For those who like lighter browns and tans, but don’t like how much natural leather patinas, this should be a perfect alternative. The grain is very even and the leather is stiff, without feeling unpleasantly stubborn. The color is really the standout. It is not entirely even, which helps impart a beautiful depth to it, helped by the vibrance of the shade. The inner leather is a lighter burgundy color that is probably more accurately described as oxblood. It looks quite nice and pairs wonderfully with the outer leather, though it is not as quite as much of a standout as that amber leather, despite my love of dark read anything.
In terms of capacity, don’t expect anything crazy. This is a very compact and simple card case and nothing more. If you want more room, Wild Frontier Goods has plenty of other options. The smaller front pockets can fit 2 cards while the rear pockets can each fit 3 cards, but access to each is obviously more difficult with that many so it would be more comfortable to have one in each front and 2 in each rear pocket.
One aspect of Wild Frontier Goods that I love is that Mike does the patterns, cuts the leather, hand stitches, and dyes all of the leathers that utilize natural indigo or kakishibu himself. Overall, this wallet is very well put together. The edges are very nicely burnished and everything is very cleanly and evenly cut. The saddle stitching is also very nicely done as well. Continuing his use of only high quality materials, he utilized flat Japanese polyester thread for the stitches. It is quite thick and substantial and has me reassured that this wallet will hold up for quite some time. Certainly, it is much thicker than the thread used on my Mill Handmade wallet.
On the other hand, the stitching is not quite as cleanly executed as the Mill Handmade wallet is. This at least partly due to the fact that the threads are so different in size. The Wild Frontier Goods wallet has a much more rugged and tough feel to it while the Mill Handmade wallet is more complex and refined. That is not to say that both are not strong and beautiful, but they each have different strengths. The WFG wallet has some stitches that are not all the same length and you can see some minor wrinkling in the leather where the stitches are if you look closely, but overall this is very well made. There are not actually wonky stitches at all, and the workmanship is quite good overall. If Niwa Leathers is the White Kloud of wallets, then my Mill Handmade Wallet is the equivalent of my Moto boots and Wild Frontier Goods is equivalent to Wesco.
Niwa Leathers and White Kloud are perfection on a level that is almost unfathomable and also must be ordered in person. Moto and Mill Handmade are extremely well made with very tight stitching, and Wesco and Wild Frontier Goods are rugged, durable, and much better made than most of the competition. Another important point to make is that Mike’s stitch work has improved massively over the time that I have followed his brand. This shows great dedication to the craft and makes me more and more excited to see the future of his work.
In addition, do not forget that Mike has some beautiful leathers, some really cool sashiko and denim fabrics, and some wonderful natural dyes available. This and his many wallet and bracelet styles to choose help him stand out in the very crowded leather goods market. Perhaps most appealing, however, is the pricing of Wild Frontier Goods’… goods. This card case is completely made by hand, including the stitching, and it only sells for $150 on his website. That is ridiculously low pricing when you add everything up. In fact, it is an absolute steal.
This wallet may be sent for review, but keep in mind that I was the one who originally reached out to Mike in order to purchase a kakishibu belt and I have purchased 3 bracelets from him since then. There is a reason more than half of my wrist bling is from him. He makes some really awesome goods that I actually believe in. I also happen to think he is a really cool and genuine dude who is a hardcore denim head, not to mention that he is the reason I have my Moto boots.
Obviously, I am not completely unbiased here, but there are several reasons that I am so partial to Mike’s work. His designs and materials are unique and high quality and his workmanship is very good. Instead of pretending not to be biased,* I prefer to be as open and honest as possible. I do put my money where my mouth is and have bought several Wild Frontier Goods products and will likely purchase more in the future. If you are looking for a new wallet or bracelet, check out his website https://www.wildfrontiergoods.com/shop or send him a DM on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wildfrontiergoodsbrand/ . I doubt you will be disappointed.
*Human beings are not capable of being completely objective