This is a hands-on review of the Aviator Slide Wallet, the America Edition with a 3D-printed cash clip.
The evolution of wallets is an interesting thing. We started with the thick, classic multi-folds that our dads used. From there, we saw the slim models that try to balance the charming aesthetic of yesteryear wallets with the unimposing build of modern cardholders.
The wallet I’ve been using for the past month and a half is a special edition, design-wise, but built just like any of Aviator’s core aluminum slide wallets. It’s a slim holder for cards and bills.
Read on to see if it’s right for you!
If you don’t have time to read the full review just now, here’s a quick overview!
- The design and style is uniquely industrial yet classy at the same time.
- It’s made with high-quality materials that are strong and efficient including anodized aluminum and a perfectly rendered 3D-printed cash clip plate.
- Though most people won’t need to use it, you can use the accompanying tool to expand the wallet’s capacity from its preset nine cards all the way up to 21.
- It boasts efficient architecture, providing not only a lot of room in little space, but user-friendly features, such as a pull tab and a thumb slot that lets you fan your cards out, all of which make it easy and fast to extract and store.
- This wallet is RFID-blocking.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- I didn’t like that I had to read instructions to use a wallet.
- I like that the wallet is weighty since it adds substance and feels premium, but I can see that being a dealbreaker especially compared to much lighter card holders made of leather.
- The coins hang loose in the coin compartment and clatter around noisily unless tightly packed.
- The cash clip’s location on the outside of the wallet fully advertises to the world and would-be thieves that you’ve got cash on your person.
Aviator was founded by Andreas Jung and Thorsten Fleckenstein in Alzenau, Germany. Naturally, their focus was to create a wallet built with the Fatherland’s famed engineering and meticulously-disciplined attention to detail.
They launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 after, as their website puts it, endless hours using CAD and 3D-printed forerunners.
The project? A slim, metal wallet that was strong and sophisticatedly architectured.
Today, Aviator is still known for their German science-backed wallets made of metal, including aluminum and titanium. They’ve also expanded to carbon fiber (a polymer, but arguably metal-adjacent in its function and aesthetic) and even wood wallets.
Their wallets come in different colors, and feature a modular quality, which we’ll get into in the review of the Slide Wallet that I’ve been using.
The Slide Wallet
As mentioned, I’ve been running around town with a special issue of the Slide Wallet, the America Edition. Let me quickly tell you how it’s different from the regular Slides, since the distinction is simply visual.
It comes from their Country Edition subline, each wallet adorned with a 3D-printed cash clip representing a specific nation.
My “America Edition” features a simplified American flag pattern. The Swiss Edition has the Swiss Federal Cross, while the Canada Edition has a maple leaf. The latter two are constructed with red aluminum but mine is in blue.
Both of these colors are also available in the non-edition line of Slide Wallets. Still, the stars and stripes on my cash clip are impeccably printed.
The Slide Wallet: First Impressions and Design
I had both good and bad first impressions of the wallet — simultaneously.
I thought it looked impressive and cool, and I couldn’t wait to tinker with it. It really is more like a piece of gear in that sense.
However, and maybe I’m just lazy, I found the fact that I needed to read instructions to figure my way around a wallet immediately irritating.
Fortunately, the instructions were simple, easy to read, and came with illustrations. It took about three minutes to learn how to use the Slide Wallet, though I can’t say I enjoyed those three minutes.
Again, maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of reading manuals, and the fact a wallet came with instructions was jarring for me. To be fair, a more reasonably patient man would simply refer to this as “a new user experience for a new kind of wallet.”
Plus, the instructions basically did just two things.
First, they showed you where everything goes. Cards go in the front where there’s a pull tab and a cover card that your items sit on top of so as not to damage the embossing.
The coins go in a pull-out acrylic compartment that sits behind the main unit and works like a drawer.
Second, they instructed you to pull on the plate attached to the band (where the stars and stripes are 3D-printed), to break in the elastic.
The rest of it is pretty intuitive. You can use the thumb slot to push your cards out or the interior strap to pull them out, and you can use the divot on the back of the wallet to pull the coin compartment out.
Spec-wise, it’s made out of strong anodized aluminum, which makes the blue look almost like a fascinating aquamarine, especially with the subtle brushing on the surface.
It’s also RFID-blocking, secured in with exposed stainless steel screws, and is preset to hold up to nine cards, but can be expanded.
The Slide Wallet’s dimensions are 85.5 millimeters by 45 millimeters so about the size of a standard card holder. The 10.5-millimeter height makes it much thicker though.
What I Like About the Aviator Slide Wallet
I love the look of this piece. It’s precise, polished, and combines an industrial vibe with undeniable sleekness and, dare I say, even elegance.
The color is vivid and shiny, but not flashy, while the 3D printing on the elastic band’s plate is, as mentioned, perfectly rendered. It’s also stylishly charming.
It’s definitely heavier than a slim leather wallet, though I wouldn’t say it’s burdensome. I actually like this about the Slide Wallet though because it gives it a sense of substance while still being lighter than a set of keys.
The pull tab makes getting the cards out easy, while the thumb slot gives you instant access to your most used credit or debit card.
The elastic band doesn’t go all the way up the length of your card stack, so you can even fan out your cards securely without them falling out. This helps you easily find any card in the stack.
I do love that the wallet is modular and that it comes with a tool that allows you to loosen the screws, widen the card capacity, then tighten them again.
I will say that the up-to-nine card unit is more than enough for most people in the age of Apple and Google Pay.
The coin slot is easy to pull out, yet stays tight in its place when you put it back in.
And finally, all of Aviator’s wallets are 100% made in Germany (which is evident in its stereotypically precise engineering) and come with lifetime warranties.
What I Don’t Like About Aviator Slide Wallet
As mentioned, it was weird to have to read instructions on how to use a wallet, even if it didn’t take up too much of my time.
I like the cash strap on the back, but it does advertise the fact you have cash on your person every time you take your wallet out.
I also like that it’s expandable and modular, as mentioned, but when I tested the wallet’s expansion, I found myself getting impatient about unscrewing all eight screws, then rescrewing them.
Again, this is more about my own antsiness and less about the construction. The tool the wallet came with is perfectly capable and effective in doing what it needs to do.
Finally, the coin compartment can hold about four quarters comfortably, and it holds them pretty loosely. That means you’ll hear a lot of clattering around unless you pack the wallet tightly. I recommend putting paper currency in there to keep everything in place.
This compartment is also a good place to keep a loose key or two.
I can see myself using it as a safer alternative to hiding a key under the rug in case I forgot my key fob.
If I’m going to be completely honest, I never had any interest in these hard-shelled wallets coming out from the Dangos and The Ridges of the world.
I also fancied myself a more classic, leather kind of guy. In fact, I only ditched my bulky bifold in the last four-ish years.
But I have to say that the Aviator Slide Wallet really speaks to the EDC fan in me. It’s efficient and secure, which checks the practical side of my EDC enthusiasm, but also has that stylish “shiny ball” factor that satisfies the love for aesthetics that comes from my style and artsy side.
Am I going to ditch my slim leather wallet for it? Probably not, but the fact it goes so well with my personalized Swiss Army Knife (which is always on my person), makes me want to do a simple two-wallet rotation, something I never thought I’d consider.
Do you like hard-shelled wallets? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!