Bellroy “Note Sleeve” Men’s Wallet Review

Last modified on January 12th, 2017

Despite the amount of cool technology I own (iPads, iPhones, etc.), I actually don’t really spend much money on anything else in my life, other than plane tickets when I travel. While I appreciate new clothes, my brain rarely comes up with the idea that I actually go buy some new ones. The one exception to that is socks – whenever I see a nice pair I generally always buy them. Which is why I probably own about 100 pairs (and even then it’s hard to find a matching pair from time to time).

That said, one personal item I have been shopping for recently is a new wallet. I can’t say that I’ve ever owned anything special in that department; usually I just head down to the mall and buy whatever I can find, often some faux-leather item for about $20.

But recently an Australian company called Bellroy has been in the news for adding some sex appeal in the wallet department, and a few articles caught my eye. What I liked about some of their wallets was the thought put into what guys actually put in their wallets. Anyone who has seen Seinfield can probably relate with the size of George’s wallet. Between my personal cards and my company ones, my wallet generally fills up pretty quick. Since I’m fairly used to downsizing things in my life due to travel, I thought now would be a good time to downsize the contents of my wallet while upsizing the coolness factor.

Bellroy has two lines of men’s wallets, one where the owner is expected to fold their bills (i.e. their money), and one line where they don’t. I have a hard enough time folding clothes let alone money, so I opted for the line where most bills can slide right in. And since I wanted something relatively minimalistic, I eventually opted for the Bellroy Note Sleeve Wallet:

A wallet should adjust to your lifestyle rather than forcing you to adjust to it. Inspired by tradition but brought to life through modern craft, our Note Sleeve incorporates first-rate construction and a versatile style that enables this slim wallet to alternate between work and leisure environments with ease. The Note Sleeve hits the sweet spot of functionality and sleekness, with a range of user-friendly features in a compact design that does away with pocket bulge. This leather wallet holds unfolded bills and coins, with easy-access slots for your main cards and a storage area with a convenient pull tab for infrequently used cards.

At $89, it’s definitely not a cheap item. But as I get older I much prefer buying higher quality items less frequently than cheaping out and having to replace items all the time. That’s always been my philosophy with technology – since my whole career path has been inspired and based off of most of the technology I use, I never hesitate spending money when it comes to anything gadget-wise. So I decided to start adopting that same philosophy in a few other areas of my life as well.

Unboxing the Bellroy Note Sleeve Wallet

I chose the express shipping option, so my wallet arrived approximately one week after I ordered it. When I opened the containing envelope, I was pleasantly surprised with the actual packaging of the wallet itself. Here is my detailed Bellroy Note Sleeve Wallet review.

Packaged 'Note Sleeve' Wallet

Packaged ‘Note Sleeve’ Wallet

The wallet itself was encased in a thin protective paper, which in theory should minimize any scratches or what-not during the packaging process.

Sliding the wallet out

Sliding the wallet out

I say ‘in theory’ because my wallet did have a few very minor scuff marks on it when I removed the paper, but nothing really that noticeable. I assume all leather ultimately will scuff to some degree, so it’s no big deal. But I was surprised the leather wasn’t essentially pristine when I pulled it out.

Wallet with protective paper removed

Wallet with protective paper removed

Other than a few velcro wallets I had when I was a kid, every wallet I can remember has been black. This time I decided to try a different colour and opted for the brown version. I have to say, it did look pretty sexy when I pulled it out of the protective paper, so I’m glad I made that decision.

Wallet, removed from packaging

Wallet, removed from packaging

One of the goals for this new purchase was to significantly cut down on the contents of my wallet. To that end, I’ve basically opted to only carry the following inside:

  • Driver’s license in the card slot contained in the bill area
  • Personal VISA and debit card in the main card area, since these are used the most frequently
  • Business VISA in the one-card slot opposite the main card area
  • Nexus card (for US travel), two business debit cards, and my gym membership in the card drawer that pulls out
  • A few Canadian bills
Inside of the 'Note Sleeve' Wallet

Inside of the ‘Note Sleeve’ Wallet

So in total I have one ID card, two high-use cards, one medium-use card, and four low-use cards. Compared to my other wallet, that’s not a lot of content. But the reality is that I don’t think I could fit any more inside, and I’m ok with that.

Final Thoughts

I’ve only been using the wallet for about 12 hours, but already I’m extremely happy with the purchase. When you hold the wallet, it definitely feels like a high quality item. The placement of the cards is intuitive, and as long as you spend some time grouping items by how often you use them, the wallet is really functional. I also like the fact that you can store a bunch of different cards in the little pull-out drawer – it makes it so you can bring a few of the lesser used cards, but not enough to make the wallet thick or unmanageable.

'Note Sleeve' Wallet next to an iPhone 5

‘Note Sleeve’ Wallet next to an iPhone 5

If you’re not prepared to downsize your current wallet (assuming you have a typical sized one), then you should definitely opt for one of the larger Bellroy wallets. But for me, this wallet is the perfect size, and it’s a high-quality item that I think is definitely worth the price paid for it.

If you’re looking to buy this wallet, then check out Note Sleeve Wallet on Amazon – I love mine personally, and it’s definitely the best wallet I’ve ever owned.

January 2017 Update – I still have and use this wallet, and it’s going strong.

Other Bestselling Wallets

If you’re looking for a new wallet but aren’t a particular fan of the Bellroy Note Sleeve Wallet, then check out some of these other bestselling wallets. I don’t have experience with any of them, but they all have a lot of good reviews.

36 responses to “Bellroy “Note Sleeve” Men’s Wallet Review”

  1. Beth says:

    OK, so I have to ask: What did you carry in your previous wallet beyond what you are now carrying in this one, and where are those items now?

  2. Duane Storey says:

    I had to ditch a few backup cards. For example, I have a PC financial bank account card that I rarely use, so I left it out. I also pulled out a lot of business cards and what-not that I have been lugging around.

  3. I’ve been wanting some sort of minimalist type wallet (my current wallet is definitely a George Constanza sized thing) but haven’t really looked around. So how big is this thing? In the pictures is looks quite large to be honest, but there is no frame of reference so who knows.

  4. Duane Storey says:

    Yah, I need to add some photos with all the cards in, but I haven’t had a chance yet. Give me a few minutes and I’ll add a few new shots.

  5. John says:

    I made the switch to a minimalist wallet years ago…not as nice looking as Duane’s but it gets the job done for $7. If it doesn’t fit inside it, I don’t need it. This approach has worked well for years. I’m still surprised how many people carry around their SIN card among other unnecessary cards everywhere.

    The thing to remember is when you go to a smaller wallet, it often feels like you don’t have one at all compared to the Constanza one you may have used…so it takes a bit to not feel like you lost your wallet.

    Capsul Case Wallet on Amazon

  6. Duane Storey says:

    John – the only card I think that should probably be in there that isn’t right now is my Care Card. I can probably stuff it in though. I don’t use it very often, but they seem to ask for it whenever I end up at a clinic or what-not, and I know I would forget to bring it otherwise.

    But I agree – it’s so much thinner now, and it’s much nicer to lug around.

  7. John says:

    I don’t even carry my Care Card with me…I’ve got the number on my phone in case I need it in emergency (which I’ve had to use and never got grief about not having the card) but all the places that need it already have it. Soon that will be moot too with the combined Enhanced Driver’s License card that’s available.

  8. Duane Storey says:

    It looks like the Enhanced Driver’s License is something else as far as I can tell (primarily to get into the US). I did find information on a combined normal driver’s license though and the Care Card:

    But I’ll take your word for it since you work at ICBC 🙂 But the Enhanced Driver’s License info on ICBC’s site doesn’t mention Care Cards as far as I can see, and that link above doesn’t mention the Enhanced one.

  9. Duane Storey says:


    “*Exception: The Enhanced Driver’s Licence cannot be combined with a BC Services Card. If you have an EDL, you will need to get a Photo BC Services Card.”

    So looks like it’s only for normal licenses right now.

  10. Curtis McHale says:

    My current wallet is an elastic around my drivers license and 2 debit card (personal and business). Tuck some folded bills in the middle and I’ve been pretty okay with that for a year.

    That said I have been on the lookout for a new slim wallet. Too bad their smallest one is sold out currently. Have to bookmark it and check back later so I can get one.

  11. John – that Capsul Case from MEC is pretty much *exactly* what I’ve been looking for. Think I’ll take a trip down MEC way at lunch today to get a hands-on look at it. Thanks!

  12. John says:

    Duane: Yeah, I just meant the combined DL & Medical card…not the enhanced. While I work at the mothership, I’m nowhere near that stuff.

  13. Bryan says:

    Was the shipping to Canada expensive?
    Did you have to pay duty?

  14. Neil says:

    Beth, the idea is to save all your Credit Card Numbers, Pictures, Receipts (which are scanned using the phone camera and stored in Evernote, onto your phone. Credit Card Numbers are saved into a Password Database called SplashID (which is excellent). In your wallet you keep essential cards like cash card and your Security ID for work. All the other cards are kept at home in a safe place.

  15. Beth says:

    Neil – I’ve never seen a store that would let you just tell them the credit card number rather than actually swiping your physical credit card. And especially now that credit cards all have chip-and-PIN, I can’t imagine them letting me not produce my actual card.

  16. Mark says:

    Duane, nice review. How well do Canadian bills fit in the Note Sleeve? I’ve read that our bills don’t fit well in some of the Bellroy wallets because they are larger than most other currencies. Thanks in advance.

  17. Duane Storey says:

    @Mark – I’ve had Canadian bills, Euros, US Dollars, and recently the Brazilian Real in the Note Sleeve – they all seem to fit pretty good for me!

  18. Bill Murcko says:

    Just received my new Note Sleeve today. Wow, what a difference from my old tri fold. So slim I can barely tell its in my back pocket. I really liked the additional pockets in the bill fold where you can store extra cards not only in the card sleeve, but if you want hide one in the coin sleeve (it fits). The pocket for less used cards is cool too, with the pull tab. Premium quality leather with excellent craftsmanship, I look forward to see how it holds up.
    So far so good, excellent product.

  19. Bill Murcko says:

    Holding 3 cc’s, 1 health card, 1 dl, 1 fishing license, 1 gas card, a couple bills
    Super slim can barely tell its even in my back pocket.

  20. Duane Storey says:

    Hi Bill – Glad you hear your experience matches mine. I love my wallet, and I can’t imagine ever buying a ‘Walmart special’ again after using this one.

  21. Matt Steen says:

    I have been looking at this wallet, and a few others, rather obsessively for a week. Here is my question: how does this fit in your front pocket?

    I converted to a front pocket wallet several years ago, and don’t want to go back… my fear is that this will be too big for my front pocket, what do you think?

  22. Duane Storey says:

    @Matt – I usually have it in my back pocket, but it’s easy to fit in the front (I had it there in Barcelona for a few days due to lots of pickpocketers). As Bill pointed out above, it’s a very slim wallet, even with cards in it. But I’ve never used a dedicated front pocket wallet before, so I don’t know how the Bellroy compares in size. They do have a few smaller versions as well I believe.

  23. Shane says:

    Being Canadian, we deal with the coin dilemma. I don’t always have space in my pockets, and they end up in my wallet. Is this wallet going to work for me?

  24. Duane Storey says:

    @Shane – I’ve never used my wallet for change – I always put change in my pocket. If you want a wallet that can store change, then this probably isn’t the one for you. But considering I mostly pay with debit/credit cards these days, it’s not a huge deal for me.

  25. Shane says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ve decided to go with the Bellroy pocket book wallet instead. Cheers!

  26. Matt says:

    Hello, First off thank-you for the great review. I’m looking for a new wallet and am considering this one. I too am Canadian and would like a wallet that could hold a couple of toonies and loonies. Now the Bellroy site claims that the business card pocket inside the bill area can be used to hold change, how feasible do you think this would be? I know it would make the wallet thicker but would the change stay in there or do you think it would fall out too easily? Thanks!

  27. Seb says:

    Thanks for the review. I went with the slim sleeve model a couple of months ago. Like you, mine was not pristine when pulling out of the package.

    I’m a bit disappointed by the aspect of the leather. Mine is kinda glossy, while it seemed “mate” on the website.

    Overall, I’m satisfied though, and can’t help but smiling when I see people holding brick wallets.

  28. luci says:

    i’m wondering the same thing as matt (november 13, 2013): can the note sleeve hold a few loonies and toonies in the pocket inside the bill slot? would coins be liable to fall out?

    good review and very timely since i, too, stumbled on the bellboy website and found it intriguing.

    cheers from a lonely planet writer and iyengar yoga instructor based in vancouver

  29. Duane Storey says:

    @Luci – I think you could hold a few coins, but I personally wouldn’t want to. The whole point of a slim wallet for me is to keep it lean and mean! Thanks for dropping by!

  30. Matt says:

    I actually picked up the Note Sleeve in tan shortly after posting. I’ve had it for approx a month now and really like it. I had no issues with the quality of the leather or workmanship. I am able to carry some change in the pocket with the flap in the bill section. Because of the flap there is no danger of the change falling out, it is kind of small so you can’t hold a lot but it’s perfect for what I wanted.

  31. Jacob says:

    Hey Duane!
    I was wondering what the coin pouch is like. Is it big enough, or irritating because you can’t get the coins up from the pouch, or do you even use it??

  32. David says:

    I’ve just bought a Bellroy Notesleeve too . I absolutely love it ! Nice that there is a small phone sim card pocket too . I would really like the travel wallet too but the cost is stopping me for the moment .

  33. Daniel says:

    Hello Duane.

    I’ve just read your review and I would like to know how is your wallet looking right know…

    Does it show any sings of wear? Is the leather in good condition? I ask this because there some reviews on Amazon that say the leather quality is not that great and the leather wears very fast.

    Regarding the coin pocket, does that wallet can hold some coins in a secure manner, without them falling out of it? A coin pocket is essential to me…

    If this wallet does not have one, do you know any quality brand that does?


  34. Marco says:

    what color is this ?
    Cocoa or Java ??


  35. paul says:

    Found the left pocket too big. Without receipt Bellroy replaced it. Fantastic service. Many thanks.

  36. Hallo Duane,
    i have just read your review, and i just want to know, How much it cost if delivery to Medan, Indonesia?


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