submitted by Bernard Capulong
These days, minimalist wallets are a dime a dozen. And even the best wallets you can carry are still made of leather, a material that’s been around for ages. While leather breaks in nicely and has a timeless quality to it, it can inevitably wear out and weigh you down. It’s possible the next frontier of wallets doesn’t use leather at all, and Pioneer is blazing the way. As part of their 10X series, the Ion Wallet combines futuristic materials and high-tech manufacturing processes to push the envelope of this EDC staple.
It’s immediately clear that the Ion is nothing like your traditional leather wallet. At the core of its 10XD Ripstop fabric is ultra high molecular weight polyethylene. Ten times stronger than steel per weight, it’s touted as the strongest fiber on the planet. It gives the wallet an impressive strength to weight ratio and allows for less material needed overall, reducing bulk while retaining structure.
The exterior’s contrasting grid ripstop helps prevent any tears or holes from expanding, but that’s especially unlikely given how abrasion resistant the material is. In the hand, the microgrid gives a uniquely burly feel: slightly textured for improved grip and no sign of flimsiness despite how thin it is.
But Pioneer knows it isn’t enough to rely on materials alone to make a next-generation wallet. It’s the way they bring those materials together through advanced manufacturing techniques that makes their wallet truly futuristic.
The Ion achieves its extreme thinness, durability, and resilient structure through what Pioneer calls Futureform technology. It’s essentially a sew-free construction that uses heat and film adhesives to bond their 10XD Ripstop fabric together.
This stitchless, continuous sealing not only makes the wallet waterproof, but also highly abrasion resistant and durable. Compare that to traditional fabric or leather wallets where water can seep in through the stitching or absorb into the fabric itself (which is especially damaging to leather). Finally, stress points on the outer edges of the card pockets come reinforced with bar tack stitching: a dense cluster of narrow stitches made using specialized machinery.
The design overall keeps things simple and lean: just two interior pockets sized to accommodate up to 4 cards each or cards and a few once-folded bills. There’s enough clearance between the card slots to access cards with your thumb and to keep bills from spilling over past the “spine” when folded.
At first, loading up cards and cash might be a tight fit. But with time, the fabric breaks in to mold to your cards and fold nice and flat for smooth pocket entry. It’s kind of like the patina you’d want from a leather wallet, but without the bulk or wear and tear.
I prefer the Ion’s balance of security, size, and capacity for general EDC, but Pioneer also makes two other wallets as part of their 10X series. The Division bifold offers higher capacity with a dedicated billfold section and more card slots, while the Molecule cardholder keeps things slim yet instantly accessible. They’re all available in either black or a gunmetal blue from Pioneer at the link below.