The Rogue front-pocket wallet story started a little over a decade ago, when Michael Lyons went to the chiropractor to get help for his lower back pain. The chiropractor told him the wallet in his back pocket was putting pressure on his sciatic nerve and throwing his back out of alignment. Lyons ditched the wallet, and his pain went away.
“He was doing the laundry one night and realized that the front pocket for a man’s pair of pants has a curved shape to it,” said his son, Wells Lyons, “and he thought a wallet ought to really fit that contour.”
Father and son joined forces to design such a wallet, patented their design, and Rogue Industries was born. Their wallets and other products – their women’s line includes phone wallets, tote bags and card cases – are in 200 stores around the country, as well as in Germany and the United Kingdom. Rogue wallets are manufactured in Lewiston and Standish, and the design studio is on Fore Street, where the Lyons work on prototypes for new products.
The wallets are made of various leathers, including cowhide and bison leathers that are a byproduct of the meat industry and might otherwise go to waste. Salmon leather, one of the oldest leathers, is sourced from aquaculture facilities in Iceland. “Archaeologists have found 1,000-year-old salmon leather,” Wells Lyons said.
Rogue’s moose wallets – here’s a disappointment – are made from Pacific Northwest animals, not Maine moose. “It’s really hard to find a good moose leather supplier,” Wells Lyons explained.
Moose is the best seller, and bison is popular too. “I think it’s really part of the American idea of toughness and nature,” Wells Lyons said of the appeal of bison. “It’s a unique leather and very durable. All of our wallets are built to last, but the bison ones can really take a beating.” (Lyons once lost his bison wallet at Shawnee Peak, and it was discovered a few months later, still in good shape.)
For sports fans, the wallets come in the same leathers used to make footballs and baseball gloves.
The wallets cost $40 for salmon leather or cowhide and $50 for a wallet made of moose or bison leather. Buy them online, or use the Rogue Industries store locater.