The Waterfield Latigo leather iPhone holster is a mostly improved version of the American company’s previous Ranger model, which I tested earlier in the year. Designed for each of the iPhone 13 models, it’s also compatible with the iPhone 12 lineup.

It’s not something I personally need at this time of the year, but I will value it in warmer weather, so I put it to the test …

How times change! I can remember when what I wanted was a modern version of the iPhone SE – or what Apple would launch as as the iPhone 12 mini, and subsequently the iPhone 13 mini. When it came to it, however, Apple limited the best camera capabilities to the Pro Max models, so that’s what I ended up buying both times.

It did, however, create a challenge when it came to carrying it.

I knew that spring, whenever it finally decides to arrive in the UK, was going to throw up one last problem: carrying it without a jacket. Although it does technically fit in trouser pockets, it definitely feels awkward when sitting down, and carrying it in front jeans pockets while cycling feels both uncomfortable and insecure.

My suspicion was that I was going to need some kind of belt holster in warm weather, when I was wandering around in short sleeves. 

That was indeed the case, and I ended up using Waterfield’s Ranger Phone Case Holster.

Look and feel

Personally, it’s rare I see a decent leather I don’t like. Smooth, grained, distressed – so long as the quality and workmanship are good, I’m happy. But distressed leather look isn’t to everyone’s taste, so Waterfield has opted for a more mainstream leather this time around, even if it technically mildly distressed.

The Waterfield Latigo leather iPhone holster is available for the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13/iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. All cost the same $99, and all are available in a choice of three smooth leather colors: black, dark brown, and acorn (a darkish tan).

Latigo leather is first chrome tanned and then vegetable tanned. It’s infused with oils and waxes, which gives it a medium rigidity compared to pure chrome or vegetable tanned leathers, which are softer and harder respectively.

That compromise works well. It’s rigid enough to hold its shape and offer really good protection for your phone, while at the same time soft enough to feel pleasant to the touch.

As always with Waterfield products, the stitching is impeccable.

The front of the case has embossed branding, which I’d prefer wasn’t there, but the small “Waterfield – Made in SF” lettering is very discreet, so it’s no big deal.

The inside is a soft Ultrasuede, which protects your phone from scratches if you use it without a case.

In use

The rear of the holster has a robust magnetic belt attachment. As with the previous model, this uses a really strong rare-earth magnet, and created no concerns at all about it coming loose, even when cycling. The magnetic closure also makes it the work of a few seconds to put it onto your belt and remove it again afterwards.

Although designed primarily with a belt in mind, the magnet is strong enough that it can be used without, on things like running shorts and sweatpants.

My iPhone 13 Pro Max fits snugly into the holster inside its Apple Leather Case. The fit was a little tight at first, but now slides easily in and out, but with no risk at all of it falling out.

The front fastener is a combination of popper and magnet, so couldn’t be easier to close, while opening requires enough effort to be reassuring. I do, however, prefer the fastener the company used in the Ranger holster, as that was a really clever design.

The holster leaves all the buttons, the Lightning port, and the speakers exposed and accessible, while still remaining fully protected. This means you can use wired Lightning headphones.

Pricing and conclusions

Premium leather products are never cheap. Ask Apple, which charges $59 for a leather phone case or $129 for a phone sleeve.

The Waterfield Latigo leather iPhone holster costs $99 for any size, a price which I think is comfortably justified by the quality and usefulness of the product.

I said this holster was mostly an improved version of the Ranger, but it does have two drawbacks. First – and this is the tiniest of niggles – I preferred the really clever snap faster on the original.

Second, the Ranger has a separate front pocket, which is absolutely perfect for the MagSafe wallet. This one doesn’t have that pocket, nor room inside. That’s not a huge deal for me, as the UK has a £100 ($134) limit for a standard contactless transaction, and many places specifically support Apple Pay, which allows payments well into three figures or more (depending on your bank). But that may be an issue if you regularly rely on physical payment cards. However, you can easily fit up to three loose cards into the holster alongside a cased phone, though you then have to be careful when removing the phone.

Personally, I find the holster both stylish and useful, and will definitely be putting it to use come warmer weather, once I ditch a jacket in favor of shirt sleeves.

The Waterfield Latigo leather iPhone holster is available from the company’s website, priced at $99.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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