Best Boot Knives & Blades Reviewed for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are tons of different types of materials that are used today to make knives. Stainless steel and high-carbon steel are among the most popular for blades. High-carbon is considered the harder of the two. Harder does not necessarily mean tougher.
In this case, high carbon blades are known for their ability to retain an edge but are more difficult to sharpen compared to stainless steel. You also have to be careful to keep the blade dry to prevent rust and pits from forming on the blade. You can also treat the blade with mineral oils. High-carbon knives may also be more affordable than their stainless steel counterparts.
Stainless steel looks nice and will resist rust and corrosion without any extra steps. It is easier to sharpen and is less brittle than carbon steels. Rust and corrosion resistance keep stainless steel knives from chipping, rusting, or cracking. However, they are more prone to bending and warping.
The blade material, while important, is not the only thing to consider when looking at the overall quality of a knife. You have to hold on to it somewhere. A good handle can make the knife easier and safer to use. Higher end knives use a synthetic material such as Kraton or G10. These materials are highly sought after as they have a good feel in hand and are slip resistant.
A handle may also feature a guard. The guard keeps your hand safe from the business end of the blade by creating a stopping point if your hand should slip or you try to grab the knife too high. It is a safety feature that should be included on any knife that is designed for piercing types of cuts.
Perhaps most importantly, a good boot knife should be practical. There are a lot of sweet looking knives available on the market, but if it’s not something that you can easily utilize, they are best left on the display stand.
Size plays a huge part in pragmatism. Because a boot knife should be easily concealed and carried, you don’t want it to be too large. The biggest knife on this list is around 12 inches in length. Concealment goes out of the window with a blade so big. Knives like that are less for carrying every day and more for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. While still considered a boot knife, it begins to tread in survival knife territory.
The size of the boot knife you choose reflects why you are carrying it in the first place. Smaller knives are more comfortable to carry and easier to utilize if you need it in a self-defense situation. They are also easier to handle if you are using it for everyday tasks.
Ease of Use
In choosing the best boot knives available several factors were considered. A boot knife should be something that you can easily carry whether it is out in the open or secretly concealed. That's why the method of carrying knives was one factor that we considered. Boot knives are named so because that's where they are typically carried.
There are several advantages to keeping a weapon on your boot or ankle. Typically, the lower legs are not the first place people notice when looking at someone. The ankle is not a place people normally look or even think of when they think "concealed carry." Keeping a knife in your boot also leaves pockets and waistlines free for other objects you might carry with you every day. A boot knife is meant to be the last resort blade that is there when you need it. However, you can also use it as your regular EDC knife. Depending on the style of the sheath, you can carry the knife around your neck, on your belt, in web gear, or clipped to your pocket.
Even though we're talking boot knives there are a few add-ons that we'll keep an eye out for. Mainly these will have to do with the sheath and how easily each knife is to attach to your leg and get to in a tight spot. If you're going to carry a boot knife it should at least be easy to access.
Tempered steel blades and the like can cost a pretty penny. And while we're all fans of you get what you pay for, we don't want you to empty your pockets just to get a boot knife. So we're going to look for some great products at a great price, just like always.
Top 10 Picks
1. Smith & Wesson HRT9B
Since Smith & Wesson first opened in 1852 they have made their mark in the field of weapons. Firearms they produce have been carried by law enforcement officers for over 100 years and used to be the standard issued weapon in a lot of departments. S&W carry over the quality and innovation used in making firearms to the world of concealed cutlery.
Lightweight Tactical Blade
This knife is made for concealment and is a great option for a fixed blade everyday carry knife. It weighs around 7 ounces and measures around 9 inches long. The sheath is versatile and can be made to carry on the waist or fit snugly in a boot for a hidden self-defense weapon.
An important feature on any knife that might be used in offensive or defensive situations is a hand guard. Good combat knives are made with the purpose of dealing out punishment if necessary and a handguard will keep your fingers safe from the blade and will contribute to how well a knife can be handled.
Cost and Value
The Smith & Wesson HRT9B is a very affordable option as far as boot knives go. Typically knives at the HRT's price point are only half tang or similar design. The HRT is full tang and is a good knife for the money.
2. Buck Knives Ops Boot
Buck knives are well-known knife manufacturers and were founded in 1902. Since then, the Buck Knife company has remained a family business and has always delivered some of the highest quality knives currently available on the market today. The Ops Boot Knife is a Buck knife that is made for everyday carrying. While the sheath is designed to be laced into the boot, it also can be worn on a lanyard or carried on a belt.
This knife measures at 6.25 inches in length. The full-tang blade is a tanto style that is razor sharp and ready to go right out of the package. The handle is made from a G10 material which means it has a good grip that can take abuse. This knife is one of the best for concealment and from a company that has a long reputation for quality products.
A boot knife is a knife that should be easily carried wherever you go. The OPS boot knife has a sheath that is made of polypropylene and leather. One of the better quality sheaths available, it keeps the Buck knife securely in place so it won't fall out even if using it as a neck knife. It can also be carried on a belt.
Cost and Value
From the most affordable knife to the most expensive one, the OPS boot knife lies at the complete opposite side of the price spectrum. You might only be able to afford to buy one but that's probably all you're going to need as these knives last for a long time. The steel retains an edge yet is easy to sharpen. Buck Knives also has a lifetime warranty on all their products so if it does let you down, the company will try to make it right. Keep in mind this knife is made for concealment and is kind of small.
3. Cold Steel Kobun
If a Samurai carried a boot knife, it would probably be something similar to the Cold Steel Kobun. Kobun is a term for a soldier in the Japanese underworld. This Kobun is made from premium components and offers quality that Cold Steel is known for.
Get a Grip
The handle on this full tang blade is made from a synthetic material called Kraton. Kraton is a rubber-like material that is resistant to weathering and very durable. Kraton is also resistant to things like chemicals and heat. Just the fact that the Kobun handle is comprised of Kraton makes it a good option for an all around utility knife.
The tanto style blade has a slim profile. However, due to its design, and Cold Steels manufacturing process, is extremely strong and resistant to breaking. The tanto style tip makes the knife useful for a variety of tasks and may be better suited for some jobs as compared to the spear point style.
Cost and Value
This boot knife is made of high-quality materials and offers a unique option when it comes to boot knives. The Cold Steel Kobun is priced slightly higher than average. However, this heavy-duty blade seems to be incredibly reliable and certainly worth the price.
4. Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker
The knife is best suited for outdoor activities such as hiking or woodwork. If you collect knives, you will want this knife in your collection. The BK11 has a skeletonized handle that is light enough and small enough to be worn around the neck in a sheath.
The Cro Van Steel 1095 of the Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker holds it edge effectively. The shape and length of the blade provide the opportunity to keep the knife for outdoor or daily domestic use easily. The blade tip has a modified-spear point. The sharpened tip rises above the blade’s centerline.
A feature avid outdoorsmen appreciate is the bottle opener that is an improvement from the earlier model. The wider mouth works like a charm on bottle caps. The sheath design is cleaner and looks more professional than the previous version. It is an injected-mold sheath having eyelets around the edge.
Cost and Value
There is a debate about the added thickness of this model’s blade. Some feel it creates a slicing deficiency. The new model is a full, flat grind that makes up for the perceived slicing deficiency. The smoother finish and thicker blade make the knife stronger overall. It may not be able to slice tomatoes as thin as you like, but it serves a person well in the bush.
5. MTech USA Xtreme MX-8059 Fixed Blade
If you are looking for a snappy fixed blade knife with a cool holster, the superior MTech knife is a full tang knife that works well for any tactical job. The knife weighs less than ten ounces. The light weight makes it suitable for hiking and camping.
The MTech USA Xtreme blade is serrated. Serrated knives are a matter of choice. A serrated edge inflicts more damage than a flat blade when cutting. The two-tone silver and black blade are made from 440c stainless steel. The dagger has appreciable serrations and full tang on both sides. A guard that comes with the ⅛-inch blade ensures precision cut and safety. The partial black coating can be blurred or removed.
Handle and Sheath
Featured at the end of the G10 handle is a lanyard hole. It is designed to securely grip even in the hum and wet conditions. The black handle fits comfortably in hand and provides a superb grip. The durable material retains the grip level of the handle. It seems loftier than the blade but is not uncomfortable. The leather sheath allows the knife to be carried safely and efficiently. The knife has an overall length of nine inches. The heavy-duty knife has a sharp and durable five-inch blade.
Cost and Value
The knife belongs on everyone’s list of quality boot knives. 440c non-stain steel is easier to sharpen than carbon steel. It does not hold an edge like carbon steel. The knife requires regular maintenance. An enduring trait of 440c is its high resistance to corrosion and rust in extreme conditions such as high humidity and wet climate. The handle is not ergonomically designed but does not affect the comfort or basic functionality of the grip. People who purchased this knife like that it has many features of expensive boot knives.
6. CRKT Sting Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath
This is a superb knife to have whether out in the backcountry or on the battlefield. The Sting knife is built with sturdy 1050 steel. It is compact and simple. The blade has been hardened to 52-55 HRC.
The blade shape has a spear point similar to needle-point. Both are designed for piercing. The spear point is stronger and has a slight belly useful for slicing. It is durable and perfect for this tactical blade. The blade is asymmetrically pointed blade having a point in line with the blade’s center axis. Both edges rise and fall equally creating a point that lines up with the center. This knife is designed to stab.
The coating lessens the drag for a quick stab and faster withdrawal. It has a balance between slicing and piercing. The handle made of 1050 steel also. The spine and belly have a large find groove that gives a comfortable and solid grip. The butt of the knife sports wide lanyard holes.
Cost and Value
This knife is priced similarly to other knives on the list. It is a carbon steel blade with manganese and carbon added to iron. The amount of carbon is on the low end of steel, but it works well in the fixed blade of the CRKT Sting knife.
7. SOG Instinct Fixed Blade NB1012
The Instinct Mini is a wearable and compact blade knife made for those times when intuition or feeling demands your full attention. The knife is available in two handle types, skeletonized stainless steel and G10, and two sizes.
The SOG Instinct is a necker, perfect to have with you at all times. It does not have to be worn around the neck. The sheath having a belt clip increases possibilities. The molded nylon sheath is placed in a variety of ways. It can be worn at the waist, bag, boot, neck, or belt.
The Instinct is ready for action whenever you wear it. It plays a dual role as an exterior or concealable knife. The clip is 360 degrees adjustable. It holds the knife tight enough that there is no danger of it falling from a belt. The clip adjusts in eight ways on each side. It is secure both as a boot or belt mounted knife. It draws with minimal effort and feels solid.
Cost and Value
Many people find it a suitable knife. It offers multiple carry options that include secured to a bag or vest, clipped to a boot or belt with a multi-angle adjustable clip, or around your neck with a lanyard. This knife falls in the middle price range of boot knives. The sleep drop point blade is compact and economical. It sharpens and holds an edge well for a knife of this price.
8. Gerber Warrant Knife
No list of knives seems complete without at least one that is made by Gerber. The Warrant knife has made its way onto our list of top ten best boot knives and is ranked close to number one. This is a perfect knife for keeping in a bug-out-bag or trunk kit as a back-up. The machined aluminum handle is durable and the serrated tanto blade gives you the versatility needed in an emergency.
This full tang knife is around 9.5 inches. 4.5 inches of that accounts for the partially serrated stainless steel blade. Serrations combined with the tanto style make a knife that is up for a variety of tasks. While the blade portion is fit for sawing and slicing, the durable aluminum handle is heavy duty enough for hammering activities.
Digital Camo Sheath
One of the considerations of boot knives is how the knife is going to be carried. This digital camo sheath has an adjustable strap with clasps that can easily be clipped to your ankle or even be made to carry on a belt or web gear.
Cost and Value
Gerber knives are usually marked toward the higher end of the price spectrum. Fortunately for you, the Gerber Warrant knife sits at a fairly average price range. This knife is affordable and offers the quality that Gerber is known for.
9. Shcrade Spear Point
Schrade shows up a couple of times on this list. The products chosen are two examples of several other boot knives that are available from Schrade. It was a tough choice but the Schrade Spear Point is one of the items that made the final "cut". This is a boot knife that would also be suitable as a diving knife due to its compact design, handle material, and blade material. The only thing that really keeps it from diving is the leather sheath. However, the sheath itself is very well made. It has a snap to keep the knife in place and a very strong clip that is suited to be hooked on a boot or a belt.
Out of Sight
One of the main attractions that boot knives have is the ability to conceal them. This knife is all black and measures around 7 inches in length. While it may not be a practical knife for everyday utility type stuff, it is compact and will stay at the ready for when you really need it.
The textured thermoplastic elastomer handle gives the grip the qualities of both rubber and plastic. The handle also has a handguard that contributes to knifes handling and safety.
Cost and Value
The Schrade Spear Point came pretty close to the best value on this list. You can get this knife, or several, and not have to worry about going broke. That being said, it is reported to not being very sharp straight out of the box as some knives are. However, a few grinds on the whetstone is worth it if you are looking for a good, affordable, blade.
10. Old Timer 162Ot
Looking at this knife brings a couple of things to mind. The wild west and my grandpa. It's not that it smells like leather, dust, and horses, like my grandpa, but that it screams experience, practicality, and tradition. On a list of knives that have more of a tactical design, the Old Timer shows up and gives off a presence of class and forgotten badassery, like my grandpa.
Full Tang Stainless Steel
The stainless steel of the blade runs the length of this 7-inch knife which adds to the durable nature of it. The handle is made from hand-cut slabs and fastened with nickel bolsters. While this handle material has been known to chip it handles improperly, you'll get a traditional look and feel from it. The handle is also textured to prevent slipping.
The Oldtimer is a nice length for a knife of this type. At just under 8 inches, it is the perfect balance of being small enough to carry comfortably and big enough to handle well.
Cost and Value
The Old Timer knife, also from Schrade, sits at a price that is slightly lower than what the average is on this list. While it does not has a "tactical" appearance and lacks somethings like serrations it is a good all-around knife that would be a great fit for anyone's collection.