Best Boot Knives & Blades Reviewed for Quality

When it comes to knives, there are a huge variety of different styles and designs to choose from. The kind of knife you need depends on what you have planned for it. Knives are essential tools and life is a lot easier when you have the right tools for the job. A boot knife is a knife that may be used primarily for self- defense. Boot knives are easily concealable. If you have any kind of form of self-defense, you don’t necessarily want to make it obvious as to where you are carrying it. This lets attackers know where your defenses are and where and how they can best attack you. A boot knife, as with other weapons for defense, should also be easily and comfortably carried.

Featured Recommendations

Smith & Wesson HRT9B
  • Smith & Wesson HRT9B
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Black Rubber Wrapped Handle
  • Price: See Here
CRKT Russel Sting
  • CRKT Russel Sting
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Powder coat finish
  • Price: See Here
United Cutlery Combat Commander
  • United Cutlery Combat Commander
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Anodized AUS-6 steel
  • Price: See Here

There are a few reasons a person may need a boot knife. A lot of times, boot knives are used as a backup blade for when you need something reliable as the last resort. This may be in regards to self-defense or for use in camping and hiking type situations. If you’re looking for a boot knife, you must ask yourself what you need it for. If it’s for defensive purposes look for one that can easily be carried and deployed. If your looking for more of a utility knife, size and weight may play more of a part in deciding which knife to buy.

With all of the options currently available on the boot knife market, reviewing and researching can be a daunting task. This list of boot knives was formed from taking into account a variety of reviews, reports, and ratings from around the world wide web. Each of the knives has been individually analyzed for factors that make a quality knife as well as other aspects such as concealability, practicality, and overall usefulness.

 

10 Best Boot Knives

 

1. Smith & Wesson HRT9B

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 concelaed cutlery.
Expand to see more
Lightweight Tactical Blade

This knife is made for concealment and is a great option for a fixed blade everday 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.

Handguard

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.
Pros
  • Hand guard
  • Blood groove and a lanyard hole
  • Rubber wrapped handle
  • Double edged
Cons
  • Tip is fragile

2. Columbia River Knife

2. Columbia River Knife
Our next knife is also one that is manufactured by a company that is earning legendary status in the knife collecting community. Columbia River Knife and Tool are well known for quality blades as well as axes and first responder tools. The Russel Sting is a solid one-piece blade that is perfectly concealable and durable.
Expand to see more
Give and Take

This blade is all one piece of 1050 carbon steel. The simplistic design makes it incredibly durable and able to take abuse in addition to giving it. The black powder finish is non-reflective and will outlast other knife finishes and prevent it from rusting.

Nylon Sheath

The CRKT Russel Sting comes with a nylon sheath that gas a glass reinforced insert. There are to straps on the back of the sheath that will hold the knife securely where you need it. This 7-inch knife also has a lanyard hole so you could wear it as a neck knife or attach it to a lanyard.

Cost and Value

CRKT knives are very durable and are made to a high standard.You can really feel the difference when holding a knife that is high quality versus a knife that is not. The CRKT Russel Sting has a price tag that is higher than most, but makes no mistake, this small concealable knife is worth paying a little extra.
Pros
  • One solid piece
  • Non-reflective powder coat 
  • Contoured handle
  • Nylon-stitched sheath
Cons
  • Bare handle can be slippery when wet

3. Gerber Warrant Knife

3. 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 versatility needed in an emergency.
Expand to see more
Strong Backup

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 quality that Gerber has become known for.
Pros
  • Texture on spine for extra grip
  • Camo sheath
  • Partially serrated
  • Tanto blade
Cons
  • Aluminum handle may get slick

4. Shcrade Spear Point

4. 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.
Expand to see more
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. Schrade also makes a version of this knife that is 2 inches longer. This little guy was chosen for its ability to remain unseen and be carried easily and comfortably.

Slip Resistant

The textured thermoplastic elastomer handle gives the grip the qualities of both rubber and plastic. The handle also has a handguard that contributes to the 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.
Pros
  • Textured wrapped handle
  • Layard hole
  • Hand guard
  • Black leather sheath
Cons
  • Needs sharpening when you get it

5. Old Timer 162OT

5. Old Timer 162OT
Looking at this knife brings a couple 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.
Expand to see more
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.

Middle Ground

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 "tacticool" appearance and lacks somethings like serrations it is a good all-around knife that would be a great fit in anyone's collection.
Pros
  • Nickel silver bolsters
  • Full tang
  • Brown leather sheath
  • Saw cut handle
Cons
  • Don't throw it

6. United Combat Commander

6. United Combat Commander
If you are looking for a great knife ideal for concealment and compact carrying, look no further than the UC Combat Commander mini boot knife. This knife is made from AUS-6 stainless steel, has a black finish and is a mean looking knife all the way around. What this knife lacks in size, 5 inches, it makes up for in pure intimidation.
Expand to see more
Easy Concealment

This knife was designed specifically for being concealed and discreet. The sheath has holes for laces to pass through if you are wanting to lace it onto your boot. There is also a lanyard attached to the sheath that can either be removed or used to wear around your neck. This knife is virtually undetectable when under the shirt due to its compact size.

Little and Lethal

The blade has two sharpened edges and is partially serrated. There is also a blood groove incorporated into the design. These factors make this little guy pretty lethal. The handle, while only 2.5 inches, has a hand guard and textured grip for better handling capacity.

Cost and Value

The UC Combat Commander has earned its place in our top 3 boot knives for being affordable and giving you a lot of bang for your buck. Due to its small size, it is not a knife you might use every day, but it is a great tool for self-defense. It is great as a backup knife and because of its versatile sheath, it will always be within reach when you need it the most.
Pros
  • Impact resistant TPR handle
  • Laces up for easy concealment on boot
  • Sheath includes lanyard for use as neck knife
  • Blood groove
Cons
  • No belt clip on sheath

7. Buck Knives Ops Boot

7. Buck Knives Ops Boot
Buck knives are a well-known knife manufacturer that was 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.
Expand to see more
Small Surprise

This knife measures in 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 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.

Versatile Carrying

A boot knife is a knife that should be easily carried wherever you go. The OPS boot knife has a sheath that is made from 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. However, this speaks for the knifes quality and integrity. You might only be able to afford to buy one but that's probably all your 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.
Pros
  • 154CM Stainless Steel Blade 
  • Full Tang Construction
  • G10 handle 
  • Versatile sheath
Cons
  • Handle is small

8. Rothco Raider II

8. Rothco Raider II
Rothco is a company that produces a wide variety of military and tactical themed products. From camo infant receiving blankets to concealed carry vests and BDU's, Rothco has a multitude of different products that are very tactical and practical.
The Rothco Raider II speaks to the company's pragmatism by offering a no frills boot knife that is as durable as it is reliable.
Expand to see more
Weight and Size

This knife is about 6.5 inches in length. While it is smaller than some the majority of the length is in the handle. This makes it easier to use than other smaller handled boot knives. As for weight, the Rothco Raider II is almost 5 ounces and very well balanced. The extra heft feels good in the hand and reassures you of its durability.

Bare Bones

The Raider II is a bells and whistles free type of knife. It doesn't offer a lot in terms of unique features but it has all of the fundamentals that go into a good boot knife. This includes a drop point spear tip blade, textured handle, stainless steel, two sharp edges and a versatile sheath.

Cost and Value

The price of the Rothco Raider II speaks to the knife's overall practicality. It is one of the most affordable knives on the list. Overall durability seemed to be a theme in reports and reviews of this knife. This makes it seem like it would be a great option for the price.
Pros
  • Leather Sheath with clip
  • Great for concealment
  • Textured handle
  • Good weight for size
Cons
  • Difficult to sharpen

9. Schrade Needle

9. Schrade Needle
Yet another knife offered by Schrade is the Needle. This knife was created for use in several situations including camping, hiking, self-defense, and combat. This knife is 12 inches overall and, while not very concealable, is pretty intimidating.
Expand to see more
Multipurpose

The Schrade Needle features a blade that is 60% razor sharp and 40% serrated. The double edge gives you more surface area for cutting. The handle is made from a thermoplastic elastomer that Schrade likes to put on their tactical knives. The hand guard keeps you protected from the sharp edges even in wet conditions.

Carry

The Needle comes with a leather sheath that has an elongated clip. This means the knife can be carried on a belt, backpack, or on the boot. This knife isn't really meant for concealment but instead works bet as a utility knife that you need within arms reach.

Cost and Value

The Needle is priced at medium range compared to other boot knives on this list. It is a good option if you are looking for less of a backup knife and more of a first line survival piece.
Pros
  • Double edged
  • Partially serrated
  • Leather sheath
  • TPE handle
Cons
  • Not the best for concealment

10. Cold Steel Kobun

10. Cold Steel Kobun
If a Samurai carried aboot 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.
Expand to see more
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.

American Tanto

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 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 a slightly higher than average. However, this heavy-duty blade seems to be incredibly reliable and certainly worth the price.
Pros
  • Japanese AUS 8A steel
  • Secure-Ex Sheath
  •  Tanto blade
  • Kraton handle 
     
     
     
     
     
     
Cons
  • Reports of poor blade retention of sheath

This is a comprehensive list of the very best boot knives available on the market in 2018. Consider why you want a boot knife. Are you looking for a backup knife? Do you need a good EDC blade? Or are you planning an outdoor venture that may take you away from civilization for awhile? Whatever your reason, you are bound to find exactly what you are looking for with the great options listed above.

 

Criteria for Evaluation

Carrying

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 the 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.

Materials

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. This keeps 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 the hand and are slip resistant.

A handle may also feature a guard. This 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. This is a safety feature that should be included on any knife that is designed for piercing types of cuts.

Practicality

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 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.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What makes it a boot knife?

A: Traditionally a boot knife is a dagger style knife that can be concealed easily and typically a boot knife has a blade length of around 3.5 to four inches. A short blade length allows the knife to be drawn quickly and easily when it is needed.  Boot knives are typically used as an emergency backup blade if for some reason you can’t use your primary everyday carry knife. A good boot knife can be worn comfortably and carried in a way that doesn’t draw attention.

Q: Is it legal to carry a boot knife or a concealed knife?

This is very important information you need to know before you decide to carry any kind of concealed weapon. Laws vary in different states when it comes to concealed weapons. This includes things like pepper spray, neck knives, and even regular pocket knives. It is best to know your local city and county laws before making the decision to own any kind of weapon you plan to use as a concealed means of defense.

Kansas has some of the most liberal weapons laws in the United States. Not only can you carry dagger style blades, disguised blades and even switchblades but it is also a “constitutional carry” state which means you can even carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Other states are not as lenient on weapon laws. Many cities have a limit on how big a knife can be. In Cleveland, Ohio it is illegal to carry a knife with a blade longer than 2.5 inches. Any longer than that and you need to register it and keep proof of registration with you as your knife can be inspected by law enforcement.

Whether or not you follow the law is entirely up to you. Just keep in mind that being ignorant of the law is no excuse for breaking the law.

Q: What is the difference between high-carbon steel and stainless steel?

There are several differences between high-carbon blades and stainless steel blades. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Which metal is better is a hotly debated topic with knife enthusiasts and collectors. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you are using the knife for.

High-carbon steel has been used for a long time in fixed blade knives. By a long time, I mean hundreds of years. High-carbon is typically the choice when it comes to hunting and survival knives because of the sheer hardness of the metal. This makes the blade pretty durable but more brittle than stainless. A stainless steel knife will bend before it breaks while carbon blades will snap. High-carbon steel will hold a sharp edge longer than stainless steel but it is harder to sharpen.

Stainless is a popular choice for several factors. Obviously, stainless steel is resistant to rust and pitting of the metal. While it can rust over time, you do not need to add extra steps to caring for the knife to keep the blade in a rust free condition as you may have to do with carbon blades. Stainless steel has a certain percentage of stainless steel is chromium. This means the blade is easier to sharpen but is a lot softer than carbon steel.

Both types of metal are very durable but there is a difference between toughness and hardness. A stainless steel blade is typically considered tougher as the metal is not as brittle. However, carbon steel is a lot harder and will not warp or bend.

Q: Is a bigger knife more useful than a smaller knife?

A: Even before Paul Hogan brandished 10-inch inch blade in Crocodile Dundee and exclaimed “This is a knife.”  there has been a fascination with huge knives and a belief that bigger is better. This is very far from the truth. While bigger knives look cool and can be pretty intimidating, unless you’re taking the thing into battle or fending off grizzly bears, large knives are for the most part impractical. While larger blades may play a part in things like camping chores smaller knives are easier to handle and more convenient to carry.

From a self-defense standpoint, it is much easier to draw out a knife with a blade that is 4 inches longer than it is one that is ten inches long. This is especially true when your feeling threatened and your adrenaline is pumping so much you feel your heart beating in your ears. Typically motor skills go out the window in these situations so the simpler it is to draw an object of self-defense the better.

Q: Where do I put it on my boot?

A: Some of the knives listed have a sheath that is designed to be laced up into your boot. For longer knives, this might not be the most comfortable. However, for shorter knives, this is an easy way to carry your blade with you every day and not misplace it or forget it before you leave your house. A lanyard can also be strung through these holes to use the blade as a neck knife.

Other sheaths may have a clip incorporated into the design. Knives like this can be clipped to the side of the boot with the body of the knife inside the boot or inversely on the outside of the boot. Typically the knife will be more secure if it is carried on the inside but depending on the length of your boots this may not be the most comfortable. Sheaths with clips can also be carried on your waistline in a belt or just clipped onto your pants.

Ankle straps are another popular feature. Even if you are not wearing a boot the knife can be attached to your lower leg for concealment and carrying convenience.

Q: Whats the difference between a tanto, drop point, spear tip Etc.?

There are a huge variety of blade designs. Each one has pros and cons. Here is a little information on the blade designs that were included in the top ten list:

Tanto: The tanto blade point was popularized by Cold Steel in the 1970’s when they came out with the American Tanto blade. This design was inspired by Japanese cutlery. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing but it is powerful. From a structural perspective, the Tanto style blade is the most durable. This type of blade has a second edge and almost resembles a chisel. This lets a lot of force to be transferred from the handle through the tip. Tanto blades are best for stabbing harder materials and because of the lack of a “belly” are not as good at slicing.

Drop Point: Named so because the spine of the blade is unsharpened and flows down from the handle and drops to the point.  The drop point is the most versatile style of blade. The belly allows for easy slicing and cutting, however, the tip is weaker than the geometrical shapes of the tanto and spear tip. Drop point blades make the best utility knives and multipurpose blades.

Spear and Dagger: These types of points are popular in combat and fixed blade knives. In dagger style blades, both sides are sharpened and form symmetrically into the tip. A spear tip may or may not have both sides of the blade sharpened. Like the dagger, the point of a spear tip lies on the midline of the blade. Spear tips can also be seen in throwing knives because the geometrical symmetry of the blade makes also makes it a strong tip. These knives are best for puncturing and stabbing types of cuts. However, they are more likely to get stuck or break than the tanto. While they can be used for slicing, drop points are easier to handle for such cuts.

There are other types of blade styles such as clip point, gut hook, and sheep’s foot. The type of style you choose depends on what you need the knife for or what you need to add to your collection.

Sources

  1.  Knife Works: The Pros and Cons of Stainless vs. High-Carbon Knife Blades
  2.  Knife Depot: Knife Blade Shapes
  3.  Wikipedia: Cold Steel
  4.  Blade HQ: Steel Types
  5.  Knife Up: Kansas Knife Laws
  6.  Knife Depot: 10 Worst Anti-Knife Cities