A boot knife may not be an ancient invention, but there’s a reason why we invented them and why we have them. Did you know that the oldest knife-like tools are up to 2.5 million years old? While one may contest the age of these tools, it is quite certain that we have manufactured knives for as long as we inhabit the earth.
First knives were all-around tools. They were weapons, tools, and eating utensils. However, as our civilization developed, knives changed and became specialized tools. While there are several types of versatile knives, I believe that you shouldn’t choose a knife for its versatility. Today’s knives are usually very specialized and can’t be efficient enough if you use them for other purposes. For example, a butter knife is great for slicing and spreading butter, but you can’t slice meat with it, not to mention self-defense. After all, most types of knives are affordable, so you can easily buy all kinds you need.
What Is a Boot Knife?
A boot knife is a small knife with a fixed blade. It is designed to be carried in, on, or near a boot, hence the name. “Why on earth would you carry a knife in a boot, unless you’re James Bond or a member of special forces?” – a friend of mine asked me once. While I appreciate a good sense of humor, there are several advantages of having a knife in a boot.
It is the best way to carry this small weapon and keep it concealed. There are other ways to keep it out of sight like keeping it in your pocket, but what if you need to reach for it as quickly as possible? After all, you wouldn’t carry a boot knife at all unless you think you might need to use it.
So, if you think you need to carry a knife, it is ideal to keep it hidden while being able to grab it quickly if needed.
Who Needs a Boot Knife?
There’s no straightforward answer to this question. It depends on how you perceive potential dangers and ways to avoid them. However, some people call these knives “survival knives”.
While technically incorrect because survival knives cover a couple of other types of knives as well, boot knives can be useful and precious in SHTF scenarios. Danger-exposed professionals such as police officers or soldiers, often use it as a backup weapon. Well, more likely as a backup to their backup weapon.
Anyway, if you want to be able to protect yourself while keeping a low profile, a boot knife is one of the best choices among weapons. If you think you’re not safe enough, you can’t carry a rifle with you. Any kind of visible weapon will make you look ridiculous. You can carry a pepper spray or handgun (with a license, of course) and keep it away from curious eyes. But you still might not be able to reach for it fast enough when an emergency occurs.
I guess, now you can see why and when these small blades are great to have.
Main Considerations When Choosing the Best Boot Knife
Boot knives are small and convenient. They are also affordable. Yes, there are some outstanding high-end blades with hefty price tags, but you can find many very affordable models that will do just fine.
Before you even consider quality, shapes, and materials, there’s one crucial requirement to meet – the comfort. Even the best blade will be useless if you can’t carry it comfortably. Boot knives commonly come with a knife sheath. Make sure that it is compatible with your boots or band that wraps around your calf.
This is the most cumbersome part of your choosing process. Each state has its own laws or restrictions. Most states have rules about carrying knives depending on the blade length. Some of them prohibit certain blade styles such as a double-edged blade. Anyhow, make sure to examine state laws before you purchase the boot knife. If you can’t carry it, there’s no point in having one.
Boot knives are small, but there are considerable differences in blade length.
Short blades measure up to 2.7 inches. They are usually very lightweight and easy to conceal.
Medium blades come in a range between 2.7 and 4 inches. Anything longer than 4 inches is considered long when it comes to boot knives.
Shorter blades are easier to hide and fit, while longer ones offer more power and versatility. However, be careful and check out the law before you make a decision.
The total size of a boot knife may affect the ability to conceal it and wear it comfortably. So, you need to match it with your boots and pants.
And don’t underestimate the handle. A handle provides grip and comfort. Without these qualities, you won’t be able to handle (pun intended) your knife efficiently.
A knife sheath is very important as well. Your boot knife should fit into it well, so it can’t slip out while you’re moving. At the same time, it should allow you to easily draw it.
Boot knife blades have several different designs. Most popular blade patterns include clip point, drop point, sheepsfoot, spear point, tanto point, and more. While each of them has specific advantages, it pretty much comes down to your taste.
THE BEST BOOT KNIFE – 7 TOP PICKS REVIEWED
1. SOG Instinct Tactical Boot Knife
It is a small and very functional boot knife. There are two available sizes, but both fit into the small-blade category. It comes with an adjustable molded sheath with eyelets and a rotating spring clip. This allows you to comfortably attach it virtually anywhere.
A neck chain allows you to wear it as a neck knife as well. Stainless steel construction and full tang design provide strength and durability.
Pros of This Boot Knife
- Full tang design
- Adjustable sheath clip
- G10 handle
- Strong and durable
- Some people think it’s too small
2. Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9in Fixed Blade Boot Knife
Smith & Wesson is one of the most popular firearms manufacturers, but their knives live up to their reputation as well. This model features simplicity and perfection. Furthermore, it looks beautiful. Dual edge blade, carbon stainless steel construction, and rubber-wrapped handle make this knife an excellent survival tool.
The only downside is that it may be difficult to fit it into the boot. I recommend a calf holster.
- Amazing quality
- Excellent grip
- Hand guard to prevent injuries
- Easy to handle
- Strong and durable
- It looks great
- Possible legal restrictions. Both double-edged blade and 4.7 inches blade length may be prohibited in some states.
3. Cold Steel 17T Kobun Tanto Fixed Boot Knife
Speaking of beautiful blades, how about this one from Cold Steel? It is a longer boot knife, but it’s still small enough to conceal it. A strong and well-balanced, it is an excellent survival knife.
The sheath is thin, secure and it comes with 10 eyelets for easier attachment. However, for all “larger” boot knives I recommend using holsters for a tight fit.
- Great sheath
- Comfortable handle
- Good grip
- Excellent balance
- Handle is too thin for larger hands
4. Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade
Ghoststrike falls somewhere in the middle when we talk about boot knives size. With 3.3” blade and 6.9” overall, it is designed to fit all criteria. It comes with an adjustable sheath for concealed or open carry.
Also, you can order a deluxe kit that includes neoprene ankle wrap. The black ceramic coating gives nice and polished looks while it also prevents corrosion and reflection. A rubber handle provides a firm grip.
- Sheath fits like a glove
- Easy to conceal
- Non-slip rubber grip
- Black ceramic coating
- Handle rubber wears out over time
- It needs sharpening pretty often
5. Kershaw Secret Agent Concealable Boot Knife
Even though it looks like a dagger, it is not. Kershaw Secret Agent is a single edge self-defense boot knife. High-quality high carbon stainless steel makes it strong, sharp, and durable. It locks in the sheath very well. The sheath is excellent and convenient to wear it on your belt, boot, or leg strap. However, the clip doesn’t hold well on the boot.
- Great value for money
- High-quality carbon stainless steel blade
- Strong and sharp
- Durable polymer and rubber handle
- Excellent grip
- Attractive black coating
- Strong retention, weak clip
- Short hand guard
6. CRKT Shrill Fixed Blade Boot Knife with Sheath
This is a stylish and awesome double edge survival boot knife. It is lightweight and beautifully balanced. A resin-infused fiber handle provides a decent grip in all conditions and it looks great. But, it’s the blade that makes this bad boy look scary. It is very sharp, especially the tip. A stylish leather sheath looks good, but I’d feel safer with sturdier materials such as Kydex.
However, with a 4.7” dual blade, it is not legal in all states, so check out the legislation in your state before purchasing.
- Very sharp
- Titanium Nitride coating for additional strength and durability
- Excellent balance
- Leather sheath seems as it won’t withstand the sharpness for too long
7. Buck Knives 0616BKS OPS BOOT Tactical Boot Knife – Editor’s Pick
You want a boot knife with a lifetime warranty? No problem – get a Buck Boot Knife. It is the most expensive knife on our list, but it’s for a reason. Excellent craftsmanship, superb materials, versatility, and reliability make this knife pretty unique. It is extra-sharp and it stays sharp longer.
Buck Boot Knife performances are fantastic and sheath versatility is second to none. It is a boot knife for knife lovers and collectors.
- 154CM stainless steel blade for increased toughness and wear resistance
- G10 handle
- Comfortable and versatile sheath
- Sturdy and strong, designed for heavy use
- Lifetime warranty
- None that we’re aware of!
Boot knives may look too small for some people. But that’s the whole idea. These tactical backup knives are designed to provide the last line of self-defense in dangerous situations.
In the meantime, neither you nor others should notice them. That’s why they are so small and lightweight. You can use them for everyday tasks, but they won’t excel at it. But, overall a boot knife is an indispensable item in survival or prepper gear. It will make you feel safer and you’ll be ready.