Boot knives are some of the most useful tools for personal protection. They’re easy to conceal but can be easily drawn, making them perfect for self-defense. They’re also convenient to carry when you’re outdoors.
Still, not all of these products are made equal. Some are too large and bulky to store comfortably inside one’s shoe, while others are too small to be useful.
If you’re looking for the best boot knife out there, check out this review. Whether you’re a hunter, survivalist, or law enforcer, you’ll find something that suits your needs.
Featuring a fixed blade, usually with a tanto point, drop point, clip point, or spear point shape. These knives are small, designed this way to fit inside of a sheath attached inside or outside of the boot with a clip. You can carry the knives on the belt or under a pant leg.
Traditionally, the blade length of an ideal boot knife is between 3 inches (7.62cm) and 5 inches (12.7cm). Alternatively, a boot knife worn around the neck with a chain or cord becomes a neck knife.
Top 10 Best Boot Knives of 2022
1. Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9-Inch High Carbon S.S. Knife
If you’re looking for an affordable boot knife that can also be used as a survival tool or everyday carry, this is one of your best options. Sharp, lightweight, and easy to handle, this product can help you in intense situations or simple cutting tasks.
The knife comes with hardened 7Cr17MoV high-carbon stainless steel that can withstand daily use. With a double-edged spear point design, it’s a reliable self-defense weapon that won’t let you down in an emergency. The full tang construction also adds to its balance, strength, and durability.
Boasting an overall length of 9 inches (and a blade length of 4.7 inches), it’s not the easiest product to hide. It’s also a little heavy, weighing 7.7 ounces. However, if you’re fine with wearing high-cut boots that can easily conceal this weapon, then this is a great choice.
One of the reasons it tops our list of the best boot knives is the rubber-wrapped handle. It has deep straight grooves to ensure a non-slip grip. It allows you to wield the knife safely and efficiently even with wet or slippery hands.
Another reason we love this product is its appearance. Its sleek jet black color and silver edges make it an attractive piece to add to your collection.
For a cheap boot knife, this one looks classy and is very versatile. The only thing that isn’t great about it is that its length is not legal in certain areas. So, be sure to check your state’s knife regulations to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
- The handle’s over-sized handguard provides added slip resistance.
- The lanyard hole at the end of the handle lets you tether the knife to your wrist.
- This Smith & Wesson knife comes with a high-quality, easy-access leather boot sheath, which can also be clipped to the side of a belt.
2. ESEE Knives Izula-II
Designed to be more than just a concealed carry weapon, this boot knife is also considered to be the perfect all-around survival tool. At only 6.75 inches (with a blade length of 2.63 inches), it’s small enough that you can easily attach it to a boot.
The knife comes with a drop point blade that’s useful for any outdoor activity, from cleaning a fish to fashioning tent peg. Even after hours of use, the high-carbon 1095 steel can hold its razor-sharp edge. When it gets dull, you can easily sharpen with a whetstone.
Remember to keep the blade lubricated and cleaned, especially on the edge and around the areas with laser engraving. While the carbon steel is finished with a powder coating, it’s still susceptible to rust and stain, if not properly maintained.
Normally, knives of this size are equipped with small handles. But this one is fitted with a longer one that’s perfect enough to let you get a full grip on. The textured Micarta canvas scales also improve its slip resistance, allowing you to handle the blade safely even when wet.
Some users note that the blade’s sheath is rough and bulky, even though the knife snaps securely in place. Its metal clip is also prone to rust.
Overall, we consider this one of the best boot knives for its easy-to-grip handle, sharp high-carbon steel blade, and ideal length. Keep this versatile product with you each time you go camping or hunting.
- This boot knife comes with a belt clip attachment with strong spring tension.
- The molded plastic sheath is lightweight, slim, easy-to-clean.
- The reversible clip allows for left and right tip-up or tip-down carry
3. KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife
This self-defense knife is an ideal weapon to have in situations where the suspect thinks they have you cornered and attempts to grab your firearm.
Ideal for police officers or for military personnel, it’s designed for close-quarter fights where gun use is out of the question. Its blade length measures only about 2 and a half inches, bringing the overall length to 5 5/8 inches.
With a sturdiness of 57-59 HRC, the AUS 8A stainless steel can hold its edge very well. Aside from self-defense, the knife is sharp enough for everyday use like cutting boxes or opening packages.
This knife is fitted with a black Zytel handle. Many people think that this thermoplastic material is flimsy and hollow. It may look cheap but it’s actually durable and scratch-resistant.
Note that the product comes with a nylon sheath and a belt clip. The knife clicks when kept, giving you peace of mind knowing that it’s locked securely in place.
This fixed blade military knife is easy to conceal. The blade and handle are angled in a way that makes it comfortable to sit without the handle poking at you.
- The handle has a cut-out design where you can rest your index finger for easier grip.
- This knife comes with a Kydex form molded sheath with a sturdy belt clip.
- The clip is reversible so you can orient the knife vertically or horizontally.
4. Buck Knives 0616BKS OPS BOOT Tactical Knife
Designed for demanding situations, this high-performance, full-tang knife can withstand heavy use and abuse. Its sharply angled tanto blade is made of 154CM stainless steel, giving it exceptional edge-retention and corrosion-resistant properties. It’s also sharp enough for cutting, slashing, and piercing tough materials.
Measuring 6.25 inches (with a blade length of 3 inches), it’s the perfect everyday carry weapon. The product also weighs only 2.5 ounces, making it lighter compared to most boot knives out there, including the Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B and ESEE Knives Izula-II.
The textured handle is made of G10, a thermoset plastic laminate material designed for enhanced durability and water resistance. This allows you to wield the knife securely and comfortably.
The black polypropylene/leather sheath is versatile; you can carry it on your boot, around your neck, or on your belt either horizontally or vertically. It also comes with a Velcro strap and an extension so you can strap it around your ankle, calf, or anywhere else you might want to wear it.
Overall, this is one of the best boot knives due to its super-light construction and impressive durability. Its sheath is also a favorite among users.
- This USA-made product comes with a lifetime warranty.
- The metal clip is reversible, so you can carry the knife with its tip facing up or down.
- The handle features a contoured grip with a finger groove to ensure a safe grip.
5. SOG Instinct Mini Fixed Blade Knife (NB1012-CP)
Compared to other boot knives, this one is not primarily designed to be a weapon. The blade is sharp and corrosion-resistant, but since it measures only 1.9 inches long, it works better as a compact everyday carry or backup cutting tool.
With an overall length of 4.8 inches, you can easily attach it to your boot and forget about it. The small size and lightweight design make it easy and convenient to conceal. Note, however, that if you have larger hands you might have trouble holding this mini knife.
It also offers multiple carry options. You may choose to wear the hard-molded nylon sheath your neck, attach it to your belt, or clip to the handle of your bag. Just be sure the blade is kept securely in place since some users note that it can slip off if not carefully sheathed.
As with other SOG boot knives, this product is built to last. However, it requires regular cleaning, lubrication, and sharpening to maintain its optimal condition. You might also need to hone it as soon as you receive it if you want a stronger edge.
- The full tang construction makes this knife solid and durable for its size.
- The blade has a clip point that gives it a good belly, which allows for quick and deep cuts.
- The high-quality G10 handle comes with finger grooves and notches for better grip and blade control.
Read Also: The Best Knife for Hiking Protection
6. Kershaw Secret Agent (4007) Concealable Boot Knife
This all-black boot knife is great for tactical and self-defense purposes. It features high-carbon 8Cr13MoV stainless steel that went through a heat treatment process to ensure excellent performance and durability.
With a blade length of 4.4 inches and weighing 3 ounces, this knife is small yet adequate enough for heavy-duty cutting chores. Its blade has a non-reflective black-oxide finish that provides extra strength and protection.
To ensure a safe and comfortable grip, the handle is made of glass-filled nylon with a rubber over-mold. It also has a wide middle area and textured surface to further prevent slippage.
- The dual-carry molded sheath comes with a clip that can be attached to your belt. It also has slots for leg carry straps.
- With its full tang construction, this knife delivers the right balance of performance and durability.
- The handle features a lanyard hole for an additional carrying option.
7. Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife Deluxe Kit
When it comes to high-quality, discreet, and ultra-light self-defense weapons, this Gerber knife definitely makes the cut. Primarily designed for concealed carry, it features 420HC stainless steel with a ceramic coating that minimizes reflection. It’s also equipped with a rubberized grip to make the handle slip-resistant.
Best for cowboy boots and low-cut shoes, this knife comes with an ankle-mounted sheath that you can wear vertically or horizontally. With an overall length of 6.9 inches and a blade measurement of 3.3 inches, it’s comfortable to carry regardless of which option you choose.
- The sheath can be clipped on the belt for easy access.
- The rubberized over-mold handle is textured to ensure a no-slip grip.
- The black ceramic coating prevents the blade from rust and corrosion.
8. CRKT Sting Fixed Blade Knife With Sheath
If you’re looking for an extra tough double-edged tactical knife, this product is for you. Forged full tang, this piece is as balanced and sturdy as it gets. Its blade features a non-reflective powder coat finish that resists corrosion, even if it comes in contact with saltwater. Just remember to keep it clean and oiled afterward. Find some high-quality oil for folding knives here.
At 6.85 inches long (with a blade length of 3.2 inches), this is one of the bigger and heavier boot knives out there. It’s not the type of blade you can attach to your footwear and forget about because of its bulky size, but it will truly come in handy if you need a larger sharp object for outdoor activities or self-defense.
The knife’s sheath comes with a Velcro strap that you can attach to your boot, calf, or belt. The blade attaches securely to the casing, so you never have to worry about it rattling.
- This knife comes with a double-edged 1050 carbon steel blade that can easily be sharpened.
- The contours on the handle provide users with a secure grip, though its smooth texture will require extra caution.
- This product is patterned after the classic AG Russell Sting.
9. Cold Steel Peace Maker Tactical Knife With Sheath
This is a solid, full-tang knife that comes razor sharp right off the box. The German stainless steel blade comes with such a pointy edge that you can even use it to shave hair.
This knife measures 8.5 inches in length and 5 ounces in weight. Given its size, it’s not the easiest blade to conceal. Pick this only if you like wearing high-cut boots that go up to your calves or right below the knees.
The sheath comes with a metal clip so you can attach the knife to your footwear or belt, though some users note that it’s too stiff. Some people also note that the casing isn’t the best at keeping the knife in place.
Overall, this is an affordable knife that holds an edge well and does its job. If its size doesn’t turn you off, it’s a good option to try if you’re looking for a utilitarian blade for hunting, fishing, or self-defense.
- The Peace Maker has a classic drop point blade.
- This knife comes with an ergonomic rubber grip that makes it very easy to use.
- The blade is 3 mm thick, keeping the product lightweight yet strong.
10. Old Timer 162OT Boot Knife
Old Timer knives get their name from the fact that their blades are built to last. Take this solid, full-tang dagger with you if you regularly go out hunting or camping. It’s durable and lightweight, making it a good EDC tool.
The high-carbon stainless steel blade comes out with a sharp edge right off the box, but it could use a little honing if you want something that could cut through anything like butter. Note that this product is actually better for lefties since the handle and the logo will end up facing your hip instead of facing outward if you store it at the right side of your body.
Like the Cold Steel Peace Maker, this is one of the larger boot knives in this list, measuring 7.8 inches long. If you’re not a fan of high-cut footwear, it might not be the easiest product for you to conceal. The leather sheath also doesn’t come with a boot clip, just belt slots, so we’d expect you’ll need to buy a different case for this.
- This is a sharp, all-purpose knife that may surprise you with its quality given its affordable price.
- The product comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
- The handle scales are made of Delrin plastic.
What Brands Are Manufacturing Boot Knives?
Throughout the years, many companies have produced quality boot knives. Some of the most popular are Cold Steel, Kershaw Knives, Ek Knives, Parker Brothers, Gerber Legendary Blades, Blackjack Knives, Valor Cutlery, and more.
Here are some of our favorites and why.
This brand produced one of our favorites: the Cold Steel Counter Tac II. The Counter Tac II is a lightweight tool with a grippy handle that gives you complete control over the knife at all times. It is lightweight, making it easy to get it out and inside the sheath at a moment’s notice. As a result, it adapts to most circumstances and tasks with ease.
Smith & Wesson
Next in line, we have Smith & Wesson, manufacturer of wonderful S&W SWF606 boot knife. This knife is heavy, but the clip and sheath fit in cowboy and construction boots seamlessly. Plus, the overall length of the knife is 8.6 inches. It stores at the sheath within hand’s reach without feeling uncomfortable against the ankles. Truly a convenient tool for all types of workers.
This company is another contender worth considering while looking for boot knives. We recommend checking out the SOG Instinct, a small knife with an interchangeable clip to attach the sheath on either side. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a left or right-hand user or if you want the knife inside or outside of the boot.
What Should You Look for When Buying a Boot Knife?
If you’re looking for a backup knife, a boot knife is what you need. Not any knife does the trick, so you have to pay special attention to different features before buying.
Primarily, you must figure out how you intend to use the knife, whether it’s for hunting, self-defense, or other outdoor activities. Let’s explore all of this to find your ideal boot knife.
1. Intended Uses
Boot knives are suitable for hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing, among other tasks. The intended use of the knife will decide the type of knife, blade style, and length you should choose. For example, you will need a spear point boot knife if you plan to cut, skin, or carve.
Are boot knives good for self-defense?
A boot knife can work as a self-defense tool, but only when you’re aware of an incoming threat. If an animal or assailant gets close to you, reaching the boot knife is tricky. You have to lift your pants and sometimes use both hands to detach the knife from the sheath. There may not be enough time to do all of that if the attacker is right on top of you.
2. Blade Steel
Stainless steel is resistant to water and humidity, making the boot knives perfect for cutting wood, trimming rope, or preparing fish. It’s a durable material that doesn’t require constant maintenance. However, stainless steel isn’t as hard as high carbon, and it won’t retain a razor-sharp edge as well as carbon steel.
High carbon steel is almost indestructible, so you can use it for tasks like cutting cordage, scraping hides, butchering animals, or even cleaning fish scales. Still, this material is not as stain-resistant as stainless steel. So, it will discolor almost immediately if you leave it exposed to water or acidic juices produced by citrus fruits, vinegar, or tomatoes. Look for a high carbon steel boot knife only if you intend to care for it after each use.
Blade made with high-carbon steel is harder, sharper, and can hold an edge for a longer time. Re-sharpening this material is also a breeze, which is a plus when you’re out there.
3. Blade Finish
Polish. A blade with a polished finish looks fantastic, but you don’t want to use it for rough tasks because the scratches will be visible. This type of finish is mostly better for cutting tasks that require skills instead of force, such as opening boxes, cutting fruits, cutting seat belts, or slicing animal skin.
Satin. Knives with a satin finish are more expensive because achieving said finish takes time and requires skills. On the blade, a satin finish reduces the reflective properties, which comes in handy if you want to keep your boot knife hidden. It’s an excellent choice for hunting or survival scenarios where a non-glaring blade helps you approach your target by surprise.
Black Oxide. Blades with black oxide are more than just aesthetics. It’s a type of finish worth considering if you want a little more corrosion resistance for your blade. Plus, it’s non-reflective, and the texture feels smooth for less dragging while cutting. You can use this type of finish for tactical, hunting, and survival applications. Don’t use it for food preparation because it leaves a metallic taste and can be toxic.
Stonewash. A stonewash finish is another valid candidate if you want a corrosion-resistant blade that hides scratches pretty well. It’s an ideal finish style if you use your boot knife as an EDC knife, for opening packages or envelopes, cutting strings, or doing other small chores. The finish will help cover wear from constant use much better.
4. Single Edge vs Double Edge
Single-edged knives are the most popular, featuring a sharpened edge only on the bottom side, like drop point and clip point blades. This type of knife is heavier than double-edged knives, giving you the sturdiness and balance required for precision work such as slicing fish or carving wood.
On the other hand, double-edged knives also have a sharpened spine, as seen in spear point blades and daggers. The good thing about this knife style is that you can use them regardless of what your dominant hand is. However, the biggest issue here is that many states don’t allow double-edged knives. Therefore, you can’t carry or own them in many places. Before opting for a double-edged knife I would recommend you to check out your state knife laws first.
5. Blade Style
The shape and style of the boot knife vary depending on its intended use. Usually, a boot knife may feature one of the following blade styles: tanto point, drop point, clip point, and spear point.
Tanto point blades are usually the strongest, and they’re excellent for stabbing through hard materials like boxes or armor. Nonetheless, these blades lack a belly, meaning they can’t slice well.
Drop point blades are the most common, featuring a controllable point and a belly for slicing. Therefore, this blade style is better for general use and perfect for hunters that skin game regularly.
Clip point blades are the go-to choice if your projects involve precise cutting. You can use it for carving, skinning, and penetrating larger animals.
Spear point blades usually have a double-edged design, making them ideal for piercing and stabbing. Use this blade style for self-defense purposes, but not for cutting or slicing.
6. Blade Length
The length of a boot knife blade is as short as 2 inches (ESEE Candiru) or as large as 7.50 inches (Schrade Needle). Choosing the blade length depends on your preference and what type of boots you’re wearing. If you prefer old-style cowboy boots, they offer enough space for all types of knives regardless of their size. Modern boots like construction boots aren’t as big and would feel uncomfortable with larger blades. In this case, smaller knives would be the better option.
What size knife is legal to carry?
Remember that many states and countries regulate the blade length citizens can carry freely. Don’t forget to check your state’s laws on knives to help you choose a knife compliant with the laws.
7. Handle Material
Wooden Handle. Handles made of wood look great but may face severe issues if water breaks through the scales. Therefore, they’re not the best option for outdoor use in either camping or hunting activities because exposure to water or blood may damage the scales.
Rubberized Handle. This handle type offers a grippy surface that allows you to hold the knife firmly. Whether you’re using the boot knife to cut fish or fruits, the slimy textures and juices won’t compromise your hold on the handle either. As a result, it’s a suitable option if you’re butchering or skinning animals, preparing fish, or dealing with materials that may produce liquids.
Fiberglass. High-quality fiberglass handles are more durable than wood and look much better than the rubberized handle. They can also withstand rain and sun heat without cracking or splitting. Choose this type of handle if you want a high-end-looking knife that feels comfortable under any task.
8. Lock Type
Boot knife sheaths come with a clip that locks the knife in place while not in use. Make sure to get a clip that lets you take your knife out as fast as possible. Otherwise, you’ll have to push the sheath down with one hand while using the other hand to pull the knife out. You also don’t want a clip that feels too floppy, or it would make it uncomfortable for you to walk.
9. Carry Method/System (horizontal/vertical)
The proper method to carry a boot knife is by putting it in a sheath. Most sheaths attach to the boot vertically, keeping the knife handle upward to let you grab it with more ease.
Alternatively, some sheaths come with straps that you can secure on your belt horizontally. These are less common, but they’re still an option if the knife is bothering your ankles or the sheath doesn’t fit your boot properly. Wearing the boot knife horizontally on the belt also means you don’t have to bend over to grab it. Therefore, your reaction time is much faster.
Anything between 1.7 pounds and 5.92 pounds makes an excellent boot knife. Since you’re wearing the boot knife, chances are a lightweight knife would be more comfortable. You’ll have the opportunity to walk freely without feeling the burden against your ankles. On the other hand, a slightly heavier knife may be easier to draw and feels more balanced.
11. Sheath Material
Plastic. Sheaths made with plastic are the cheapest, and their quality is considerably lower than the other materials. With that said, these sheaths are lightweight and will not feel like a burden when you have to carry your boot knife around. You should use a plastic sheath only temporarily and replace it as soon as possible.
Kydex. Created with thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride, Kydex sheaths are waterproof and resistant to scratches. As a result, they’re more reliable than plastic when you expose them to different environments. Also, keeping these sheaths clean is a breeze, so you don’t have to pay special attention to them. These sheaths are also lightweight, making them comfortable to carry around.
Nylon. This material is more resistant to rot and mildew when compared to leather. It also deals with water much better than leather, which is another plus if you plan to wear the boot knife in humid environments.
Leather. This material is tough, strong, rugged, and it looks stylish when you attach the sheath to the boot. Sheaths made with leather are less likely to break, and you can re-sew the stitches if they come loose.
Besides being the best option aesthetically, leather sheaths are silent, allowing you to draw your knife without making noise. Keep in mind that they’re on the heavier side, so you definitely have to get a lightweight knife to compensate for it. Otherwise, your boot will feel uncomfortable.
12. Knife Tang
Full tang knives are the preferred choice by many people because they allow you to apply more force over the blade without the risk of snapping it at the bolster. These are good for all types of activities, but more so for cutting through thick materials like wood. As opposed to partial tang knives, full-tang knives are heavier.
Partial tang knives are usually weaker than full tangs, but they’re also lighter. Normally, you use this tang style for tasks that require skills instead of force, like slicing.
13. Legal Factor
Boot knives may carry different issues legally, as they feature multiple characteristics that are illegal in many areas. For instance, many states ban fixed-blade knives, double-edged knives like daggers, concealed knives, or knives with blades of a certain length. Before purchasing one, make sure to learn about knife laws in your area to avoid any legal issues.
The price of a boot knife varies between $24 and $100. On the lower end, you can find options like the S&W SWF606, which is only $24 and boasts a 4.4-inch high carbon steel blade with a thick handle for a solid grip. If you want something more high-end, the Buck Ops Boot Knife sits around the $100 threshold. It’s a quality knife with durable materials and a decent clip to let you draw the knife faster.
15. Knife Designer
Gil Hibben’s collection includes several boot knives on the larger and heavier side. For instance, you can find Bowie-style knives with 10-inch blades and a slightly smaller 6-inch double-edged boot knife. The quality of the blade and handles are unquestionable, but you do need large boots to support the weight.
The AG Russell boot knives are smaller and can fit into any sheath on almost any boot. They’re easy to carry and lightweight enough to go unnoticed unless you know they’re there. While the knives can feel a bit flimsy at times, they’re the better option if you need an EDC boot knife for light tasks such as cutting strings, opening envelopes, poking holes, etc. Plus, they’re arguably the most affordable, too!
Lerch Matthew’s collection includes boot knives with double-edged blades of small size, which are lightweight and sturdy. However, the highlighted feature here is the Micarta handle. This type of plastic is strong, durable, and it doesn’t become brittle over time. As such, the Lerch Matthew boot knife is excellent for crafting.
The Tony Lennartz boot knife is a must-have if you enjoy precision work like carving wood. It has a clip point blade for penetration, and serrations on the spine rip through items like ropes with sheer pressure. Unfortunately, the high carbon steel handles can compromise your grip if it’s wet. So, it’s better to use it for dry applications instead of slicing fruits or field dressing.
Rex Applegate is a designer that appeals to survivalists and combatants. You can see it in his boot knife designs, as the knives feature an ergonomic handle for a solid grip and a blade style based on traditional Japanese spear designs.
Keeping a blade in your footwear can save your life. If you’re highly concerned about personal protection, we recommend you get the Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9-Inch High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife. It’s a sharp and reliable dagger that won’t let you down in tough situations.
If you’re looking for something smaller, the ESEE Knives Izula-II Fixed Knife is also a good choice. This blade offers impressive control and can be easily concealed inside a boot.