Best Boot Knives
Two is one and one is none- if you don’t have a backup to fall back on, your first mishap might become the last.
Backup plans, therefore, are critical to any survival situation. If you were to survive in a deserted forest, you can do so without your clothing or a toothbrush but not without the necessities such as food or water. And the same applies to your knife.
When out for hunting or in a combat situation, it’s always a good idea to carry a secondary knife along with you. That’s where boot-knives come into play. After using several different knives of various brands, I’ve picked the 10 best boot knives for self-defense that I found to be efficient and reliable (and also, worth your money.)
This Review Is Written After
Hours of Research
Best Boot Knives Of 2019
Gerber’s Ghostrike Series fixed blade knife is hands-down the best-designed boot knife that I’ve ever come across. It is a little skeletonized knife with a full tang fixed blade.
The overall length of this knife is 6.9 inches and a cutting edge of 2 1/2 inches. The heart of the blade is 420HC steel. It’s a widely used steel which is often used in knives at this price point. The corrosion resistance is excellent but the edge retention is quite average.
The handles are well-built too. The skeletonized design is there to reduce weight without compromising on stability. It comes with finger grooves as well as the rubberized coating on top, for an improved grip.
No compromise has been made while designing this knife. Not just the knife but the quality of the sheath is equally good. It comes with an ambidextrous nylon sheath so you can insert the knife either way. The locking mechanism provides enough resistance to keep the knife in place while also not making it too difficult to pull out when required.
Along with the sheath and belt mounts, you also get an adjustable ankle wrap with the deluxe kit. The wrap is lightweight, comfortable and concealable.
Everything from blade to body has been designed and manufactured here in the USA, so you can be assured of the superior quality that it has to offer. If the brand name isn’t enough for you, Gerber has a lifetime warranty to offer against any kind of defects to build your confidence.
Size is a big concern for boot knives as they have to be concealable. Keeping that in mind, Buck has created the 616 tactical with special emphasis on being little yet sturdy enough.
It comes with a 3″ long razor-sharp blade which is made out of 154CM stainless steel. I like it because of its above-average edge retention and ease of sharping when required. It’s fairly corrosion resistant as well and can be used for heavy cutting applications.
The included sheath is one of the best I’ve ever come across with a lot of options on how to configure it. The handle is made out of nylon G10 and has a contoured grip with deep finger grooves on it, making it comfortable to hold and secure to work with.
All this makes it a great choice if you’re looking for a small yet high-performance knife in the field.
CRKT has been around for a while and is known for its well-built fixed blade as well as folding knives. The CRKT Sting follows their legacy by providing a high-quality full-tang knife built out of a single piece of metal.
It’s a really great little boot knife which comes with a double-edged dagger spear point blade. The blade is made out of hot-forged 1050 steel and powder coated for the finish and corrosion resistance. The handle is contoured to provide heft and balance. It also has thumb groves for a solid grip.
The design philosophy is simple yet very cool. It’s compact enough to not be seen by others but performs equally good when compared to other larger tactical knives, if not better.
If you’re looking for an everyday-carry-knife, then this might not be the one for you due to its ergonomics. The double-edged blade makes it hard to grip it for such tasks. However, it’s design is particularly helpful in tactical situations, providing excellent penetration.
If you’re looking for something ultra-compact without losing its utility, check out the SOG Snarl, a beast in a very small package built from a single block of 9Cr18Mov steel.
What makes it different than the other knives on this list is how tiny yet effective it is. The overall length of this knife is about 4.3 inches with a blade length of 2.3 inches. It definitely does not feel too small to hold, especially with the aggressive jimping along the spine, which helps keep the blade under control while doing detailed work.
At 0.25″ it’s a fairly thick knife and is incredibly strong too. Weighing around 2 ounces, it’s so light that sometimes forget that it’s even there. And despite being so lightweight, no compromise on quality has been made.
As mentioned earlier, it has been carved out of a single piece of 9Cr18MoV steel and comes with a satin finish which makes it cosmetically pleasing. It’s very reliable steel that resists corrosion and has excellent edge retention.
It’s a Sheepsfoot blade and a lot of you might not be accustomed to it. Having used it for a while, I can say that it is actually very useful in certain situations. Whether you intend to use it as an EDC or as a tactical knife, it does its job effectively.
It comes with a molded nylon sheath which has a removable belt clip. It’s a very versatile sheath and I like it’s quality, making it one of the best knives at this price point.
Next on our list is the CRKT Minimalist series. There are a lot of different variants available but my pick would be the Bowie knife.
It’s actually intended to be used as a neck knife but works just fine as a boot knife too. The knife measures 5.1 inches in length which is quite comparable to other knives in the list.
The blade is made out of 5Cr15MoV steel and has a bead-blasted finish to it. I’m not a big fan of this steel type but considering the price point, it’s a steal. It’s a bit soft hence would require sharping more often. That’s the only issue I have with it. Otherwise, it does its job well and resists rust well.
The handle is made out of black polished Micarta and has three finger grooves and a lanyard to provide an extremely secure grip. The handle is narrow in particular which is why this knife weighs so less, just over 2 ounces including the sheath.
The provided sheath is of decent quality and has a secure fit. The knife doesn’t fall out of sheath yet remains easy to remove when required. It can be used as a boot knife or can be mounted in several different ways.
It’s not appropriate to call the S&W SWHRT9B a boot knife but rather a boot dagger. With its symmetrical double-edged blade, the knife caters well to the tactical crowd.
With an overall length of 8.8 inches, it isn’t as concealable as I’d want. The blade measures roughly 4.7 inches and is made out of 440C steel which is a nice addon. It’s coated in black which provides it an extra level of rust resistance. It isn’t going to break as easily as other blades at this price point.
It is surprisingly sharp right out of the box but may not hold its edge very well. However, that shouldn’t be a problem with a self-defense knife as you’d just want it to be sharp enough for that one day when you actually require it.
The handle is made out of aluminum and offers a really solid grip. It has a nice curvature to it which makes it comfortable to hold for a long period of time.
As said earlier, this is definitely not an EDC but more intended towards self-defense. It serves its purpose of a boot knife really well, especially when you consider its price.
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Last Updated: 16th October 2019
Coming from an award-winning brand that uses high-tech technologies and advanced materials, the Kershaw Secret Agent is a killer boot knife which everyone concerned about their security should have.
The blade on the Secret Agent is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. It is basically equivalent to AUS8A with more resistance to corrosion. Although a Chinese steel type, the quality that it has to offer is unmatched. It is a spear point blade shape which I particularly like in tactical knives.
It comes with a black-oxide coating on top. Not only does it make it look good, but it also adds some corrosion resistance and makes it more durable.
The overall length, however, is 8.7 inches which I feel is a bit extra for a boot knife. But, this might be just the right fit for you if you happen to have large hands.
It comes with a rubberized co-molded handle. This extra rubber layer and tapered design provide it a solid grip. It comes with finger guards to prevent accidental slipping.
I’m not a big fan of its butt. It has a lanyard hole over there which isn’t placed perfectly and comes in the way while trying to grip.
It comes with a plastic sheath which is of a decent quality at best. You get what you pay for so you shouldn’t be surprised. It gets the job done and is MOLLE compatible, what more can you ask for?
The knife focuses on both, performance and value. Definitely consider buying this, especially if you have large hands.
The Schrade Old Timer knives come with a vintage look but are as useful as other knives on this list. They carry a classic design and entice the people who prefer the type of knives their father or grandfather used to carry.
It’s a petite boot knife measuring at 7.8 inches overall and 3.8 inches long blade. It isn’t super compact but fits well in the hand especially for those having large hands.
For a Chinese knife, the performance is surprisingly good. It has a full tang spearpoint blade made out of 7Cr17 steel which turned out to be quite durable in my testing. It has some wear-resistance and holds its edge very well.
It is also very nice to hold, all thanks to its wooden handles which you won’t see quite often in knives offered today. It is ergonomically sound while still maintaining that antique look.
The sheath, however, is not up to the mark. Although made out of leather, the finishing is poor. It has slots cut for belt instead of loops so I doubt its durability.
To sum up, it is an excellent knife with a substandard sheath. If that doesn’t bother you then definitely consider checking it out.
The Instinct Mini is another incredibly lightweight knife from SOG which I particularly like due to its versatility. It can be carried in a variety of modes while still offering ruggedness for optimum cutting and penetration.
The knife measures 4.8″ overall, with the blade being 1.9″ long. The size is just enough to get past most of the local laws while still getting the job done. It is a clip point blade made out of 5Cr15MoV steel with satin finish on top.
It comes with a 360-degree hard-molded plastic sheath. The back part is adjustable so that you can clip it anywhere you want to. It’s very easy to get the knife in and out of the sheath. I just love the way it fits in so well.
Despite its aggressive pricing, no compromise whatsoever has been made on the quality of both the knife and the sheath. SOG is so confident about it that they even give you a limited lifetime warranty should anything go wrong.
Schrade’s SCHF19 bags the last spot on our list, mainly because of its incredible cost to performance ratio.
The overall length of the knife is 7″ with the blade coming at 3.5″. It’s extremely lightweight and feels as if there’s nothing in my hand. It’s an ideal size for boot knives and is fully concealable.
The steel used here is the 7Cr17MoV which is widely used in budget knives. There’s nothing special about it but it’s quite durable. It’s coated in black to give it some resistance to rust. It’s a spearpoint blade which is my personal favorite for self-defense.
It comes with a nice black leather sheath with belt and boot clip on back. It also has an over-latch for quick release of the knife, when required. I’m satisfied with its quality.
Further, it’s very affordable and the least expensive knife on our list. It won’t burn a hole in your pocket but rather poke a hole in anyone you throw it at.
After using a wide variety of boot knives, I sufficiently covered the best ones that I found in each price category. They all come with their own USP and differ in features but are similar in terms of the value they provide for their respective prices.
However, you still need to ascertain which, out of these 10, is the perfect one for you. For that, you need to ask yourself a few questions. I’ve mentioned those down here so do have a look.
Buying Guide: What to Look For in a Boot Knife?
The first thing to consider is that if it at all is legal to carry a boot-knife in public in your state.
Some states consider boot knives as a self-defense tool and let you carry them in public.
Others, however, don’t give you such freedom. Even the ones who do, have set limits in regards to the blade length.
In some states, double-edged boot knives come under the category of daggers hence it’s illegal to carry one along with you.
You’d want to check with your local laws for the legal size limit so that you don’t run into trouble later on. You can do so by visiting this link:
The purpose of a boot knife is to be small enough to fit in your boots and be concealable. Depending upon your boot size, the overall size of your knife along with the sheath has to be determined.
An oversized knife will bulge out of your boot, making it impractical to buy as it fails the purpose of being concealable. On the contrary, a smaller knife would be hard to release from its sheath.
Weight and maneuverability of a knife are indirectly proportional. More the weight, lesser the control you have on your knife.
The weight of a knife is pretty much dependant upon its size. A heavier knife can cause fatigue and might also not fit within the legal limits.
Apart from the size, it also depends upon the type of materials used. Generally, alloys tend to be lighter.
If you intend to use your boot knife as a secondary tactical weapon and don’t see yourself using it much, it’s better to go with a smaller and lighter knife.
The length of your blade is another important aspect to consider. Essentially, we have three categories of blade lengths:
Short blades: Blades measuring anything less than 3 inches will fit into this category. These are great if concealability is your priority. They fit well in your boots without showing a sign that it’s there, ensuring minimal visibility.
Medium blades: Blades measuring 3 to 4 inches long fit into this category. They are large enough to cut through things more efficiently while still providing concealability with minimal effort.
Large blade: Here I’m referring to blades beyond 4 inches in length. Apparently, these are harder to conceal. Though, on the contrary, a large blade will provide you more control and help you penetrate the organs. They are more suitable for those who would use the knife extensively for combat or wood-cutting.
Not all blades are created equal. The alloys used in the making determines their corrosion-resistance, hardness, and edge retention. This is where some manufacturers tend to cut costs down.
From my personal experience, 420HC, 154CM, 1050 and CrMoV are the ones you can go with.
The clip-point and drop-point are two widely used blade designs. Clip point blades are used wherein the work requires precision and detail. On the contrary, drop-point offers more durability and withstand all the abuse you throw at it.
Other popular designs include the spear-point blade, which you’d find in a lot of boot knives. It is a symmetrically pointed blade design and generally comes with double-edges. This, however, is considered as a dagger in some states, making it illegal to possess. So be sure to check the local laws before buying one, as mentioned earlier.
Sheepsfoot blade is another great blade design to go with. The intended use of this blade design is cutting. It comes with a sharp bottom while having a smooth finish on the top, making you less prone to piercing yourself.
As most of the boot-knives are squeezed to the smallest size possible, it gets important to find the one which is sufficiently comfortable to hold, despite the handle being tiny. Manufacturers achieve this by using different kinds of materials and shapes for the handle to provide extra grip.
Usually, you’d find the handle made out of Titanium or G-10 steel, which is the perfect choice among boot-knives. They resist rust and other foreign elements, making them very durable. However, this comes at a cost of added weight as they usually weigh more than their counterparts.
Rubber and Micarta are other great alternatives which provide a solid grip. But, rubber handles may degrade over time and are not as durable.
3 Common Applications of Boot Knives
This is an obvious benefit of carrying your boot-knife around. It provides you with the last line of protection for yourself, in case of any emergency.
A loaded gun doesn’t ensure you your safety and same goes with a boot-knife. But, carrying both does make it a lot safer. In case you’re not able to use your gun, you have a boot-knife at your disposal. Boot-knives make up for a good secondary self-defense tool, mainly because of their concealability.
Due to their small size and lightweight nature, boot-knives can be carried easily without causing any fatigue. This is helpful, particularly when you are out in the woods or trekking the mountains. You can use it to cut a rope, slice wood for a fire, or for any other uncertain condition which you might not be prepared for.
When out for hunting, you might not have enough room to carry a heavy blade along. In that case, boot-knives come into play as they are quite lightweight and can be carried along without adding any significant weight to your already-heavy backpack. They are quite versatile and some of them work just as good as a normal hunting knife while skinning and field-dressing.