Boot knives have been around for a long time. People have always looked for ways to conceal blades and stuffing one in your boot has and will always be a good hiding place.
Knives are an everyday tool, but can also get you out of a jam. What better way to stay prepared than to have one at the ready?
A well-made boot knife can help you in the field, and more importantly, it can be a reliable self defense tool.
You probably have a sharp blade clipped onto your pocket at all times, consider stashing an extra blade just in case you need it.
WHAT IS A BOOT KNIFE AND WHERE CAN I BUY ONE
Boot knives are simply small knives designed to be concealed within your boot or around your ankle. They are usually small in nature with a sturdy, fixed blade. You should be able to conceal these completely. That’s the whole point!
Most boot knives can be worn in or outside a boot, in your laces, as well as on a belt or around the neck. I personally love dangling a knife around my neck, especially when I’m in the woods and need quick access to a blade.
The goal of possessing a boot knife is mainly for survival situations, hence their small stature and concealability, however, they are more than capable of most camp duties and everyday use.
You know as well as I do that it’s easy to spot a clip-on knife peeking out of someone’s front pocket. What you don’t know is whether or not they are packing extra protection should a fight go to the ground.
Since you are likely looking into purchasing the best boot knife you can find for self-defense, let’s discuss that virtue first.
If you’re like most people, your first consideration for buying a quality boot knife is for self-defense situations. There are many types of blades, so you will have to familiarize yourself with them as they have different uses. For example, some blades are better equipped for slicing, while others are better for piercing.
It’s doubtful this distinction will really matter should you find yourself thrust into a life or death survival situation- a blade is a blade. However, you will want to learn how to use your new boot knife.
I have about five to seven items that I carry everywhere I go. I even wear them when I’m in my home, because you never know what can happen.
A knife is one of the most important things you can carry due to their versatility. You can slice packages, fingers and even large chunks of wood for a campfire.
You don’t need a large knife to accomplish most tasks if you know how to use it. A small boot knife can handle nearly anything you encounter with experience. I know many people opt for the large survival knives such as the Rambo survival knife, but you only need 3 -5 inches of blade to be effective. You just have to learn how to use a smaller blade to fit your needs.
You can slice meat when cooking food on the pit. A smaller blade can make more refined cuts than a larger, thicker blade. The best boot knives are perfect for cutting meat into easy to cook chunks and can even be used for veggies.
Lost in the woods or just drinking some beers at the camp with friends? You can cut up small pieces of wood that are perfect for starting fires. With a little practice you can easily decimate a sizeable chunk of wood with a boot knife. Anything larger and you may need to carry a camp axe.
HOW TO CHOOSE A BOOT KNIFE
It can be a daunting task to choose the right boot knife that has all the features you want. There are literally thousands of brands and designs to choose from!
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when making your purchase.
LENGTH OF THE BLADE
This is where most people get hung up while trying to decide which knife to purchase. You don’t necessarily need to buy the biggest blade out there, but you can also go too small depending on what you will be using your knife for.
Small blades can range from tiny and almost unusable, to around 2.5 inches. Remember, that’s not counting the total length of the knife, just the blade itself.
These are great for easy access and making small cuts such as rope and in the event you may need to pierce skin. However, keep in mind the size of your hands. Most small boot knives only have room for a finger or two on the handle.
Medium blades usually run anywhere from 2.5 inches to 4 inches depending on the manufacturer. This is the sweet spot as it can handle light duty work and is easily concealed.
Large blades are usually above 4 inches. These are tougher to conceal, but can be extremely useful in a combat situation.
You have to think about what you are more likely to use your boot knife for – fighting or everyday use.
Remember, you can easily carry a larger knife on your belt. Boot knives are more of the “Oh shit!” variety and don’t have to be huge to be effective.
HANDLE MATERIAL AND DESIGN
Each blade will have a different type of handle. Make sure you are comfortable holding your boot knife. Stainless steel handles are tough and resistant, but they also weigh more than other materials.
Fiberglass handles are a great choice for boot knife handles as they are lightweight and can resist the elements.
WHAT IS THE BEST BOOT KNIFE ON THE MARKET
The best boot knife you can own is the one you have when you need it. In all seriousness, you may need to test out a few before making your decision.
Most knives made by reputable companies are designed well enough to handle nearly everything you will encounter. You may enjoy a larger knife with piercing capabilities, whereas a backpacker may prefer to have a blade that excels at slicing and dicing.
You have to consider what you will likely be using it for. We have compiled a list of the highest quality boot knives you are likely to find within a reasonable price range. Each of these excel at various jobs, but all of them will handle basic work.
The 10 Best Boot Knives of 2020
Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade Knife
This is one of the larger boot knives from the list. It’s 9 inches long with a 4.7 inch dual edge blade. This knife is great for outdoor, campsite, survival and tactical uses. Made from High Carbon Stainless Steel, so you know it is durable.
The handle is wrapped with black rubber which will give you a good grip and it has a hand guard so you don’t accidentally cut yourself when stabbing.
The blade is pointed and has a dual edge, which makes it great for stabbing, hunting, fighting and any other survival situation you may find yourself in. You can use this blade for just about anything!
It also should be noted that it has a weight of 7.7 ounces and it is full tang. The handle is the perfect size to grip.
Kershaw Secret Agent
Another great entry. The Secret Agent boot knife has an edge of 4.4 inches and comes with a dual carry molded sheath so you can wear it on your boot or belt. It’s good to have multiple options when deciding where to carry your knife.
This blade only weighs 3 ounces and has a reinforced synthetic polymer rubber handle for better grip.
This is one of my favorite tactical boot knives. The blade on the Ghoststrike is 3.3 inches long and it comes with an ankle wrap. It’s lightweight and compact which makes it easy to conceal if that’s your goal.
The sheath gives you options to carry vertically or horizontally on a belt. The overall length of this blade is 6.9 inches, so it can easily be pinned behind your belt or wrapped around your ankle for maximum concealment.
You may have difficulty cutting through thick wood with this knife, but no problem using it for defense or an escape tool should you need it.
This is a versatile little knife that can be carried multiple ways. It measures 4.8 inches total length with a 1.9 inch blade. It only weighs 1.4 ounces, so it is one of the lightest knives you can find. Great for everyday carry, it can be used as a belt knife, boot knife and even can be slung around your neck for maximum quick access.
The handle has a great grip with finger grooves that enhances your dexterity while using this blade.
Highly recommended as a backup knife or even a backup to your backup knife.
This compact fixed blade is a little different than other entries on the list. This is one of the most versatile little knives you will find on the market.
Razor-sharp stainless-steel edge, this blade can cut! Pay attention to the three finger grooves – they give you ultimate control of incisions with this timeless blade.
This knife comes with a sheath and a neck cord so you have carrying options. A G10 handle and nylon sheath makes this a great option for everyday carry.
Read more about the CRKT Minimalist Neck and Boot Knife
This knife is vastly different from the previous blade by CRKT. It has a dual edge titanium nitride finished blade with polished resin infused fiber handle overlays. This type of blade excels at piercing; whether that be bags of seed, leather or even human flesh.
This is a nice dagger style boot knife that is razor sharp out of the box and has a nice finish. It does exactly what it is made to do.
SOG Pentagon Dagger
This is one of the more expensive blades on the list, but we all know SOG makes a quality product. This blade measures 9.75 inches in overall length and has a 5 inch blade.
More on the larger size, it’s meant for bigger tasks. Weighing in at 5.6 ounces, it packs a mean punch.
One thing most users enjoy about this SOG boot knife is the double-edged full tang blade. It’s great as a boot knife, defensive measures, camp duty, outdoor knife and just about anything else you could encounter in your daily life.
Not only does it have a spear tip point, but also a serrated edge on one side and straight-edge on the other. This makes it one of the more versatile blades you can buy.
Don’t worry about the grip, this knife has a thermoplastic rubber handle that is textured for perfect grip.
This little beast has been a fan favorite since it first came out. Measuring at only 4.3 inches total length with a 2.3-inch blade, it is easy to conceal. The finger hole makes it easy to maneuver and quick grab.
Perfect for self-defense situations where you need to make quick jabs to get the upper hand or escape.
You can use the SOG Snarl as a boot knife, neck knife and even belt knife. It comes with a neck knife chain which I personally enjoy. Imagine working in the garden and needing a blade within a matter of seconds. You can grab this knife faster than any other blade I have used.
The only downfall, and it may not even be one depending on how you use it, is this blade’s size. There isn’t much cutting length and you won’t be able to saw anything with it. But hey, it’s still a really cool blade that still has multiple uses!
Read more about the SOG Snarl Neck and Boot Knife
Frequently Asked Questions About Boot Knives
HOW DO YOU WEAR A BOOT KNIFE
Most boot knives come prepacked with a sheath or holster that will either fit in your boot or wrap around your ankle. If not, you can make your own with leather.
Take note of your footwear. You may want to purchase hiking socks as they are thicker and will give your ankle protection from abrasions. Most of the sheaths are made from dense plastic and can rub blisters.
Personally, I would place the knife on your dominant side of the body. Right-handed? Consider carrying your knife on your right foot.
Do a test run to see how easy it is to unsheathe in an emergency situation. You may find it is easier to grab from your left boot.
HOW MUCH DO BOOT KNIVES COST
As you can see from this brief list; boot knives can range from cheap to quite expensive. Most seem to fall within the $20 to $35 range. You can find a quality made knife without breaking the bank.
IS IT LEGAL TO CARRY A BOOT KNIFE
You may want to check with your local laws, as it is your duty to be aware of how conceal weapons laws affects you. Boot knives aren’t legal in every State, so do your duty and find out.
Again, check your local laws and contact an attorney if needed. We are not giving legal advice regarding concealed knives or weapons.
CAN A BOOT KNIFE DOUBLE AS A PRIMARY KNIFE
Most of these can. As you can see, many of them have blades that can handle multiple types of work. However, some of the blades can be on the small side and you may have difficultly using some of them for extending amounts of time due to their size limitations.
A little ingenuity and a boot knife or neck knife can absolutely be your number one blade. I would suggest carrying a larger knife on your belt just in case and let your boot knife serve as backup.
That’s just my opinion though as many people only carry one knife.
Jerome is an avid outdoorsman who moonlights as an attorney when he’s not creating the world’s greatest online content.