Pockets are one of the most ingenious and convenient inventions of all time. And the pocket knife isn’t that much further behind. However, there are times when your pockets are either full or the activities you are partaking in are not exactly friendly to folding pocket carry, especially when it comes to bladed tools. Thankfully, there are other options out there, like traditional fixed blades, neck knives, and — in the case of this particular article — boot knives.
As their name suggests, boot knives are designed to be worn around the ankle and offer a discreet manner of carrying a fixed blade that might not be easily managed with other types of knives. They can also be turned to as your primary blade or as a backup, the latter of which being great for emergencies. So whether you’re a fan of tactical- and military-inspired gear, you’re a biker or outdoorsman, or some other combination of factors has brought you here, you’ll find a concealable blade that will suit you beautifully. These are the 10 best boot knives.
Kershaw Secret Agent Boot Knife
While its name is a touch cheeky (although not entirely off base), Kershaw’s Secret Agent is no less a spectacular boot knife, especially for those with budgetary restrictions. Its 4.4″ dagger-style blade is crafted from serviceable 8Cr13MoV steel and it’s connected to a polymer handle with a grippy rubber overmold so it won’t slip even in inclement weather. Better still, it also comes with a black oxide coating for added style points and some extra durability, and the whole package comes complete with its own versatile sheath (meaning you don’t have to use it exclusively as a boot knife).
Blade Length: 4.4″
Handle: Synthetic Polymer With Rubber Overmold
Cold Steel Counter TAC Series Boot Knife
If you’re a fan of somewhat aggressive styling, you can’t go wrong with Cold Steel’s budget-friendly Counter TAC Series Boot Knife you see here. Of course, if you are more concerned with the specs, this one has a solid array — especially for its super-low price. That includes a reliable AUS-8A stainless steel dagger blade, a sturdy and grippy Kray-Ex handle, and one of the brand’s proprietary Secure-Ex sheaths — which comes with its own removable boot/belt clip.
Blade Length: 3.375″
SOG Instinct Boot Knife
For anyone looking for an especially discreet boot knife — the kind you could feasibly hide from prying eyes in any situation — you can’t go wrong with the SOG Instinct Boot Knife you see here. That’s because this knife is a grand total of 5.9″ from tip to tail, making it one of the smallest options on the market. Of course, if that’s still too big, there’s also a mini version that measures up at a paltry 4.8″ in total. Either way, you’re still getting the same 5Cr15MoV full-tang steel blade, FRN handle scales, and a handy and versatile sheath — which makes this boot knife double as a neck knife, or you could even wear it on your belt or attach it to a tactical pack.
Blade Length: 2.3″
Case Cutlery TEC X Boot Knife
It’s fitting that Case, one of the best American knifemaking companies, designed this boot knife for Harley-Davidson, as boot knives are especially well-suited to biker usage. Of course, even without that connection, this would be a blade worth considering. It features a textured and grippy G10 handle mated to a 440 stainless steel dagger-shaped blade suitable for a variety of cutting tasks. It’s not fancy or overly showy, but it’ll get the job done right.
Blade Length: 4″
ESEE Candiru Fixed Blade
Put simply, ESEE makes some of the best fixed blades around, especially in the outdoor realm and when compact and discreet carry are concerned. And while they offer a massive range of exceptional fixed blades, we’re confident that the Candiru you see here is perhaps the brand’s best boot-style knife. This is due partially to its single-piece, skeletonized 1095 steel construction, which is as lightweight as it is tough and serviceable. But it’s also because the knife measures up at a total length of 5.125″ — making it exceptionally easy to stash out of the way. It’s a hardworking cutting tool perfect for those limited on space.
Blade Length: 2″
Handle: 1095 Steel
CRKT Shrill Fixed Blade Knife
Of all the boot knives on our list, this CRKT might be the most aggressive in its styling, marked by a needle-tipped dagger-style 8Cr13MoV full-tang blade mated to handsome resin handle scales. For those keeping track, that means this knife is much more than just looks; it was made to work. Designed by Matthew Lerch in Sussex, Wisconsin, this knife also comes with a handsome leather sheath and is slapped with a lifetime warranty.
Blade Length: 4.77″
Gerber Gear Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife
While it would be asinine to try and pick out Gerber’s “best” knife — the catalog is too deep and offers too many highlights to properly choose — we’d comfortably call the Ghoststrike the brand’s best boot knife. Along with its exceptional styling, this knife features a skeletonized 420HC steel construction, a rubber-coated handle, and it comes complete with a versatile and durable sheath. Furthermore, its 6.9″ length is both manageable (meaning its useful for hardworking tasks) and concealable.
Blade Length: 3.3″
Steel: Ceramic-Coated 420HC
Handle: 420HC Steel With Rubber Overmold
Buck Knives 616 Boot Knife
While Buck Knives is probably most associated with classic knives, like the brand’s legendary 110 Hunter, they do trade in some highly modern cutting tools. The 616 Boot Knife is one such blade, with its semi-aggressive silhouette (courtesy, in part, of that tanto-shaped blade), 154CM stainless steel construction, and G10 handle scales. And while it looks big and mean, it’s actually quite compact — with a total length of 6.25″. That means you could, if you wanted to, even wear it as a neck knife, should the boot-style wear not suit you.
Blade Length: 3″
Boker Applegate-Fairbairn Boot Knife
Colonel Rex Applegate and William E. Fairbairn worked together to design this exceptional boot knife and the military inspiration should be clear at the first glance. And while we love the styling, especially that brass cross-guard, it’s the 440C dagger blade and durable-yet-lightweight FRP handle that will have us coming back for more and more with this boot knife. Balanced, sized perfectly, and with a retro-military design, you can’t go wrong here.
Blade Length: 4.65″
Klotzli Swiss Border Guard Knife
All of the knives on this list are special for their own reasons, but none of their stories quite hold a candle to the one held by the Klotzli Swiss Border Guard Knife. As its name suggests, this is the actual standard-issue boot knife given to the Swiss Border Guard. That alone is enough to make it worth your consideration. But the ultra-high-end full-tang Böhler N690 steel construction and paracord wrap — which makes for a superb emergency contingency tool — help it stand out even further. If only the best will do and you’re not constrained by a tight budget, this is the boot knife for you.
Blade Length: 3.94″
Steel: Teflon-Coated Böhler N690
Handle: Böhler N690 With Paracord Wrap
The 20 Best Fixed Blade Knives
For those who want a purpose-built blade that’s not necessarily one that can be worn around the ankle, there are tons of other options out there. But to help you find the top options out there, we’ve put together a guide to the best fixed blade knives that are currently available for purchase.