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The Best Boot Knives For Discreet Everyday Carry

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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 — our favorite of which we’ll be counting down in this guide to the best boot knives for discreet everyday carry. 

The Best Boot Knife Breakdown

Boot Knife Basics

What Exactly Is A Boot Knife?

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. 

Boot Blade Buyer’s Guide

The Main Factors To Consider When Shopping For A Boot Knife

While there are admittedly a handful of lesser-important, finer points one can review when shopping around for a boot knife, the reality is there are only four primary areas one should consider before making their purchase. Below we’ll quickly break down each of those four elements. 

Materials: Just like with any knife, the materials used to construct it will play an enormous role in its overall quality — as will how well the knife is pieced together, albeit to a lesser extent. More specifically, you’ll want to review the type of steel being used to construct a knife’s blade (and tang), along with the type of construction being utilized for the handle. 

Concealability: Boot knives are almost always fixed blades that are carried as primary or secondary self-defense options that can easily be slipped into one’s boot. As such, it’s crucial to look into how low-profile the knife is, though we should point out that there’s a happy medium to be found here, as ultra-beefy blades won’t be easy to conceal, and super svelte blades will be used to conceal, but are markedly more prone to breaking or snapping when used in CQC situations. 

Ergonomics & Grip: Ergonomics and grip are also crucial to take into account when looking at boot knives for several reasons. Because these are primarily used for combat and self-defense e purposes, it’s extremely important to be able to get a solid and secure grip on the knife. Just as important is one’s ability to get a good grip on the handle when drawing or deploying the knife. Ergonomics and grip on a boot knife mainly boil down to the shape of the handle, the material it’s made from, and if it is textured or bestowed with any other grip-bolstering pattern. 

Size: Just like with regular fixed blades and EDC knives, boot knives come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes. We recommend shooting for a happy (small-to-medium) size as it will still be easy to conceal, and will start offer solid performance and reach when being utilized. 

Sheath: When looking at boot knives, one has to also consider the sheath that the knife comes with, as this is clearly a crucial component of the blade — and the factor that allows you to stash it in your boot. There are also plenty of businesses and individuals that custom-make knife sheaths and can craft bespoke boot knife sheaths and holsters upon request. 

Kershaw Secret Agent Boot Knife

Kershaw Secret Agent Boot Knife
  • Designed specifically as a concealed carry knife
  • 8Cr13MoV blade sports non-reflective black-oxide finish
  • Offers great value
  • Sold with tactical hard sheath
  • Dagger-style blade not double-edged
  • Would benefit from thicker blade

Editor’s Pick: 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″
Steel: 8Cr13MoV
Handle: Synthetic Polymer With Rubber Overmold

Cold Steel Counter TAC Series Boot Knife 

  • Designed specifically for knife fighting
  • Second-generation design
  • Features proprietary Kray-Ex handle
  • Offers great value
  • Sold with tactical hard sheath
  • Dagger-style blade not double-edged

Best Budget 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″
Steel: AUS-8A
Handle: Kray-Ex

SOG Instinct Boot Knife

  • Compact sub-6-inch tactical knife design
  • Excellent ergonomics despite small size
  • G-10 scales & blade spine jimping afford stellar grip
  • Sold with clip-equipped polymer sheath
  • Short sub-2.5” blade length limits defensive capabilities

Best Compact 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″
Steel: 5Cr15MoV
Handle: G10

ESEE Candiru Fixed Blade

  • Simple rugged fixed blade design
  • Handle can be upgraded with Paracord or Micarta handle kit
  • Fits numerous aftermarket tactical sheaths
  • Protected by lifetime warranty
  • Made in America
  • Bare handle lacks ergonomics

Best Low-Profile Boot Knife: 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″
Steel: 1095
Handle: 1095 Steel

CRKT Shrill Fixed Blade Knife

  • Features spike-shaped doubled-edged blade
  • 8Cr13MoV construction fortified via titanium-nitride coating
  • Fantastic ergonomics
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty
  • Would benefit from a hard sheath (instead of included leather sheath)

Best Tactical Boot 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″
Steel: 8Cr13MoV
Handle: Resin

Böker Applegate-Fairbairn Boot Knife

  • Mil-spec build quality & materials
  • Made in Germany
  • Designed by & for military operators
  • Features beefy 0.18″ thick blade
  • Sold with tactical hard sheath
  • Expensive price

Best Fighting 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″
Steel: 440C
Handle: FRP

Klotzli Swiss Border Guard Knife

  • Standard issue knife for Swiss Border Guard
  • Features full-tang Böhler N690 consruction
  • Handcrafted in Germany
  • Top-shelf build quality
  • Expensive price
  • Would benefit from a tactical hard sheath (instead of included leather sheath)

Best Paracord Boot 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 Best Self-Defense Knives To EDC Right Now

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Photo: Toor Knives Jank Shank

Want to check out another handpicked selection of stellar CQC blade options? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best self-defense knives for everyday carry for a curated list of Karambits, push daggers, fixed blades, and other fantastic self-defense-ready blades.