SURVIVAL

Best Boot Knife: When Danger Strikes, Get Ready to Strike Back

Best boot knife
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

A high-quality knife can save your life whether you’re in the middle of nowhere or anywhere else. Here, we’re going to talk about the best boot knife options for keeping you safe and prepared for anything that might come your way.

You’ll see a number of great options here and just how you can pick out the best choice for your needs. From all the market products which will fit inside your boots the best, we couldn’t just let you walk away with any knife chosen randomly.

Let’s take a closer look at all the features you need to consider and then give you the best options for your money.

Product NameSizeWeightEdgeMaterialPrice
Smith & Wesson HRT9 inches8 oz.Dual edged spear point7Cr17 high carbon stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Cold Steel 17T Kobun Tanto9.875 inches4.4 oz.Flat edgeJapanese AUS 8A stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Gerber Warrant9.5 inches5.4 oz.Partially serrated tanto point7Cr17MoV stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Columbia River Knife & Tool AG Russell Sting6.5 inches3.8 oz.Dual edged spear point1050 HRC 54-55 carbon steelCheck price on Amazon
Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker6.75 inches2.4 oz.Flat edge1095 Cro-Van steelCheck price on Amazon
Cold Steel Counter TAC II6.75 inches2.2 oz.Dual edged spear pointAUS 8A steelCheck price on Amazon
Schrade SCHF21 Drop Forged9 inches4.96 oz.Dual edged spear pointSEA-1070 high carbon steelCheck price on Amazon

Important Features

It’s not all about looking good an cutting well. Before heading out in the wilderness you need to know for sure that you have a tool ready to be used in more than one circumstance.

It’s All in the Steel

The quality of the steel that makes your boot knife is of the utmost importance. Japanese forged steel is a strong option. The metal of the knife has to be hard enough,like stainless steel, so that the blade holds its edgeand at the same time, tough enough to endure bending and lateral forces while in use like high carbon steels.

Steel boot knife

The ideal steel should be both tough and hard. The following list shows some steels that work well for knife blades. Consider one of these two options whenever you can as they will definitely be worth the money you spend on them.

  • High carbon steel: O1, A2
  • Stainless steel: 440C, 8Cr13MoV, AUS-8, 154 CM, ATS-34

You may find a blade length of 3 to 5 inches to be the ideal length for a boot knife. This length would make it easy to conceal in your boot and would be fit-to-purpose for self-defense and other intended activities.

Blade Length

Boot knife sheath

If you look at a longer blade you’re likely going to find it’s more difficult to fit into your boot. These larger knives may be better for putting in a jacket or carrying on a belt instead. A smaller knife may not be large enough to do all the tasks that you’re looking for.

Blade Design

The two most common blade designs suitable for boot knives are:

  • Double edged with spear point
  • Single edged with clip point

A shallow belly optimizes the tip of the blade for stabbing. On the other hand, blades designed for slashing have a deep belly. Double edged blades have sharp spear points that are mostly optimized for stabbing whereas the clip points ofsingle-edged blades are mostly designed for slashing.

Tang

The weakest point in a knife is where the handle joins the blade. The tang is the portion of the knife where the blade and the handle are attached. An important consideration in a boot knife is the construction of its tang.

Double edged boot knife

A full tang, where the blade covers the entire length and the width of the handle, is the strongest construction. A hidden tang comes next, where the blade almost covers the full length of the handle,but it is narrower than a full tang.

The weakest construction is the partial tang, where the blade is both shorter and narrower than the handle. The partial tang does not make a good boot knife.

A Handle That’s Comfortable in Your Hands

The shape and the material of the handle are other important things to consider. The handle should feel comfortable. It should be made of a slip-resistant material that can provide a good grip while being tough at the same time. It should not be too rough also, so that it is comfortable when concealed.

Boot knife with wrapped handle

The following are a few good handle materials:

  • Canvas Micarta
  • Linen Micarta
  • Kraton
  • Zytel
  • Hypalon
  • G10

The Sheath

Since you will probably conceal the boot knife in your boot, quite close to your skin, it is important that the blade is protected by a sheath that is strong enough not to let the knife penetrate it and injure you.

Another feature to look for is a well-constructed and easy-to-operate strap that facilitates convenientremoval of the knife from the sheath when the need arises.

A Few Well-known Boot Knives

Read ahead for reviews of a few strong and well-performingboot knives from some well-known brands. Choose one that you think will meet your requirements well.

Smith & Wesson Boot KnifeSmith & Wesson Swhrt9B H.R.T. Boot Knife

Price: Approximately $15

Weight: 7.7 oz

Dimensions (Length): 9 inches (blade: 4.75; handle: 4.25)

Specific features: Fixed blade, dagger style dual edged with spear point, full tang, black, 7Cr17 high carbon stainless steel blade, rubber handle, leather sheath

Best use: Use it for recreational activities and a professional level performance.

The Smith & Wesson’s Boot Knife is a perfect balance of price and performance. With little weight and size, this knife is easy to conceal in your boot. It can be comfortably worn concealed in hiking boots and work boots, though not as well in low cut boots.

You may find the handle to be a bit small and thin, but it does not fail to provide a good grip because of its rubber make. Its blade is made of high-quality 7Cr17high carbon stainless steel. Both edges of the blade are quite sharp. It comes with a protective thick leather sheath which does its job well in keeping the knife from penetrating it.

The strap on the sheath is easy to undo with one hand, though pulling out the knife while the strap is out of the way all with one hand may take some practice. Many have seen a good performance when using it as a throwing knife.

It is also a great option for self-defense. As it is a double-edged dagger style blade greater than 4”, it may have legal restrictions in many places. Don’t forget to check the laws in the state you wish to carry it.

Pros:

  • Unique black color
  • Works well with many types of boots
  • Leather sheath
  • 75” blade

Cons:

  • Made in China
  • Small handle

Related: A few more great boot knives from the very popular Smith & Wesson are the SWHRT7LT 11” Tanto and the SWHRT7T Tanto style boot knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Cold Steel 17T Kobun

Cold Steel 17T Kobun

Price: Approximately $30

Weight: 4.4 oz

Dimensions (Length): 9.87 inches (blade: 5.5; handle: 4.37)

Specific features: Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel blade, thin blade – 1/8” thick,kraton handle, tanto style, Secure-Ex sheath

Best use: Great for self-defense.

The Cold Steel 17T Kobun  derives its name from the Japanese word, ‘kobun’, which means ‘soldier.’ True to its name, the knife is made of a high-quality Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel. This is a Tanto style knife in which the point of the blade is reinforced by its thickness which runs almost to the tip. These knives are designed for maximum penetration of the tip.

The kobun has a medium length, which makes it versatile. Its size and the textured kraton handle make it comfortable to hold and use. This is a great lightweight self-defense weapon to have at a reasonable price. The only loophole that most customers have reported is the not so good quality of its sheath.

There have been experiences where the sheath has unclipped from a belt when the knife is pulled out. It won’t pose a problem if you intend to carry it in your boot, though.

Pros:

  • 5” blade
  • Super lightweight
  • Reinforced point to reduce stress and breakage
  • Knife locks well into sheath

Cons:

  • Sheath is not as high quality
  • Low quality sheath clip

Related: If you are looking for other styles, take a look at Cold Steel’s other products like the FGX Boot Blade I, the Super Edge Serrated knife, and the Shanghai Shadow Knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber Warrant Knife

Gerber Serrated Edge Tanto Warrant Knife

Price: Approximately $25

Weight: 5.4 oz

Dimensions (Length): 9.5 inches (blade: 4.5; handle: 5)

Specific features: Partially serrated edge, Tanto point, black, aluminum handle, 7CR17MoV stainless steel, HRC 58-60, full tang, camo sheath with elastic, lanyard hole

Best use: Lightweight knife, secure to your boot for outdoor activities including woodwork, hunting, camping, swimming, etc.

The Gerber Warrant Knife comes from Gerber, a renowned manufacturer of tools for specific activities. The Warrant is a pretty sharp knife with a blade of a good length and made of a high quality 7Cr17MoV stainless steel. The knife is thinner than most knives available and its tip is designed to be a Tanto style point.

It is full tang, and thus, is very strong and durable.It comes with a digital camo sheath with a belt loop and a leg strap.

The sheath is sleek and has a sturdy clip to attach horizontally or vertically. It comes with elastic to fasten around the knife. You may find the sheath to be on the bulkier side and it is a bit difficult to conceal; you may have to replace it with something better if you want to strap it to your boot.

The knife is lightweight; so, it is easy to carry with you without feeling its weight. However, it may not be the best option for a survival knife. It is useful in other work, though, like camping, woodwork, etc. It’s even light enough to carry while swimming, where you can use it to cut weeds if needed.

The aluminum handle may be a pro or a con for you depending on its intended use. It won’t melt like rubber handles and would be of use if you work near heat or chemical sources.

On the other hand, if you get too sweaty, you may find that the handle gets sticky. Overall, a great lightweight knife to have for numerous purposes while camping.

Pros:

  • Machined aluminum handle
  • Partially serrated tactile blade
  • Included digital camo sheath

Cons:

  • Corners are sharp
  • Sheath is quite bulky

Related: If you are looking for a survival knife, you may like the Gerber Prodigy Tanto Tactical Knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia River Russel Sting Knife

Columbia River Knife And Tool 2020 Ag Russell Sting

Price:Approximately $30

Weight: 9.6 oz

Dimensions (Length): 6.85 inches (blade: 3.2; handle: 3.35)

Specific features: Dual-edged, fixed blade, spear point, 1050 carbon steel, black finish, contoured handle, thumb indents, lanyard hole, nylonzytel sheath, one-piece.

Best use: Strap it to your boot or knife and use it for virtually anything you would like to on your camp.

The Columbia River Russel Sting Knife is machined from one block of steel in one piece, and hence, is very strong and durable. The blade has both edges sharp and a spear point like a dagger. Made of hot forged high-quality 1050 carbon steel, the knife holds its edge very well and is tough at the same time.

It’s also easy to sharpen to a long-lasting sharpness.The handle is contoured to give it a good fit and has thumb detents for grip.

As the handle has no coating, it may feel like it’s small in your hands, but it manages to give a good grip. The blade is coated with a black non-corrosive and non-reflective powder, which helps to protect the knife in tough environments. The large lanyard hole in the handle makes it suitable to carry as a neck knife if you wish to.

It comes with a custom-designedzytel sheath with provisions to be attached securely to your boot, belt, or backpack. This is a versatile and durable knife at a reasonable price, worth every penny.

Pros:

  • Single piece of metal
  • Contoured, ergonomic handle
  • Easy sharpening

Cons:

  • No handle coating
  • Feels small in your hand

Check the price on Amazon

Ka-Bar Bk11 Becker Necker

Ka-Bar Bk11 Becker Necker

Price: Approximately $45

Weight: 2.4 oz

Dimensions (Length): 6.75 inches (blade: 3.25; handle: 3.5)

Specific features: 1095 Cro-Van steel, plastic, glass-filled nylon sheath, TDI metal belt clip compatible

Best use: Great for outdoor activities like woodwork, hiking, etc. and a good one to collect if you are a knife collector

The Ka-Bar Bk11 Becker Necker from Ka-Bar is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel, which holds its edge very well. It is tough and durable too. The length and shape of the blade facilitate it to be carried easily for daily outdoor tasks and also during hiking and camping.

The blade of this knife is ground flat. You can purchase a compatible TDI metal clip to attach this to your boot or belt.

If you feel the handle is a bit uncomfortable for your hands, you may wrap it with paracord or purchase a micarta handle to use it comfortably while still exposing the bottle opener in the handle. You may also design a handle from resin and canvas. This knife is a great size for wood crafting.

Pros:

  • Works well for wood crafting
  • Includes bottle opener in handle
  • Mounts to belt, boot or vest

Cons:

  • No handle coating
  • Basic sheath

Check the price on Amazon

Cold Steel Counter Tac Knife

Cold Steel Counter Tac Infiltration Knife

Price: Approximately $50

Weight:2.2 oz

Dimensions (Length): 6.75 inches (blade: 3.35; handle: 3.5)

Specific features: AUS 8A steel, SecureEx sheath, kraton handle, full tang

Best use: Great for self-defense, hunting, and other stabbing jobs

The Cold Steel Counter Tac Knife  from Cold Steel is made of a strong AUS 8A steel, which holds its edge better than most knives. It is tough and durable as well. Its design is perfect for thrusting, and the good hold on its contoured handle allows a good job at slicing too.

It is a dagger-style knife with two edges, one concave and the other beveled. The spear point is extremely sharp and can give a great penetration.

The blade of the knife is hollow ground, which makes it light enough to carry easily on your person. The kraton handle gives the perfect grip. The SecureEx sheath protects the knife well and makes removal of theknife, when needed, easy and smooth. Great for stabbing, this knife is small, yet great tool to carry for self-defense.

Pros:

  • Hollow ground knife blade
  • High quality sheath
  • Super sharp out of the box
  • Lightweight for easy carry

Cons:

  • Very small size
  • Difficult to sharpen when needed

Check the price on Amazon

Schrade Schf21 Extreme Survival Knife

Schrade Schf21 Extreme Survival Knife

Price: Approximately $50

Weight: 2.4 oz

Dimensions (Length): 9 inches (blade: 4.5; handle: 4.5)

Specific features: Double-edged, SEA-1070 high carbon steel, spear point, single piece, nylon sheath

Best use: Survival knife – so, good for self-defense.

The Schrade SCHF21 Extreme Survival Knife, like its name suggests, is an incredibly strong, dagger-style, double-edged knife meant to be used as a tactical knife.The strong point of this knife is designed for thrusting.It can slice too; however, it’s not meant for cutting as a primary function.

Made of very high carbon strong steel, the SEA-1070, this knife is tough to beat. The spear-pointed tip of this knife is too strong to chip. The knife has a great penetration, which makes it perfect as a self-defense weapon and also as a hunting knife.

This knife has been forged as a single piece in its entirety and is strong enough to withstand harsh environmental conditions. You can unscrew its end-cap to reveal a little compartmentto store little essentials. It comes with a glass-filled nylon sheath that has provisions to attach to a boot, a belt, or a pocket.

Just press its handle and pull it out of the sheath with ease. The sheath, however, is not long-lasting and may be a little cumbersome to carry concealed in your boot.

Pros:

  • Small compartment for storing items
  • Single piece of material
  • High quality carbon steel

Cons:

  • Low quality sheath
  • Large sheath

Related: A few other Schrade knives worth looking at are the SCHF1 Extreme Survival Knife and the SCHF44LS Boot Knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Make a Careful Choice

An important thing to consider before purchasing a boot knife is the law that governs or restricts its usage in the region where you intend to have it. You would find yourself in a sorry situation if you buy a great knife only to find that you can’t take it out of your house because of legal issues.

Wear a boot knife

So, do your research and find out the laws that speak about the usage of weapons. This is especially true of dagger-style, double-edged knives and knives with blades that exceed a certain length as these are considered illegal at most places.

Once you are sure of the laws, choose a knife that would meet your requirements. If you are primarily looking for knives suited for activities like hunting where stabbing is important, look for double-edged knives like the Schrade SCHF21 and the Counter tac.

Go for a knife with a high-quality steel blade. Cold Steel, Gerber, Smith & Wesson, and Schrade are a few brands that are reliable in this category. Do you have any favorite boot knife? Any tips while you carry them? Please leave us a comment.  We would love to know your experiences.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Freddie Wilson

    If you’re technically not allowed to carry one, you need to conceal it in your boots but be careful with laws in some particular places. Knife is a tool unless you use it for self defense. I can’t go on having fun in the wilderness without a knife, no one can because there are lots of stuffs you need to do in the wilderness where you’ll be needing a knife. Boot knife will be an option if have built problems or you need to conceal it.

    • Dennis Owens

      Fantastic comment, Freddie. Boot knives are primarily developed as a concealed secondary weapon. It is also a feature for boot knives to be sleek and more compact than standard knives. A versatile tool and a great self-defense weapon overall.

  • Nathan Maxwell

    As an avid outdoorsman, I feel naked if I leave my house without a knife somewhere on my person. For the last 5 years or so, I’ve carried a Ka-Bar BK11 knife, it’s not only a great size and easy to conceal (though as the article above suggests, ensure that doing so is legal in your state/province). The blade is razor sharp and holds a great edge, so long as your take care of it and the bottle opener has come in handy on more than a few occasions. For less than 50 bucks, this really is a great knife.

    • Dennis Owens

      The BK11 is a great knife, especially when we are talking about the pricepoint of less than fifty dollars. Compact, very handy and the handle is also well-balanced, this is a good choice for a boot knife.

  • John Williams

    CRKT is my favorite boot knife. It serves the right purpose. If you need a lightweight and unnoticeable boot knife, this is the right thing for you. Some people who own it say that it makes noise it the sheath, but I haven’t noticed that. It fits perfectly. Velcro straps are a bit stiff but I guess that over time they’ll become softer. I have to oil it often so it stays clean and doesn’t rust.

    • Dennis Owens

      The velcro straps will soften in time, but they will still yield that “peeling” sound. Regardless, the CRKT is a good choice for campers who are leaning towards it for self-defense first then utility tool as second.

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