Best Boot Knife (Aug. 2018) for Survival and Self Defense

Boot knives are a time-tested and popular version of knives that are just as relevant and utilized as they were hundreds of years ago.  To be frank, a best boot knife can sometimes be the difference between life and death for some, especially if you find yourself in a dangerous situation around criminals, or stranded out in the woods.

These small and mostly inexpensive knives are still produced en masse today, as a quick internet search will reveal infinite buying options.

Below, you’ll find a list of our favorite boot knives, which range from smaller versions more suited for camping, to longer and more advanced knives that will satisfy the self-defense needs of serious buyers seeking protection.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick rundown of our two favorites.

Best Overall Boot Knife

Columbia River Knife (Tool Fixed Blade)

Simple, strong, and made from advanced materials on both ends, the Columbia River Knife and Tool Fixed Blade Boot Knife is the perfect combination of size, sharpness, and durability — and it won’t cost you much.

Runner-Up: Best Boot Knife

The Cold Steel 36MB Drop Forged Knife is a perfect blending of old and new, as it uses a trusted one-piece design and shape with a thin profile, backed up with high-grade steel that’s razor-sharp and comfortable to hold.

Our First Pick

This knife from Columbia River is equipped for serious tactical and outdoor use, and uses a variety of modern and innovative features to increase its performance. It does all of this while staying at a reasonable price point, and is guaranteed to last forever.

 

Length: 4.8” blade, 8.7” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Resin fiber handle – This knife uses a full-tang build, and includes one of the more creative handle designs you’ll encounter. Polished resin fiber is bolted on to each side, giving it a textured, lightweight grip, while avoiding cracks and breaks.

Titanium material – The razor-sharp, dual-edged blade of the knife is forged from rock-solid titanium nitride — a rarity among boot knives.

Lifetime warranty – Each knife comes with a lifetime warranty that covers in from any defects under normal usage. When you buy this knife, you’ll never have to worry about replacing it.

Cons:

The sheath of the knife is very simplistic, and may require a bit of craftiness in order to make it better suited for clipping on, or tying into your laces. The knife may be a little long for some as well.

Verdict:

The combination of superior materials combined with innovation and simplistic design makes this the best boot knife you can buy, in our opinion. It’s sharp, light, and made to withstand decades of heavy use and abuse, with no risk of breaking, and little sharpening required.

The Cold Steel 36MB Drop Forged is a highly popular boot knife among knife enthusiasts and serious outdoor types. While it has a simple appearance, looks can be a bit deceiving. This is truly one of the sharpest and most long-lasting boot knives on the market, and provides a lifetime of top-tier performance.

Length: 4.8” blade, 8.7” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Thin – The first thing you’ll notice with this knife is how thin it is. Unlike some bulky boot knives out there, this one is meant to keep a low profile, and not show through a pant leg if you’re using a strap.

High carbon steel – The blade on the knife is made from 52100 high carbon, which is not something you see with many boot knives. This makes it very  durable, while keeping its sharp edge through repeated uses. You’ll have to work hard to make this thing dull.

One-piece design – Rather than using separate pieces to make a handle, the knife blade and handle are forged from the same piece of steel, giving the knife superior stability and ruggedness without worrying about breaking a handle piece.

Cons:

The sheath of the knife can take a little getting used to, and is downright confusing for some new users. There are plenty of YouTube videos that go over how to use it however. Here is a good one.

Verdict:

The Cold Steel 36MB Drop Forged Boot Knife is a serious knife that is built to last literally forever. It’s deceptively thin, razor-sharp, and easy to lock onto your boot, whether inside or outside. The price may be a bit high, but it’s certainly a small price to pay for lifetime reliability.

Best Beginner Boot Knife

The Rothco Raider II Boot Knife is an excellent choice for those starting off with boot knives, such as Boy Scouts, young campers, or really pretty much anyone else who has never owned a boot knife. It’s simple, affordable, and has a traditional sheath.

Length: 3” blade, 6.5” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Simple design – No frills here. The Raider II has a solid handle without any grip, and a standard blade size that shouldn’t be too sharp or large enough for a beginner to handle.

Small sheath – The compact leather sheath included is perfectly-sized to the blade, wasting no space whatsoever. The clip is sized for a boot or belt, and has a strong and secure hold.

Coated blade – The knife’s blade is coated with black oxide to provide longevity under outdoor use.

Cons:

The Raider II has a little trouble holding its sharpness with frequent use, but this can be easily fixed by keeping a quality sharpening tool on hand.

Verdict:

The Rothco Raider II provides a great intro to new boot knife users, and with such a low price point, you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging it. In summary, it’s an ideal first knife for any age.

Best Budget Boot Knife

The Armory Replica Tactical Warrior Tanto Boot Knife costs you less than a meal at a fast food restaurant, yet provides rugged and versatile performance that will provide endless uses in the wilderness.

Length: 3” blade, 7” overall

Double-Edged: No

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Lightweight – The Tanto Boot Knife wastes no space, hollowing out the handle and blade in certain areas to give it a lighter feel. You’ll forget it’s even on your boot most of the time.

Double usage – The sheath of the knife actually doubles as a whistle, which can come in handy when calling for help, or locating your fellow hunters and campers who are not within eyesight.

Versatile carrying options – The knife comes with slots in the sheath to run laces through in your boots, but it can also be easily converted into a neck knife if desired instead.

Cons:

The sheath can be a little hard to get off at first, but does become much easier after you get a better feel for how to hold it and pull it out.

Verdict:

It’s hard to argue with any knife priced around $6, but the Armory Replica Tactical Warrior Tanto Boot Knife far outperforms its price range, and makes a perfectly suitable knife that serious outdoorsmen can depend on for years.

Best Vintage-Style Boot Knife

The Hibben Old West Boot Knife has a throwback look to it, but rest assured this piece is not just for decoration. The Old West gives buyers a traditional boot knife style, with the functionality and performance of a modern knife using better materials and craftsmanship.

Length: 6.5” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Full-tang – The Old West Boot Knife is completely full-tang, meaning the blade extends into the handle, where the two pieces have been attached on each side. This gives the blade more leverage, stability, and strength for tackling heavier tasks.

A brass plate on the spine of the blade gives it added thickness and strength for any scenario where you have to pound the blade through tough material using a hammer or similar blunt edge.

Traditional look – The Old West Boot Knife has a very striking look, showcased by a wood grained handle merging a sleek and vibrant high-quality steel blade, with the brass spine plate as an added accent.

Cons:

The price of the knife may be a bit too much for some, but if you’re looking for throwback style and performance combined, it’s more than worth the price.

Verdict:

Hibben has long been a respected name in knives, and the Old West Boot Knife is a great representation as to why. This knife offers a striking cowboy style, with rugged construction that can survive the harshest uses.

Best High-End Boot Knife

For those who are looking for a little more out of their boot knife, and want something that equals the quality and craftsmanship of top-tier, full-sized knives but in a smaller package, the Buck Knives 0616BKS Tactical Knife is an easy choice. 

Length: 3” blade, 6.25” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Tanto blade – This knife uses a Tanto blade style with an angled end, all of which is made from 154CM stainless steel material that extends sharpness and resists corrosion. It’s perfectly appropriate for demanding cutting tasks often suited for larger knives.

Secure grip – The knife’s grip is contoured for a more stable hold, and is reinforced with molded nylon for more toughness and durability.

Versatile sheath – A polypropylene leather sheath is included with the knife, and can be quickly fashioned to use on a boot, belt or on a necklace.

Cons:

This is easily one of the best boot knives you can purchase, but there are some buyers who make think it’s a bit too small. However, to others, this is actually a positive aspect.

Verdict:

The Buck Knives 0616BKS Tactical Knife may seem pricey at first, but upon further examination and testing, it’s perfectly clear why you’re paying more. This knife is everything a boot knife should aspire to be, and will no doubt provide buyers with a lifetime of exceptional performance and security.

Best Long Boot Knife

Many knife enthusiasts are familiar with the iconic Gerber Boot Knife Mark II dagger. The Schrade SCHF44LS Needle Boot Knife is essentially a recreation of the the Mark II, but at a much lower price. And while it may not be as high-quality as its predecessor, it’s a viable recreation, and comes at a fraction of the cost.

Length: 7.62” blade, 12.66” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Textured grip – With a knife this size, the more control, the better. The knife has a textured TPE material handle with an ergonomic shape that makes handling much easier.

Serrated edges – Both sides of the blade are serrated about halfway up, giving it added cutting and sawing power without the need for more pressure and leverage.

Long blade – As the name implies, this is an extended blade size that makes it a formidable self-defense weapon when needed.

Cons:

This may seem redundant, but keep in mind this is a long knife — about two or three times longer than most boot knives. If you’re wearing anything less than combat boots, this might be a little uncomfortable to keep on your boot.

Verdict:

The Schrade SCHF44LS Needle Knife offers one of the best values in the boot knife world, making it a great alternative for anyone wanting the size and usage of a Gerber Boot Knife (Mark II), but without the need to spend a ton of money. At just under $20, it’s truly a steal.

Best Single Edge Boot Knife

The Kershaw Secret Agent Concealable Boot Knife lives up to its name, with an all-black aesthetic that makes it incredibly discreet. While visually alluring, the knife backs up its looks with performance, and has the proper amount of durability for outdoor use.

Length: 5.1” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

High carbon blade – The Secret Agent Concealable Boot Knife is crafted from high carbon stainless steel, giving it added durability and blade toughness that withstands years of frequent use.

Secure grip – The handle of the knife is synthetic polymer on the inside, which helps to save weight without sacrificing durability. On the outside, the handle is coated in textured rubber which gives it a very strong and secure grip in any environment,

Black oxide – The blade has been treated with black oxide, giving it a discreet appearance and protecting against corrosion from the elements.

Cons:

While this knife is double-edged, only one edge is actually sharpened, so you’ll need to manually sharpen the other side if you’d like to have the performance of a double-edged boot knife.

Verdict:

The Kershaw Secret Agent Concealable Boot Knife has a few minor flaws, but overall it’s one of the best values around, as you’re still getting a highly durable knife that’s easy to hold, resists damage from moisture, and provides many ways to be carried.

The Lastworld Zomb-War Black Boot Hunting Knife may have a humorous zombie-fighting name, but it’s definitely a serious boot knife that’s adept for hunting, survival, camping, and a ton of other uses — and comes at a mind-boggling low price.

Length: 3.75” blade, 7.75” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

Serrated double edge – The Zomb-War Black Boot Hunting Knife has a double-edged blade with well-placed serrated edges about halfway up. This knife can cut through most anything with little effort, and the serration allows it to saw wood.

Durable and light sheath – The sheath that’s included is made from hard plastic, which helps keep the overall weight down, and lets the sheath withstand impacts and scratches.

Textured grip – The handle of the knife is coated with rubber, which is has lots of texture throughout, and imprinted thumb points for added control when more precision is needed.

Cons:

The sheath’s construction allows the knife to move around inside just a little bit, which can cause a faint clunking sound when mounted in certain positions.

Verdict:

In terms of control and sharpness, this knife is right up there with the best. Its rugged design and incredibly sharp blade make it a valuable addition to your outdoor gear, while keeping the price well within affordable range.

Many are likely familiar with Smith & Wesson from their history of producing firearms, but did you know they make great knives too? The Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B Fixed Blade Knife is an economical and all-around solid boot knife that is an easy addition to your outdoor and survival gear.

Length: 4.7” blade, 9” overall

Double-Edged: Yes

Sheath Included: Yes

Pros:

High carbon blade – The blade’s material is forged from high carbon stainless steel, which is always a preferred choice for those who want a high-performing knife with good edge retention.

Rubber grip – The handle grip of this knife is encased in durable rubber, which not only makes the knife easy to grip and hold with little risk of slippage, it’s also nearly impossible to break the handle from impact.

Long blade size – The near 5-inch size of this blade makes it a little more formidable and equipped to take on some tougher tasks you may encounter in the wilderness.

Cons:

The only real drawback of this knife is the lack of a serrated edge. Not all boot knives have this obviously, but it would really help to push this one onto a different level, especially when considering the length.

Verdict:

The Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B Fixed Blade Knife is a great purchase for those looking for a longer boot knife that is still rugged, but want to keep the price below $20. The brand name recognition adds some trustworthiness to the knife as well.

Why Buy a Boot Knife?

Boot knives have a long history that goes back to when modern versions of knives were first used. They have been carried by everyone from the pirates of old, to soldiers in the 18th century, and are still carried by military and law enforcement personnel today all over the world.

As a last line of defense and possible survival knife, a boot knife is often an inexpensive way to carry a little more security on you, often inside or laced onto the outside of your boots.

What to Look for Best Boot Knife

Knives are simple tools, and boot knives are no different. Here are three core characteristics to consider when shopping for a boot knife.

Handle – Boot knife handles can either be incredibly simple, or more advanced. Control and secure grip is of the utmost importance, so try to look for knives that have at least an ergonomic shape, and ideally some texturing to reduce slippage as well.

Blade – Blades on boot knives are all fairly similar. Knives made from high-grade stainless steel are preferred, along with a coating to prevent corrosion. Serrated edges give the knife more versatility.

Sheath – The sheath is what you carry the blade in when not in use. Most every boot knife comes with its own sheath. Try to find one that can be used in different ways other than just on a boot, and of course maintains a secure covering until needed.

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