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Best Boot Knives For SHTF

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: July 2, 2019
Best Boot Knives For SHTF

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Boot knives are a formidable addition to your self-defense stockpile. That’s why we’re highlighting the best boot knives in this article.  There are a lot of reasons you should consider carrying one of the best boot knives on this list.

Back Up

Even if you normally carry a firearm, it is good to have a knife on you for close combat or if you are disarmed. A knife is actually faster and more effective in some combat situations than a gun since it can be faster to pull and cut or slash than get a gun out. This is especially true if you don’t carry your gun with a round in the chamber and safety on.


Boot knives are not a weapon that a lot of people think to look for. I have been to music shows where you were patted down a bit but they did not check books too closely. If you have the right size knife and jeans or pants that fit loosely at the ankle and hem then you can conceal a pretty large knife.

Easy to get and inexpensive

Compared to a gun,a boot knife is easier to purchase and less expensive. While you have to be 21 to legally own a handgun or buy ammo for one, you can buy a knife when younger. Some may ask that you be 18 but the rules are pretty loose when it comes to knife law in the USA. Mail order has made it easier than ever to purchase whatever you want.

Useful for various survival needs

A boot knife doesn’t have to be just a self-defense weapon. A boot knife can be an excellent general survival knife and since it resides in your boot you can get to it faster and have more room in your pack for other items like an extra days worth of food.

Emergency use

If you get stuck somewhere you may be able to reach your boot and cut your way out. Seatbelts are tough but a good boot knife should get through it.

Legalities of boot knives

While I am listing a lot of the best boot knives that I think would be useful and perform, I have to take a moment to let you know about legalities. The truth is that the minute you put a lot of these in your boot and go out the door, you may be liable for a concealed weapons charge. It is up to you to find out the knife laws in your state or city and decide what you want to do. Some laws are honestly pretty ridiculous so don’t be surprised when you find out the limitations.

Of course, during a SHTF scenario, you are probably going to not care at all about such laws. If you are thinking about relying on a boot knife for basic everyday emergency self-defense then you need to know the legalities.

Remember that in some areas a concealed weapons charge is the same regardless if you are carrying a firearm or a knife. If you have prior convictions or anything related to an assault on your record than getting caught with any type of concealed weapon may be a lot more serious than you would imagine. It doesn’t take much in this country to get a felony.

What type of boots do you wear?

Boot height varies. Most logger and work boots are 8″-10″ while mid height is 6″. The mid range should be enough to conceal most of the knives on this list. 6 inch boots are a little hard to conceal a knife but you can if you choose a shorter knife on the list or just make sure to wear pants that cover your shoes well. Remember that shorter heights that don’t lace tightly can make it harder to get a secure fit. A good strap around the ankle can help alleviate some of these issues.

Buck Knives 0616BKS OPS BOOT Tactical Knife

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3-inch blade

6 1/4 overall length

2.5 oz!

Buck Knives is a trusted and reliable brand so it is little surprise that they make a great boot knife.  This is one of the more expensive knives on our list here but sometimes you get what you pay for and with Buck you know you are getting something that will stand up to a lot of use and not fail you.

This knife features a 154CM stainless steel tanto blade that comes to you razor sharp. The full tang construction means this is not something that is going to break when put to the test in a situation.

I like the handle on this one. The deep grooves and reinforced nylon construction offers a firm non-slip grip that is comfortable in your hand.

Buck Knives have the distinction of being made in the USA for over 100 years so for those that are wary of buying foreign made knives, Buck is a good company to go to for all types of knives.

Smith & Wesson Stainless Steel Blade Knife

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4.7 inch blade

9 inch  overall length

7.7 oz

Smith & Wesson makes a lot more than guns. While I have researched their tactical pens I am still learning a lot about their knives. This is a mean looking blade that offers a double-edged tapered point that is capable of a lot of damage.

I kind of like how much heft this one has. Too light a knife never feels quite right to me. I see the need to watch weight but I like to be able to feel like I am holding something too.

The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV High Carbon S.S. with a black rubber wrapped handle. This is a handle you can really grip well and if I had to I think I could use this for a while without the hand fatigue a lesser handle would cause.

Old Timer 162OT Full Tang Blade Knife

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3.8 inch blade

7.8 inch  overall length

4 oz

The Old Timer Brand always reminds of being a little girl because it was the pocket knife that if you could get your hands on during a trade, you had accomplished something. This was especially true if you had just a few Pakistani made bone handled knives from Smokey Mountain Knifeworks to trade!

I like the dagger-like design and more rounded tip of this particular type of knife. On further analysis, I learned that this blade is a 7Cr17 High Carbon Stainless Steel Spear Point Blade. I bet that if you figured out a way to attach this to a pole you really could have a heck of a spear. The trick, of course, would be how to attach it so you didn’t just lose your knife.

The traditional leather sheath will appeal to those that like an old timey looking knife. The quality for the price is a challenge to beat. The weight puts it in the category of mid-weight boot knives.

Smith & Wesson Blade Boot Knife

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4.57-inch blade

9.01-inch overall length

4 oz

This knife features a Black 8cr13mov high carbon stainless steel dual edged spear point blade. Carbon knives are easier to keep sharp with extended use. Now we can get reasonably priced hybrid knives that give the advantages of stainless steel with some of the shock absorption and sharpening ease of carbon.

How can you not love the substantial blade guard on this knife? It drives me crazy to see a knife that is made for practical use and doesn’t have a blade guard. Getting cut out in the bush or any emergency situation can be terrible when serious medical care is limited. The handle is rubberized for a good grip. The sheath is thermoplastic and can be used in the boot or on the belt depending on your needs at the time.

Columbia River Knife and Tool

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4.8-inch blade

8.7-inch overall length

 4.4 oz

I love Columbia River Knife and Tool! This brand never disappoints. The design is amazing and the sheath has an easy to use clip that means you can throw this on a belt or in a boot with ease. This is full tang with a handle designed to make grip comfortable and firm so you can have maximum thrust when you need it. The Dual Edge Titanium Nitride Finish Blade stays sharp and true.
The handle is listed as being made of resin infused fiber. That is not a description I am familiar with but I do have to say that resins are generally pretty tough. Since the overlays are screwed on you could probably make your own replacements out of wood if you really wanted to.

Cold Steel 36MB Forged Boot Knife Blade

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5-inch blade

9-inch overall length

 6.4 oz

Cold Steel makes every knife list for a reason. It is hard to ignore the many designs and styles they offer and then there is the issue of how much you are getting for your dollar. The drop forged series comes in a lot of shapes so if this is not the one for you then I encourage you to check out the rest.
This knife stands out because it is a single solid piece. For a self-defense weapon it is everything you need. Both sides of the blade are super sharp and the overall construction adds weight to the handle so it has maximum penetrating power.

Smith & Wesson HRT Tanto Boot Knife

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5-inch blade????

11-inch overall length

7 oz

This is the longest knife in the post. Obviously, this is going to stick out of a boot a bit unless you wear super tall ones. At the same time as long as you are wearing jeans or pants that cover your boots you will be able to still hide it with ease. The extra reach might be nice especially if you are mostly used to longer knives or have larger hands.
The black steel anto blade gives this a modern tactical knife look. The handle kind of reminds me of some bayonets I have seen.

 Fixed Blade JB01K-CP – Satin Polished  Blade

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2.4-inch blade

5.3-inch overall length

 Around 3 oz. The shipping weight is listed as 3.5 but that is usually a high estimate.

This is a very light and easy to conceal knife. For those that like more of a karambit style this is a compact choice that still has enough of a blade to do damage when needed. While I am not familiar with this brand it is made from a single piece of stainless steel and it is a smaller option for those that are concerned about the 9 inch length of a lot of the blades that made this list. The sheath has a clip so you can wear it however you think is best.

United Cutlery UC2725 Combat Commander Mini Boot Knife

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2.5-inch blade

5-inch overall length

1.6  oz

United Cutlery is a familiar brand to a lot of you. Like so many knifemakers, they do a lot of manufacturing in China but they still seem to have maintained a decent reputation. This double edged razor sharp boot knife is a good mid size thta will fit in most any boot for easily concealment.

It would be easy to forget that you were carrying something this lightweight. The blade is made of AU-6 Stainless Steel and the handle is made of impact resistant TPR. I like that the guard on this knife is substantial for added safety under stressful circumstances.

Cold Steel Kobun Fixed Blade Plain Boot Knife

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5 1/2-inch blade

9 7/8-inch overall length

 4.4 oz

The Cold Steel Kobun is made of Japanese Stainless Steel and features a Kraton handle. The tanto blade makes this knife stand out from a lot of other boot knives. This is a larger knife so it is good for those that like the idea of a boot knife but want something a bit more substantial than the 5 inch compact models that we covered in this post.  One thing that some mention is that the sheath is a bit tight and stiff so getting the blade out fast is hard in the beginning. Some trim the plastic down that holds the knife in and have a better experience for it.

Columbia River Knife and Tool

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3,2-inch blade

6.8-inch overall length

  7 oz? This is the ship weight so it might be a little less actual weight.

This is a small yet effective boot knife from CRKT. The grips and grooves help keep it solid in your hand. The blade is made of 1050 Carbon Steel with a black powder coat finish to resist corrosion.  The sheath you get is custom nylon-stitched and has a glass reinforced nylon insert and allows for various strapping options.

I know I put a lot of CRKT knives on this list but they have such a good variety of boot knives that offer quality at a great price. 

I apologize if I left off any boot knives that you find exceptional and would love to hear any suggestions you have in the comments. There are always far too many choices for me to include all the knives I think are great and offer good function and value. If you help me discover other good options I might include them in a future post.

Aff | Tactical Pen

[DEAL] Ultimate Concealed Weapon

Tactical Pen / Multi-Tool (Flashlight, knife, etc)

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Aff | Tactical Pen
[DEAL] Ultimate Concealed Weapon Stay Protected

5 Responses to “Best Boot Knives For SHTF”

  1. I love the CRKT Sting knife. However I absolutely hate the sheath. I purchased a leather clip-on sheath I like much better. It doesn’t retain the knife as well, but It has a slimmer profile & offers me easier access to the knife which the provided sheath doesn’t always do. The other issue I have with this knife is the grip can get a bit slick if it’s wet. i remedied that with clear grit krylon spay paint. Gives me a solid grip even wet.

  2. Gerber MK 1 I have had one for over 20 years. As for cost and buying knives I look at Smoky Mountain Knife works when I am looking for a knife. Be very aware of the laws in your state. In Michigan it is illegal to carry a double edge knife. You can own it just not carry it out side of your house. In a SHTF time all rules are off and I sure would be carrying my Gerber.

  3. WHY didn’t you put the prices of the knives with the info on each knife? It would be very handy. I’ve been looking for a boot knife for a while now.
    I did notice the 8 knives at the end of the article but that still doesn’t cover all of the posted ones.

    • I don’t put the prices because they can change fast. Sometimes three months down the road or a year even someone will come along and read so it can be quite outdated and that can bother people. Clicking the links may take some time but it at least offers you an up to date price. I just try to include knives in a reasonable price range so there is something for everyone. Sometimes I include more expensive ones for those that are looking for something special. Most of those on the list are currently in the $20-$50 range. I think the CRKT options are about the best value for the money and they come in at $30-$40. Thanks for reading!

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