How to Wear a Boot Knife
Boot knives are one of the oldest tools commonly used as ancillary weapons, and they are still today a reliable backup weapon that you can hide strategically in a pair of boots.
Many people view wearing a boot knife like some kind of costume from a classic action movie. The fact is, this knife is as essential as any other backup knife used by hunters, hikers, and bush scouts.
Read on to learn about how to wear a boot knife, what types are available, and how to access it quickly when needed.
Why Is a Boot Knife Important?
A boot knife is a crucial everyday carry (EDC) item for outdoor explorers. You can use it as a backup knife in an emergency situation, or in the event that your primary weapon is lost or gets destroyed. These knives are usually well concealed, so you can carry more equipment in your main storage.
Some of the most popular uses of a boot knife include:
A boot knife is often used as a hunting knife. These knives can come in handy in survival situations such as helping with hunting or skinning an animal. You can also use it as a utility knife for doing things such as cutting tree limbs for building a fire or cutting twine when camping.
Boot knives are especially popular among hunters, as carrying the knife in your belt can be dangerous for both you and those around you. This is because if you bump into someone accidentally, you may cut them or yourself.
Boot knives are a type of concealed weapon, as it’s typically hidden inside your boots or under your pant leg. This makes the knife very useful in a self-defense or emergency situation, as your attacker will be unaware that you have it.
A boot knife can be used in knife-throwing competitions as well. Boot knives are sometimes referred to as throwing knives, as you may need to throw it at something once you draw it.
Competition style boot knives are lighter than typical knives, but they are still worn on the leg.
Law Enforcement and War
Many police officers and military personnel carry a concealed boot knife on their leg for extra protection and to be prepared for any situation. In the event that their gun is inaccessible or unavailable, they can easily reach for the knife when needed.
If you love horse riding, wearing a boot knife could be useful for whatever challenges you encounter during a horseback riding adventure. The knife is great because it is out of the way and will not be a nuisance while riding.
Postal carriers and bike messengers could benefit from wearing a boot knife too. For postal workers, it could be handy for protection, cutting a rope or twine, or opening a package. Bike messengers could use the knife for self-defense against someone or even a rabid dog.
Types of Boot Knives
Boot knives can be classified according to the design of the blade point, which can vary significantly. Some of the most popular types include:
Clip-point knives are extremely popular because of their versatility. The curved tip provides superior precision when cutting and can serve a wide range of purposes.
This design features a gently curved blade spine. It is suitable for butchering, as it can perform tasks such as carving and skinning with ease. The drop-point blade is also thicker than others, which adds to its strength and versatility.
The tanto-point is designed for severing and stabbing. It comes with both a sharp grind and dramatically pointed tip for dual-function. As such, it is great for cutting as well as puncturing material.
In a straight point knife, there is a straight spine running flush with the handle. The tip curves up gently into a gradual point. This knife is suitable for cutting things like meat, which is why the design is popularly used in steak and kitchen knives. Straight point boot knives are typically less common than other types.
These knives are asymmetrical and feature a point that rests on the axis of the knife. They are often engraved with a groove that helps maintain the structural integrity of the blade, as well as reduce the risk of cracking. The double-edged design combined with this groove makes this knife efficient for skinning, carving, and self-defense.
A trailing-point knife has a lightweight, upward curving blade. The tip is pointed and trails behind the blade to create a unique shape that is ideal for skinning and slicing. These knives are great for self-defense, but they are not the best for multi-purpose use. Additionally, you may want to check your local laws before getting one, as they are illegal in some states.
How to Wear a Boot Knife Like a Pro
A high-quality boot knife can be an essential part of your survival gear. To wear a boot knife like a pro, you need a few things, including:
- Knife sheath to keep the knife from injuring you in case it falls or you grab it incorrectly
- Comfortable pair of boots with a reinforced steel toe to keep the blade from cutting your feet
- String or some other type of cordage (preferably 12-18 inches in length) to attach the knife to your boot (shoelace, cord, nylon string, etc.)
Once you have all the right gear, you are ready to wear your knife. When you slip the knife into the ankle of your boot, it should typically be able to stay in place without shifting around when you move. If it moves around, it can cause discomfort and even injury.
To get it right, follow these steps:
1. Sheathe the Knife
Pick a properly-sized sheath that suits your style. Make sure the knife fits seamlessly into the sheath without the risk of accidentally falling out, but not so tight that you have difficulty drawing the knife when you need it.
2. Put On Your Boots
Ensure the laces are not too loose, as this can cause the knife to shift about and even fall out of your boot. You want your laces just snug enough that your knife (and your boots) stay in place.
3. Put the Knife in Your Boot
Generally, left-handed people prefer to keep their boot knife on the left boot for easy access with the left hand. Right-handed people use the right boot for the same reason.
With the boot knife in position, you should only be able to see the upper part of the sheath. Of course, your jeans or trousers will cover this portion to keep the knife tightly concealed.
You can wear your boot knife on the outside of your leg or on the inside. Some people prefer wearing it on the outside to make it readily accessible when necessary. On the other hand, wearing it on the inside will keep it away from stray branches or other obstacles that may cause it to come loose, which can quickly turn the knife into a nuisance.
Wear Options: Inside the Leg
Here are some wear options if you choose to wear on the inside of your leg:
1. Put the Knife Under Your Foot
If your knife has a thin and compact design, you can slip it under your feet. However, a larger knife where the blade is either too long or too big could end up hurting your feet. Wearing a boot knife under your feet may be uncomfortable too, so it may take time to become accustomed to it.
On the other hand, this method is ideal for concealment, and can be complemented with the use of a sheath. Be sure to pick a durable sheath as the blade may injure you if it cuts through the sheath.
2. Put the Knife Beside Your Ankle
If you don’t have a sheath, it is advisable to wear the knife beside your ankle. This method should be used with a boot that has a high ankle. It is ideal for storing small-sized fixed blades for concealment.
3. Store the Knife in a Boot Pocket
Some special boots are designed with an integrated knife pocket that is ideal for concealing a boot knife.
4. Store the Knife in Integrated Straps
Some boots come with built-in straps instead of an integrated pocket. These straps are made of sheath-like material and can be a great way to carry your boot knife.
Wear Options: Outside the Leg
Here are some wear options if you choose to wear on the outside of your leg:
1. Strap the Knife on Top of Your Shoe Laces
You need to have small and thin boots for this method to work. If you are using low-cut boots, strap the knife onto the front side over the shoe laces. To secure the knife in place, weave the laces through the holes of the holster.
2. Strap the Sheath to the Side of Your Boots
If you have high-cut or mid-cut boots, a good way to carry your boot knife is to strap the sheath onto the sides. This is the simplest solution.
3. Strap the Knife on Your Calf
Another great way to wear your knife on the outside is to strap it onto your calf. This is probably the most accessible option as you don’t have to reach very far to get it.
How to Secure Your Boot Knife to Your Boots
Strapping on a boot knife incorrectly can not only cause you discomfort, but it can also put you in a dangerous situation. The way you wear a survival knife will typically depend on factors such as:
- The type of knife you have
- The type of boots you are wearing
- What you intend to do with the knife
How to Secure Your Boot Knife:
- Tie one end of your cording or string to the loop at the top of your sheath. If your sheath does not have this loop, you can create one using the excess thread. Ensure the connection is tight by wrapping the thread around the sheath a few times before you tie it off with a square knot.
- Now tie the other end of the thread to your calf, just above the boot. Like before, wrap the thread a few times to create a more secure connection so the knot does not come undone accidentally. However, the knot should not be too tight that it causes you severe discomfort or cuts off your circulation.
- Check the length between the connections when making your final tie-off. Ideally, you want to make sure that the sheathed knife will not drag or hit the ground in case it falls out of your boot.
Factors to Consider When Looking for a Boot Knife
When shopping for a boot knife, you need to consider the following features:
Blade material can significantly affect the weight, durability, purpose, and overall feel of your knife. Most survival knives are made of stainless steel, which is pretty durable. Some use steel and alloy blends, which are relatively fragile but more affordable.
Regardless of the material you choose, look for a knife with a black matte finish to reduce glare and reflection.
The handle should allow you to hold, control, and draw your knife with ease. The most important consideration here is the blade-to-hilt ratio. Generally, you want a ratio that is comfortable and in a shape that conforms to your hand.
When it comes to boot knife edges, there are three main categories:
- Flat blades are clean cut with a smooth surface and are great for slicing materials that have little resistance
- Serrated blades are ideal for cutting things such as steak, fabric, wood, cords, and other things which have a relatively higher resistance
- Hybrid blades are a mix of the two, with a half-flat, half-serrated blade for multi-purpose use
Boot knife weight can range from less than an ounce up to 7 ounces or more. Of course, you will need more control to maneuver a heavier knife than a lighter one, but the former tends to be sturdier.
A boot knife can come with a full tang, half tang, or no tang. A full tang knife basically means that the knife has a single steel blade running through the handle. A full tang creates balance by distributing the overall weight of the knife.
In the absence of a tang, only the handle is available to even out the weight of the blade. As a result, the knife will tend to tip forward even when you hold it firmly.
Before you invest in a boot knife, consider the length of the blade. Generally, a boot knife should be smaller than the length of your boot for it to fit perfectly without causing discomfort. On the other hand, the knife shouldn’t be so small that it gets lost in your boot. A 3- to 5-inch blade made of high-quality steel should be fine.
Safety Measures for Carrying Boot Knives
Now, let’s look at some key safety considerations for handling and using your boot knife.
The Importance of a Sheath
A sheath is not only used to carry the knife but also to protect you from accidental cuts. This means that this is a “must have” for knife carriers.
The sheath is commonly made of leather or Nylon. Other materials include Kydex and plastic. A leather sheath is easier to maintain because it will only require regular oiling, and it might last longer than the knife.
Nylon sheaths are also durable but cheaper compared to leather. They also do not require much maintenance.
Putting your knife in a sheath does not just protect you from cuts but also from contaminating your knife. The knife should fit comfortably in the sheath.
Keep It on Your Side
Keep your knife on the side of the boot, specifically on the side that you are most versatile. For right-handed people, the knife should be on the right side and vise-versa.
If you want to conceal it, keep it on the inside of your boot. You can also sew an integrated pocket on the inside of your boot on your dominant side.
Check with Local Authorities
You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law. You can check with your local authorities about laws regarding knife carrying. Unless you are in the security department, carrying a boot knife for defense can be illegal.
Learn How to Handle Your Boot Knife
If you are new to handling weapons and knives, you might want to learn how to use it before you start carrying it around. This will help you gain confidence and prevent avoidable accidents.
Handling a knife might seem like something you can learn in minutes but what people don’t know is that most knife accidents are self-inflicted. You should take time to practice drawing your knife out and putting it back, to gain more confidence handling the tool.
Keep Your Knife Secured
Keep the knife away from children and pets. And again, it should always be secured in a sheath. After you take off your boots, remove your boot knife and put it in a safe place.
If you find yourself unarmed in an emergency situation, a boot knife could very well be the difference between life and death. As such, it is a crucial survival tool for outdoor explorers like hunters and hikers, who use it to ward off wild attacks, hunt, or prepare food. A boot knife should ideally fit in its sheath and be perfectly attached to the boot.
We hope this guide has given you some insight into the different types and functions of boot knives, as well as how to wear a boot knife should you decide to get one.