How To Carry A Boot Knife – Be Safe, Prepared And Ready

There are certain times when we need to be ready for all eventualities. When we’re out in the woods, in survival situations, preparing to go into dangerous places or on military operations, we want the odds to be stacked in our favor and we have to be prepared for anything.

One small piece of kit that can give you the edge in those life or death moments is a properly-stowed boot knife. Easily accessible and quick to draw, it could be the small advantage that makes the difference. Here is my guide on how to wear one.

Choosing Your Knife

A boot knife is not supposed to replace your main blade and is there only as a backup for emergencies. While you may also carry a larger hunting knife, the knife you choose for your boot knife should be smaller.

A boot knife should be easy to fix into your boot – a large hunting knife would be unsuitable – but it also needs to be long enough that it is easy to secure in place and won’t move about or fall out.

The best boot knives are narrow-bladed knives of around three to five inches, possibly with a blade on both edges. It goes without saying that a boot knife will need a sheath or it will be hard to attach securely and you risk injuring yourself with it.

How To Fasten The Knife In Place

The simplest way to attach a boot knife is with string. First, put the knife in its sheath and push the sheath into your boot. You can put it in either boot and on either side of the boot, this is down to your personal preference – I will talk about this later.

Make sure the knife is pushed far enough into your boot that it doesn’t move and check that it is comfortable and doesn’t interfere with your foot or ankle. If you plan to walk any distance with your knife in your boot, you don’t want it to rub or cause discomfort.

Once you have found the best position, take the string and tie it a couple of times around the sheath then pass it two or three times around your leg to hold it in place. It needs to be tight enough to hold it securely without restricting the blood in your leg.

Once you have attached the knife securely and comfortably, secure it all with a knot. Your knife should be hardly noticeable but ready to be drawn at a moment’s notice. If you want to conceal it further, you can roll your pants down over the knife and your boots.

Where To Place The Knife

There are two choices, inside or outside the boot, whichever you prefer. The most important consideration is which hand you use to hold a knife. If you are right-handed, you want to draw the knife with your right hand and vice versa.

If you’re right-handed, you should place the knife either on the outside of your right boot or on the inside of your left boot since these are the two places it is easiest to draw from using your right hand. You may wish to experiment to see which one you are more comfortable with.

I personally prefer the outside of the right boot since the action of stooping to reach a knife there means you can still watch in front of you. Reaching to the inside of my left boot across my body makes me more vulnerable and is a worse stance if being attacked.

Other Options

There are other ways to wear boot knives. The tradition of wearing boot knives goes back to when people wore large, open boots where it was easy to carry a knife and the technique I explain above is an adaptation of the traditional style.

Another option is to buy special boots designed to hold a knife and different models are available with either a pocket or straps for attaching a knife.

Boots Are Made For Carrying Knives

Boots are made for carrying knives - Via

In an emergency bug-out situation or on a one-off expedition, you may also consider simply taping the sheath of your knife to the exterior of your boot. This may not look pretty but it is a quick and effective short-term solution.

Men's Clothing For Hunting With Boot Knife On The Belt

Boot Knife On The Belt

Finally, it is worth remembering that the term ‘boot knife’ is now often used to refer to any backup knife wherever it is carried. You may consider whether you actually need to carry your ‘boot knife’ in your boot at all or if it might be more practical somewhere else on your body.


Having an emergency knife can be the difference between a near miss and disaster and I have explained different ways of carrying them. Remember, in many places, there are laws against carrying concealed weapons so make sure you know what you’re doing.

Do you carry a boot knife? What do you use it for? How do you carry it? Have you ever needed it in an emergency? I’d love to hear your stories on this one so why not leave me a comment? And if you enjoyed my article, please don’t forget to share!

Julie McClain

Chief editor here at Outdoorzer. I'm an outdoor lover and ever since I was a little girl, I've worked hard to learn all I could from my Dad about Camping, Hiking, RVs and surviving in the woods.

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