Best Traditional Knives
Updated by Blade HQ Staff Writer Logan Rainey on 03/04/2020
Traditional pocket knives are those small, practical folding knives that your grandpa carried, sometimes called a Jack Knife. They are simple to use, look great in hand and are made to last. Traditional knives most often sport a slip joint or a lockback, although not all traditional knives have the same knife lock type. Classic traditional knives are known for their beautifully crafted natural handle scales and polished blades and bolsters. Modern traditional knives are known for lightweight construction and slim design. Either way, they’re great everyday carry picks and there’s bound to be one worth adding to your growing collection.Shop Traditional Knives
1. Buck 110
In the knife world, there are few knives with the same history and reputation as the Buck 110. The traditional lock back construction, blade shape, and general choice of materials have helped the Buck 110 persist as a classic throughout Buck's 100+ years of knife making. The Buck 110 features Buck’s cryo-treated 420HC clip point blade, brass bolsters and wood inlay. It looks great, performs well and is built to last. This handy traditional folding knife comes with a convenient leather sheath for belt carry. The Buck 110 is a must-have for any knife collection.
- 3.75" 420HC Clip Point Blade
- Wood Handle
- 7.50 oz. Weight
- Made in USA
Ryan D. says…
"Great knife that stands the test of time. There’s a reason this knife is still popular and loved. Mine came razor sharp And a great lockup. The knife reminds me of my grandpa who carried a buck while being a police officer in the 70's. Now I have mine and his. Just a great knife."Shop Buck 110 Knives
2. Benchmade Proper
Modern traditional knives are quickly gaining popularity and the Benchmade Proper has been a favorite among the knife community. This knife takes the simple design of a slip joint folding knife and adds modern construction and materials. Depending on the model you choose, there is the option for a clip point or sheepsfoot blade with either CPM-S30V or CPM-S90V blade steel, which are considered premium and high-end steels. This knife has an amazing half stop and secure lockup. Its skeletonized liners make it light and easy to carry while also providing structural rigidity. When it comes to traditional knives, it doesn’t get much more traditional than a slip joint knife. If you’re looking for a great gentleman’s knife or just want to add an amazing modern traditional to your collection, this might just be the one to get!
- 2.85" CPM-S30V Clip Point Blade
- Micarta Handle
- 2.28 oz. Weight
- Made in USA
Dylan B. says…
"This knife reminded me of the folder my grandfather used to carry. I received it as a gift from my wife and I love it. From the feel of the micarta to the shape of the blade, it's an incredible tool that sits discretely in the bottom of your pocket."Shop Benchmade Proper Knives
3. Opinel No. 8
The Opinel No. 8 is a traditional knife patterned after peasants’ knives found in France and much of Europe hundreds of years ago. This unique knife features a full flat-ground high carbon steel blade and a Beech wood handle. Its unique locking mechanism utilizes a safety ring that allows the blade to be deployed then locked in place without the use of a frame lock or other lock type that could fail. Another highlight of this simple knife is its lightweight construction. Thanks to its wood handle and slender blade, the knife is great for everyday carry without weighing down your pockets. While it isn’t the most robust knife you will find, it has the right features to make it a great traditional knife. This knife is simplicity at its finest.
- 3.25" High Carbon Steel Drop Point Blade
- Wood Handle
- 1.50 oz. Weight
- Made in France
Tyler B. says…
"This is such a great knife for something classic and different all at the same time. I cary this knife to more formal events when I want to have something on me that is classy, original and more subtle. Great look, great function, great price, great knife."Shop Opinel knives
4. Victorinox Classic SD
The most common traditional multi-tool is the well-loved Victorinox Swiss Army knife. This style dates to 1884 and often features a blade with other tools like scissors, files, and toothpicks. The Victorinox Classic SD is one of our favorite traditional knives, and a favorite from Victorinox in general. It combines the best features of a traditional slip joint knife while adding additional tools like scissors and a nail file. The Classic SD model is sized perfectly to be a keychain knife, or a backup knife carried in a coin pocket. Though small, the knife is easy to use and super useful. It comes standard with a knife, nail file, flathead screwdriver, scissors, toothpick and tweezers. This affordable traditional knife will see plenty of pocket time!
- 1.50" Stainless-Steel Blade
- Polymer Handle
- 0.80 oz. Weight
- Made in Switzerland
Mike R. says…
"I can’t remember the first time I got one of these. Classic is an understatement. It’s the perfect keychain knife, I cant tell you how useful having a toothpick, tweezers, and mini scissors are. I’ve got these in nightstands, tool boxes, glove boxes, first aid kits, EDC kits, airport confiscation dumpsters, and between couch cushions! Great gift too. Makes me want to pick up another!"Shop Classic SD
5. LionSteel BestMan
The LionSteel BestMan is a modern take on a traditional slip joint folding knife. It features a titanium handle with a variety of inlay materials and Bohler M390 blade steel. This knife has a solid half-stop for secure opening and closing of the blade. While LionSteel’s traditional-style knives stand out in general, the BestMan sports a slender design that makes it great for everyday carry. Built with materials meant to stand the tests of time, this modern traditional can take on daily cutting tasks with ease and is a great addition to any traditional knife collection.
- 2.875" Bohler M390 Clip Point Blade
- Titanium Handle
- 2.32 oz. Weight
- Made in Italy
Stephen O. says…
“I'm a fan of traditional folders, as well as modern EDCs. I love my Black Benchmade Bugout as much as I love my Buck 110 in Rosewood, or my RAT 1, or my Opinel Garden #8. But, nothing, I mean NOTHING in my collection makes my heart skip a beat as much as the Lionsteel BESTMan. I purchased it in green micarta, but you can swap out the scales if you like. The blade is sintered M390 - durable and keeps a serious edge. It is a slipjoint, but a very strong slipjoint. I have no worries that the blade will spring back and slash my hands - it has a crazy strong half stop. The green micarta is beautiful, and really sets off the lovely clip blade. Because of the steel type, it's a bit of a task to sharpen or re-profile the blade, but, right out of the box, it is good to go. I love this knife. I carry it every day. Frankly, I'm kind of obsessed with it. Good looks, GREAT blade, strong half-stop, and it won't scare the pee out of your friends and office mates. Top marks. 5 stars. Get one. What are you waiting for? No, seriously. What are you waiting for??”Shop LionSteel BestMan
6. ZT 0230
One of Zero Tolerance’s newest contributions is a new take on a traditional knife. Based on the custom Jens Anso Monte Carlo, the ZT 0230 features the same slip joint design with added features including a carbon fiber handle with a blue anodized aluminum backspacer. This knife features a premium CPM-20CV steel blade and has a non-threatening sheepsfoot design that offers amazing looks and incredible performance. When it comes to modern traditional knives, the ZT 0230 is one of those knives that has the right combination of looks, materials, workmanship and action.
- 2.625" CPM-20CV Sheepsfoot Point Blade
- Carbon Fiber Handle
- 1.80 oz. Weight
- Made in USA
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7. Schrade Old Timer Minuteman
There’s no question the Old Timer is one of the most influential traditional knives, if not the staple traditional. Its classic styling and reliable design make it a truly amazing little knife. The Minuteman features two satin-finished, stainless-steel blades with slip joint construction. The stockman-shaped handle features polymer composite scales, brass liners, polished nickel silver bolsters, and brass rivet construction. As with other Schrade Knives, the Minuteman is a high-quality choice at a low price point. Don’t overlook this traditional knife. The reason it can be found in many of our grandfathers’ pockets is because it is a no-nonsense, simple knife with all the right features and no bull.
- 2.00" 7Cr17MoV Blades
- Derlin Handle
- 0.99 oz. Weight
- Made in China
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8. Case Barlow
The Case Barlow sports a simple design and uses natural materials that gives it a look and feel we’ve come to expect from traditional folding knives. Case Knives have been passed down throughout the 100+ years of knife making. Like other traditional Barlow knives, this knife has a nicely rounded handle. The Case Barlow features a spear point style Tru-Sharp blade that looks amazing with its mirror polished finish. Antique bone and polished bolsters continue the classic styling of this slip joint pocket knife. If you’re looking for a traditional knife or need a knife that looks great with a pair of jeans and a well-worn pair of boots, this is the knife for you.
- 2.375" Tru-Sharp Spear Point Blade
- Natural Handle
- 2.11 oz. Weight
- Made in USA
Andrew M says…
"This knife is great! It is the perfect size for me. The bone handles are wonderful, and it has a very classy look to it. The knife is pretty thin and low profile. I would highly recommend this knife to anyone who loves a classic folder."Shop Case Barlow Knives
9. Boker Trapper
Rounding out our list of traditional folding knives is the Boker Trapper. This knife is a two-bladed slip joint, like most other Trapper Knives. It sports two high carbon steel blades that can be used for a variety of tasks. Additionally, the Boker Trapper’s simulated tortoise shell scales give it a sophisticated look while its polished, nickel-silver bolsters give it a bit of flash. Overall, this simple slip joint knife is built to be passed down from generation to generation. Its timeless design and quality construction are what make this knife a piece worth adding to your collection.
- 4.00" Stainless-steel Clip Point and Spey Blades
- Polymer Handle
- 3.60 oz. Weight
- Made in Germany
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Traditional Knife Overview
Traditional knives, even modern traditional knives, really stick to the basics. Whether you’re looking for a simple knife to carry in a pair of dress pants or a knife to pass on through the family, there’s bound to be a traditional option for you. This list is a great start for anyone looking for a traditional folding knife. It has a variety of classic and modern traditional knives and serves as inspiration for the budding knife collector and seasoned veteran alike.
It can be difficult to find a knife that checks every box, but you can’t go wrong with any of our top recommendations on this list. Don’t miss out on owning your traditional knife of choice. We’ve got all the best traditional knives ready to ship at the best prices, right here at Blade HQ. Give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for all your future knife updates!
There are a lot of traditional knives out there. Check out this video highlighting more of our favorites or click the button below to shop our selection of great traditional folding knives!
Other Best Knife Guides
Still in that information gathering phase? We've got a whole bunch more lists of all the Best Knives! Happy hunting and may you find that one special knife of your dreams!
*Customer reviews may be condensed for clarity and edited for grammatical errors. You know we have to make our high school English teacher proud. Check product listings for current pricing.