Everyday Carry

10 Best Classic Gentleman's Knives

Authored by:
Jonathan Tayag
Reviewed by:
Bernard Capulong
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
14+ Years Reviewing EDC Products
10 Best Classic Gentleman's Knives

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Update: We've added new, more recent picks for in an updated guide. Click here to see the new article!

Your EDC knife says a lot about you. And while any standard everyday carry knife can get the job done, chances are it'll raise some eyebrows and awkward questions depending on when and where you use it. That's why carrying something that can fly under the radar is often a good idea. A tactical folder probably isn't the best fit for this, especially when you need to dress up a bit for the occasion. What you want is something your coworkers won't bat an eye at. Something that looks as sharp as it cuts. That something, for a lot of EDCers, is a gent's knife. Thankfully, there's a wide variety to choose from when it comes to gent's knives. In this guide, we'll focus on 10 of the more “old school” options with traditional designs and timeless charm.

What's a gent's knife?

A gentleman's knife, or gent's knife, is deeply rooted in tradition. In the old days, it was simply unbecoming to carry something like a large knife in polite company. Instead, people carried pocketknives made with premium materials that reflected their taste and social status.

Even though they are made to add a touch of class to your ensemble, they aren't made just for show. The gent's knife is practical, but it isn't a run-of-the-mill utility knife. The gent's knife is beautiful, but it isn't going to be a futuristic-looking tactical blade.

For a large segment of the EDC community, only knives derived from the traditional forms fit the bill. Classic gent's knives either lack a locking mechanism, or they rely on older technology like slipjoints and lockback designs.

Now that you've got an idea of what a gent's knife is, check out these 10 excellent options.

The Best Gentleman's Folders for EDC

Opinel No. 8

The venerable Opinel No 8 is an affordable introduction to classic EDC gent's knives. It has an extremely sharp blade, making cutting tasks a breeze. It also comes in an assortment of beautiful wooden handles for you to choose from, including rare and exotic styles. The Opinel also has a twist collar lock that lets you hold the blade in place for more strenuous work.

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Fallkniven U2

The unique blade steel is what sets the Fallkniven U2 apart from the rest of the knives on this list. It's made of Super Gold Powdered Steel, an extremely high carbon alloy that has incredible sharpness and edge retention while remaining durable enough for daily use in your EDC. It's also ambidextrous, with nail nicks on both sides and a symmetrical handle.

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Buck 110 Folding Hunter Knife

If you're looking for a larger knife, the Buck 110 is your best bet. It has a sharp 3.75" 420HC blade with a sturdy lockback. When this knife came out in the 1960s it became famous both for its great looks and because it locked up reliably enough to be used like a fixed blade.

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Boker Wine Knife

If you want a classic gent's knife that'll do more than just cut, this one comes with a bottle opener, corkscrew, and flathead screwdriver.

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Case Small Texas Toothpick

The Texas Toothpick is a long and slender slipjoint knife that's great for opening up envelopes and cardboard boxes. Its unique blade shape makes it easy to slot it into small spaces. Just don't pry things open with it, it definitely isn't made for that.

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The douk-douk is based on a traditional French design, and it strikes a slimmer and longer profile compared to the Opinel. With its high-carbon steel blade, it can be honed to incredible sharpness. Just make sure to take care of it to avoid rust. The douk douk also lacks a locking mechanism of any sort, making it easier to carry around legally in more places.

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Higo no Kami

Traditional gent's knives aren't just from the West. The higo no kami is a traditional friction folding knife from Japan. It's designed so that the pressure you exert while holding the handle when the blade is open is enough to keep it in place for most light work. It has a brass handle and a tanto blade shape that is perfect for piercing tasks despite its small length.

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Al Mar Hawk Classic

The Hawk Classic is a lockback that features a small yet capable 2.5” AUS-8 blade. It's incredibly lightweight at just 1.5 ounces. You'll badly notice it until you need it. You can make this knife your own by choosing from a large number of available handle materials including mother of pearl and cocobolo.

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Schrade Old Timer Gut Hook

The Schrade Old Timer Guthook combines classic gent's folding lockback styling with a gut hook for dressing fish. It isn't just for the outdoors, though. When the blade is closed, the gut hook remains partially exposed. This helps you cut things like twine and rope without having to get the whole thing open.

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Great Eastern Cutlery Lick Creek

A purist will tell you the only acceptable gent's knife has multiple blades on a slipjoint. The Lick Creek model from Great Eastern Cutlery is one of the best within that criteria. It has a pair of slipjoint blades: a spear point for general use and a smaller, secondary pen blade for precision cutting (or to keep a sharp edge just in case). This particular style has a more minimalist appeal to it, with a clean ebony wood handle and sterile steel bolsters.


Jonathan Tayag

Senior Contributor

About the Author
Jonathan Tayag is secretly an information technology and corporate security expert who prefers to moonlight as a creative event and commercial photographer whenever possible. His varied experience and substantial travels have led him to seek, without even thinking about it at first, the best gear for the best use at the best price available. Before the concept of EDC (everyday carry) firmly took hold, Jonathan already spent untold amounts of time optimizing for the best-in-slot pieces of gear, from cameras and lenses to pocket knives, pens, and bags and packs. In November 2015, Jonathan joined EverydayCarry.com and has since written numerous articles and guides to help impart his knowledge to the community as a whole.

Jonathan's photographic works have appeared on numerous online websites, print, video, and television outlets for over a decade. Jonathan's previous clients include Blizzard Entertainment, Red Bull, ESL, Razer, and several other endemic and non-endemic esports sponsors and brands. His work also features heavily in online competitive gaming communities, especially those of the StarCraft and Fighting Game genres. You've likely seen his work if you've spent time in a stream or in-game chat over the years.

Bernard Capulong

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

About the Reviewer
Bernard Capulong is an everyday carry (EDC) gear expert, entrepreneur, all-around nerd, and the founder and editor-in-chief of EverydayCarry.com—the largest online community for EDC gear enthusiasts. Since founding Everyday Carry in 2009, he’s built over a decade of experience in the industry, reviewing and highlighting brands and products, including pocket knives, flashlights, wallets, watches, bags, pens, and much more.

Bernard is known for bringing everyday carry out of obscurity and into the mainstream, having been published or featured in various publications such as GQ, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, VICE, HYPEBEAST, and many others. He has also played a part in curating, designing, and developing digital and physical products, resulting in successful crowdfunding projects or limited edition collaboration products with established softgoods brands. He stays on the pulse of the EDC industry by attending trade shows, participating in online interest communities, and actively engaging with fellow gear enthusiasts on social media.

In addition to being the editor-in-chief and main social media personality for EverydayCarry.com, Bernard is an avid gearhead and collector in general. His personal collections span technical bags, fountain pens, digital cameras, retro gaming hardware, personal hi-fi audio gear, and mechanical wristwatches, to name a few. Bernard Capulong is a prominent figure and trusted authority in the everyday carry industry with a career dedicated to helping people discover this hobby and stay prepared with quality gear.

Discussion (30 total)

Joshua McKinley ·
Most of the Swiss Army knives are seen as the modern gents carry. The swiss army classic are ideal for a minimal EDC.
Johan Bertilsson ·
I think only the slim ones up to 2 layers fit as gents knives. I use my Victorinox Compact or my Victorinox Tourist as gents knifes too, as a complement to the two i told about below.
Terry Steiner ·
Totally agree. I regularly carry a Victorinox Spartan or Cadet. Both are slim pocket knife that would fit into this category.
Russell Tomlin ·
Great to see the Al Mar Hawk on the list. I've been carrying mine daily in my right hip pocket since Christmas 1980. Mine has the classic Al Mar lines with ivory mikarta handle material that has weathered and worn into a deep yellow. With a number of other knives in my collection to choose from, I still carry this one every day.
TonySal ·
I love my classic Buck 110 but cant call it a gents knife imho, needs to be on a belt, its for outdoors not polite pocket. :)
A William Henry knife is conspicuously absent from the list. That line would fit this category perfectly.
Johan Bertilsson ·
I own both the Fällkniven U2 and The Opinel. I use them both on several occasions.
CRK Mnandi
Bruce Maczko ·
I have a schreade LB5 from back in the late 70's, one of the last things my dad bought me before he died. Needless to say it doesn't get used much, I probably shouldn't even be carrying it.
Joel Barrett ·
I think your Dad would be proud you carry it and put it to use. He likely wouldn't have it any other way.
Bruce Maczko ·
Your probably right Joel....thanks man!
Gavin Gandara ·
I use my crkt CEO or my Boker urban trapper
occasionally my Pro-Tech Sprint
Yogi ·
Been looking for a gents knife since seeing Nick Shabazz Gareth Bull Miura...
Think will try to acquire the Fantoni Dweller in Amboina Burl wood. ($125)
Also Buck has recently recently the 328 Graduate (under $30) that would make a nice inexpensive gents knife.
TKsovereign ·
Klecker Cordovan lite; now that's a good looking knife that I carry when I wear a suit or dressier clothes. Not the greatest steel (12Cr13 - SAK steel I think) but easy enough to maintain and a good looking (unique) style to boot.
Sorry, Al Mar and Opinel do NOT belong on the same list.
blueumbrella ·
Thanks, nice selection.
Patrick LaFollette ·
Spydero Chaparral and Sage are modern gent's folders as well.
Kevin ·
When I think classic pocket knife I think Case canoe or any of there line of folders that my dad would have carried. I don’t think many of the knives on this list are “classic”. Great knives yes not classic!
Bruno Gentiletti Tonso ·
oh god this website is doom for my wallet, what an amazing selection of knives! I own the 2 first on the list, and makes me want to buy all the rest haha
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