Best in Show
These Are the Best Knives of the Year, According to Experts
In early June of this year, more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the globe convened in Atlanta, Georgia for Blade Show. Put on by Blade Magazine, a long-running publication with a focus on collecting, Blade Show is the largest annual knife show in the world and brings together both large-scale manufacturers and small-batch custom knifemakers. That first weekend in June came to a head on a Saturday night with the Knife of the Year Awards, which recognize the best new knives of the year. In previous years, a group of industry professionals voted by ballot to select winners, but 2019 was different: a select panel of anonymous judges made their choices based on utility, design, creativity, materials, aesthetics, feel and more.
Overall Knife of the Year: Fox Knives Radius
Fox Knives is no stranger to the Blade Show awards; it took home the top prize last year with its carbon fiber frame lock Suru. This year the Italian knife maker turned heads with the Radius, which features a patent-pending opening mechanism consisting of a stud that slides along a semicircular track to open and close the blade. It’s unique and, according to the judges, effective too.
American-Made Knife of the Year: Microtech SOCOM Elite
Microtech’s SOCOM Elite is well-known in the tactical world (the original debuted in 1996). It’s a lightweight, effective clip-point with a blade that’s nearly four inches long and either an automatic or manual mechanism. For Blade Show, Microtech showed off a new version with updated materials, including new carbon fiber handle inlays.
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Best Buy of the Year: CRKT CEO
As its name suggests, the CEO is a gentleman’s pocket knife. CRKT made it long and slender so that, like a pen, it’ll fit comfortably in a pocket next to a wallet or phone and not draw too much attention to itself either. Its blade is just over three inches long, and its handle is made of glass-reinforced nylon that almost has the look of carbon fiber. Best of all, you need not be a CEO to snag one: it only costs $50.
Most Innovative Imported Design: We Knife Co. 037
Innovation isn’t always loud and in your face, and it’s certainly not in China-based We Knife Co.’s 037 folder, which is sleek and understated in the best ways. The 037, which was designed by Kellen Bogardus, has a 4.07-inch blade and titanium handle scales, and what’s under the hood impresses just as much: smooth ceramic ball bearings and an impressively simple construction.
Best Accessory of the Year: Outdoor Edge Paraspark
Like many survival bracelets, the Paraspark’s main body gets its form from a length of paracord. It also includes a compass, a whistle and a Ferro rod, but its most interesting feature is a clasp that doubles as a tiny knife and sheath. The blade is a 1.3-inch sheepsfoot.
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