Shoe Knives – The How and Why


A.k.a. how to hide a knife in your shoe.

Also; Our new and improved guide to making a simpler, better Shoe Knife (Knife-Shoe?)

Shoe knives have been popular (at least so far as the imagination of “wannabe” criminals go) since the James Bond classic “From Russia With Love” from 1963, but few are actually using the trick to use or transport blades and knives. Why is that? Well – we’ll tell you why, and how you can actually do it.

There are a few variations on the shoe knife. For example, some only want to transport a knife or a blade of some sort, for later use, for emergencies, for fun – whatever, and some want to have the blade or knife accessible for use while it is still anchored in the shoe, something that is much trickier than just transportation, for obvious reasons.

From Russia With Love

Using the blade while it is still in the shoe requires a mechanical system of some sort for deployment, and that system needs to be dependable – after all, you wouldn’t want that blade or knife to either be visible all the time, or to pop out of hiding when it’s not supposed to. There’s always a fine line between being a criminal… and being in jail. Sort of. Just so we have it out of the way; this article is for novelty purposes only, and educational use. Do not attempt. Carrying a concealed weapon will land you in jail if you’re caught, unless you’re extremely lucky, in which case you might get off with a hefty fine. So, just don’t do it.

Moving on. So you want to have a knife or a blade in your shoe, for whatever reason. There are a few ways of making your shoe knife dream come true. The easiest way is just to put the knife in your shoe, and then your foot in after it. Extremely uncomfortable is the key words here. That, and you might actually cut yourself, and the fact that you’ll have to remove your shoe in order to get to the knife. That’s going to cost you precious seconds if the situation arises where you need it. So let’s scrap that idea.

Special forces around the world, not to mention spy agencies like MI6 (James Bond’s outfit) and the CIA, OSS and others have been making solutions for this for a long time, and there’s really nothing that stops anyone from making use of their methods. Remember – the methods developed by such agencies were often such that the agent should be able to wing it “in the field” and as such are quite easy to replicate.

We’ll start off with our favorite:

OSS shoe insoles

These are insoles, custom tailored to have a blade contained between two layers of leather. The blade itself can be extracted with a piece of string, which is easy to hide, disguised for example as a seam, and glued on the side of the shoe. A suitable “weak point” at the front of the shoe will facilitate its travel through the outer layers of the shoe, or between the upper shoe and the sole. This is by far the most practical and reliable method, but then again, it does not facilitate use of the knife or blade while it is still attached to the shoe. For the heck of it, here’s a picture of the OSS shoes, where the above insoles were meant to be:

The special insoles are clearly visible when the shoes are off, but there’s really no way of knowing what they are unless you’re already “in the know” about them. The string is visible on the edge of the the insole in the “closest” shoe in the picture, in the example the string is inside the shoe, but that is easily tailored to the wearer’s needs, as described above.  The style of shoe is of course also very much up to the wearer – the insoles can be sown for any kind of shoe.

Other blade types?

Of course. There’s a wide range of blades and knives that can be built into shoes. We’ll present a few that we “like”, in as far as a knife is something you can actually like, when it’s meant to be a weapon.

The first one here on the right is a so called “thumb dagger”, but it ideal for building into a shoe. The thing is, these little gadgets are already made ready to build into a mechanical system for use.

Another one:

Also a "Thumb Dagger"

Thumb daggers are smaller than they appear here, but that is nothing but an advantage if you want to build a spring loaded mechanism into your shoe. You don’t need a samurai sword after all – if that was the case, you would have brought one, right?

These are the most used “front loaders” that the average Joe can use. There’s one other type of shoe knife that is worth a mention, however, and that is the heel knife. It’s not much used, and there’s not a lot of movie references etc, as there are with the thumb dagger style shoe knife, but still.

As you can see from the image, the style, use and mechanics of a heel knife is radically different from the others, and will require other shoe styles, perhaps more robust shoes and they are less adaptable to all types of shoes. It will require a sturdy, large heel and a shoe that matches. Kicking out with your heel is also a lot harder than using your toe, which is something most people will have some experience with.

In any case – the budding shoe knife connoisseur will do well with starting to sew some custom insoles, and work up the “mad skillz” from there. Also, please remember that carrying a concealed weapon is illegal, and will land you in jail. This article is only for novelty and educational purposes.

Good luck! And leave a comment if you have something to add – we’d love to hear it.

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