The COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on trade shows and industry conventions, which is where we typically get a first glimpse at new and upcoming products, but it's 2021 now, and these events are back. One of the first to occur was Blade Show, a gathering put on by Blade Magazine that gathers hundreds of international exhibitors in what has become the largest knife show in the world.
Every year, the show's highlight is the Knife of the Year Awards. A panel of anonymous judges made up of industry professionals assesses the new knives and tools on display and chooses the best of the bunch based on factors including utility, design, creativity, materials, aesthetics and feel, among other qualities. The final list of awardees reveals trends and innovations; check out the top winners below.
Knife of the Year: Fox Knives Saturn
Fox Knives is no stranger to Blade Show's top honors, which it also won in 2018 and 2019 with the Suru and Radius, respectively. This year's entrant, the Saturn, features a short spear-point blade and Fox's proprietary semi-circle lock, which works by sliding a stud around a channel in the knife's pivot. The Saturn also took home the Imported Knife of the Year award, too.
American-Made Knife of the Year: Case Marilla
Case Knives has been around since the 1800s, and many of the knives it produces still have a strong Americana aesthetic. The Marilla, however, is part of a new push by the company into the modern EDC realm. The knife features a 3.4-inch drop-point blade made of S35VN steel and has an anodized aluminum handle with a textured G10 inlay for grip.
Most Innovative American Design: V Nives Metal-Tech
Details are still thin on V Nives's Metal-Tech, but apparent features include an etched handle pattern that extends onto the blade itself. Its drop-point blade is equipped with an extended flipper tab that becomes a built-in guard when deployed.
Most Innovative Imported Design: Maserin D-Dut
The D-Dut hails from Maniago, Italy and brings with it a practical degree of multi-tool functionality. Folded into its aluminum handle are flathead and Philips head screwdrivers, plus an awl for piercing, reaming and sewing.
Best Buy: We Knife Co. Civivi Elementum
It's rare to find a truly excellent pocket knife for $50, but Civivi seems to have nailed the formula with the Elementum. The knife has a drop-point blade made of D2 steel that's just shy of three inches and opens smoothly on a ceramic ball-bearing pivot. It also has a liner lock for security during use, a lanyard hole and a deep-carry pocket clip. Adding to its appeal factor are G10 handles that come in a variety of colors.
Collaboration of the Year: Maserin Solar
For the Solar, Maserin teamed up with designer Sergio Consoli to create a smooth-opening flipper. The knife's most striking feature is the arc its spine make when open, but its specs also include a titanium handle, titanium hardware and a D2 steel blade.
Kitchen Knife of the Year: Benchmade Meatcrafter
Benchmade stepped into new territory with the Meatcrafter, which is something of a cross between an outdoor-oriented fixed blade and a chef's knife. The company developed a new sharpening method called SelectEdge that creates a smoother, longer-lasting edge that's ideal for slicing meat.