Knives are not built for the same purpose. Depending on the blade profile(The overall shape of a blade), the knife can be suited for different tasks.
Learning the basic types of blade shapes can serve you as a guide to buying a knife that suits your specific functions.
The drop point is one of the most common blade profiles. It usually comes with a large belly, which is great for meat processing and slicing.
It is an all-purpose blade shape and it is favored in hunting and survival blades. because it excels in skinning and piercing.
Clip point gain enormous popularity in the EDC community. It is named after “clipped off” appearance of the tip of the blade. Most of them come with a large belly and concave curve to the tip that goes upward, which is great for stabbing and piercing but it is not good for heavy cutting. However, the thin tip makes it weaker than a drop point blade and prone to break.
The spear point is a symmetrical and balanced profile. It can have either one or both sides edged, which makes it great for stabbing and piercing. It is equipped with a small belly but it couldn’t compete with drop point and clip. In a nutshell, it is a good self-defense kind of knife but it is not ideal for everyday use.
Tanto knives have a heritage rooted in Japanese Samurai swords and the profile is usually used in the design of military style. It is not all-purpose but the strong and durable tip makes it optimal for push cuts, piercing, stabbing as well as light-duty prying. The American tanto has two tips normally and the edge between the primary and secondary tip is nice and straight, so you don’t end up wearing one too fast.
The leaf shape boasts it deep belly and a strong tip. It is often found on Spyderco knives and Shilin Cutter. Shilin cutter is a traditional folding knife in Taiwan. It has a history of more than 100 years. It can be used in almost all situations that require cutting tools, such as fishing in the wild. The knife edge is a recurved edge design and it can tightly bite the object to be cut and is not easy to slip away. It is very suitable for cutting rather than chopping. It is work-oriented.
Kukri blade shape originated in Asia. It began as the weapon of military soldiers but it gains popularity among farmers because its versatile profile is a great helper while harvesting vegetables.
The Sheepsfoot blade is designed to trim the sheep’s foot at the beginning, which is a style that is always carried by first responders and sailors now. It usually has the spine that tapers down a bit and a dramatic drop to the tip. With its non-threatening style, it is almost impossible to injure yourself by accident. Put your finger onto the back of the spine, and give yourself an agile feel.
In recent years, many tactical knives have adopted the Wharncliffe blade style. It is slightly different from sheepsfoot. It has a perfectly straight edge and the spine tends to taper down to the tip. It is great for whittling and EDC tasks because of its thin tip and long and straight edge.
The cleaver is very similar to a sheepsfoot blade. It is evolved from a butcher knife shape and has kept its popularity in the EDC community. Although it is not ideal for piercing, it can handle most of your EDC work.
Straight-back, also known as a standard blade, is a traditional blade profile. As its name goes, it features a straight spine. The curved belly makes it perfect for cutting ropes and bushcraft because you can get the most pressure on the belly. In many cases, the tip of the straight-back blade lasts longer than others.
Originated in Iran and spread through Central Asia in the 1500s, the trailing point is also called the persian point. The tip of the trailing point goes upward to make a large belly, making it good for slicing and skinning, thus it is popular among hunters. However, the tip is also weaker and easily breaks and chips if your puncture tough stuff.
There are an array of other blade profiles that is a mix of original blade shapes, you can just call them ‘Modified ____’