kershaw random leek
(Photo/Anthony Sculimbrene)

Review: Kershaw Takes ‘Random’ Stab at Improving Beleaguered Leek Folding Knife

Like Marvel movies and pizza, the Kershaw Leek is so popular that critically evaluating it won’t sway public opinion. But we took a stab at it.

At this point, Kershaw has making Leeks down to a routine — why change if they still sell well? However, the reality is that the Leek is a pretty terrible knife for most people. It’s prone to breakage, slippery, and overly complex.

Compared to the truly best knives out there, it leaves a lot to be desired. But the sales roll in, year after year, and so the beat goes on.

Recently, Kershaw released a new version, with a reverse Tanto blade shape — called the Random Leek after the first Speedsafe knife, the Random Task (which had the same reverse Tanto blade shape).

Does the change in blade shape matter? Is the Leek finally a knife worthy of its sales records?

Kershaw Random Leek: Review

The Kershaw Random Leek is a medium-size folder. It uses a flipper and deploys with the aid of an assist, in this case the Speedsafe assist designed by Ken Onion.

Onion also designed the original Leek, as well as other knives of similar design but different sizes (all taking names from the Allium genus of plants — onions and their relatives).

kershaw random leek knife
(Photo/Anthony Sculimbrene)

Random Leek: Upgrades and Enduring Issues

Unfortunately, while the blade shape has changed, not much else has.

The handle is still slick stainless steel. The assist remains completely unnecessary in an age of bearing pivots and dialed-in detents. The clip is huge. The safety is unnecessary and hampers use.

And while the blade tip is stronger, it’s still significantly thinner than it should be.

Kershaw Random Leek: Specs

  • Blade length: 3”
  • Handle length: 4”
  • Blade thickness: 0.09″ (1/4″)
  • Overall length: 13″
  • Weight: 2.9 oz.
  • Blade steel: 14C28N
  • Price: $50
  • Made in the USA

The Random Leek Isn’t All Bad

The steel, 14C28N, is excellent and one of my favorite value choices. The grind is superb, rendering an insanely thin edge. And while made of stainless steel, the Leek is still a print slim, light, and comfortable carry.

If I had to choose among Leeks, I’d take the Random Leek every time. But, fortunately, there are other knives on the market.

kershaw random leek - blade
(Photo/Anthony Sculimbrene)

Kershaw Random Leek: The Verdict

At the $50 price point, competition is staggering. Between Spyderco, Civivi, CJRB, and midprice brands, I can’t see the Leek being the best option for most people.

For example, the Civivi NOx, another stainless steel-handled folder, is basically the same knife, but better. It has no assist, better flipping action, a better clip, and it’s only a bit more money ($75).

The Civivi Elementum and the CJRB Small Felspar are just better knives. And budget Spydercos, especially the criminally underrated Alcyone, are better.

In 2021, it takes more than a blade shape change to make the Kershaw Leek worth your time. Not recommended.