Spyderco Shaman Review: Rock Solid Knife Quality Meets Remarkable Ergonomics and Form

In this Spyderco Shaman review, we see if it can stand up to its reputation as a rugged yet comfortable pocket knife.
Spyderco Shaman review

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Spyderco is one of the most widely respected knife makers in the world, with a long list of excellent fixed and pocket everyday carry knives. We’ve wanted to review the Spyderco Shaman for a while, so we were excited to get our hands on one to put it through its paces. In this Spydero Shaman review, we see if it can stand up to its reputation as one of the most rugged yet comfortable pocket knives out there.

Spyderco Shaman

Quick Overview

The Spyderco Shaman is a larger and more robust EDC pocket knife from the renowned knifemaker. It’s on the pricier side for an everyday workhorse, but it more than makes up for it with its rock solid build quality, remarkable ergonomics, and overall excellence in form and function.

Functionality

9.6/10

Style

9.0/10

Dependability

10/10

Value

9.1/10

What We Like

Excellent handle ergonomics
Rugged construction
Good blade steel mix of hardness and corrosion resistance
Round hole is flush with the spine for streamlined look

What We Don’t Like

Compression lock can be sticky; requires a bit of breaking in
Would like more steel and coating options
Pricey for an EDC knife

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What is the Spyderco Shaman?

The Spyderco Shaman is a high-end folding pocket knife optimized for durability, ergonomic excellence, and functional effectiveness. It distills the many lessons Spyderco learned over the years into a single highly adaptable and reliable knife.

What is the Spyderco Shaman?

The Shaman offers stellar ergonomics, a rock-solid retention system, reliable edge retention, excellent blade options, and exceptional ease of use, all with the durability and reliability that Spyderco is rightly famed for. It’s certainly pricier than many other knives, but it makes a strong claim to being one of if not the best overall EDC knives available.

Key features

  • 3.6-inch stonewashed drop point blade
  • G10 scales with contoured ergonomics
  • Reliable compression lock combined with thumb hole allows easy one handed opening and closing

Specifications

  • Type of Steel(s): CPM-S30V steel
  • Blade Length: 3.6 inches / 91 mm
  • Overall Length: 8.25 inches / 210 mm
  • Closed Length: 4.67 inches / 119 mm
  • Weight: 5.2 ounces / 147 grams

Spyderco Shaman Design and Style

The Shaman takes design inspiration from the full range of Spyderco products, with clear characteristics of the iconic Spyderco Native as the foundation of its style. It’s a gorgeously curved and contoured full-size pocket folder that offers exceptional utility without sacrificing style and ergonomics.

Spyderco went with a drop point blade with a full-flat grind for understated yet elegant lines when open and a smooth, snag-resistant profile when closed. The blade profile is noticeably different from most Spyderco knives, lacking the pronounced bump for the thumb hole and generally wider at the base compared to something like the Paramilitary 2 or Delica.

Spyderco shaman review standing

Spyderco Shaman Features and Functionality

As with other knife reviews, we looked primarily at blade and handle options, handle ergonomics, blade access and retention, and pocketability and carry options in this Spyderco Shaman review.

Blade and handle options

The Spyderco Shaman is available with either a plain edge or a fully serrated SpyderEdge blade. Both come in high-quality CPM-S30V steel and the signature Spyderco blade shape. When Spyderco first released the Shaman S30V was decidedly high-end blade steel, but even with some of the new darlings released since it stands up as a solid workhorse steel that offers a lot of value.

Spyderco Shaman review: Blade and handle options

You can get the blade in a stonewashed stainless or a Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating for added corrosion resistance and a seriously sharp blacked-out look.

The handle is made from elegantly contoured G10 handle scales attached to skeletonized stainless steel liners. That combination gives you substantial strength while keeping the overall weight at an acceptable level. The handle is available in a variety of colors.

Handle ergonomics

One of the most notable areas of the Shaman (and one of the first things we checked for in our Spyderco Shaman review) is its overall refined ergonomics. It’s roughly the same size and configuration as Spyderco’s iconic Paramilitary 2, but it’s instantly apparent that the Shaman is far more comfortable in the hand.

Spyderco paid particular attention to the geometry of the G10 handles and the fit of the blade within them. The Shaman was a joy to hold, with beautifully contoured handles that nestle perfectly into the palm of your hand and provide a comfortable yet highly secure grip.

We were particularly impressed with the back of the handle as it met the blade of the knife. Spyderco significantly toned down its characteristic Round Hole point there to allow the blade spine to rest flush against the back of the handle. It allowed you to find the perfect grip for your task and really knuckle up on the blade when needed.

Blade access and retention

The Shaman uses Spyderco’s trademark Round Hole rather than a stud, disk, or other more “modern” assisted opening systems. Not only does it make it instantly apparent that the Shaman is a Spyderco, but it also remains one of the most effective methods to build in a reliable one-handed open system on a knife.

Shaman blade access and retention

Spyderco went with its in-house compression lock tab system as well. We’re big fans of compression lock knives, and Spyderco’s is consistently one of the best. They allow you to effortlessly open and close your knife without putting any of your fingers in the blade’s path as with a liner lock.

The compression lock on the Shaman is butter smooth after a short breaking-in period and holds the blade securely in place while in use yet instantly releases for efficient closure when done. The Spyderco Shaman gets high marks in both blade access and retention.

Pocketability and carry options

The Shaman is eminently pocketable, shipping with a four-position pocket clip standard. You can choose from right- or left-hand carry in tip-up or tip-down configurations, or whatever pocket clip position works for you.

Pocketability and carry options

Coming in at 4.67 inches, the Shaman is right at the sweet spot for an EDC pocket folder. It’s large enough to offer exceptional utility across a wide range of tasks and needs but still compact enough to fit easily within your pocket.

Spyderco Shaman Durability and Warranty

From its earliest design stages, the Spyderco Shaman was intended to be a more robust pocket knife than most. Spyderco is renowned for its commitment to producing top-quality knives using the best materials and consistently excellent craftsmanship.

The Shaman tactical knife is a beefy knife right on the limits of scale for what a reasonably portable and pocketable EDC knife can be. It’s made from highly durable materials, including G10 scales, with S30V blade steel that offers an excellent mix of corrosion resistance, hardness, and maintainability.

Spyderco pulled out all the stops, creating a highly durable, razor sharp knife that you can use dependably for the long term.

Spyderco shaman warranty

Spyderco offers a limited lifetime warranty on all its products for the original purchaser, one of the best in the industry. It places the usual restrictions on coverage for misuse, user error, and abuse and doesn’t cover aftermarket accessories or third-party parts. Other than that, Spyderco has you covered.

Spyderco Shaman Signature Knife (CPM S30V Stainless Steel)

CPM S30V stainless steel blade. Stonewash-finished blade is exceptionally refined with an ergonomic handle built with nested skeletonized stainless steel liners and contoured matte-finished G-10 scales. Round hole supports one-hand opening. Hhigh-strength compression lock mechanism and left or right-handed carry (tip up or down).

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Who is the Spyderco Shaman For?

The Spyderco Shaman is an exceptionally ergonomic yet robust pocket folder. It’s slightly larger in every dimension than Spyderco’s flagship Paramilitary 2, yet offers better handle ergonomics and general multi-role utility.

It’s decidedly on the expensive end of Spyderco’s primary offerings, sitting squarely in the higher end of the EDC knife range. You get a lot for your money, including a mid-tier premium blade steel, excellent ergonomics for comfortable use, and a rock solid build that means you can put it through its paces daily for a decade or more.

The Spyderco Shaman is the EDC knife for someone who really uses their EDC knife. You can pick up a quality pocket knife for less, and it will serve you well with regular light use, but the Shaman is the knife you can use all day, every day, without fear of it giving out on you.

The Shaman is for professional outdoors people, contractors, fishermen, loggers, and everyone else who needs a dependable knife in their pocket they know without a doubt will handle whatever task they put it to.

Is the Spyderco Shaman Worth It?

The Spyderco Shaman is undeniably a pricy knife. It’s not expensive on the same level as something like a Sebenza 31, but you’re looking at spending a pretty penny to pick one up. That’s particularly true if you go for more custom options such as coatings, engraving, etc.

After our Spyderco Shaman review, we think the Spyderco Shaman is worth every penny of its price. You get a heavy duty knife for your money, with a remarkably useful blade that’s of a size to handle any task you can reasonably expect a folding knife to handle.

The Shaman’s top-of-the-line ergonomics and robust build quality make it an investment more than a spur-of-the-moment purchase. When you buy a Spyderco Shaman, you’re buying it for the long term.

Can you find cheaper knives that get the job done? Absolutely. The Kershaw Blur and Benchmade Bugout are popular folding blades with similar blade thickness, handle designs, blade spine, and lock mechanisms. 

Spyderco Shaman Alternatives

The Spyderco Shaman is an excellent EDC pocket knife, but it won’t be the knife for everyone. We always like to offer some alternatives to the knives we review and this Spyderco Shaman review is no exception. Below are a few Shaman alternatives for those with different priorities or styles.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2

We couldn’t write a Spyderco Shaman review without bringing up the beloved Paramilitary 2. It’s one of the most popular pocket knives in the world today, hitting that sweet spot of price, size, performance, and reliability that’s hard to beat.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2

Compared to the Shaman, the Paramilitary 2 is slightly smaller in every dimension and generally not quite as rugged. That’s not to say that the Paramilitary 2 is fragile, but rather that the Shaman is just such a ridiculously durable knife.

The Paramilitary 2 uses the same blade steel as the Shaman and a similar compression lock system. It’s comfortable in the hand, though not quite as ergonomically exceptional as the Shaman is.

All in all, the Paramilitary 2 is an excellent option if you’re looking to save a bit of money but still end up with a remarkably effective EDC pocket knife that gets the job done.

Benchmade Freek

Benchmade is easily as well respected in knife circles as Spyderco, so we’d be remiss not to bring in a solid Benchmade alternative to the Shaman. The Benchmade Freek isn’t as well known, but it’s by far the most analogous competitor to the Shaman in size, purpose, and features.

Benchmade Freek

Coming in at effectively the same price point as the Shaman, the Benchmade Freek has a very similar 3.6-inch blade, G10 scales, and uses a proprietary locking system. Benchmade used their Axis lock rather than a compression lock, but performance-wise, it basically comes down to preference as to which lock is better.

The Freek is a reasonable alternative to the Shaman if you prefer Benchmade’s style and design philosophy more than Spyderco’s.

Spyderco Shaman Final Thoughts

The Spyderco Shaman is a larger and more robust EDC pocket knife from the renowned knifemaker. Ultimately, it’s a cool pocket knife on the pricier side for an everyday workhorse, but it more than makes up for it with its rock solid build quality, strong locking mechanism, remarkable ergonomics, and overall excellence in form and function.

Looking for more info on the best knives to complete your EDC? Check out our review of the best EDC knives available today.

Thanks for reading our Spyderco Shaman review!

Spyderco Shaman Signature Knife (CPM S30V Stainless Steel)

CPM S30V stainless steel blade. Stonewash-finished blade is exceptionally refined with an ergonomic handle built with nested skeletonized stainless steel liners and contoured matte-finished G-10 scales. Round hole supports one-hand opening. Hhigh-strength compression lock mechanism and left or right-handed carry (tip up or down).

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Dennis Hammer
Dennis has been a part of EDC since he was young - before he even knew what it was! As an artist, he loves beautifully designed products that function well. He also likes to be ready for any situation, which makes EDC perfect for his lifestyle.

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