The Leatherman Tread wearable multi-tool is arguably one of the coolest hand tools (wrist tools?) to come to market in a long time. This man-bracelet generated a ton of interest amongst our readers. We were overwhelmed with requests to review it. (We were also overwhelmed by requests from our staff to give this away as our company Christmas present!). If you’ve never heard of the Leatherman Tread, you’re in for a treat—this is something that will be on every man’s wish list for some time.
Though I think the tank tread-resembling multi-tool speaks for itself, it bears some explanation—if only to fill you in on exactly what you can do with this device. First off, it’s a multi-tool that limits itself to TSA-approved tools (at the moment). That means there’s no knife, so unless you get an agent who wants to take the Tread home with them, you should be good to travel with it in a carry-on. In our testing, we ran it through four TSA checkpoints with no issues whatsoever. Truth be told, it looks a lot like a metal watch band when it passes through the X-ray scanner.
Leatherman Tread Features & Specifications
The Leatherman Tread is made from 17-4 stainless steel, aerospace steel that’s highly corrosion-resistant and strong. There are roughly 29 different tools on the Tread (see below), from hex, slot, and Phillips drivers to a carbide glass breaker and 1/4″ socket drive. There’s even a cutting hook for helping you open those stubborn clamshell packages. And, of course, a bottle opener is there when you need it after a hot day on the job.
Each segment of the multi-tool bracelet contains up to 3 different tools. The links are alternating, with each tool diagonally opposite the other. In this way, each tool nestles into the adjacent link, giving the Leatherman Tread a truly rugged, almost “punk rock” feel to it (without the spikes). Each link is secured with an equally rugged pair of bracketed stainless steel screws, and the swiveling action of each link is impeccably smooth. Cast into each link are the labels for the tool, such as “6mm” for a box wrench or “#1-2” for a Phillips drive.
The sample we got in was in the Stainless Steel finish, but there is also a Black version with a DLC coating on 1704 stainless steel.
Leatherman Tread Tools and Functions
Here’s a full list of the included tools and functions available on the Leatherman Tread stainless steel links:
- #1-2 Phillips
- 1/4″ Box Wrench
- 3/16″ Screwdriver
- 6mm Hex Drive
- 10mm Box Wrench
- 5mm Hex Drive
- 1/4″ Hex Drive
- Oxygen Tank Wrench
- 3/16″ Hex Drive
- 1/8″ Hex Drive
- 3/16″ Box Wrench
- 3/32″ Hex Drive
- 3/32″ Screwdriver
- 1/8″ Flat Screwdriver
- 4mm Hex Drive
- 8mm Box Wrench
- 3mm Hex Drive
- 5/16″ Screwdriver
- 3/8″ Box Wrench
- 1/4” Flat Screwdriver
- #1 Phillips
- 6mm Box Wrench
- #2 Phillips
- Carbide Glass Breaker
- Pick/Sim Card Tool
- Cutting Hook
- 1/4″ Socket Drive
- Bottle Opener
- #2 Square Drive
How the Leatherman Tread Started
“The idea originated on a trip to Disneyland with my family,” said President Ben Rivera. “I was stopped at the gate by security for carrying a knife, when what they had actually seen was my Skeletool. I was unwilling to give it up, so they made me take it all the way back to my hotel room. I knew there had to be another way to carry my tools with me that would be accepted by security.”
Mr. Rivera’s experience is all too often repeated by many of us who prefer to carry a multitool—even if it doesn’t have a blade on it. There are simply places where security dictates that anything that might be a knife can’t be admitted. As if we might loosen the bolts on a roller coaster…
Using the Leatherman Tread
Each link of the Leatherman Tread is independent, swiveling like a…well, like a tank tread…and allowing you to fold back the Tread, holding it like a wrench as you use one of the hex drives or box wrenches to unscrew or tighten a bolt or other fastener. It’s this aspect of the design that takes the Leatherman Tread from the category of “eye-catching novelty” to a truly useful tool. I actually used it from time to time just like I would a regular Leatherman multi tool—and the convenience factor did not go unnoticed.
Wearing the Leatherman Tread
I like the feel of the Leatherman Tread wearable multi-tool. Tool companies hate when you say you were “surprised” by anything, but I was…unexpectedly pleased with the comfort of the Tread on my wrist. You can even remove either the 1/2″ …. segment or the 1/4″ segment of the band containing the …. giving you up to 1/2″ of sizing flexibility. The should be plenty for most users, and I found the default configuration to be just fine for my taste.
It fit loosely enough on my wrist to be comfortable. I also found it secure enough to not get lost in my shirt sleeve. If you’re trying to get this under a dress shirt you may need to opt for a tighter fit. Getting the Leatherman Tread off your wrist is simple as well. You just tug on the 1/4″ socket drive which doubles as a clasp, and the multi tool bracelet loosens up like a traditional steel wristwatch. You actually feel your man card points go up when you put this wearable multi tool on your wrist—you can’t help it.
Now, I will say that we can’t wait for the version to come out with an actual watch face. That would make the Leatherman Tread truly complete. We think the watch-less model will certainly sell, but some will want to ensure they have a version with a timepiece as well—a valuable tool in its own right. Leatherman has said that it will have Swiss components, and our guess is they are allowing some exclusive sales of the product to run through before introducing the new model and decimating sales of the tool-only version.
Price & Warranty
Leatherman gives purchasers the same “repair or replace” 25-year guarantee as it does with its other multi-tools. Since the stainless model costs $165 and the Black version is $220, that guarantee is going to be important. The Leatherman Tread is available at Cabela’s and on the Leatherman website (more will come on board in August 2015).