We are often asked the question “which handle material is better: Kraton or leather?” The answer: it depends on what you plan to use the knife for. Both materials have several beneficial features which will be outlined here.
Leather has been used for knife handles throughout the ages. It is durable, visually appealing, and has a good fit in the user’s hand. Many enjoy the traditional look and feel of leather handled knives. Some measure of care is required in the maintenance of the leather; a light coating of non-water based oil wiped away from the handle will provide adequate protection from routine aging. Additionally, the leather should not be exposed to water for extended periods of time.
Kraton, whose industry name is Kraton G Thermoplastic Elastomer, is a man made material that closely mirrors rubber. It features a non-slip grip, is extremly durable, and requires minimal upkeep. Kraton does well in difficult locales, such as mountains and deserts, and only occassionaly needs to be wiped down with a clean rag.
Ultimately, the choice belongs solely to the end user. If you want a traditional style knife tht is durable and has a classic look, leather may be the right choice for you. If you are of low-maintenance, there when you need it mindset, Kraton will appeal to you. Good luck.