Leatherman is a born and bred American company based out of Portland, Oregon. They’ve been in business since 1983 and over the past 34 years have created some of the most innovative multi-tools on the market. The Tread Bracelet is the newest arrival to the Leatherman family and fits a wide variety of roles.
The history of how the Tread Bracelet came to be is quite interesting. Ben Rivera, the President of Leatherman, was visiting Disneyland with his family. At some point he was accosted by park security for wearing a multi-tool on his belt. They felt that it could be used as a weapon and as such escorted Ben back to his hotel room to ensure that he left it there.
Rivera was later quoted as saying: “I knew there had to be another way to carry my tools with me that would be accepted by security,”. When he returned to his Portland office he began a quest to design a bracelet that would have much of the usefulness of a standard multitool, but still be able to be worn anywhere, including Disneyland and through TSA checkpoints.
Overview of the Tread Bracelet Multitool
The Tread Bracelet has seemingly accomplished the impossible. It stacks 29 different tools into nine links including a bottle opener and a watch-like clasp. It looks and feels just like any other bracelet out there. When the times comes for a tool to be used, simply remove the bracelet and select the tool that you need. Fold the rest of the bracelet into a quasi-handle and you’ve got a convenient, easy-to-use tool in the palm of your hands.
In order to create a compact product, Leatherman had to make some small sacrifices along the way. For example, the Phillips bits are half-length and while they turn screws normally, their smaller size means that they can only reach a screw that’s flush. Any deeper and they’re just not long enough.
The bits themselves are curved slightly inwards. This enables them to sit flush on the bracelet, but you’ll be forced to use them at an angle which shouldn’t be a major problem for most jobs.
Overall the Tread Bracelet is intelligently designed, and the included tools will work as advertised. Based on the design limitations, it is meant to be a “quick fix” kind of tool, not something you’d use to construct a 2-story house or install an A/C unit in a building. The bracelet is equally half tool as it is half fashion statement. Out of the box it is shiny and will attract some attention, but as time goes by it should develop a nice patina that will allow it to easily blend in.
Another peculiarity of the bracelet is that each link contains 3 different tools. While this allows Leatherman to pack 29 tools into the bracelet, your mileage may vary. A full-sized bracelet may not fit the arms of every single person. As such, you might need to lose a link or two for the bracelet to fit snugly on your wrist.
Quality of Construction
Leatherman has long been known for their quality products and the Tread is no exception to the rule. Adding to the cost of the bracelet, 17-4 stainless steel is used in a very expensive injection-molding process that creates every single link. While this adds a small amount of weight to the bracelet, it also ensures that it will last a very long time.
A 25-year guarantee backs up the product, and if it breaks during that time period they will replace or repair for free. This might be the single most important reason to buy the Tread bracelet. Far too many competitors and look-alikes are having their products made in China where they use inferior steel and inferior construction.
- #1-2 Phillips
- ¼” 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
- ¼” Flat Screwdriver
- #1 Phillips
- 6mm Box Wrench
- #2 Philips
- Carbide Glass Breaker
- Pick/Sim Card Tool
- Cutting Hook
- ¼” Socket Drive
- Bottle Opener
- #2 Square Drive
With 29 different tools, there’s literally something for everyone. The Tread would be best utilized by someone who needs to travel light, can’t carry a full-sized Leatherman, and would benefit from a bracelet type of tool. Off the top of our heads, divers and cyclists are two groups who might benefit most from a bracelet type of tool. Anyone who travels and cannot bring a Leatherman through TSA security would benefit from this bracelet as well.
Things We Loved
We loved the rugged design and top-quality steel used in the manufacturing of this bracelet. When you put it on your arm, it just feels right. The overall essence of the tool is more utilitarian in the sense that it’s designed to solve everyday problems quickly. The curves, look and feel of the bracelet make it blend in as easily as any wrist watch would.
Every single link carries 3 tools, so no real estate space is wasted. While the tools may not be full sized, they are big enough to get most jobs done.
The overall tool set included is extremely well thought-out. You’re not going to get a nail file or handsaw on the Tread. Just tools that are useful in situations where a regular Leatherman may not be available. The carbide glass breaker really works (don’t ask us how we accidentally figured that out) and it will easily allow you to smash safety glass in an emergency.
The bracelet itself is silent as the wind so you won’t be jingling and jangling as you walk down the street. Over time a patina could develop and that could take some of the shine away. This is more of a personal preference than anything else.
Things We Didn’t Quite Love
Due to the unique construction, sometimes the bracelet can get tangled up in itself. In order to use the tool, you will have to “bunch up” the bottom part of the bracelet in order to use it as a handle. This can lead to tangles every now and then.
If you leave the clasp open, it will somehow work itself through other links when squeezing and will inevitably wind up snagged. Not a major deal breaker as you can easily fix the snag by unscrewing one or two screws. If you’re in a rush it can be a bit frustrating.
The price is somewhat pricey – upwards of $180 at most online stores. When taking into consideration the quality of the bracelet, its usefulness, as well as how many tools are included, one can easily look past the higher price point.
The Tread Multi-tool is another winning product from Leatherman. They perfectly blend form and function to give you a multi-tool that will help you get out of almost any pinch. The top-quality steel used gives it a rugged and durable feel while the overall design of the bracelet makes it look very sharp – as much as a high-quality wristwatch would.
If you’re in the market for a multi-tool that can literally go anywhere, the Tread is the right tool for the job. The price may be a bit steep for some, but when you consider the functionality and tools that you get, it’s well worth the price in the long run.