In case you missed the original post, the Leatherman Tread is a new wearable multi-tool, available in stainless steel or with a black DLC finish, and there will also be a watch option.
Basically, the Leatherman Tread is a multi-tool bracelet. I started testing one today, and have been wearing it for a couple of hours so far. I have also tried maybe half of the screwdrivers, hex sockets, and other functions.
This is going to be a short initial review, and I’ll update it or follow up after I’ve worn and tested the Tread a lot more.
Oh my gosh, it’s HUGE! And it’s ripping out all of my arm hair! This is what I said before I had removed enough links (2) to properly size the Leatherman Tread wearable multi-tool to my wrist.
After getting the sizing right, I compared the width and weight to some of my metal-banded watches. It’s larger than all of them, but I can’t tell if it’s heavier and I’m not about to whip out a scale. That’s a good thing – about the bracelet not being noticeable heavier than a men’s metal-banded watch.
Comfort & Sizing
Once I removed two links and slapped the bracelet onto my wrist, my initial impression melted away. If I swing my arm around widely, a link will snag an arm hair. But that’s only if I wave and twist my wrist and arm around frantically. It feels just like a regular watch during regular everyday motions.
Actually, I forgot I was wearing the thing! I had taken it on and off for initial tests, and started working on something else. I looked around for the Leatherman Tread test sample for a good couple of seconds before I realized I was still wearing it.
I thought that the tools would poke my wrist. They don’t. I thought that the width of the Tread’s links would make them uncomfortable. They aren’t. I thought that the Tread would look a little silly on my wrist. It does, a little – more on that in a bit.
Use & Performance
Is this a multi-tool one could actually use? Yes it is!
When you take the tool off your wrist, opposite sides can be folded together so that just the bit you need is poking out the top. This also increases the rigidity a little.
The bits and sockets are actually usable. I would want to use these in “I’ve got nothing else with me” applications, but they feel like they can endure some casual use.
Because of the curvature of each link, it will usually be comfortable to hold and use the Tread in one direction over the other. If a tool is pointed up, I flip the entire thing so that it’s pointing down.
I also want to mention that the Tread works a lot better for quick adjustments, tightening, or loosening, rather than full fastener installation or removal. You can’t twirl it, at least not easily, and so you’re turning fasteners maybe 90° or 100° at a time, all without adjusting your grip of the tool.
Jewelery or Tool?
To be frank, now that I have a Tread in-hand, I would consider it to be more akin to functional jewelry than a strictly-business multi-tool. That’s not a bad thing. But you’re not going to take this thing on and off your wrist as many times a day as you might use a multi-tool.
Is a wearable multi-tool that could be considered functional jewelry any different from wearing a watch when you check your smartphone’s clock most of the time?
I think that the watch version is going to be more practical, but the $500 (stainless) and $600 (black DLC) pricing for the watch is somewhat prohibitive. I would really like to see some adapters so that I can use the Leatherman Tread, or at least most of the links and clasp, as a band for one of my other watches.
Who Should Buy it?
That’s a hard call to make. Will you wear it everyday and take it off to use on occasion? This might be for you, if you’re okay with the $150 pricing for the stainless steel Tread. Hopefully the street price will be a bit lower.
Will you travel with the Tread once or twice a year? You’d probably be better off buying a cheaper multi-tool and take the knife out, or buy a knifeless multi-tool or mini multi-tool. But it’s your wallet and your decision to make.
If I hadn’t received a review sample for testing, I might have bought one. I don’t always have hex keys, wrenches, slotted, or Phillips screwdriver bits when I need them. And even when I have a multi-tool on my belt or in my pocket, the most screwdriver bit sizes they cover are Phillips, usually #1 and #2, and one or two slotted screwdriver sizes.
I like it. This is only my Day 1 impression, but I’ll give the Leatherman Tread more time and use before I can officially recommend for or against it with. I don’t think my impression will change, but I suppose that depends on how many questions or weird looks I get in public.
Overall, the Tread is comfortable, and it has blended into the background as I go about my normal daily activities. That’s how it should be.
And hey, it already came in handy when I had to change the batteries on one of my son’s toys! But here’s the important part – I unscrewed the door to the battery compartment with the Leatherman Tread, swapped in fresh batteries, and then walked over to my toolbox to grab a small Phillips driver to close up the battery compartment.
If we were visiting family, and nobody had a Phillips driver I could use, the Leatherman Tread would have saved the day. But don’t for a moment think that you could use the Tread in place of standalone tools – when other such tools are available – as you can usually do with one of Leatherman’s other multi-tools.
The Leatherman Tread will be available soon, and will be priced at $150 for the stainless version and $200 for the black DLC version. There’s no explicit mention of where the Tread is made, which usually means it’s made in the USA with domestic and global components.
Thank you to Leatherman for providing the review sample unconditionally.