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Not satisfied with the mere five ounce weight of their new Skeletool, Leatherman is planning the release of an even lighter and more stripped-down multi-tool, the Freestyle. The Freestyle is heavily based on the Skeletool, and it’ll feature a 420HC straight blade, lightweight pliers with wire cutters, a combination Phillips/flat driver, and a hybrid bottle opener/carabiner.

In order to shed a few grams, Leatherman built part of the Freestyle handle with Zytel, a high-strength nylon plastic. In comparison, the scales of the Skeletool and Skeletool CX handles are constructed from aluminum and carbon fiber, respectively.

Another big difference: The Freestyle features a combination driver in lieu of a removable bit driver. From the photos, it looks like the Freestyle’s slim driver tip is twisted and tapered for use on both Phillips and flathead fasteners.

Freestyle vs. Skeletool

With a projected street price of $50, the Freestyle will be $10 cheaper than the Skeletool, and one retailer is offering a rough availability estimate of December 2008. Given the heavy delays Leatherman experienced with the Skeletool launch, they’re likely offering a more conservative ETA for the Freestyle, just in case.

It’s possible Leatherman will stockpile the Freestyle strategically for a more profitable holiday-season launch, as they had planned on doing for the Skeletool. It’s also probable that Leatherman could release the Freestyle within the next few months, since its manufacturing process is similar to the Skeletool’s.

Freestyle Teaser Photos [Leatherman]
Leatherman Freestyle [B&H]


9 Responses to Preview: Leatherman Freestyle

  1. sam jamieson says:

    Yeah, yeah I’ll believe it when I see it. I ordered the Skeletool…1..2..3 months ago….still shows Shipping someday. Talk about missing a target time.

  2. Stuart Deutsch says:

    In their defense, Leatherman has handled the delays rather well, explaining that they prefer to tackle quality and manufacturing issues before a product is released rather than afterwards.

    I too was a bit annoyed about the launch delays, but at least eventually LM was upfront about it. At this point, they’re shipping as fast as they can, and although ther CX version is still delayed, the regular version is already in the hands of many customers.

    Amazon seems to have special connections and has refreshed their stock of Skeletools quicker than most other retailers, so you can order it from them in attempt to get a Skeletool quicker.

    Also, bear in mind that the Freestyle and Skeletool share many components – this means that it likely won’t be long before the Freestyle is actually brought to market.

    I suspect that cnce LM has satisfied all preorder and pending Skeletool orders and ensure enough supply for the forseeable future, they’ll be ready to formally announce and release the Freestyle.

  3. Rob1855 says:

    You know, I’ve got a ten year old SuperTool and a Wave. More often that not, I reach for the SuperTool. Can’t understand Leatherman’s fascination with the bit driver philosophy.

  4. yeah, I hear ya on the delays. But it’s a leatherman, so you know it’ll be worth the wait.

  5. Samuel says:

    I work for a company that produces parts for Leatherman. They’re expecting to go into limited production of the Freestyle in April, but it shares many components with the Skeletool and Skeletool CX models so their first priority is a continuing supply of those. I would guess their April assemblies will be the beginning of their stockpiling, with a release a couple months later.

  6. p00neil says:

    HAH! Still no Freestyle!

  7. ToolGuyd says:

    HAH! Still no Freestyle!

    It looks like it will be released sometime between now and Father’s Day.

  8. steve-e says:

    As far as the bit driver philosophy goes, I have 2 waves that I use constantly on site, one on my belt and a spare in the tool bag just in case. The bit driver is what made me buy another wave, the hex keys and correct size screwdriver bits meaning not knackering up screws is a good reason to have multi bits. The weight factor I’m not bothered about so much so I won’t be changing, seeing as I carry around a fully loaded toolbag anyway. They are just a superb back up tool when something has been left on the bench in the workshop on a call out.

  9. Tyler says:

    The Freestyle (semi-serrated) is the first Leatherman I ever owned. I’ve carried it on and off since…Recently started carrying it daily again for work. It’s perfect. The knife is small enough that it doesn’t scare the masses (or management) and the pair of pliers is good to have on-hand incase my Oxygen tank wrench should fail or grow little lizard legs and shuffle away on me.

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