Stainless steel is the most commonly found steel used in knives. It is a popular choice because it has a high resistance to rust and is easy to maintain a bright shiny surface. This rust resistance is provided by the addition of chromium to the alloy. While rust resistant it is "stain less" not "stain proof" and still requires a basic level of maintenance. What is gains in ease of maintenance in terms of appearance it loses in ease of edge maintenance. Generally, stainless knives are harder to get razor sharp and loose their edge faster. For someone looking for the highest possible performance, like a professional chef, stainless can have some drawbacks. For a knife used in a saltwater environment, like on a fishing boat, stainless steel would be a great choice.
High carbon steel knives generally are sharper and will stay that way for longer. Because we are interested in making the highest performing knives possible, many of our blades are made from or contain a component of high-carbon steel. These knives will require a bit more maintenance than you may be used to, but you will be rewarded with a higher level of cutting performance.
The drawback to high carbon steel is that it has little in the way of rust resistance. Over time and use the steel can develop a patina that will protect the knife from rust, when properly cared for. The metal will lose its shininess and will change an array of colors eventually settling into a medium to dark grey. This patina adds a certain level of character to the blade when compared to its shiny stainless counterpart. Some of our knives already have a patina or are on their way to developing one depending on the finish of the blade. Either way you should know that your blade will change in appearance after you start using it.