The cysteine peptidase cathepsin K is a major player in extracellular proteolysis. Here we describe the identification of the multifunctional extracellular chaperone clusterin as a cathepsin K-binding protein. Clusterin increases the stability of cathepsin K in dilute solution and in the presence of high protein concentration. It does not alter the activity of the enzyme but acts as a liberator by preventing substrate inhibition. Kinetic measurements show that clusterin binds cathepsin K with high affinity (K(d) = 0.5-0.6 nM). Altogether these results provide novel insights into the mechanisms involved in the fine-tuning of cysteine cathepsin activity in the extracellular space.