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An Ultimate Guide To Mink Oil On Boots






For many people, wearing boots is a vital piece of any outfit. In reality, it is critical for so many ladies and gentlemen during the winter, particularly if they must work outside. Some will trek through blizzard conditions and mountain ranges, while others will walk through ankle-deep snow. The chilly could be harsh, but appropriate footwear care is essential for staying warm and comfortable.

It is common knowledge that leather requires protection and conditioning designed to endure the brutal winter facets. While there are many commercial products available, some people prefer to use natural ingredients to preserve and protect their footwear. This is why mink oil comes into play.

In this article, let’s learn essential things about mink oil. In other words, it will be a comprehensive guide to milk oil on boots that help you care for your leather boots properly. 

So, What is Mink Oil?

Use Mink Oil
Use Mink Oil

Generally speaking, mink oil is a leather conditioner that is primarily used to make shoes and boots more water-resistant.

On the bright side, mink oil forms an oil barrier that repels water. On the other hand, it substantially blackens leather.

When I applied mink oil to my leather boots, they darkened significantly. The boot was cleaned with only saddle soap and retained the initial leather color from when the boots were fresh.

After you have applied mink oil, it is extremely hard to restore your boots to their natural color. And there might be a great opportunity they would be darkened forever. Having said that, there are steps you can take to restore them to their natural color, which I will go over later.

Where Does Milk Oil Come From?

Mink Oil for leather care
Mink Oil for leather care

For those who don’t know, minks are small animal relatives of ferrets, otters, and weasels. The European mink and American mink are the two most frequently farmed genera.

Various species could be found in a variety of countries around the world, primarily in nearby forests where they dig underground tunnels. They penetrate near water sources because their diet frequently consists of birds, crayfish, fish, and frogs, according to the Adirondack Ecological Center.

Since the 1950s, they have been produced for their fur, which is used to make coats and other items. Since their life expectancy is generally less than five years, they are usually between the ages of seven months and a year.

A thick coat of fat is gathered and rendered under their fur to generate oil. When managed, the fat freely begins to melt against the heat of the skin, and it is because of this that mink oil was found to be such an efficient hide conditioner.

As per the Fur Commission USA, mink cultivation is a sustainable approach that provides fur and leather oil, and agricultural fertilizers, fishing bait products, and animal feed, and other kinds of refined oils used for a number of purposes.

This oil is generally favored for two main reasons. Firstly, it is chemically similar to sebum, an oil secreted by mammals’ skin, such as humans, that maintains the skin moist and conditioned.

Secondly, it has an extremely long shelf life. A few oils, especially those found in animal fats, could go putrid in a short amount of time. Mink oil can be stored for at least 2 years, and maybe much longer in some cases if kept sealed and cool.

The oil that keeps its freshness longer is preferable to oil that goes rancid, like olive oil. Utilizing oils with a short shelf life on your leather boots will result in a foul odor over time as they go putrid soon after application. This does not occur with mink oil.

Mink oil, unlike other conditioners and oils available out there, could indeed prolong the life of your leather boots by repairing damage, drying, and allowing the leather to be against; nevertheless, it cannot overturn cracking.

Mink oil is the best alternative for preventing water and salt stains in ice and snow.

Best Mink Oil For Boots

Knowing how to use mink oil is only useful if you have it, so let’s discuss the best products on the market.

Since 1905, Red Wing has been producing boots. They understand what they are doing regarding leather, thanks to their century of experience. Generally speaking, Red Wing Mink Oil is commonly considered to be one of the best available mink oils. Although several brands mix tallow or other oils into their mink oil, Red Wing’s mink oil is almost entirely pure.

For nearly 130 years, Fiebing’s has been a trusted name in leather and boot care. One of their best-selling items is Golden Mink Oil. It’s also reasonably priced for buyers on a tight budget.

Mink Oil For Leather Boots and Milk Oil for Shoes

Generally speaking, mink oil. Oil is basically a type of leather conditioner used to reestablish dried-out leather products, similar to how lotion protects and heals your skin and oil softens your beard.

Work and everyday wear boots are the typically best candidates for mink oil treatment because they sustain the most damage in the long run. Treated boots will last much longer in the long run, saving you money in the long run.

Mink Oil Boots Before And After

After using Mink Oil
After using Mink Oil

Mink oil has long-lasting impacts. In particular, if you apply milk oil correctly and consistently, you should be able to use the very same bottle for at least several months. If you only want to treat your leather boots with this content on occasion, simply reapply it around once or twice per month after the first cleaning. You must also understand that one drop is sufficient, so there is really no need to apply too much.

Mink Oil Alternative

Due to its popularity, a few people believe that mink oil is not the perfect representative for leather conditioners (and for a good cause) anymore.

It appears that the manufacturing of mink oil is linked to unfair animal treatment. Undoubtedly, leather boots hold their own packet of animal unfair treatment possibly, at least but if there are alternatives to mink oil for leather boot conditioning, you may want to give it a shot.

Mink Oil Substitute 1: Fiebing’s Neatsfoot Oil

For those who don’t know, Fiebing’s Neatsfoot Oil is made entirely of neatsfoot oil, which is extracted from the produced shin and feet bones of livestock. Workers have used this all-natural conditioner for hundreds of years, and a lot of people genuinely think that it is best to use natural animal oils to refill the missing oils in leather boots. It is important to note that this conditioner can make your leather darker.

Is it possible, however, to find leather conditioners that are not based primarily on butchering goods? Yes, that is correct.

Mink Oil Substitute 2: Armstrong’s All Natural Leather Oil

As you might know, Armstrong All Natural Boot/Leather Oil generally consists of palmitoleic acids, which are found in mink oil, but theirs is derived from plant sources.

Besides, Armstrong’s All Natural creates a boot oil that resembles the nourishing characteristics of mink oil while avoiding the fur industry.

Notes: Substitutes from 2 to 5 might include beeswax. Basically, this is a side effect of the honey sector, so no bees are slaughtered, but it does necessarily imply the product is really not theoretically plant-based.

Mink Oil Substitute 3: Bickmore Bick 4

As you might know, Bick 4 is not a product that will profoundly permeate the porous structure of your leather boots and enhance the level of water resistance like mink oil. However, it was named the best conditioner for conserving the color of your leather boots by Stridewise. Bickmore Bick 4 is made from a patented technology combination of different natural emulsifiers, moisturizers, and conditioners that keep the leather moist and pliable while only slightly blackening it. That will prolong the life of your leather boots, but it will not water-resistant them as well.

Mink Oil Substitute 4: Obenauf’s® Heavy Duty LP

Beeswax and other highly organic nutritious additives are included in Obenauf’s® Heavy Duty LP. The wonderful feature of this product is that beeswax not only maintains humidity out of the boot but also retains the body’s organic oils. Because this is a wax-based component, it should only be applied on chrome-tanned leather.

Mink Oil Substitute 5: Smith’s Leather Balm

Another good brand to count on is Smith’s Leather Balm. The company created a conditioner made entirely of plant-based additives.

The wife and husband team behind the company sought something that is so safe that you could end up leaving the abundance on your skin after conditioning without any side effects. As such, the ingredients list is straightforward: 100 percent pure sweet almond oil, organic beeswax, and organic cocoa butter.

Apart from the beeswax, which functions as a vapor barrier, all of the other additives help to condition by providing moisturizers and vitamins.

Mink Oil Substitute 6: Saphir Renovateur

In general, Saphir Renovateur is another good conditioner that conceals its full ingredient list. What we really know is that it is a mix of waxes and mink oil. It is also frequently used as a leather prepper and conditioner as a base coat on leather boots.

Renovateur is not a true substitute for mink oil because the ingredients do comprise mink oil. However, it will not make your leather darker. In the end, Even so, it is not just mink oil; it also covers a range of waxes designed to condition, shine, and generate a gentle patina as the boots get older.

Mink Oil Substitute 7: Obenauf’s® Oil For Moderate Conditions 

Natural conditioning oils and beeswax are also included in Obenauf’s® Oil For Moderate Conditions. Generally speaking, this conditioner is comparable to the conditioner mentioned above, but it is probably more suitable for vegetable- and oil-tanned leather. According to Obenauf, this item is excellent for hydrating leather that has been exposed to a bunch of sun during hot summer months. This balm is designed to recover cracks and revive leather discolorations due to UV rays.

Animal products might be present in substitute 6. Their application is also distinct. They are only used for dress shoes and more formal boots. If you use heavy wax conditioners or mink oil on your dress shoes, they might not shine very well.

Mink Oil Substitute 8: Venetian Shoe Cream

As you may be aware, Venetian Shoe Cream is a well-known conditioner used by a lot of boot manufacturers. Even though its true ingredients and formula are closely guarded secrets, we know that there are around six or seven various waxes and no waterproofers, silicone, or thickeners. This conditioner nourishes the leather and adds a little bit of shine to your leather boot.

Neatsfoot Oil Vs Mink Oil

In general, both of these goods are commonly accessible and manufactured by a variety of companies. Asking which one is “better” is pointless because each tin will have a mildly different impact on your boot. I can, nevertheless, give you some suggestions.

You can be confident that neatsfoot oil contains only natural ingredients derived from cattle. The natural oil is good for the leather, but it might also be acidic to the sewing yarn, which can shorten the life of your shoes.

When talking about mink oil, lots of it nowadays is not even made from mink fats. A good number of the available gunk is typically made from silicon and melted pig fat. Consider Sof Sole Mink Oil, for example. I examined the product and discovered that, despite the name “Mink Oil,” it contains only 5 to 15% mink oil!

Mink oil, just like neatsfoot oil, has been reported to wilt the sewing on people’s leather boots. The excellent thing is that most instances of decomposing happened on cotton-threaded boots. Almost all boots currently are sewn with nylon strands, so no matter if you use neatsfoot or mink oil, it should not be a problem.

How To Apply Mink Oil To Boots?

Do you intend to use mink oil on your leather boots? When applying mink oil to your leather boots, it tends to darken the brown leather. The application of mink oil is relatively simple. When using mink oil, you will need mink oil, a pair of hand gloves, microfiber, and your leather boots.

Step 1: To begin applying the mink oil, make sure your leather boot is completely clean and dry. After cleaning and drying your boot, apply the oil to the leather.

Step 2: Put on your gloves and open the can of mink oil. Choosing where you will apply the leather on your boots, in general, embodies deciding where you will begin and end the application process.

Step 3: Using your hand, begin applying the paste to the boot’s leather. The boot focuses the application on the stitching first because it breaks down the strands that have racked up dirt and moisture. When you rub the mink oil into the leather, you will further notice that it darkens.

Step 4: It is best to begin at the bottom of the boot and work your way up to the ankle area. Apply the mink oil equitably, taking care not to stay focused on one area more than others. Please allow roughly 5 minutes for the mink oil to completely dry after using it on the first boot. At this point, you can begin using the second leather boot.

Step 5: After putting the mink oil on the boot’s leather and allowing it to dry for about five minutes, begin brushing the application zone with a microfiber cloth. Work the microfiber over the regions where you have just applied the mink oil to get rid of the crud. This procedure removes surplus mink oil from the region where it has been applied.

If you are not happy with the results, you could always apply another layer the next day.

Factors to Consider When Using Mink Oil

Is mink oil harmful to leather? Basically, mink oil is a natural product that is an outstanding expansion for any and all leather products, including corrected leather, full-grain leather, top-grain leather, and oil-tanned leather. Its overall application makes the leather far more water-resistant, adaptable, and lustrous. The factors listed down below should be kept in mind.

  • What are several of the factors to consider when using mink oil? Do you have any hesitations? As much as the oil provides numerous benefits, there are a few things that should be kept in mind to avoid destroying your leather.
  • Mink oil should not be used on new boots. The reason for this is that lubricating new shoes during the break-in period may lead to clumsy boot fitting. You might want to use other products, such as mold, to help with the leather breaking process.
  • When scrubbing the leather with a microfiber cloth, it is critical not to overburden the leather and to pay special attention to the zones all around the stitching. Wipe away any excess mink oil from the affected region.
  • Applying mink oil to light-colored leather boots will cause oxides to form and darken the boot.
  • Mink oil should not be used on suede boots.
  • It is critical to consider how frequently you should apply mink oil to your leather shoes. In this regard, you should not apply mink oil to your leather shoes or material more than twice a week. If too much mink oil is used, the boot or leather product may rot, or the stitching may harden.
  • After applying mink oil, do not leave it on the shoes for more than eleven hours, as the oil may cause a detrimental effect and cause the leather to smell.
  • Finally, the quality of a leather product, such as a boot or a chair, is determined by how well it is cared for. Keeping your leather item moisturized and dry will make sure that you can use it for a long time. You must choose between mink oil and leather conditioners since all leather conditioners are only efficient on leather goods that have had little exposure to dirt. Mink oil, on the other hand, is an ointment that is perfect for any kind of leather product that has a lot of wear, dirt, and grease.

When Should You Use Mink Oil On Leather Boots?

Are your boots completely dry? Noone really wants dried-up boots or cracked shoes. Mink oil is the ideal solution for restoring and lubricating your worn-out boot. Despite the numerous benefits that Mink oil provides to a leather boot, it is recommended that you limit the number of times you apply the mink oil on your leather shoe.

So, how frequently should I apply Mink oil to my leather boots? The answer is to only use Mink oil twice a week. The persistent use of mink oil on leather boots and shoes might cause moisture to ramp up within the shoes, leading to rot in the shoe leather and long-run damage.

If the mink oil appeals to you, apply a wax protective layer to your leather to improve its waterproofing abilities. You should only use the mink oil once or twice a year at most.

Mink Oil Ruined My Boots

Will mink oil ruin my leather boots? Well, the short answer would be no. The long answer is it could. It all depends on how frequently and how much you use it.

Mink oil is used to condition working leather. This indicates it should be used on leather products that are subjected to lots of excessive tears and wear. Even for everyday beater boots, an infrequent layer to relieve dryness or extend water protection is much more than adequate. Trying to apply too much mink oil or applying it too regularly will soothe the leather even more and jam up the pore spaces, trying to prevent any ventilation.

This will collect moisture and allow mold and bacteria to develop. These infestations will not only make your feet smell bad, but they will also worsen the leather.

Boots tree branches might help with this problem, but I have used too much mink oil previously and obtained mold in my shoes and sneaker trees. As this actually occurs, give your shoe uppers a saddle soap wash and sanitize the insoles with a solution of diluted vinegar. Then, on a sunny day, leave your shoes outside to kill any residual microbes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that mink oil might substantially darken your boot leather and remove the natural shine from your shoes. It could even give the leather a matte appearance, depending on your boot’s leather type. Although I do not consider this to be damaging, I am aware that many people favor the stock color of their boot leather. If that is the case, products like Saphir Renovateur or Venetian Shoe Cream are a wiser choice.

Does Mink Oil Waterproof Leather?

Generally speaking, mink oil is an excellent option for a water-resistant conditioner since it keeps most of the components out while still allowing your shoes to breathe and get the air it requires to stay in good condition.

Nevertheless, mink oil would not entirely seal out water, particularly if your boot is submerged.

What Is Mink Oil Made Out Of?

Basically, mink oil is made by taking animal hides and scratching the fat layer off of them. To decrease free fatty acids, it is produced and fine-tuned at high temperatures (230°F to 240°F) and through esterification.

What Does Mink Oil Do for Leather?

The leather absorbs the mink oil. It forms a watertight seal and softens the leather, making it far more flexible and, in many cases, much more comfortable to wear. It may also help to prolong the lifespan of the boots.

Is Mink Oil Bad For Leather?

If you have a pair of leather boots, you have probably heard of mink oil, which is a well-known leather conditioner that has its origins in Native American material culture.

Originally used as an epidermis conditioner, it has since evolved into the go-to conditioner for most leather products.

Is it, however, safe for your leather boots?

Absolutely yes in the short term. However, in the long run, I would not recommend mink oil for your prized leather boots. Essentially, the regularity and amount of mink oil you use will determine whether or not you should use it.

As you might all know, leather begins to dry out and crack over time, which is where mink oil becomes a crucial element. It replenishes the natural leather oil that is died during use and, to a lesser extent, during the production process. Not only that, but it moistens the fibers, making your old leather boots far more adaptable and sturdy.

However, the story does not end here. Too much mink oil softens the leather to the point where it clogs all the pores and prevents your boots from breathing.


Love it or hate it, mink oil is still here to stay and will keep going to be the go-to conditioner for a lot of people. The item has actually been around for a long time and has proven to be very helpful in the workplace.

Nevertheless, it remains a working person’s conditioner. It is designed for tough leathers and workers who face a lot of slippage on the farm or job site. Workers and kickers are usually concerned about their boot’s darkening since they expect it to happen.

The rather arguable detrimental consequences of mink oil, on the other hand, might not be something to overlook for the average customer. If you want to keep the color of your leather boots, shine them for a special event, or water-resistant/waterproof them, mink oil products are not an ideal pick for you. Please consider the alternatives I have listed above to meet your requirements.

Steven Ta
Steven Ta
I am a professional photographer and shoe-lover. With a deep-rooted passion for all things footwear and years of hands-on experience, I am your go-to guide in the awesome world of shoes
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