5 Ways to Darken Leather Boots (Simple and Tested)

How to darken leather bootsFading of leather boots is one of the first signs that your boots need immediate treatment and maintenance. Before it’s too late, you need to start maintaining the color of your boots with the right products. 

Thinking about the products and methods?

We are just here to do the same that is…

To help you select the best products to darken your leather boots and the right methods to apply them.

So let’s get started without any delay.

1.) Synthetic Boot Blends

Synthetic blends are mixtures of animal oils, vegetable oils, petroleum products, waxes, tree pitch or resins. They are the most ideal for darkening the boots and also have conditioning, waterproofing and shining properties. Products such as Obenauf’s and Hubbard’s are widely common for applying in leather boots. Though you might feel a pinch in the pockets in buying these products, yet they are best for the purpose without causing side effects to your boots.

Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP Leather ConditionerMaterials required:


      • First wrap the cloth in your fingers and take out a pea-sized amount of the product using your fingers
      • Brush your finger along the entire surface of the boot
      • If you run short in covering the entire boot with the pea-sized amount, you might take another same portion of the product
      • Massage the product into the leather and let sit for 10 minutes


      • Provides nutrition and conditioning to the leather
      • Provides waterproofing effect to the boots
      • No foul smell 
      • No thriving of bacteria
      • Softens the leather
      • Provides commendable sheen to the leather


      • Expensive

2.) Vegetable Oils:

Vegetable oils such as olive oils, canola oils etc can be used to darken your boots if you have no other artificial in hand. Though vegetable oils are not great for conditioning your leather boots as we have mention in our previous articles, yet when it comes to just darkening the color of the boots, the trick works pretty well. Just you need to be cautious about the amount of oil you are using and the right method to use it, which is right below:

Vegetable Oils to Darken Boots

Materials required:

      • A lint free cloth
      • Vegetable oil


      • Pour just a few drops (2/3) of the oil into the piece of cloth
      • Now brush the cloth along certain portion of the leather (till the oil stays in the cloth) in circular motions
      • If the entire boot is not covered yet, repeat step 1 & 2 again for the rest of the portions
      • Make sure to apply only that much amount of the oil that only darkens the upper layer of the leather and does not seep in the pores
      • Let the oil to darken the color of your boots by allowing it to sit for 24 hours
      • Next day, rub the boots with a clean lint free cloth to bring on the desired shine and to remove any excess oil


      • Easy to find the product
      • Cheap
      • No hard work
      • Provides a natural shine to the leather


      • Cannot darken the leather as much s artificial products
      • If oil remains in the boots, then it might cause foul smell in the boots
      • Excess oil can stain the leather in some parts
      • Bacteria might thrive if the oil wets the boots too much

3.) Animal Oils:

The oils that are derived from animal fats are called animal oils such as mink oil, neatsfoot oil. They are a better and safer option than the vegetable oils because they are thin oils and do not damage the leather by seeping in. The good thing is that besides darkening the leather, animal oils also condition the leather and provides waterproofing effect to the boots. Just a thing to note is do not be over generous in applying the oil or it might stain the leather too much.

mink oil to darken leatherMaterials required:

      • Neatsfoot oil or mink oil
      • Clean lint free cloth


      • Pour 3/5 drops of the oil into the cloth
      • Coat the leather by brushing with the cloth in circular motions
      • Let it dry by placing the boots in the sun or near a heating source for 4/5 hours
      • If the desired colored is not achieved, repeat the process once again
      • Then again take a clean cloth and remove any excess oil from the leather


      • It provides better shine to the leather than the vegetable oils
      • Nourishes the leather
      • Waterproofs the leather


      • The boots might take quite some time to dry
      • It might develop a musky odor
      • Too much oil might stain the boots

4.) Leather Dyes:

leather dyes

While choosing the leather dyes, just keep in mind that water based dyes soften the leather, while alcohol based dyes harden it. Leather dyes give dark shades to the leather, so be very specific in selecting the color of the dye matching your leather color.

You can repeat the same steps as mention above with the synthetic boot blends; just let the boots dry after that for 24 hours.

5.) Boot Polish:

How to polish your boots in ten minutes.

Boot polishes are just apt for the purpose, but will provide no other additional effects to the boots. You just need the correct shade of the boot polish and a brush to apply.

What Might Happen if you Apply the Wrong Products?

Applying the wrong product can ruin the entire boot or cause some serious damages like:

      • It can cause bad odor in the boots
      • The leather might go rancid and fall apart
      • Bacteria or fungi might thrive inside the boots
      • It might cause creases in the leather
      • The boots might shrink
      • The boots might harden and become of no use
      • It might have frayed seams
      • It might attract dust and mud
      • It might get discolored or develop scars
      • There might be seepage in the liner and the soles
      • No further products can heal the damages

Therefore, it is very important to select the right products for your boots and we have made the best selections for you after a lot of researches.

Before we say Good bye:

If you are confused which among the 5 is the best, we suggest the synthetic blends are the safest and the most productive and adds that extra care to your boots.

Yet if products are not handy, you might go for the other too options as well. 

Pro tips:

That’s all guys for today.

We will be back soon with another exciting article.

Till then take care and…

Keep walking!