Is Mink Oil Good for Leather Work Boots?

Is Mink Oil Good for Leather Work Boots

Do you want your leather boots to last long and at the same time want them to look nice?

Well, if you own leather work boots then you must have heard about the mink oil which is a very famous leather conditioner available in the market and has its roots in Native American material culture.

Earlier it was used as a skin conditioner and with time it emerged as a go to conditioner for leather goods.

But is it good for your leather work boots?

In short term, YES but in long term, mink oil is not something that I would suggest you for your precious leather boots! Basically your frequency of usage and amount of mink oil will decide whether you should use this oil or not.

With continuous usage, leather tends to dry out and crack and that’s where mink oil comes in. It refreshes the natural oil of leather that is lost during utilization and to some extent during the manufacturing process. Not just this it also lubricates the fibers hence making your boots more flexible and durable.

But the story doesn’t end here. Too much mink oil will soften the leather to an extent that it ultimately clog all the pores and does not allow your boots to breathe.

Well, don’t get confused. Through this article, I will clear all your doubts and will tell you all the benefits of mink oil. We will also see some of the interesting alternatives that you can use in place of mink oil. So stick with me till the end.

Benefits of Mink Oil for Boots

People working in construction, farming and other industries have always used mink oil as their regular conditioner to maintain their leather boots.

The constant friction while working at these workplaces make their leather dry and mink oil just works well to reverse this damage.

Benefits of Mink Oil

I have already told you that mink oil is used to replenish the natural oils of your leather boots which decreases with time. Not only this efficient oil helps to recharge the loosened fibres but also makes the boot more flexible and tough.

If you see, mink oil has got a lot in common with natural oils that are found in organic leather and so it makes it readily available for almost every type of leather.

Furthermore, you will be astonished to see that some people use this oil to darken their work boots. Interesting, right?

Well, one additional feature of this oil is that it clog the pores and forms a protective barrier that helps to make the shoes darker, if not permanently then at least for a sufficient period of time.

Does Mink Oil Make Your Boots Waterproof?

Mink oil is perfect for making your boots water resistant and makes them susceptible to withstand light to heavy rains and even occasional snowstorms but for a short duration.

When applied correctly, mink oil fills the pores of your leather boots and thus creates a coat that is able to repel moisture.

This ability was adored by early fur trappers who trekked through the snow to get their work done even in the harshest of situations.

This protective barrier does not come off easily so I think you should give this simple science a try.

Check out the Complete Guide on Boot Waterproofing.

Top 10 Best Waterproof Boots for Men and Women

Does mink oil go bad with time?

There is one single rule of storing mink oil. Try to store it in a cool space, away from high temperatures and trust me your jar of oil will last forever.

Why? This is mainly because of the presence of fatty acids which are quite stable in nature and do not react to oxygen as compared to other animal fat or oils.

Thanks to the impressive oxidative stability of this oil, you don’t have to worry about it’s rancidity at all. Just store it properly!

How often and for how long should you mink oil your boots?

This is definitely a question of interest as too much oil might harm your boots. So how many times should you use oil on your work boots? The answer is once every two weeks

Yes, this is sufficient as any more than this will dull your leather and the lesser amount could not help to retain the softness and might lead to several cracks in the boots.

Once you have applied the oil, leave them for about twelve hours to almost a day at some place cool. Let them dry and get ready to see wonders!

Mink oil vs Neatsfoot oil

If you are an avid user of leather boots then I am sure you must have heard the name of another animal oil called Neatsfoot oil which is widely available in the market. So, which one is better for your boots?


Well, both are good products and act differently on your boots. However, the only disadvantage of neatsfoot oil is despite being produced from 100% natural ingredients its acidic nature might affect the stitching thread and cause an issue in the longevity of your leather boots.

No doubt, it lubricates the leather but it might darken the color of your boots. So, if you love the natural color of your boots then I guess, this oil is not for you.

Now let’s have a look at mink oil. The waterproofing ability of this oil as we have discussed earlier preserves the leather for a longer period. However, mink oil decreases the natural shine of the leather making it look dull.

Additionally, you have to keep on applying mink oil quite often to keep your boots soft and waterproof which might affect the age of your boots. So if you don’t want to dull the shine then I advise you to refrain from this oil.

Check out our comparison of mink oil vs leather conditioner.

Best Mink Oil Alternatives

Despite being popular in the market, some people no longer go for this oil. Infact, some it has been banned at some places due to animal welfare and environmental concerns.

We also have seen the ill-effect of this oil on leather boots. So what are it’s alternatives? Let’s have a look

1.) Bickmore Bick 4

Bickmore Bick 4

This amazing leather conditioner has been available in the market since 1882 and still keeps on satisfying its users with its amazing features. Its one time tested formula has been proven to keep your precious leather boots safe for years.

It deeply penetrates the pores of your boots and helps preserve the color of your boots. This product is made of a blend of natural emulsifiers, conditioners and moisturizers that promises to keep your leather moist and extend the lifespan of your boots. 

Not only this, it is wax free and keeps all the gummy residue at bay. I think it is one stop shop for your valuable leather work boots.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2.) Obenauf’s Leather Oil

Obenauf's Leather Oil Conditions Restores Preserves Dry Leather

This is the perfect amalgamation of both beeswax and natural conditioning oils. This oil is great for hydrating leather and is well suited to boots that get a lot of sun exposure.

This oil is made exclusively for oil-tanned leather and vegetable tanned leather and comes with the formula to heal all the cracks and discoloration caused by sunlight.

And yes, this oil is also highly recommended to shorten the break in period of your stiff, new leather boots.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3.) Fiebing’s Neatsfoot Oil

Fiebing’s Neatsfoot Oil

We have already discussed the neatsfoot oil in the above paragraphs but this particular brand stands out in the market.

This natural preservative is 100% pure and is ideal for leather which handles rugged use and outdoor exposure on a daily basis.

The oil has got great water repelling properties which acts as a coat for your expensive leather boots.

Not only this, it also extends the useful life of boots by replacing their natural oils. Isn’t it great?

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Will mink oil soften leather?

Yes, mink oil will definitely soften your leather boots because mink oil is a thick waxy substance and it gets soaked inside the leather pores and softens the leather fibres.

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that, you have to apply a generous amount of the mink oil on your boots and leave it overnight to let the oil completely soak in the leather and soften it.

But, the next day, do not forget to get rid of the excess oil using a soft lint free cloth or else the excess oil might rot the leather in the long run due to excess moisture locked inside the leather pores.

Does mink oil darken leather?

Mink oil is not just mink oil. It also contains lanolin and silicone. Therefore, mink oil is a bit thick in nature and penetrates deep inside the pores of the leather making it darker.

But, just a thin layer of mink oil when applied with a cloth and the excess is not allowed to soak in, should not darken your leather to a great extent.

Mink oil will only darken your leather boots when allowed to soak in overnight!

Final verdict

Whether you love it or hate it, mink oil for leather is still a favorite of many people, thanks to its capability of being useful in a working environment.

We have seen it’s dark side and if you do not care about the color of your boots then you can give this oil a chance.

However, one cannot ignore the negative effect of this oil. If you want to shine your boots for special occasions then, in that case, I think you should go for the above alternatives.

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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