Is Neatsfoot Oil or Mink Oil Better for Boots?

No matter how fine the quality of your leather is, it will lose its natural texture if not conditioned from time to time. Also, not every conditioner is good for your leather!

 The choice of conditioner for your leather depends on its type and the extent of damage. If you ask me Stephen “Which conditioner is best for my leather boots?” I will say “You can go with either neatsfoot oil or mink oil.”

Now the question remains…

Which is better for your leather boots?

Is it neatsfoot oil or is it mink oil? 

To end this confusion, I’m here today with this article which will tell you is neatsfoot oil or mink oil better for boots.

Both Neatsfoot oil and mink oil help to lubricate the leather fibres, waterproof the leather and prevent the leather from drying.

Is Neatsfoot Oil or Mink Oil Better for Boots

While neatsfoot oil is best for conditioning, softening, darkening and preserving the leather, mink oil on the other hand is best for waterproofing leather and will not change the color of the leather to a great extent. And the last thing is, neatsfoot oil might rot the seams of leather boots if they are not made of synthetic material while mink oil has no such rotting tendency! So, according to me, mink oil is a better choice for leather boots!

Through the course of this article, I will tell you more about the benefits and disadvantages of using both these oils and which one is the best for your leather boots….

So, without wasting any further time, let’s just start reading below….

What is Neatsfoot oil?

Neatsfoot oil lays its origin from the shin and the foot bones of cattle and less often from horses. In the modern times neatsfoot oil is said to be made from lard and the bone material is kept to the minimum. 

Neatsfoot oil is usually yellow in color and it’s not made from animal fat. Therefore, you don’t have to bother about the sugar breaking down your leather.

Using Neatsfoot oil on boots

Neatsfoot compound has its additives from the petroleum-based products and therefore, might cause damage to the leather.

Nowadays neatsfoot oil might also contain lanoline, vegetable oil, glycerine, some kinds of products made from animals and petroleum-based products.

What is mink oil?

Mink oil is obtained by rendering off mink fat that has been removed from the pelts. Mink oil is considered to be a source of palmitoleic acid that has physical properties similar to that of human sebum.

Mink oil finds its application in many medical and cosmetic products it is used for conditioning treating and preserving all types of damaged leather.

Appling mink oil on boots

The best thing about mink oil is that the unsaturated fatty acids in eat account for more than 75% of its fatty acid content what the oil pauses resistance to rancidity and therefore never rots leather.

Mink oil is believed to increase the water resistance capacity of leather darkening leather to a minimum extent and increasing the life of leather products.

Benefits of mink oil on leather boots:

Mink oil has several benefits on leather boots besides just conditioning the leather fibres. Let’s learn about some of the major benefits that mink oil provides to your leather boots:

1.) Mink oil can reverse the damage in worn out and dried out leather boots.

2.) The conditioning offered by mink oil to the leather boots is a long term one. 

3.) Mink oil makes the leather boots more flexible so that you do not experience anymore foot ache after a daylong work in the boots.

4.) Mink oil definitely adds the much needed shine and lustre to the dull and faded leather. 

5.) Mink oil will act as a protective layer for the leather fibres and help them to retain their moisture content.

6.) Lastly, mink oil provides the leather boots a waterproofing effect so that the boots do not get damaged from wearing in water or rain. 

Disadvantages of using mink oil on leather boots:

As is said too much of anything is not good, so is true with mink oil as well! When applied excessively for a long period of time, mink oil can too have the following negative effects on your leather boots:

1.) Mink oil will harden the texture of your leather boots in the long run by ruining they leather’s natural replenishing capacity.

2.) Mink oil can darken the color of your leather boost over a long period of time.

3.) Mink oil will not shine your boots to a great extent.

Benefits of neatsfoot oil on leather boots:

Neatsfoot oil is a natural oil and therefore safe for leather in the long run. It preserves the leather and increases its life span. There are some more benefits of using neatsfoot oil as well and let’s learn about them:

1.) Neatsfoot oil is a natural oil that conditions and softens the leather fibres.

2.) Neatsfoot oil can repel water to some extent but does not make the waterproof. Actually what happens is, neatsfoot oil is thick and after being applied on the leather boots, it forms a coat that clogs the pores and therefore, the pores can’t soak in any more water.

3.) Neatsfoot oil can mend cracks and scuffs in the leather boots.

4.) It gives a natural shine to the leather boots.

Disadvantages of using neatsfoot oil on leather boots:

Besides having so many good qualities, neatsfoot oil is not far from having some disadvantages as well:

1.) It might rot the stitching on the seams of the boots.

2.) It causes your leather to darken in color to a great extent.

3.) It lets the leather boots to attract dust easily as it contains natural lubricants that opens the pores of the leather.

4.) Neatsfoot oil oxidizes in the presence of oxygen and therefore can cause the leather surface to flake and crack.

Which is better? Neatsfoot oil or mink oil?

Now, we have seen that both the oils have their own advantages and disadvantages. So, I have prepared this table below which will help you to evaluate the effectiveness and the cons of both the oils on your leather boots:

Mink oil Neatsfoot oil
Waterproofs the leather Yes  Less than mink oil
Shines the leather Less  More 
Conditions the leather  Yes  Yes 
Preserves the leather Less  More 
Darkens the leather  Less  More 
Rots the stitching No Yes 
Turns rancid  No  Yes 
Oxidizes No  Yes 
Attracts dust No  Yes 

So, according to me, it is safer to use mink oil for your leather boots because it has more pros than cons!

Which oil to use when?

When you want to darken the color of your leather use neatsfoot oil.

When you want to preserve the leather, use neatsfoot oil.

When you want to add shine to the leather, use neatsfoot oil.

When you want to waterproof the leather, use mink oil.

When you want to condition and weather coat the leather, use mink oil.

When your leather is of light color, use mink oil.

It’s time to bid Goodbye!

Mink oil is always a better choice for your leather boots if you want to play safe!

But remember, too much use of mink oil can harden the leather over time!

So, use judiciously and only when needed!

Hope you enjoyed reading the article! Taking adieu with a belief to meet you soon in my next article!

Take care and have a great day ahead!

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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