Mink Oil for Boots and Shoes : The Ultimate Guide You Don’t Want to Miss

Posted In : Boots Care
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For a lot of people, wearing boots is an essential element to every outfit. In fact, it is important for many men and women in winter especially when they have to work outside. For some, this means trekking through blizzards and mountains while the others walk through ankle-deep snow. The cold can be very unforgiving but to remain well-protected and comfortable, proper shoe care is vital.

It is well-known that leather needs protection and conditioning so it can withstand the harsh winter elements. Although there are a lot of commercial products out there, some people believe in using natural ingredients for preserving and protecting their footwear. This is where mink oil comes into the picture.

Mink Oil for leather boots and shoes


What is Mink Oil?

Mink oil (also known as Neatsfoot oil) is an animal-based product that has been used by countless people in leather preservation. This product is collected from the shinbones and feet of minks. It has been used by the hunters when they are processing these animals for their fur, claws, meat, and bones. Because of its effectiveness in leather care, many people prefer it over other products that are much more expensive in the market.

Why to Use Mink Oil?

There are numerous reasons why mink oil is the preferred choice of many when it comes to shoe care. To begin with, this product can be used not only for protecting leather boots but also other items made from the same material, such as gloves and belts. It has excellent waterproofing properties that can shield against water while allowing ventilation at the same time. It contains Vitamin A which moisturizes the skin, keeping it hydrated and healthy even during harsh weather conditions. The oil also nourishes the leather to restore its suppleness and flexibility.

Benefits of Mink Oil for Boots

Prevents Leather from Cracking

One of the things you should expect when you are using mink oil for your leather boots is deep moisturizing. This will make your footwear more flexible and less prone to crack. If you often expose your shoes and boots to extreme cold, this product can keep them looking young and fresh longer than usual. It can also protect them from frostbite and other forms of damage that occur due to the freezing conditions.

Prevents Leather from Getting Wet

Leather is a material that absorbs water effectively. It has pores that can absorb liquid, making it very susceptible to dampness and moisture. However, with mink oil in your leather boots, you don’t have to worry about this anymore. It works as a protective barrier that will prevent water from ever coming into direct contact with the material. This will save your footwear from getting wet and developing an unpleasant odor every time it gets damp.

Maintains Leather’s Elasticity

Mink oil can be very effective in maintaining the elasticity of leather. As mentioned, leather will become stiff when it gets wet. This can cause discomfort to your feet because they won’t be able to fit inside properly anymore. With mink oil, you will have the assurance that this condition will never happen . You can treat your boots with Mink Oil during spring and autumn so you are already prepared for winter. If you want to guarantee the flexibility of your boots, you should apply this product twice or thrice a month.

Deeper Penetration Ability

Applying mink oil on your leather boots is the best way to protect them from all kinds of damage that can happen during winter. Compared to commercial products, this animal-based oil can penetrate deeper into the material to ensure that it has reached all the pores. Although you will have to use a lot of it just to cover your entire footwear, its effects are worth it. With this method, you can provide thorough shoe care and make sure that they will be in good condition even after a long time.

When Should You Use Mink Oil?

If you are wondering when to use mink oil, the best time to do it is during spring and autumn. This is because winter’s cold weather can make leather stiff and difficult to work with. Applying this care products before any other materials can prepare your boots for extreme conditions ahead. This way, it will stay flexible and you won’t have problems using it.

If your boots are still in good condition but you want to make sure they stay that way for a long time, always remember to include mink oil on your list of must-have care products. Not only does this material provide protection against damage like cracks, but it can also maintain the flexibility of leather.

There are various kinds of mink oil on the market, so make sure you pick one that is meant for footwear.

How to Apply Mink Oil on Boots?

How to apply Mink Oil on Boots and Shoes

Applying mink oil on your leather boots will not only keep them protected from all kinds of damage, but it can also make sure they are moisturized and flexible. Applying this material is simple enough, so you do not have to worry about the task being too difficult for you. You just have to follow these easy steps below:

  • Step-1 : Clean your boots with a dry cloth to remove any dust that may have accumulated over time.
  • Step-2 : Apply appropriate amount of paste or several drops of mink oil on the surface of your footwear and use a brush to massage it all over the material, focusing on the areas where it is stiff or cracked. You can also saturate your gloves or socks with this product to maximize its benefits.
  • Step-3 : Wait for about fifteen minutes until the mink oil has been absorbed completely by your boots. You can use a dry cloth to wipe off any excess after this time.

How Long Does Mink Oil Last?

The effects of mink oil are long-lasting. If you apply it properly and regularly, you can expect to use the same bottle for a few months at least. If you just want to treat your boots with this material every now and then, it is enough to reapply about once or twice a month after doing the initial cleaning. You also have to know that one drop is already enough so there’s no need to use too much.

5 Best Mink Oil Brands and Care Products

If you plan to buy your own bottle of mink oil, you must select a brand that is meant specifically for shoes and boots. There are various reliable manufacturers you can find online, but here are the top three brands you should consider:


Saphir Medaille d’Or is the best choice for treating frequent deep conditioning of smooth leathers, because this is a pure natural organic product. It conditions without leaving a greasy residue or oily finishes like other traditional treatments. The Saphir Mink Oil Treatment is made with 100% pure, refined mink oil without any additional waxes. Leather boots, handbags, and other leather goods can be revitalized by using mink oil.

Pro-feature: It comes in a small glass bottle, making it easy to apply on the surface of your footwear.

What We Liked (Pros)

  • Packaged in a small and easy-to-apply glass bottle
  • 100% pure and refined mink oil

What You May Not Like (Cons)

  • May not be suitable for all types of footwear
  • All may not like the glass bottle


If you are aiming for treating frequent deep conditioning your leather boots/shoes and have a liking for using pure natural organic product, then  Saphir Medaille d'Or mink oil is the best choice for you.


Sof Sole Mink oil comes in a single tin of 3.5 ounces or a pack of 3 tins. It is designed for waterproofing and conditioning leather boots and shoes. It can also work on purses, jackets, hats, baseball gloves, saddles and harnesses. It not only protects leather from the elements, but it also helps to shield it from water, salt, and perspiration stains by providing a waterproof barrier. It’s simple to use and dries in minutes;

Pro-tip: some leathers may darken as a result of its usage.

What We Liked (Pros)

  • Comes in single tin of 3 ounces or a pack of 3 tins
  • Easy-to-use
  • Waterproofs and conditions most leather footwear

What You May Not Like (Cons)

  • May not be suitable for all types of footwear


If you want effective mink oil performance with family and pocket friendly price, Sof Sole Mink Oil is a no-brainer for you!


Ariat Mink oil paste is for softening and conditioning smooth leather. It keeps the leather pliable and supple. It also waterproofs the leather, making it softer and more comfortable to wear.

Pro-tip: This product should not be used on exotic (non-smooth) types of leather.

What We Liked (Pros)

  • Keeps leather supple and pliable
  • Comes in a paste form for easy application
  • Can be used on different types of smooth leather footwear

What You May Not Like (Cons)

  • May darken the appearance of some leathers.
  • Should not be used on exotic types of leather


If you are looking for a decent priced high-performing mink oil for your Ariat boots or any other brand of your favorite boots, Ariat Unisex Mink Oil is the best choice for youe. 


Red Wing Heritage mink oil is formulated with lanolin and silicone to soften and nourish the leather while increasing water resistance, thus extends the life of your footwear. It also protects them from salt stains and damage caused by perspiration.

Pro-tip: It's made especially made for Red Wing's oil-tanned leathers, but suitable for most of the leather footwear. Don't use on suede or nubuck boots.

What We Liked (Pros)

  • Red Wing Heritage’s lanolin and silicone soften and nourish leather
  • Comes in a handy, easy-to-use tin
  • Proudly made in USA
  • Waterproofs and conditions smooth leather footwear

What You May Not Like (Cons)

  • Not to be used with suede or nubuck


If you have a pair of Red Wing boots and want a US made mink oil or boot care oil, This is the best choice you. Also it's lanolin and silicone based protection and nourishment is suitable for most other leather boots (Except suede and nubuck).


If you’re looking for a heavier-duty mink oil at budget friendly price, then the JobSite Premium Mink Oil is the one for you. It comes in a liquid form for easy application and is designed to waterproof and condition most types of leather footwear.

This JobSite mink oil can be used for leather items like vinyl Boots, Shoes, Gloves, Purses, Hats, Belts, leather Auto Car Upholstery, Furniture & All smooth articles of leather.

Pro-tip: Not to use on suede or nubick. It may darken light or soft leather.

What We Liked (Pros)

  • Softens, extends life and waterproofs leather/vinyl boots, shoes and all smooth leather items
  • It is in liquid form and its special formula aids in repeling salt stains and oil
  • Contains a useful mix of mink oil, silicone, lanolin and Neatsfoot oil.
  • Waterproof and weather-resistant features
  • Can be used on different types of materials
  • Has also a liquid form for easy application
  • Treats and protects most types of leather shoes

What You May Not Like (Cons)

  • May darken the appearance of some leathers.


If you want the cheapest solution of mink oil for boots and also facilitate easier application in the form of liquid from bottle, then JobSite Mink Oil is the best thing for you.

Mink Oil Alternatives

Though mink oil is great for boots, there are alternative best boot care products that can be used for this purpose. For instance, you can also use Neatsfoot oil, boot cream, leather conditioner or a wax in order to keep the surface in good condition over time. It is advisable to let the oil sit for a few hours before wiping it off. Afterward, polish the boots until you get a good result.

  • Neatsfoot Oil: This type of oil is often used as a boot leather conditioner and preservative. It gets its name from being extracted from cattle feet, but today other kinds of animal parts are usually used. Despite being an oil, it is rather light when compared to other natural oils, so it won’t damage the leather when applied properly. Just like mink oil, not many people are allergic to neatsfoot oil.
  • Boot Cream: This product was designed in order to replace traditional leather waxes or oils because of its smooth and non-greasy nature. It is based on natural ingredients that are easy to use, and it doesn’t leave a greasy after-feel in footwear. It can also be used anywhere else in order to protect leather surfaces.
  • Wax: Similar to boot cream, waxes were designed for this very purpose, i.e., providing leather with the moisture it needs. If you want to go for a traditional option, wax is the perfect choice. It can be applied over time and doesn’t leave any greasy residue behind.

Mink Oil Alternative Related Products You can consider

If you don’t want to use mink oil, there are few useful alternative products you can consider using. Top picks are :

Comparison of Mink Oil with Other Leather Care Products

Mink Oil vs Wax

One of the most common questions is whether mink oil or wax is better for giving boots their best look, and there are some factors that come into play when it comes to this matter. For example, if you want your footwear to remain waterproof, wax is the best choice because it will stick to the surface better than mink oil. On the other hand, since wax leaves residue behind after use, you need to clean it off in order to maintain a polished look of your boots.

Mink Oil vs Boot Cream

If you wonder whether to go for mink oil or boot cream, it’s advisable that you first consider the type of leather your footwear is made from and what purpose do you want to achieve with these products. For example, if the boots are made from heavy-duty leather, you should go for mink oil because it’s a more viscous type of product.

One of the significant differences between these two products is that mink oil can be used to waterproof your boots as well as create a shine, but boot cream only does one thing which is moisturizing the leather. The latter usually contains beeswax, but it can also be made with ingredients like petroleum jelly and lanolin.

Mink Oil vs Neatsfoot Oil

Another alternative could be neatsfoot oil because it’s also a good moisturizer for footwear. It is made from boiled animal parts, but it’s sometimes blended with additional ingredients in order to improve its performance. For instance, you can use vegetable oil instead of boiled animal parts or even add natural colors to the neatsfoot oil in order to achieve a certain look.

Neatsfoot oil is often used in the shoe industry, and it has a large number of positive reviews on sites like Amazon. Some users highlight that it doesn’t leave any greasy marks behind while others claim that they get an instant result upon applying neatsfoot oil to their boots.

To sum it up, neatsfoot and mink oil can both be used to moisturize leather and protect it from water damage. The choice between the two products depends on the type of footwear you own and what ingredients they’re made from.

Mink Oil Leather Care vs Waterproof Spray

When it comes to protecting your boots against water damage, the most reliable way is to use waterproofing spray. However, this product isn’t designed for moisturizing leather because it can potentially damage it. Therefore, you should only apply waterproofing spray after applying mink oil or any of its alternatives in order to make your footwear more durable. You can also opt for wax especially if you’re going for a traditional look, but keep in mind that it leaves a residue behind after use.

Pure vs Synthetic Mink Oil

What is the difference between pure and synthetic mink oil?

The main difference between pure and synthetic mink oil is that the former is made from natural ingredients, while the latter is created in a lab. Pure mink oil has a higher price tag, but it’s also a more reliable solution for keeping your leather boots protected and moisturized. One bottle of pure mink oil can last you several months if you use it sparingly, so keep that in mind when comparing the two alternatives.

Which one should I use – pure or synthetic mink oil?

The choice between pure and synthetic mink oil depends on your personal preferences, as well as what type of boots you own. If you have a pair of leather boots that need to be moisturized from time to time, pure mink oil is a more reliable solution than its synthetic alternative. On the other hand, if your footwear is made from a different material and needs a deep clean, synthetic mink oil can be an effective solution.

Some Myths and Misconceptions About Side Effects of Mink Oil

Mink Oil Myths

Will Mink Oil Ruin My Boots?

Mink oil is a conditioning agent for leathers that have much more wearing over time. Too much mink oil or applying too often will soften the leather too much and clog the holes in the leather. That adds moisture – that’s your sweat, it’s yuck! The presence of these creatures won’t only make your feet smell and deteriorate it further. The best thing you can do is wash your boot-ups with saddle soaps and disinfect the inside and the footbed with a diluted vinegar mixture. Afterward leave your boots outside on an especially sunny day to kill any remaining spores.

Does Mink Oil Go Bad?

If you keep it unused for about 5 years and keep it out of the cold, dry room in the hot tub the oil should stay good for 5 years. This means that those fatty acids for preparing it are very stable. Although it is higher in unsaturated fats it is not as reactive in oxygen as other animal fats or vegetable oils. Mink oil is more stable oxidizing but can run as quickly when stored properly.

Does Mink Oil Rot Stitching?

Mink oil does not rot stitching. In fact, it is a good idea to apply mink oil to your boots on a regular basis in order to protect them against water damage. If you do this, your boots will likely last longer and you won’t have to worry about the stitching coming apart.

Does Mink Oil Dry out Leather?

Mink oil does not dry out leather. However, it is important to apply mink oil in moderation and wipe off any excess solution with a clean cloth or paper towel. If you leave too much mink oil on your boots, they can become more susceptible to water damage and could require more frequent maintenance in order to avoid this issue.

Do’s and Don’ts While Using Mink Oil


  1. Use mink oil every three to four months for boots that are made from leather. If your footwear are made from other materials, it is great for use and use this solution on a more regular basis.
  2. Apply mink oil with a cotton cloth or paper towel. Make sure to leave enough excess solution on the material so that it doesn’t become saturated with the solution.
  3. Wipe off any excess mink oil with a clean cloth or paper towel before letting your boots dry.
  4. Wait for at least one to two hours before wearing your leather boots after applying mink oil. This allows the solution enough time to absorb into the material and make it more resistant to water damage caused by exposure to the elements.
  5. Keep a bottle of mink oil on hand in case of emergencies, such as water damage or tears in the material.


  1. Do not apply mink oil to boots that are made from untreated suede or canvas. Only use this solution on treated leather boots.
  2. Do not apply an excessive amount of mink oil to your footwear. If you do, they can become more susceptible to water damage and could require more frequent maintenance in order to avoid this issue.
  3. Do not wipe off excess mink oil before letting your boots dry for at least one or two hours. This allows the solution enough time to absorb into the material and make it more resistant to water damage.
  4. Do not leave your boots on until they are completely dry after applying mink oil. If you do, the leather could become stiff and difficult to bend or break in later down the road.
  5. Do not use mink oil on sneakers or shoes that are made from other materials besides leather.

You can watch this interesting video on how to apply mink oil on boots:

Courtesy : nickfish03

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use mink oil on leather boots?

Moisturizing leather is one of the key features of mink oil, so it’s a good idea to apply it on your boots if they’ve been treated with another product. If you have a pair of leather boots and want to increase their quality over time, mink oil can help you achieve that goal. On the other hand, if your boots are made of a different material, you should avoid using this product.

Should You Apply Mink Oil To Your Black Chukka Boots?

The answer to this question depends on the type of chukka boots you have and the material they’re made from. If your boots are made of a treated leather, applying mink oil for leather care is a good idea because it will help keep the leather hydrated. On the other hand, if your chukka boots are made of untreated leather, using mink oil will only make them more susceptible to water damage. In this case, you should apply a waterproofing agent after applying the mink oil.

Does mink oil make boots shine?

While mink oil is good for leather care and does moisturize your boots, it can also make them look shiny. This is another reason why you should apply this solution sparingly because too much of it can lead to leather damage over time.

Is mink oil a boot leather conditioner?

Yes, mink oil can be used as a boot leather conditioner. As a matter of fact, this product has a higher concentration of a necessary component for maintaining your footwear’s toughness and resistance to water damage. If you want to protect your new boots from possible weather damage, one bottle of mink oil should be enough to provide the desired results.

How often should you oil your boots?

How often you oil your boots for leather care depends on the type of material they are made from. If you have leather boots, applying mink oil every few months should be sufficient in keeping them moisturized and protected against water damage. However, if your boots are made from a different material, you may need to apply mink oil more frequently in order to achieve the desired results.

Does mink oil seal leather?

No, mink oil or mink oil paste doesn’t seal leather items. With that said, it is best not to apply too much of this solution because you can damage your footwear in the process. If you want to protect your boots from weather elements caused by exposure to the sun and rain, one application of mink oil should be enough to provide the desired results.

How long should mink oil sit?

It is best to wait a few hours before reapplying mink oil to your boots. This will give the solution enough time to be absorbed by the leather items, and will also make your boots more resistant to water damage. However, you should avoid leaving mink oil on your boots for an extended period of time, as this can lead to damage to the footwear.

Do you use mink oil before or after Polish?

You can use mink oil before you apply the wax, but it is not recommended to be used after applying the polish. If your boots are properly maintained using polishers only every couple of months, then they will need a coat of mink oil within that time frame as well.

Does mink oil soften leather boots?

Mink oil can soften leather boots, but it is not recommended to apply too much of this solution because you can damage your footwear in the process. Applying mink oil every few months should be enough to keep your leather boots moisturized and protected against water damage.

Can I use coconut oil instead of mink oil?

You can use coconut oil as an alternative to mink oil, but it is not recommended to use this solution on leather boots. Coconut oil is a good option for boots made from materials such as suede or canvas, but should not be used on leather boots as it can damage the material.

Does mink oil permanently darken leather?

Mink oil does not darken leather permanently. However, if you want to keep your boots from lightening in original color, it is best to apply mink oil every few months to ensure that they stay moisturized and protected against weather elements caused by exposure to the sun and rain.

How Much One Bottle of Mink Oil Should You Use?

One bottle of mink oil should be enough to treat four or five pairs of boots. This allows for ample protection against damage caused by the elements. However, if you want to keep your boots from lightening in color, it is best to apply mink oil every few months as well.

Is mink oil really from minks?

Mink oil is an oil created from mink fats which are mixed with glycerides or 14-20 carbon chain fatty agents.

Parting Words

So to sum up our today’s article, mink oil is a great option for care your boots or shoes, especially if they are made from leather, and should be applied every few months. But take care not to apply too much, as it might damage your boots.

We hope you have found this article helpful! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to shoot us a mail.

As always, thanks for reading!

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