Mink Oil vs Leather Conditioner : Which One Should You Choose for Your Leather Boots?

Posted In : Boots Care
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Well, the answer to the question above depends on who you ask.

Some people say that Mink oil is better than leather conditioner because it helps protect your boots and makes them look shiny and new. But others will say the opposite: they’ll tell you to use a leather conditioner because it’s cheaper and has all sorts of other benefits like giving your boots a nice smell.

So what do we know for sure?

We know this: if you’re going to make either decision, then it’s probably best not to go with whichever one seems most appealing now – but rather focus on finding out which one has more advantages in the long run.

After all, you want to make sure that whatever decision you make is the right one. We’ll break down each of them so that you can make an informed decision about what will work best for you!

So, what are you waiting for? Read on to find out more about mink oil vs leather conditioner!

leather conditioner for boots


What is Mink Oil?

Mink oil is a natural product made out of 100% mink fat which has been boiled to produce a liquid-based substance. Mink oil penetrates deep into the leather which helps condition it over time while also protecting it from environmental factors like water, fire, heat, and cold.

Mink oil is very effective at cleaning and softening leather. And it does this without leaving any type of residue behind. This makes it a very safe product to use on leather.

Mink Oil for boots and shoes

How Long Has Mink Oil Been Around For?

Mink oil has been available for commercial sale since the 1940s. It was produced by a group of farmers in Canada who lived in the outskirts of the mink fur industry. However, it wasn’t until 1950 when its primary use was discovered that it became popular among leather workers.

It is still used all around the world today by people who want to take care of their leather boots.

Who Should Use Mink Oil for Boots?

Mink oil is a great option for anyone looking to add some extra protection and nourishment on their boots. Because it has such an effective nourishing ability, this helps restore the look of your leather footwear while providing them with much needed nutrients!

Those who should use mink oil include:

  • Anyone with shoes or boots made from all types of finished smooth leather
  • People with boots or shoes that have been exposed to water or wet environments
  • Those who want to add an extra layer of protection against the elements
  • Bikers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who need waterproofing on their footwear

Who Should not Use Mink Oil for Boots?

Mink oil should not be used by:

  • People with shoes or boots made from suede or nubuck leather
  • People who have a sensitivity to mink oil or any of its ingredients.

What are the Benefits of Mink Oil?

The benefits of mink oil include:

  • It is a non-toxic and safe product to use on leather
  • It is very effective at cleaning and softening leather
  • Leaves no residue behind
  • Is an affordable option compared to some other leather care products
  • Easy to find online or in most stores
Mink Oil application on boots

What are the Downsides of Mink Oil?

The downsides of mink oil include:

  • It does not remove tough stains, grease marks, removing dirt and grime from leather like saddle soap can do, especially if they have been exposed to water.
  • Does contain animal products (not vegan friendly).
  • If overused it may cause damage to the leather.
  • Mink oil can be difficult to wash out of your boots if not fully rinsed off-especially the first few times you use it!

How to Use Mink Oil? – A Quick Step-by-Step Guide

How to apply Mink Oil on Boots and Shoes

The primary task of mink oil is to condition leather boots with light cleaning function. So it is advisable to clean the boots thoroughly before starting applying mink oil. for that, you need to arrange the supplies.

Required Supplies:

  • Mink oil
  • Water, preferably warm
  • Bucket or sink
  • Brush(horse hair or regular) or sponge
  • Soft microfiber cloth, kitchen tissue or newspaper
  • Shoes/boots to be cleaned.
  • Dryer

Steps to Follow:

  • At first, to remove the loose dirt and grease, use a clean dry lint-free cloth to wipe your boots.
  • To clean the leather, moisten a cloth in a bowl of lukewarm soap-water solution and apply on the leather in circular motions.
  • For the next few hours, place the leather boots under the sun or near a heater to dry them out completely.
  • Apply mink oil to your leather boots, it needed, in multiple layers and keep them away for an hour.
  • Remove any excess mink oil using a soft cloth or kitchen tissue.
  • Do not forget to use a good leather conditioner to give a fresh, new and shiny look to your boots.
Our Best Suggestion for Mink Oil

Courtesy : lanceoa

What is Leather Conditioner?

Leather conditioner is mainly a chemical-based product that will moisturize and protect your boots from environmental elements such as water, heat, fire, etc. It naturally absorbs into the leather material over time to keep it fresh and new, but that also means that there will be no protection against stains or oil.

Leather conditioner is applied to the leather surface after you have polished or oiled it. It works by forming a barrier on top of the material that will prevent moisture from coming into direct contact with your shoes and causing damage. In other words, it acts as a protective layer against wet conditions.

leather conditioner for leather boots

How Long Has Leather Conditioner Been Around For?

Leather conditioner is nothing new and has been around for as long as leather itself. It actually dates back thousands of years to ancient civilizations such as those in Rome, Greece or even Egypt where they used ingredients like oils such as cod oil, castor oil and bees’ wax to protect the ancient shoes against water damage.

The refinement of leather and leather production has also improved drastically over the years. Today, we have different types of conditioners available at our disposal; we can choose from sprays, creams or even waxes depending on our needs and budget.

Who Should Use Leather Conditioner for Boots?

Using a leather conditioner is an excellent idea if you want to:

  • Protect and maintain your boots.
  • Help in drying wet boots faster after cleaning/polishing them.
  • Soften the leather without causing any damage or making it look greasy.
  • Give your footwear a nice sheen and make it stand out from other people’s shoes.

Who Should Not Use Leather Conditioner?

As we stated earlier, using a leather conditioner is not an absolute must. If you don’t care about maintaining your boots and just want to use them as work shoes or winter boots, then there is no point in wasting money buying a conditioner when you can get much more value from something else such as a nice pair of wool socks.

What are the Benefits of Leather Conditioner?

The benefits of using a leather conditioner are both numerous and invaluable. It is very difficult to list all the benefits in just one sentence so here are some of them for you to get the idea:

  • Provides protection against staining, water damage, scratching, cracking and peeling.
  • Lubricates the leather without causing any damage to it.
  • Softens the leather and makes it more flexible.
  • Prevents cracking, fading or flaking.
  • Helps you get rid of any bad odor on your boots like mildew or sweat.
  • Using a leather conditioner can save you time and money in the long run.

The benefits are definitely worth mentioning but how about the downsides? Are there any downsides to using a leather conditioner? That is exactly what we are going to cover next so stay tuned.

What are the Downsides of Leather Conditioner?

Leather conditioner is a product that isn’t perfect and has some downsides. In fact, if you use too much of it on your boots, then you run the risk of having issues with them.

  • It can cause oily stains on your clothing if applied in excess.
  • Drying time is significantly longer compared to just using mink oil.
  • Leather conditioner can cause adverse effects on the leather if it is not absorbed properly.

How to Use Leather Conditioner? – A Quick Step-by-Step Guide

Required Supplies:

  • Leather conditioner.
  • Soft clean cloth or kitchen tissue.
  • Soft bristled brush (if your boots have stitching).
  • Rubber gloves (optional).

Steps to Follow:

  • Step 1: Prepare the Conditioner – Before you start using any leather conditioner, it is best to prepare it first so that you can get the most out of it and avoid wasting the product. Remove the cap and pour a small amount of conditioner in a separate container such as a bowl or cup.
  • Step 2: Prepare Your Boots – Once you have prepared your leather conditioner, you need to prepare your boots for conditioning. This is done very easily by using a soft bristled brush (if there are any areas with stitching) to remove any dirt, mud or crust on your boots.
  • Step 3: Apply the Conditioner – Now comes the fun part where you apply the conditioner on your boots. It is best to use a clean cloth or kitchen tissue for this task but avoid using sponges because they tend to absorb more than just the excess conditioner. Make sure to apply a small amount of conditioner on your boots and rub it in evenly with circular motions.
  • Step 4: Leave the Conditioner to Dry – All you need to do now is leave the conditioner on your boots for at least 10 minutes or even more if your boots are really dirty or have been exposed to water recently. Don’t touch or wipe the conditioner off because it might make streaks on your boots and reduce the effect of the leather conditioner.
  • Step 5: Wipe Away Excess Conditioner – Once you are done with giving your boots time to absorb the conditioner, you need to remove excess product using a clean piece of cloth or kitchen tissue, and your boots are ready to be used or stored for later use.

Frequency to Apply:

The amount of conditioner you apply on your boots is really up to you and how often you use them. If your boots are not exposed to any particular risks such as water or other types of stains, then applying a thick layer of leather conditioner once every few weeks should be enough.

If you feel like conditions aren’t quite right and you need to apply a little extra, then feel free to do so without worrying too much.

Leather Honey Leather Conditioner applying procedure
Leather Honey-How To apply Conditioner on Boots

Courtesy : Leather Honey

Our Best Suggestion for Leather Conditioners

Features Comparison between Mink Oil and Leather Conditioner

Here is a summarized comparison of the two kinds of oil to assist you in choosing which one is better suited to your needs.

Feature Mink Oil Leather Conditioner
IngredientsObtained by rendering of mink fat which has been removed from pelts Made from Other boot oils, beeswax, tallow, etc.
Restoration abilityBest for restoring heavily dried out old leather bootsCan be use to recover leather with minimal damage and minimal level of drying
Lasting effectLonger than conditionersLess than mink oil
Best suitable forSoftening and waterproofingMoisturizing, softening, minimal restoration
Weather ResistanceYesNo
Clogging poresIt clogs the pores of the leather It will not clog the pores of the leather
Leather darkeningIf used in proper quantity, mink will not darken There is a high chance of darkening light colored leather
Leather Penetration abilityEasily penetrates deeper into the leather as compared to neatsfoot oil Penetrates, but not as deep as mink oil
FinishingIt will offer the leather finishing like leather conditioners It will offer leather a shiny finish
Increase LifespanIt’ll increase the lifespan of leather bootsIt’ll not increase the lifespan of leather boots to a great extent
ElasticityLess elasticMore elastic
Dry-up timeTakes more time to dry up than conditionersTakes less time to dry up
SmellNot as pleasant smell as conditionersPleasant smell
SuitabilityCan be used for all types of leather boots, even suede, but not rubber bootsCan be used on both leather and rubber boots and shoes
VersatilityMore versatile than conditioners oilA bit less versatile
AvailabilityEasy to find in stores/online Easy to find in stores/online
PriceAlmost the same, but it depends upon the brand and source
Best Products Check for details Check for details
More Details Read our saddle soap article Read our Leather Conditioning article
Features Comparison Table : Mink Oil vs Neatsfoot Oil

Mink Oil vs Leather Conditioner – Which One is Better?

It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day based on your needs and what you feel is more suited for you.

Most people would prefer leather conditioner over mink oil because it tends to absorb into their boots nicely rather than just sit there or eventually dry up after a few hours.

Both of these products can be found at any local boots store near you, but if they don’t have any then there are plenty of online stores that sell the same type of oil.

Of course, the optimum choice would be to use both oils at the same time because not only will you have a nice smelling boot, but it will also last longer than usual thanks to the leather conditioner protecting your boots from any external damage.

13 points Why You Should Choose Leather Conditioner over Mink Oil

If you are still asking yourself the title question of “Mink Oil vs Leather Conditioner : Which One is Better”, then we believe that the answer is clear. To our research, it’s – Leather Conditioner. The reasons behind:

  1. Mink oil is a bit difficult to apply whereas leather conditioner is easy and a little more effective.
  2. Mink oil doesn’t dry up quickly but leather conditioner does, giving you enough time to work it in with your gloves on or even when you have socks on too.
  3. Leather conditioners absorbs into the boot better and more evenly compared to mink oil because of its liquid consistency.
  4. Leather conditioners tend to dry up after a few hours whereas mink oil stays moist all day long.
  5. Conditioner is less greasy and oily compared to mink oil, so there is no need to worry about staining your clothes or anything else for that matter.
  6. Mink oil doesn’t work too well on rubber boots compared to leather conditioner which absorbs nicely into the boot material.
  7. Leather conditioners comes in a wide variety of smells and even colors whereas mink oils only has one type of smell and color(greyish brown).
  8. The best time to apply leather conditioner is during the night before you go to sleep or on a day off. Mink oil on the other hand can be applied anytime anywhere depending on your own preferences.
  9. Mink oil can spoil if kept for too long whereas leather conditioner doesn’t go bad easily even when not stored in a cool place.
  10. Most Leather conditioners found in US market are made in the USA, whereas mink oil is usually imported from China or Canada.
  11. Most online stores prefer to stock leather conditioners rather than mink oil because of its popularity and effectiveness compared to mink oil over time.
  12. If you have a favorite brand of boots or you have a pair for work and another one for casual use, then its best to use leather conditioner so it doesn’t get mixed up with other types of oils.
  13. If you’re looking to add a layer of protection and durability over your boots while keeping them fresh and new smelling, then leather conditioner is the way to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mink oil a leather conditioner?

No, but they work hand-in-hand. Leather conditioners are more effective and better than mink oil for your boots because of their liquid consistency which absorbs into the boot material faster and easier without leaving a greasy or oily feel on it.

Is leather conditioner good for rubber boots?

Yes it is as long as the conditioner is made for that type of material. Some leather conditioners are only meant for smooth leather boots, so you will need to refer to the product description before purchase.

Which is better mink oil or dubbin?

Dubbin is more like a wax or heavy oil that can be used to preserve the leather boots, whereas mink oil is best applied before the dubbin. Mink oil smells great and has many benefits too, which gives it an edge over dubbin.

Is there any difference between saddle soap and leather conditioner?

Saddle soap is meant for cleaning the leather boots, but not conditioning it. Whereas conditioners are made specifically to condition and moisturize the leather boot with its liquid consistency which is absorbed into the boot material more evenly compared to saddle soap.

Which will soften my boots faster mink oil or leather conditioner?

Leather conditioners tend to work faster than mink oil because of its liquid consistency which absorbs into the material faster. Mink oil on the other hand, has a consistency more like an oil therefore it takes longer to absorb into the boot material.

Which one will keep my boots flexible mink oil or leather conditioner?

Mink oil makes your boots more flexible compared to leather conditioner, with its liquid consistency which is absorbed into the boot material more evenly.

Which one will help my boots look shiny mink oil or leather conditioner?

Mink oil makes your boots look shinier than leather conditioners because of its oily consistency. The downside is that it can cause staining depending on the color of your boot material. Leather conditioners are meant to preserve the shiny color of your boots after applying it, without causing any staining.

Which one is better for restoring my leather boots mink oil or leather conditioner?

Mink oil tends to be more beneficial when it comes to restoring your boot material because its consistency resembles that of an oil therefore it will not only condition the boot material but also be absorbed deeply to nourish it from within. However, leather conditioners are much more effective at maintaining shiny boots over time because of its liquid consistency which absorbs into the boot material much better when compared to mink oil.

Does mink oil make leather darker?

Mink oil can be used to darken your boot material, but leather conditioners are the ones that are meant to do this job.

Which one is better for waterproofing my boots mink oil or leather conditioner?

Mink oil is better at waterproofing your boot material compared to leather conditioners because of its consistency, but the downside is that it also darkens the boot color.

Which one will make my boots more flexible mink oil or leather conditioner?

Leather conditioners are much better than mink oil when it comes to making your boots more flexible, because its liquid consistency is absorbed into the boot material much more evenly compared to mink oil.

Which Leather conditioner won’t darken my boots?

Lexol Leather Conditioner has non-darkening formula that will help preserve the color of your light-colored leather.

Does leather honey conditioner darken leather?

Leather Honey does not affect the color of dyed leather and does not alter it. However, if you are concerned about a little “hidden” area of untanned leather becoming somewhat darker with Leather Honey Leather Conditioner, test it on a tiny hidden spot first.

Does mink oil stink?

Mink oil has a natural musky type of smell which is not very unpleasant.

Can you put mink oil on rubber boots?

You can always put mink oil on your leather boots, but not for rubber boots since it will leave a dark stain.

Where can I buy leather conditioner?

All local boot stores like Doc Martens, Timberland, Clarks, or any other imported boot brands will most certainly sell leather conditioners because that’s what they specialize in. If you don’t want to go out of your way then there are also plenty of online stores that sell leather conditioner, but you will need to know exactly what type your boots are so you can order the right one. But if you want to go old school and do it the old fashioned way then hit up a general merchandise store or shoe stores that sell boot care products.

How We Carried Out Testing and Research on Mink Oil vs Leather Conditioner

how we carried out testing and research for boots

We decided to do some in-depth research on both mink oil and leather conditioner by consulting experts in the field, checking out what people are saying online, etc.

Here are just a few of the questions that we asked experts about their opinions on both Mink Oil vs Leather Conditioner:

  1. Which one would you prefer?
  2. What are the differences between the two?
  3. Which one has a better outcome?
  4. Which is easier to apply?
  5. How long does each product last before needing application again?

Once we received answers from experts, we then opened up a poll to see what people were saying about mink oil vs leather conditioner.

From there, we received a wide variety of opinions and valuable feedback from the community on which product is better and why.

We also received feedback from people that said that they’ve used both products before and would only recommend one over the other.

Parting Words

To wrap it up, you should definitely consider using a leather conditioner after cleaning your boots or polishing them with mink oil . This will not only ensure that the boots are properly moisturized but also give them a long-lasting shine and protection.

If you really like using mink oil then we recommend that you finish your boots off with a layer of leather conditioner to add more protection and shine. If not, then leave them as they are and be amazed by their natural beauty and fresh scent!

Best Leather Conditioner for Boots? We have done some scouring and dig-in this post to find the most popular leather conditioners for boots.

Have a great leather-care-day!

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Lance 'LeatherMan' Hackney

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