If you own formal footwear that needs to be shined, you’re going to be in for an undertaking that will take a lot more time than you want it to take if you do not use the right oil or polish.
If you happen to use the wrong kind of boot oil, then you will likely completely ruin said footwear.
This happens a lot more than you think, and it may have also happened to you.
If it has happened to you, do not worry. There are boot oils out there that you can not only use safely, but can also save time and bring your formal footwear back to life.
Our Favorite Boot Oil
Boot Oils: A Buying Guide
A common mistake that a lot of people make when buying boot oils is that they are too impulsive.
They see that their boots or shoes need to be shined, then they run out and get any given boot oil.
Then when they use it, they either ruin the color of their boots or shoes or they only partially shine the boots or shoes.
To avoid this, you need to consider the following.
How often do you wear your boots?
The first thing that you should consider is probably the most obvious.
When you wear your boots often, they get exposed to all kinds of elements that can affect the shine of your boots.
This is something that you need to be aware of, as obvious as it may seem.
Will you be wearing your boots outside frequently?
This is somewhat related to the first consideration, but it is still something that you should still be aware of.
When you wear formal footwear outside, they get exposed to all kinds of elements: Sunlight, rain, pollen, and even condensation when it is overcast will affect any kind of formal footwear.
What kind of materials are your boots made of?
The material that your boots or shoes are made of has a very significant effect on how it will interact with boot oils.
Different kinds of boot oils work better for different materials and if you are not aware of this, you will be very frustrated when shining your boots or shoes.
How experienced are you with shining boots and shoes?
Not all boot oils are the same, and you might not understand this difference if you are not experienced with shining boots and shoes.
Further, some boot oils are indeed “user friendly” in that you won’t need to worry about applying too much or too little oil to your boot. However, they might not be too effective in shining compared to other oils that you need to be more precise with.
Six Featured Boot Oils Reviews
1. Water resistant leather softener and conditioner mink oil by Griffin
Shining leather boots and shoes is no easy task. Not only do you need to be very precise with your shining solution, but you also need to make sure that you won’t be around anything that might compromise the surface of the boot or shoe after it has been shined. Shining leather boots and shoes can be a very difficult task for most and that is why many ignore doing it.
Griffin’s mink oil makes life a lot easier when you are tasked with shining leather boots and shoes in a few ways. First, it is water resistant. This is a wonderful thing, since it is very rare to see any kind of shoe oil that can shine leather boots and shoes that are water resistant. It resists other elements too, which will make it safe to wear shoes that have been shined with Griffin’s mink oil outside right after shining.
Because it is a mink type of oil, Griffin’s boot oil acts like a softener. This will improve the longevity of your leather boots and shoes to where it will be a very long time before you need to shine them again. This is fantastic if you don’t want to waste time shining your boots or shoes all the time.
The only thing you need to watch out for with Griffin’s boot oil is that it will have a good chance of darkening your footwear if you apply too much of it. Err on the side of applying too little then work from there when using it.
2. Heavy duty beeswax leather conditioner by Obenauf
Most boot oils are impossible to wash off if they happen to come in contact with your hands. This can be very frustrating for anybody who elects to shine their boots or shoes with their hands, which is actually a very popular way to shine boots or shoes. This leaves them begging for a boot oil that doesn’t stay on their hands all day.
Those types have their solution in Obenauf’s boot oil. Because it is made with beeswax, it will melt right off your hands when you apply it. This makes it perfect for anybody who does want to shine their boots or shoes by hand.
Don’t think that Obenauf’s boot oil will melt off when anything else gets on it, either. It will repel pretty much any substance, from acid to petroleum to chemicals. This makes it perfect for anybody who wears their leather boots and shoes a lot, especially if these boots or shoes are worn outside.
The only thing that you might need to worry about with Obenauf’s boot oil is that you need to apply a lot of it in order to properly shine any shoe or boot. This might be alright if you only need it to shine one pair of boots or shoes, but if you need to shine more than one pair of boots or shoes, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere.
3. “Heritage” mink oil by Red Wing
If you own boots or shoes that are made from mesa, muleskinner, yuma, or rough and tough leather, you know how frustrating it can be to shine them. You’ll go through all kinds of brands of boot oils to shine this kind of leather, but to no avail. Certainly, these kinds of leathers require a certain brand of boot oil.
This is where Red Wing’s “Heritage” oil comes in. Heritage oil is made of the proper amounts of lanolin and silicone that will shine the aforementioned types of leather boots and shoes to perfection. If you were using other kinds of boot oil to shine those kinds of boots and shoes, you’ll notice a significant difference when you shine them with Heritage oil.
However, it is extremely difficult to use Heritage oil. It will darken significantly if you apply too much of it. Even worse, it can lighten at even higher rates with wear. You might want to stay away from Heritage oil if you are inexperienced with shining boots and shoes by yourself. You might need to get somebody to shine your shoes and boots for you with Heritage oil if you are inexperienced and need to use Heritage oil.
The fact that Heritage oil is only really designed for boots and shoes that use Red Wing brand leather also limits its overall use. You can use Heritage oil on other boots and shoes, but you will have a very tough time doing so.
4. Shoe oil by Huberd
The act of shining shoes can be extremely intimidating if you are inexperienced. If you have never owned leather boots or shoes before, you might even get so afraid of making a mistake that you might not even want to shine your boots or shoes. It can be very difficult to make sense of what goes into all the boot oils that you see available to you.
Fortunately, Huberd’s shoe oil is as simple as it gets. You won’t need to worry about your leather shoes or boots getting too dark if you apply too much of it and it still provides the same softening and conditioning effects that shoe grease provides. It is also just as waterproof as mink oils are as well, so you will not need to worry about anything washing Huberd’s shoe oil away.
Some other shoe and boot oils are only designed for certain types of leather in that they are more effective on some kinds of leather and not really effective on other kinds of leather. You do not need to worry about all of this with Huberd’s shoe oil. It has been using the same compounds that can treat all leather boots and shoes for well over 80 years. This is another thing that makes Huberd’s shoe oil a perfect entry level shoe oil.
Unfortunately, because Huberd’s shoe oil is so user friendly, it also means that you’ll need to apply a lot of it to your boots or shoes to get them to shine to perfection. This can take a long time. You’ll want to look elsewhere if you want boot oil that can shine boots or shoes quickly.
5. Leather boot oil with applicator by Obenauf
One of the most common ways that those who are not experienced with applying boot oil is by hand. While this is effective, it is problematic because of how dirty it can get you. It’s the same when using a cloth when applying oil; you won’t be able to avoid the impending mess.
Obenauf’s boot oil changes all of this. It comes with its very own applicator that is connected to it’s cap, which makes applying it easier than ever. No longer will you need to use your hand or a cloth to apply oil to your boots or shoes in order to soften or shine them. If you are new to shining boots and shoes, you won’t be intimidated. If you are experienced, you have all the tools you need.
Because Obenauf’s oil is made from beeswax, it contains properties that will restore any kind of leather. You are not limited to just boots or shoes. You can use Obenauf’s boot oil for anything that is made of leather, even furniture. You get plenty of oil in its container as well; the container yields 16 ounces, which is more than most boot oils.
There is only one glaring drawback to Obenauf’s boot oil and that is that it is not waterproof. If you want to use it on your boots, shoes, or anything else made of leather, make sure it doesn’t encounter anything wet for a while.
6. Conditioning mink oil by Sof Sole
One of the biggest issues with mink oil is that it only works on certain kinds of leather. It can be frustrating to own a leather product and be faced with the fact that your favorite mink oil that you used for other leather products won’t work on the new leather product that you own. It is difficult to find mink oil that works for more than one kind of leather.
You will not need to worry about this when you have Sof Sole’s mink oil in your possession. It can be used on most types of oil, which means you can use it on any new leather product that you acquire.
Also, while a lot of other mink oils can partially prevent water, salt, and perspiration stains, Sof Sole’s boot oil will decisively prevent them. It does this by creating a waterproof barrier around what you apply it on and it will protect your leather gear a little better than other mink oils.
You are going to need to be really experienced in order to use Sof Sol’s mink oil properly. Only 3.5 ounces of it are in the container, and for good reason. If you apply too much of it, it will darken your leather items permanently. Make sure you test it before using it to see how much you need to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I oil new boots?
A: The answer to this question really depends on what kind of leather the boots are made of. Some boots are made of leather that is really tight and oiling them could soften and condition the leather a bit. However, if you apply too much oil, you might darken the boots, especially if you use mink oil.
Q: Can I use vegetable oil on my leather boots?
A: As a substance itself, oil will soften and condition the surfaces that it encounters. Vegetable oil can do this in some aspect on leather surfaces, but the problem with using vegetable oil on leather items is that the softening and conditioning effect is dwarfed by its darkening effect. Therefore, using vegetable oil on leather boots is not recommended.
Q: Is mink oil bad for my leather boots?
A: The answer to this question depends greatly on how experienced you are with shining your boots. If you are new to oiling and shining your boots, it will alter the surface of them. However, if you are adept with oiling and shining boots, mink oil has good advantages. Many mink oils have waterproof properties, and these can improve the quality of your boots.
Q: How often should I oil my boots?
A: There are a lot of factors that you should consider when determining how often you should oil your boots. You need to consider how often you wear them, what kind of leather the boots are made of, and what they are exposed to. These three factors will determine how often you should oil your boots. There are no set time constraints as to when you should oil your boots.
Q: Is olive oil good for leather boots?
A: Olive oil is not a good substitute for the standard boot oil. Simply put, it is not thick enough and it does not provide the conditioning and softening properties that other boot oils contain. However, that is how it acts on its own. When combined with other kinds of boot oils, olive oil can improve the shine of some leather boots.
Shining boots can be a very overwhelming and intimidating task if you are not experienced in doing so.
Even if you do have some experience, shining boots can take a long time.
This is why you need to have the right kind of boot oil in your hand.
Some boot oils just retain the shine of your boots or shoes, and others can completely restore the leather.
A lot of them are also waterproof and you definitely need to seek out a waterproof boot oil if you intend to wear your shoes or boots in wet areas.
In any case, when you have the right boot oil in your hand, you’ll make the undertaking of shining your boots and shoes much easier.