Red Moose on the Benefits of Using Mink Oil on Your Shoes
Mink oil is a versatile product that can condition and protect virtually any material used in making shoes.
It's believed that the product was discovered by fur-trapping Native Americans; they found that the fat under the fur of minks softened their hands. Centuries later, ranch owners harvested this fat and turned it into an oil.
In addition to using it as a conditioner for shoes, its active ingredient (palmitoleic acid) is also found in several skin-care products used to treat dry skin.
Why Treat With Mink Oil?
Shoes are treated with mink oil during the production process, but that is something that you should continue to do to extend the life of your shoes. Mink oil lubricates the shoe's fibers, which prevents dryness and cracking. In addition, mink oil serves as a protective coating on the shoe by repelling moisture and water.
Another benefit is that, unlike many other lubricants, mink oil will not leave behind an oily residue. This allows it to be safely used on other shoe surfaces in addition to leather, such as suede, nubuck, vinyl, and even plastic.
As a general rule, you shouldn't condition with mink oil more than every two weeks, as you risk making the leather too soft and susceptible to damage.
Different Types of Mink Oil
Red Moose offers a Mink Oil Aerosol Spray and Pure Mink Oil Paste. If you're using the paste, you will want to heat it a bit with a hair dryer so it better absorbs in the surface. Then clean your shoes with a dry cloth to remove dust and dirt.
Regardless of which product you use, put the oil on a cloth or sponge and then rub the leather gently along all the corners until it starts to melt into the shoe's material. After you condition all the leather, suede, etc., be sure to wipe off excess that may have gotten on the soles or laces. Then let it dry overnight.
As a bonus, mink oil can be used to condition any leather surface, including furniture and jackets. Just be sure to clean the surfaces before applying.