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Leather conditioner


One of the Regulars
I got a new pair of boots and I am wanting to condition the leather and hopefully darken them up a bit. I have heard some say that mink oil is good and others say not to use mink oil as it harms the leather or stitching.
What do you guys think....is mink oil a bad idea?
Does someone have a better suggestion? I'm hoping that I can find the product locally.


Familiar Face
From personal experience, Bickmore found at the local Shepler's Western Wear store is my favorite for economy and product satisfaction although it doesn't darken leather (according to the label). Another favorite is the boot oil found at your local Red Wing Shoe Store. The Red Wing does darken the leather. I've used Lexol Cleaner with great results...they also make a conditioner that I haven't tried. You could probably order any of these on line if there isn't a location close by.
Best wishes


Head Bartender
Staff member
Small Town Ohio, USA
Many People

Many of the people here have considerable leather collections. From Indiana Jones jackets to shoes and boots to original and expensive reproduction WW2 A-2 jackets.

From what I gather, and I haven't tried it yet, many people swear by a product called Pecard's. You won't find it locally, but others here will tell you it's worth the search.

Step away from the mink oil... :)


A-List Customer

I have a 1950s leather jacket and a few pairs of nice leather shoes. From real "leather people" I hear the idea is you want to put as little on as possible, if anything at all. I find Bick #4 is great to "spruce up" leathers which are tired or hurting; light, good for maintenance.


Call Me a Cab
Panther City
My husband is one of those "leather people" lol so I asked him. He suggested Kiwi brand mink oil, because it also contains lanolin and silicone for better water repellancy. It will darken the boots some, and if used properly - NO, it does not harm the leather or stitching. Once you apply the oil, if you can let the boots sit in the sun to warm up - warm leather will absorb the product better.

Non-locally, I highly recommend a product called "Blackrock." That stuff is amazing. You can usually find it on ebay for around $10-$20 for a container that will last forever. It is also excellent for use on antique items like flight helmets and old A2s.

Mike K.

One Too Many
Southwest Florida
I'll second fortworthgal...

I use Kiwi mink oil on certain boots and it definitely darkens the leather. Also there is no damage to the leather or stitching. Leather comes from animals, so does mink oil...they go together. Where you might encounter problems with mink oil is it's potential for softening some leathers that should be stiff. I've encountered people in the outdoors field who have overly softened hiking boots with mink oil, hence ruining their supportive function. Just use the stuff in moderation. It doesn't take much to darken leather or add a bit of conditioning.


New in Town
Portland, OR
fluteplayer07 said:
What should be used for a brown leather briefcase? *cough*

I've been applying Montana Pitch Blend Leather Conditioner about twice a year to my Custom Hide Brown Classic Briefcase for the last few years and I've been very pleased. It's a bit of work applying this (it's a thick paste) and one needs to be careful about edges and corners as over-applying this product can result in a light bead of visible wax, but my briefcase has performed superbly in Portland's nine months of rain each year.

One application of mink oil a few months ago softened the leather a fair amount, which has made the bag a little more pleasing to handle but has also made it not stand up on its own quite as well.

After a few years of use (light at first, heavy the last couple of years), I'm just now seeing a few spots where the brown is worn through. I'm looking for a suitable brown paste polish to touch up corners and edges, after which I'll apply another layer of the Montana Pitch Blend.


I once had a pot of beeswax which was very good for shining up my cordovan shoes with. However, when I used renapur balsam on a cowhide jacket I own, that was showing a lot of good looking distress and wear, the thing came out the other end literally looking brand new again. On the one hand I was astounded by the effect and on the other a little disappointed that the aging process I was just starting to appreciate had been reversed


I’ll Lock Up.
I have used about every single shoe care product made. The "original" mink oil will always be the best choice for the "top" of leather shoes protection, however to really condition leather dress shoes or boots, nothing comes close to Cadillac Boot & Shoe care. It will absorb fairly rapidly into leather, and as an example, I purchased over the last year or so, several pairs of vintage shoes that the leather was so dry and brittle, you could "snap" the leather if you wanted to break a chunk off. The leather was so dried out it felt like a thick potato chip. I used lexol on the leather, it did nothing for it, then picards, let that soak in with whopping amounts on the leather for days and days at a time, still the leather was hard, brittle, and in big trouble. So I ask my local cobbler here, what I should do? He handed me a bottle of Caddilac and said, that it will work. One pair of the shoes I used it on first, a pair of NOS shoes from 1950's, brand new but never worn. Those shoes sucked in a entire bottle of 8 ounces of the Caddilac Boot & Shoe care. I let the Caddilac soak in over night. The results, the shoes are baby skin soft and supple. So I purchased 2 more bottles and used it on all my shoes.

For work shoes or boots, I would think Caddillac will be great for them as well, however, neatsfoot oil also works well for baseball gloves, work boots and shoes that are going to be outdoors in the rain, snow, mud,oil, etc.

I also think on any shoe or boot that is not clean, dirty, muddy, etc., use saddle soap first, let it totally dry, then use a conditioner, and then use polish. If protection is needed to be applied for heavy use boots or shoes or boots or shoes exposed to weather, use the mink oil instead of polish, or neatsfoot oil.


Call Me a Cab
Why not try whatever your western store has for bridles and other horse riding equipment. If it can protect the leather from horse sweat and saliva I would think that is pretty good stuff. I use a UK product available from an equestrian store and have used it for 30 years on my original wartime A2 with no problems.
Just a recommendation.