Red Wing Boot Oil vs Mink Oil

Do you own a pair of leather boots that need some TLC and are trying to compare Red Wing Boot Oil vs Mink Oil?

These two leather oils are widely used for protecting and conditioning leather boots. But, how do they compare? Which one is better for your boots?

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between Red Wing Boot Oil and Red Wing Mink Oil and compare their effectiveness, benefits, and application methods.

Red Wing Boot Oil vs Mink Oil

Red Wing Boot Oil vs Mink Oil: Which is better?

Red Wing Boot Oil and Mink Oil are effective for protecting and conditioning leather boots. But they have some significant differences. The boot oil is better for boots that need a bit more shine while the mink oil is better for those looking for a more natural look.

Red Wing Boot oil and Red Wing Mink oil Differences 

Red Wing boot oil and Red Wing mink oil are leather oils made by the same company.

Although they share some similarities, there are some significant differences between them, especially concerning their ingredients and applications.

Red Wing boot oil ingredients and applications

Red Wing boot oil contains a blend of natural ingredients which include pine pitch and mink oil. This combination makes the boot oil an effective product for protecting and conditioning leather boots.

  • Pine Pitch

Pine pitch is a natural resin that is obtained from the bark of pine trees. It is known for its waterproofing properties and helps to protect the leather from the elements.

This ingredient is particularly useful for those who use their boots in wet conditions, as it helps to prevent water damage and keep the leather looking good.

  • Mink Oil

This is also a natural oil that is extracted from the fat of minks and it is known for its ability to condition and moisturize the leather.

It penetrates deep into the leather to keep it soft and supple, which helps to prevent cracking and drying out of the leather.

Red wing mink oil ingredients

Red Wing mink oil is primarily made up of mink oil, lanolin,  and silicone.

  • Mink oil

This is the key ingredient in this product and is known for its ability to condition and moisturize the leather.

It is rich in essential fatty acids and is easily absorbed into the leather, providing long-lasting conditioning and protection.

Its ability to penetrate deep into the leather pores helps to keep it soft. This makes the product very effective in preventing cracking and drying out of the leather, which can occur due to exposure to the elements.

  • Lanolin

Lanolin is a natural wax that has the ability to soften and protect leather, making it a popular ingredient in leather care products.

Its presence in Red Wing mink oil helps to keep leather supple and prevents it from becoming stiff and brittle over time. It also provides a natural shine to the leather.

  • Silicone

This is also a common ingredient in leather care products as it provides a protective barrier against water and other elements. It forms a waterproof seal on the surface of the leather preventing water from penetrating the surface and causing damage.

Silicone also helps to protect the leather from UV damage and other environmental factors.

Comparison of Red Wing Boot Oil and Mink Oil

1. Appearance

Both Red Wing boot oil and Red Wing mink oil have the potential to darken leather to some extent. But in my experience, the mink oil may darken leather more than the boot oil.

I’ve used both oils on different types of leather boots, and I’ve noticed that when I use mink oil, the leather tends to darken more than when I use boot oil.

I believe this is because mink oil has a naturally dark color and when it is applied to leather, it tends to darken the leather’s color. This can be a good thing if you want to give your boots a more rugged, vintage look, but it may not be desirable if you prefer the original color of your boots.

Red Wing boot oil is typically lighter in color, and I’ve found that it doesn’t darken leather as much as mink oil.

However, I noted that the extent of darkening will depend on the leather’s type and color and the amount of oil applied.

If you’re unsure about how much your leather will darken with either oil, I recommend testing the oil on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather before applying it to the entire boot. This will give you an idea of the darkening effect and allow you to adjust the amount of oil accordingly.

  • Durability of leather

In my experience, both Red Wing mink oil and Red Wing boot oil can help to make leather boots more durable. But, they may have different effects on the leather over time.

When I first got my Red Wing boots, I started using Red Wing mink oil to condition the leather. I found that it worked really well to keep the leather soft and supple, which helped to prevent cracking and other signs of wear and tear.

Plus, the lanolin in the oil provided a protective barrier against moisture, which was a bonus because I often wore my boots in wet conditions.

However, after a few months of using mink oil, I started to notice that my boots were getting dirty and scuffed more easily.

I realized that while the oil was great for conditioning the leather, it didn’t provide much protection against the elements. So, I decided to try Red Wing boot oil.

I found that the pine pitch in the oil had great waterproofing properties and helped to protect my boots from mud and other substances. Plus, I liked the fact that the oil was lighter in color and didn’t darken the leather as much as mink oil.

After using Red Wing boot oil for a while, I noticed that my boots looked cleaner and were holding up better in wet conditions.

However, I also noticed that my leather boots turned a little dark and didn’t feel quite as soft and supple as they did when I was using mink oil. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was something to keep in mind.

  • Water resistance ability 

When it comes to water resistance ability, I think that Red Wing boot oil is a better choice if you’re looking for maximum water resistance.

After switching from mink oil to boot oil as I stated earlier, I noticed a significant improvement in my boots’ ability to resist water. I could step in puddles or walk through mud, and my boots would stay dry.

I attributed this to the pine pitch in the boot oil that is widely known for creating a barrier on the leather that keeps water out even in the wettest conditions.

This however does not mean that mink oil is not water-resistant. It also does a good job of repelling water and keeping your feet dry just not as much as the boot oil does.

That said, I did notice that boot oil made my boots slightly stiffer and less supple than the mink oil. I think this is because boot oil contains more waterproofing agents, which can sometimes make the leather feel a bit harder.

  • Softening and conditioning properties

If you’re looking for an oil that will help to keep your leather soft and supple, I would recommend Red Wing Mink oil over the boot oil.

When I first started using mink oil on my boots, I noticed an immediate improvement in the texture of the leather. It became much softer and more pliable, which made the boots more comfortable to wear.

Red Wing boot oil also has some conditioning properties though it is primarily designed to protect against moisture.

So it is a bit heavier and thicker than mink oil and it takes longer to fully absorb into the leather. Once absorbed, it provides excellent conditioning properties that help to keep the leather moisturized and prevent cracking.

  • Scent

Both oils have a strong scent that can linger on your boots for a while after application. So if you’re sensitive to smells, you might want to choose an oil with a milder scent or apply the oil in a well-ventilated area.

I liked the smell of Red wing boot oil more than mink oil as its scent is more “piney” or “woody.” This is due to the presence of pine pitch in the oil, which gives it a distinctive aroma.

Mink oil on the other hand had a slightly musky odor that is similar to the scent of animal fat. I understand some people find the smell pleasant but I found it off-putting.

That said, whichever you choose will depend more on your personal preference.

  • Price

The prices of Red Wing boot oil and Red Wing mink oil can vary depending on the retailer and location.

I’ve seen Red Wing boot oil priced higher than Red Wing mink oil in some stores, while in other stores, the opposite is true. It’s always a good idea to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase.

While they both may be slightly more expensive than some other oils or conditioners, they are well worth the investment when it comes to protecting and maintaining your leather goods.

I’ve also found that a little bit of oil goes a long way, so a single bottle of either Red Wing boot oil or Red Wing mink oil can last for many applications. This makes the price of the oil even more reasonable, as you won’t need to purchase a new bottle as frequently.

When to use Red Wing Boot Oil

Red Wing boot oil is used to protect and moisturize leather goods, such as boots, shoes, bags, and jackets. I personally use it on my Red Wing boots to keep them looking their best and to extend their lifespan.

To use the boot oil, I simply remove the cap from the bottle and apply a thin layer of the oil to my boots using a brush or cloth.

I focus on any areas of the boots that are particularly dry or scuffed, such as the toe or heel.

After applying the oil, I let it absorb into the leather for a few minutes before wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.

I find that using Red Wing boot oil on my boots not only helps protect them from water and other elements but also gives them a rich, deep color that enhances their appearance.

It also helps to prevent cracking and drying, which can be a common issue with leather goods

When to use Red Wing Mink Oil

Red Wing Mink Oil is primarily used to moisturize and soften leather, making it more supple and flexible. I typically use Red Wing mink oil on my leather boots and shoes, as well as on my leather jackets and bags.

It’s especially useful for restoring the flexibility and softness of leather that has become stiff or dry over time.

To apply the mink oil, I place a thin layer of it on my leather goods using a cloth or brush. I make sure to cover all areas of the leather paying particular attention to any areas that are dry or cracking.

After applying the oil, I let it absorb into the leather for several minutes before wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.

One of the great things about Red Wing mink oil is that it not only conditions and softens the leather but also helps to repel water and other liquids.


What can I substitute boot oil with?

While Red Wing Boot oil is a popular choice for conditioning and protecting leather goods, you can try other effective alternatives like neatsfoot oil, Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP, and coconut oil.

Can I use Red Wing Oil and Mink oil on all types of leather boots?

Red Wing Oil and Mink oil are most effective on boots made from full-grain or oil-tanned leather, but they can also be used on other types of leather with good results. However, it’s always best to test the oil first on a hidden area of your boots before applying it more broadly. This is especially important if you have exotic leather boots or boots with unique finishes or textures.

How often to apply Red wing boot oil and mink oil to my boots

It’s a good idea to apply oil to your boots every few months, or as needed. If you frequently wear your boots in harsh or wet conditions, you may need to apply oil more often to keep the leather supple and protected.

What’s the difference between Red Wing Naturseal vs mink oil

Naturseal is another product made by Red Wing that is designed to be used as a protective barrier on Red Wing leather boots to protect them from water and other contaminants. It differs from Mink Oil in that it is water-based, easier to apply, and less likely to darken the leather while mink oil is oil-based and more likely to darken the leather.


Red Wing boot oil and mink oil are great options for maintaining the quality of your leather boots. While boot oil offers better water resistance, durability, and a unique scent, mink oil is better for softening and conditioning leather.

The choice between the two ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the needs of your boots.

It’s important to note that both oils can darken the leather, so you should test them on a less visible part of your boots first.

Additionally, no matter which product you choose, proper application and regular maintenance will ensure your boots stay in excellent condition for years to come.

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