Red Wing Boot Oil or Mink Oil? While both products are meant to improve the weather-resistant of the boots, certain elements set them apart. Red Wing Boot Oil, in particular, is made from Mink oil. It’s silicone-free and contains pine pitch. The pine pitch is derived from sticky sap in pine trees, which are known for being pretty tough and weather resistant.
Mink Oil, on the other hand, is an Oil used in medical and cosmetic products. It is obtained by the rendering of mink fat, which has been removed from pelts destined for the fur industry.
Speaking of footwear, mink oil is perfect for making leather boots water-resistant and makes them able to withstand heavy downpours, but for a short duration. When applied correctly, mink oil fills the pores of your leather boots, therefore creating a coat that can repel moisture.
But which one is better for taking care of your Red Wing Boots? Well, that depends on how you wear them and how you want to use them. In this article, we’ll be talking about these two popular products for conditioning leather boots.
Red Wing Boot Oil Vs. Mink Oil
Why Red Wing Boot Oil?
It pays to mention that if you’re worried about darkening or obscuring the leather, then Boot oil is something you might not want to use. This is because it contains mink oil, and it has the pine pitch- and as you probably know, neither of these products will actually waterproof the boots. The boots will not become waterproof. They will just become more water-resistant.
Most people claim that the Monk oil is more about weatherproofing, whereas the boot oil (leather oil) does a better job as a conditioner and weatherproofing. That said, there are a ton of reports out there and many competing companies that combine mink oil and pine pitch to enhance the water-resistant that the monk oil confers on its own.
The pine pitch used in the mink oil usually lasts longer on boots, and it’s mostly used on people who want to make their shoes resistant to extreme temperature and elements. And as you know, pine trees are pretty tough and can last a lot, and the pine pitch becomes a major part of that.
Why You Might Want To Use Mink Oil?
To start with ingredients, Mink Oil, in fact, is made from the fat that’s derived from mink pelts, which are destined for the fur industry. Perhaps the reason why it’s so popular in boots is it’s very high in unsaturated fat for animal fat. Mink oil is nearly 75% unsaturated, yet it’s a lot more stable than other unsaturated fats like plant oil. That means it’s less likely to go rancid; thus, it can last longer. Not to mention it has a longer shelf life.
Moreover, mink oil contains pine pitch in it, which is derived from the sticky sap found in pine trees. Historically, it has been used as a wood preservative. Today, it’s often paired with mink oil because it might be able to extend the period the mink oil can stay active and useful for the boots.
No silicon in mink oil either. And speaking of other ingredients, it might be pretty much hard to figure out because Red Wing, just like most care product manufacturers, they are very cagey about the specific ingredients and exact ratios used in the production process. They just don’t want people stealing their products.
That’s basically how these boots’ oils work. Mink oil has lanolin and mink oil, whereas Natural Boot Oil is more blend of Mink oil and pine pitch.
So, which is better?
Well, most Red Wing Heritage boots are made of oil-tanned leather. They typically have some new bark and some rough out. In case you’re using their smooth finished leathers, such as the Teak Featherstone, then you’re likely to get some different recommendations.
You can generally count on similar products on their leathers like the Rough and Tough and Amber Harness. On their website, the company speaks about them slightly differently. Still, a sheer number of Red Wing employees suggested that you don’t have to use different products for Amber Harness or Rough and Tough or most of the oil-tanned leathers. Besides, you don’t want to make quite as many purchases.
Does Mink Oil Darken Boots?
Mink oil will darken your boots by about two or three shades. This is because mink oil clogs the pores. As such, it kind of produces that slightly more water-resistant and weather-resistant layer to the boots.
Mink oil is generally more recommended if you’re looking to subject your boots to some really tough wear and tear activities. If you’re planning to use them as actual work boots, those in the military and alike, the oil-tanned boots are often recommended to consider mink oil.
Mink oil is for those who care more about the boots’ weather resistance than the luster and patina of the fabric, how it ages and how beautiful it’s going to look. Note it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve ruined your boots unless you’re so much interested in that patina and the changing of colors as leather ages again. In fact, it conditions the boots and protects them against elements.
However, since it tends to darken the leather, you’re not recommended to use mink oil on dress shoes/boots. That’s not its purpose. It’s okay to use casual leather shoes and boots, but there are arguably other alternatives that work better.
Red Wing Boot Oil Vs. Mink Oil: Effects
Coming down to the effects, most people stress more on what’s the difference as far as the effects of the Boot Oil and Mink Oil go. Some have it that the Boot Oil is more suitable for dry climates, while others have it that there’s no practical difference.
Something worth mentioning about pine pitch is that when it’s combined with mink oil, it allows the mink oil to stay on the boot for longer. That’s why it’s considered to be helpful for conditioning as well as making the boots tougher to withstand extreme temperatures.
Boot Oil, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to require as many reapplications. One would simply say that The Mink Oil is more about waterproofing, while the Boot Oil is more about conditioning and waterproofing. But considering that both products are heavily geared toward weather resistance, both will certainly darken the leather.
Red Wing Boot Oil Vs. Mink Oil: Bottom Line
Thus far, what we do know is that Red Wing Boot Oil vs. Red Wing Mink Oil, though they’re slightly different, they’ll both help increase the water-resistant. As such, both will darken the leather. You might want to consider other products if you want to maintain the color of your leather- something like maybe Red Wing Leather conditioner.
If conditioning the leather and maintaining the color is your biggest priority, then you might want to check out the Red Wing’s Leather Cream. This product is purposely formulated by Red Wing to help maintain the original color and patina of the heritage line.
The cream is much more gentle on leather boots and does a great job of conditioning them. Besides, it maintains the color. The product is made from neatsfoot oil, which is derived from the rendered chin and feet bones of cattle. It’s pretty gross, but that’s not an issue as all these products are pretty gross at the end of the day.
One downside, however, is that since the leather Cream is more gentle, it does condition as deeply and doesn’t sink into the fabric quite as much. But if maintaining the color is your priority, the Leather Cream is certainly the best one to get along with. However, you might need to condition your boots more often because the Cream won’t moisturize them as deeply as other products do.
We’d love to emphasize that you’re not damaging your leather by darkening it. It’s just a mere darkening, which in turn makes the boot tougher- and for most of us, that’s the priority. So it’s not a big deal if you darken the leather using Boot Oil or Mink Oil. Both products are fantastic- very good at conditioning and taking care of your leather.
Meanwhile, if you just love wearing your Heritage boots around town, or you really like the original color, then you might be better off with Leather Cream. You’ll just need to condition the boots like once a month. And that’s all.