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Mink oil

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by ikemen, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. ikemen

    ikemen Well-Known Member

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    most of the reputable sites i saw didnt mention anythign about using mink oil when polishing/cleaning their shoes -- i find this rather odd as my regular shoe service store highly recommended using this as thye said it is the best thing you can use to nourish the leather...

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    anyone has thoughts on this??
     
  2. a tailor

    a tailor Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    on soft leather walking shoes thats the only thing i use.
    it works wonders.
     
  3. TheHoff

    TheHoff Senior member

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    I just tried a conditioner from Danier leather that is mostly mink oil; it worked very well on all the leather I tried it on, adding needed moisture and softness -- shoes, messenger bag, wife's heels, etc. It may darken lighter brown leather but I didn't notice any when I used it on a pair of tan bluchers from '86 (the main reason I bought it).
     
  4. nmoraitis

    nmoraitis Senior member

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    I was always under the impression that mink oil was used only for country shoes/boots, to make them water repellent.
     
  5. TheHoff

    TheHoff Senior member

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    I was always under the impression that mink oil was used only for country shoes/boots, to make them water repellent.

    Since I'm in Vancouver, it probably isn't a bad idea then. Danier sells it as a conditioner for all of their leather goods.
     
  6. AskAndyAboutClothes

    AskAndyAboutClothes Senior member

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    Mink oil will water poof and preserve leather, but it can darken lighter shades of leathers.

    Andy
     
  7. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    There is no good reason to ever use mink oil on dress shoes, or even casual shoes for that matter, and lots of reasons not to. I suppose one could use it on hiking boots or the like, but beyond that, no, no, no. First, shoe leather doesn't need this waterproofing. It's already waterproof! Second, mink oil will invariably darken leather and make it harder to achieve a really nice built-up finish via the usual process of shoe cream and shoe polish. There's just no reason whatsoever to ever use it on shoes. To maintain waterproofness in the seams of shoes, any good polish that contains wax (and even some creams) rubbed into the leather and the gap between the uppers and welt (or top of the outsole) will be more than sufficient. For leather nourishment, I sometimes use a good leather conditioner, like the Allen-Edmonds one first before polishing. This will keep the leather supple and preventing cracking. Then I apply cream (I use the Collonil line) to restore any color lost through scuffs, etc., and to further nourish the leather. Either the leather conditioner or the shoe cream (usually in tubes or jars) or both will provide all the moisterizing that your shoes will ever need and will keep them supple and soft. I finish off with a polish--by which I mean a product, usually in a can, not a jar, that contains wax, usually Carnauba wax. This provides excellent protection against the elements. Forget mink oil.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. instep

    instep Senior member

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    First, shoe leather doesn't need this waterproofing. It's already waterproof!
    Really? What about water spots?
    Second, mink oil will invariably darken leather and make it harder to achieve a really nice built-up finish via the usual process of shoe cream and shoe polish.
    The first part is true, though I don't see the relation to the second part, which anyway is not true in my experience.
    There's just no reason whatsoever to ever use it on shoes.
    Quite a leap of logic IMO, given your 'evidence' thus far.
     
  9. meister

    meister Senior member

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    There is no good reason to ever use mink oil on dress shoes, or even casual shoes for that matter, and lots of reasons not to. I suppose one could use it on hiking boots or the like, but beyond that, no, no, no. First, shoe leather doesn't need this waterproofing. It's already waterproof! Second, mink oil will invariably darken leather and make it harder to achieve a really nice built-up finish via the usual process of shoe cream and shoe polish. There's just no reason whatsoever to ever use it on shoes. To maintain waterproofness in the seams of shoes, any good polish that contains wax (and even some creams) rubbed into the leather and the gap between the uppers and welt (or top of the outsole) will be more than sufficient. For leather nourishment, I sometimes use a good leather conditioner, like the Allen-Edmonds one first before polishing. This will keep the leather supple and preventing cracking. Then I apply cream (I use the Collonil line) to restore any color lost through scuffs, etc., and to further nourish the leather. Either the leather conditioner or the shoe cream (usually in tubes or jars) or both will provide all the moisterizing that your shoes will ever need and will keep them supple and soft. I finish off with a polish--by which I mean a product, usually in a can, not a jar, that contains wax, usually Carnauba wax. This provides excellent protection against the elements. Forget mink oil.

    Good advice...everything you need to know ....do not use mink oil...that Collonil stuff is superb IMHO having used it on a pair of vintage shoes that were 50 years old and came up like glass....
     
  10. instep

    instep Senior member

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  11. Ziss

    Ziss Senior member

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    Oil and fat attracts dust. Use it on walking/country boots, not on dress shoes.
     
  12. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Senior member

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    Mink oil interestingly, is not necessarily made from minks.
    It could be, but many manufacturers make 'mink oil' from pork fat or vegetable oils,
    or even synthetic lubricants.
    I agree on the whole, I would never use it on any of my dress shoes.

    There is only one exception for me:
    I have a 'dressy' pair of ROOTS Chealea boots in black that I use only for winter.
    That is the only pair of footwear I use the 'mink oil' on.
    It does an excellent job in protecting my boots from snow, slush and salt,
    although, as someone pointed out, it is a magnet for dust and clothing fibres.
     
  13. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff Senior member

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    do not use mink oil on your dress shoes. period.
     
  14. upnorth

    upnorth Senior member

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    I have used mink oil judiciously on many of my dress shoes for more than 6 years. I later switched, in the last 3 years, to Saphir Renovateur which also contains mink oil and have not seen any of the negative effects. They still take up polish well, buffs to a nice shine and have not turn rancid, dried out or rot.

    I am actually really surprised to hear so many voices of dissent. I am finishing my last bottle but may now contemplate a switch.
     
  15. FidelCashflow

    FidelCashflow Senior member

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    any advice on getting it out if you make the mistake of putting it on dress shoes?
     
  16. Four Aces

    Four Aces Member

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    Agreed. Don't use mink oil on dress shoes.
     
  17. jpb

    jpb Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    JM Weston's polishes contain mink oil. I assume they know what they're doing and I have used them for years without any problem.
     
  18. Wes Bourne

    Wes Bourne Senior member

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    I've used mink oil in the past to waterproof Sorel winter boots. I've found that it tends to oversoften the leather and actually breaks it down over time. I've since swiched over to Sno Seal and now even apply a light coat to new dress shoes to condition them and give them a bit of waterproofing before polishing. It's made from beeswax and contains no animal fats at all. Highly recommended. A jar will last forever.
     
  19. Ziss

    Ziss Senior member

    Messages:
    161
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    Apr 6, 2009
    any advice on getting it out if you make the mistake of putting it on dress shoes?

    A glycerine based leather soap will do nicely.

    I have used mink oil judiciously on many of my dress shoes for more than 6 years. I later switched, in the last 3 years, to Saphir Renovateur which also contains mink oil and have not seen any of the negative effects. They still take up polish well, buffs to a nice shine and have not turn rancid, dried out or rot.

    It's not that oil is bad for the shoes in any way. It nourishes the leather very well, but it does give the shoes a sticky surface that tends to attract dust and makes them look dull quickly, which isn't what you want on dress shoes. A water based shoe cream or wax based polish will nourish the leather as well, but give a surface that looks good longer.
     
  20. NukeMeSlowly

    NukeMeSlowly Senior member

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    DC metro
    I've used mink oil in the past to waterproof Sorel winter boots. I've found that it tends to oversoften the leather and actually breaks it down over time. I've since swiched over to Sno Seal and now even apply a light coat to new dress shoes to condition them and give them a bit of waterproofing before polishing. It's made from beeswax and contains no animal fats at all. Highly recommended. A jar will last forever.

    +1 I swear by sno-seal after a recent winter trip to Switzerland. My Peal chukkas emerged completely unscathed after walking through a lot of snow, slush, and rain. [​IMG]
     

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