Sno Seal vs Mink Oil: Is there a Difference?

Do you have new leather boots that you want to waterproof to protect them? Maybe you have a pair of old faithfuls that need some tender loving care. The big question is, what product should you use?—let’s look at Sno Seal vs Mink Oils so you can decide.

Both products have been around for a long time, but is there a difference between them?

Here are some of the points we will cover in this review:

  • What is Sno Seal?
  • What are Mink Oils?
  • Are Sno Seal and Mink Oils different?
  • Which is better for your leather boots?
  • Sno Seals vs Mink Oils: which is better.


What is Sno Seal?

Sno Seal was the brainchild of an outdoor enthusiast, Omer Daiber. Looking for a solution to keep his leather boots waterproofed, he developed this product, which is primarily made from beeswax. The Atsko company manufactures Sno Seal and has done so since the 1930s.

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Sno Seal is a tried and tested favorite with many people for waterproofing leather goods. It helps protect them from the elements and inclement weather without softening the leather. This means your boots will hold their shape and won’t absorb water, which in turn means supported dry feet.

Once applied, Sno Seal forms a barrier on the outside of your boots, which protects them from dirt and stains. An all-natural product, it still allows the leather to breathe.

You can buy Sno Seal in a few different weights, 8 ounces, one quart, and 4 ounces. The formula is non-greasy and odorless once dry. You can find out more about how to apply Sno Seal in our complete Sno Seal Review .

Check out this video on the application of Sno Seal.


Sno Seal may change the color of your leather boots by darkening them, so be sure to do a patch test first. It also may not be suitable for suede or nubuck leather as it affects the nap, which gives them their soft feel.


What are Mink Oils?

Mink Oils are exactly what they say they are—oils produced from the subcutaneous fat layer of minks. It’s a by-product of mink farming, which is used to preserve and condition leather.



These oils naturally moisturize and condition leather, and provide a level of waterproofing at the same time. There are many brands available on the market from reputable firms like Sof Sole, Fiebings, and Red Wing.

You can find out more about the different brands in our review article of  boot oils. This guide will also tell you how to apply boot oils for the best results.

Mink Oils often include other ingredients, such as lanolin, silicon, and vitamin E, to boost their performance. Along with the oils, they soak into the leather, softening it and helping preserve its suppleness. These added ingredients also make the product easier to apply.

Boots can face some harsh conditions, being subjected to the effects of rain, snow, and sun. This can take its toll and cause them to crack and dry, or even become a breeding ground for mildew. Mink Oils will penetrate the leather and create a water-repelling barrier protecting them from the elements.

As with anything, it’s not all good news. These products could soften your boots to the extent that they no longer support your feet as they should. A change in color is also a possibility, darkening the original shade of the leather.

Mink Oils are not suitable for use on suede and nubuck leather.


Are Sno Seal and Mink Oils Different?

Sno Seal, as we mentioned, is essentially beeswax, with some ingredients added that we couldn’t quite ascertain. One of these is a solvent that makes the application more manageable and helps prevent the product from hardening in the jar.

If waterproofing is your priority, then this product should deliver in spades. It forms a barrier on your boots that water can’t penetrate, and also helps on the seams and welts—areas where water often gets in.

Sno Seal vs Mink Oil shoes

The application involves heating your boots first, then applying the wax until all areas are covered. You then wipe off any excess and leave them to dry before wearing. If you wear your boots often, then you might need to reapply Sno Seal several times a year.

As we have already established, Mink Oils are natural products with some additives. Silicon will help repel water, but might not perform as well as beeswax when it comes to keeping your feet dry.

What Mink Oils will do is condition and revive your leather boots. If they begin to look tired and dried out, then it will replenish the moisture. After all, leather is a skin and needs nourishment to keep looking good.


Dispelling Some of the Myths

Is Sno Seal Bad for Leather?

Sno Seal is an oil-free product that forms a barrier on the outside of your boots to prevent water from seeping in. It will lubricate the leather slightly but doesn’t act as a leather conditioner. It still allows the leather to breathe, making it a good option.

One of the added benefits of using this product is that it won’t affect the integrity of the leather—meaning your boots will hold their shape and support your feet.


Is Mink Oil a Good Waterproofer?

Yes, Mink oil performs well as a waterproofing agent. It also conditions leather, keeping it moist and supple. It might not work well if you spend extended periods in wet conditions.

This video from The Boot Guy extols some of the virtues of Mink Oils.


Will Mink Oil and Sno Seal Change the Color of My Boots?

Both products can darken the leather, and over time this could change the color of your boots. If this is a concern, then carry out a test patch first on an inconspicuous area—such as inside the collar or under the tongue of the boots.


Is It Hard Work Waterproofing Boots All the Time?

Waterproofing and conditioning boots is imperative to keep them looking good and to prolong their use. It shouldn’t take you too long to do this, and will be time well spent further down the line.

Depending on what you use your boots for you might only need to do it every six months or so. However, if you really put them through their paces in wet conditions constantly, it might need doing on a monthly basis.

You can read more about why and how to waterproof your leather boots in this guide.


Sno Seal vs. Mink Oils: Which is Better?

As far as Sno Seal vs Mink Oils is concerned, it really depends on how you use your boots and what you’re looking for. Is it waterproofing or conditioning?

If your main aim is to stop your leather boots absorbing water and keeping your feet dry, then Sno Seal is the way to go. If it’s rejuvenating an old dried, cracked pair of boots, then turn to Mink Oils.

Both products can be used on full grain and smooth leather, making either option suitable for other leather goods as well, like handbags, gloves, jackets, etc.

Whatever your preference, the important thing here is to know that if you look after your boots, then they will look after your feet. Treating them to waterproofing or conditioning on a regular basis will keep them looking fresh and extend their lifespan.

We hope you found our guide useful and can now choose the product that best suits your needs. Please leave us a comment with your experiences, and don’t forget to share.

We have created an opportunity to link the Sno Seal Reviews article here, once it has been published.


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