Sno Seal vs Obenhauf’s: All You Need to Know

Do your leather boots or shoes look like they have seen better days? Are they in need of a treatment or preservative to revive them? And it’s not just old boots, maybe you’ve invested in new footwear and want to know what to use to keep them looking good.

We will look at two of the firm favorites Sno Seal vs Obenhauf’s, so you can decide which might be best for your footwear.

Here is a quick overview of what we will cover in this article.

  • What is Sno Seal?
  • What is Obenhauf’s?
  • How do Sno Seal and Obenhauf’s differ?
  • What people ask about Sno Seal and Obenhauf’s.
  • Is one product better than the other?


The Lowdown on Sno Seal

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Brought to us by the Atsko company, this waterproofing treatment for leather has been on the market for a while. It was created by Omer Daiber back in the 1930s to protect his footwear when hiking, skiing, and mountaineering. The product promises to stop water from getting into your boots while still allowing the leather, and your feet, to breathe.

Beeswax forms the main ingredient of this product, with an evaporating solvent added to make it easier to apply. It creates a barrier to prevent water from penetrating the leather and saturating it. It might also prevent staining from watermarks, salt, and perspiration.

The natural formula also provides a level of conditioning for the leather. This can help prevent it from drying out and cracking.

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Some leather treatments can soften your boots to the extent that they no longer support your feet as they should. This is not the case with Sno Seal—it shouldn’t affect the integrity of the leather. Your boots will hold their shape keeping your feet cradled.

Once opened, if not sealed properly, the product can dry out. Keeping this in mind, if you don’t plan on using it often, the smaller sizes could be more convenient.

While this seems to be a solid product that delivers what it promises, there are some negatives. Like many other boot treatments, it can darken the shade of your footwear. It’s also not suggested for more delicate leather like nubuck and suede.

You can find out more about treating non-full grain leather in our article, Nubuck vs Suede.


All About Obenauf’s


Marv Obenauf, created this heavy-duty leather preservative as a conditioner and waterproofer for boots. Fighting wildland fires in Idaho was tough on his footwear, and his boots would be ruined long before they wore out. His product quickly became a favorite of loggers, hunters, ranchers, boot companies, and bikers.

Obenhauf’s LP is made from beeswax and propolis, with natural oils suspended in them. Propolis is also known as bee glue as it holds their hives together. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which can help prevent mold and mildew growing on your footwear.

We are advised that the beeswax provides waterproofing, and the natural oils gradually seep out of the formula over time, conditioning your footwear. This industrial formula is odorless after application and could:

  • Help repel acids, salt, chemicals, water, and petroleum.
  • Revive and restore sun-faded, dry, cracked leather.
  • Prevent dry rot and offer some resistance against bacteria, mildew, and mold.
  • Help stop stitching breaking, scuffs forming, and leather cracking.

In addition to the Heavy Duty LP, Obenhauf’s also offer a leather oil based on the same successful formula. It comes in a 16-ounce bottle with an applicator included.



This is intended for use on any type of full-grain or smooth leather, including dress shoes and boots, handbags, tack and saddles, and leather furniture. It promises to deliver the same restorative properties and water resistance. It can also soften new leather boots, making them supple and reducing their “breaking in” time.

Just be aware, both of these products can darken the color of leather quite considerably. They might not be the best choice if you love the current shade. Some also find the oil has a strong smell when being applied, which can be off-putting.

This product is not suitable for suede or nubuck leather.



Sno Seal vs Obenhauf’s: What’s the difference?

Sno Seal is mainly beeswax, whereas Obenauf’s LP is beeswax, with added natural oils and propolis.

Essentially, both these products perform in the same way, but Obenhauf’s might offer a little more conditioning treatment for your boots.

Both of these products are applied in the same way, with fingertips, massaged into warm leather, and allowed to dry. This video shows you how to apply Sno Seal and


And this one Obenhauf’s LP

When it comes to Obenhauf’s Leather Oil, there are a few more differences. While both contain beeswax, the formula of Obenhauf’s Oil is in a more liquid form. It should provide a level of waterproofing, but extra conditioning and preservative properties. This formula is also more versatile in that it can be applied to many different leather items.

You can find out more about boot oils and their application in our article on the best oil for leather boots.



Questions People Ask

What is Sno Seal Made of?

We’ve already answered this question for you. It’s primarily beeswax and a solvent which evaporates after application. There are other ingredients, but despite our best efforts, we can’t work out what these are.


Does Obenhauf’s Darken Leather?

This depends on which product you are using. It seems that the Heavy Duty LP is more or less guaranteed to darken the shade of your footwear. When it comes to the Leather Oil, the color may darken initially, but once dried completely, it might return to its original hue.

Your leather goods will undoubtedly have been an investment, so patch test the product first on an area that can’t be seen. That way, you can check if you like the result without ruining them.

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How Often Should I Apply Sno Seal or Obenhauf’s?

Several factors can affect how often you need to waterproof or condition your leather boots. These include things like the thickness of the leather, the age of the boots, and what you subject them to.

Your eyes are your best judge here. Leather is an animal hide, and just like our own skin, it can dry out. If you think the leather looks dry, then condition or waterproof it.

For some, this might be a monthly task, especially if you are constantly in very wet or very dry conditions. For others, every six months might suffice.



Which is Better—Sno Seal or Obenhauf’s?

Now you have the complete lowdown on Sno Seal vs Obenhauf’s, you can decide which would be best for you.

It seems that both perform as well as each other when it comes to waterproofing. Obenhauf’s might have a slight edge with the additional oils for conditioning the leather. However, if it’s conditioning and preserving your precious leather goods you’re after, the Obenhauf’s Leather Oil should fit the bill.

Caring for your leather boots and shoes can keep them looking as good as new, even years after you first took them out of the box. So, whichever product you choose is better than using nothing.

We hope you enjoyed our insights and found it useful. Do you have a preference? Leave us a comment and let us know, and please share so others can benefit as well.


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