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Old 01-20-2007, 05:12 PM
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What kind of grease for leather boots? Who sells it?

I used to have nice big tub of grease for rubbing into boot leather to waterproof the boots and help them stay flexible yet strong. It had a consistency like Vaseline petrolatum, or maybe a tad thicker, but not as hard as for example Butcher's furniture wax. I bought it about 30 years ago. But I can't find my grease tub now, and when I look in shoe stores I don't see anything like it. Online I find various things like saddle soap and polish, some of which say they preserve the leather, but I don't see any that claim to waterproof the boots. What is it I'm looking for? I mean, does it have a name I need to know, or what?

Some references say I can use furniture wax - anybody know about this?

The boots I want to treat are about 20 years old and feel like they're in pretty good shape, but the leather doesn't seem to resist water at all - it soaks right in.
Old 01-20-2007, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: High Desert, California
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Are you thinking of Sno-Seal? That stuff works great.

Last edited by Queen Bruin; 01-20-2007 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Stylistic purposes.
Old 01-20-2007, 05:32 PM
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Probably Mink Oil
Old 01-20-2007, 05:36 PM
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Napier
I used to have nice big tub of grease for rubbing into boot leather to waterproof the boots and help them stay flexible yet strong.
If it came in a blue and white tub, looked yellowish, and felt like petroleum jelly, I'd guess it was Sno-Seal. Sno-Seal works very well for leather, although it will darken the leather and be a bit messy/sticky at first. The first pair of "European-style" hiking boots I owned were Red Wing Vasques, back in 1973; I bought them and promptly Sno-Sealed them. In those days, wearing all-leather hiking boots was "in"; but then again, so were bell-bottoms.
Old 01-20-2007, 07:15 PM
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It could also be Dubbin.
Old 01-20-2007, 09:17 PM
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It sounds like you had a tub of Sno-Seal, which is pretty good stuff. You may want to check out I have used their spray-on waterproofer on my all-leather hiking boots and nylon/canvas outerwear and it is incredibly waterproof, much better than the grease-type waterproofers. Plus it's ozone safe. I'd suggest using two coats, allowing the first to dry overnight. REI carries their products, so they should be fairly easy to find. For what it's worth, Backpacker magazine did an article on waterproofers in 1998 and BlueMagic Tectron won. The silicone spray made by Kiwi also did fairly well, but it has a rather strong, persistent smell, which gives me a terrific headache, YMMV. The editors concluded that mink oil weakened leather, making it more vulnerable to tearing, and was not very water-resistant at all. Also, the stuff that is commonly sold as mink oil for waterproofing is not actually made from any part of minks. Sorry I don't have a cite for this, but Backpacker probably has something more recent on their website. Also, do not listen to anybody who says you should put boots in the oven to help the waterproofer 'penetrate the leather', I've seen the results of that, and it's not pretty.
Old 01-22-2007, 11:37 AM
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Yet another possibility is Huberd's Shoe Grease.
Old 01-22-2007, 11:42 AM
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You're thinking of Sno-seal. I use this on some winter boots, but be aware that the leather will be "sealed" and will no longer breathe and will get quite humid inside. It's good for snow & ice but not optimal for general hiking.
Old 01-22-2007, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Bogotá, Colombia
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Originally Posted by gotpasswords
Yet another possibility is Huberd's Shoe Grease.
I second Huberd's Shoe Grease. It softens the leather and makes it waterproof. I grew up in South Dakota and that is all they used around there.
A committee is a thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour. ~Elbert Hubbard

Last edited by robcaro; 01-22-2007 at 12:05 PM.
Old 01-22-2007, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Salt Lake County
Posts: 1,806
I use red wing boot oil, available at any red wing shoe store. It keeps the leather waterproof and supple. Just make sure that the shoes are completely dry before you apply the oil.
Old 01-22-2007, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Columbus, OH
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I used to use something that sounded similar that was called Bear Grease.

Last edited by cstamets; 01-22-2007 at 02:32 PM.
Old 01-22-2007, 05:52 PM
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I had never heard about mink oil weakening the leather. I've been using it on the Timberlands I've had since early high school, and they look great. (The padding has completely worn out in the sole though, so they're lined with Dr. Scholl's products.)

L.L. Bean used to send a little pack of Sno-Seal in the box with their boots. They also offered a Boot Dressing that was fairly neat and easy to apply, but I can't find it on their website.
Old 01-22-2007, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Originally Posted by Jeep's Phoenix
I had never heard about mink oil weakening the leather.
I don't know about mink oil weakening leather; we used and recommended it all the time when I worked in a boot store.

But for a while, some manufacturers were using stitching that did not react well with mink oil, and seemed to be greatly weakened by it. And of course, if the stitching goes out, the boot is useless even if the leather is still good. I don't think that's a problem any more, with better stitching (mostly nylon threads).
Old 01-22-2007, 06:42 PM
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Saddle Soap
Old 01-22-2007, 07:32 PM
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Limmer Boot Grease has always been my choice.
Old 01-23-2007, 12:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 13,557
Originally Posted by Will Repair
Saddle Soap
Saddle soap is for cleaning leather, and (like most soaps) has a drying effect. You can use saddle soap to clean leather boots, but afterwards you really ought to apply an oil product to keep the leather soft & supple.

And on the 2nd question: Who sells it?
A good place to look is in a western store, where they sell boots, saddles, & leather tack. They almost always have the appropriate leather cleaning & conditioning supplies available.
Old 01-24-2007, 08:32 AM
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Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
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Thanks, everybody. I can't figure out what it was I originally had - the SnoSeal can doesn't look familiar. I might have bought it at the L. L. Bean store in Maine, but not sure.

I did, however, find a product similar to that and a few others mentioned. It's Snow-Proof Weatherproofing, made by Fiebing Co. I put some on and the immediate appearance is like what I remember.

Thanks for all the help!!

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