Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mink Oil on Rough and Tough

my Engineers dirty and dried out
Walking onto any construction site with clean Red Wings will make you look like a greenhorn. For me it is a matter of opinion if you want to walk around with a toothbrush in your pocket or with boots looking like you just did some hiking in the mountains. No matter how you want your boots to look, always condition them once in a while. I try to do this every 4-6 weeks. Treat your boots rough but care for them well.

The first thing you need is the right care product for the type of leather. This little guide shows you how to use Red Wing Mink Oil on Copper Rough and Tough leather. This type of leather has a lot of texture in the color, but still has a very smooth surface. It is defined as a fine type of leather, so you should be a bit careful with the choice of care products. Normal leather conditioner will make your boots water proof but can darken them as well. I would prefer to maintain the original color as much as possible.
it looks nice but drying out is bad for the leather
First you have to clean your boots. You can do this with a damp sponge or a cloth and a bit of water. If your boots are really dirty I would recommend the Red Wing Leather Cleaner. Use a little bit only and use the brush gently. The solution will drive dirt and grease out of the leather. If this is available in your closet, a little Jason Markk PSS also works like a charm. Let your boots dry out of the sun and away from any heat sources. I did not clean my boots myself before using the Mink Oil because my boots were not dirty. Also, I cleaned my outsoles with Jason Markk after conditioning.

Step 2 is to apply the Mink Oil. I love the smell of this stuff. Apply it with a dry cloth. My preferred material is an old t-shirt or something like that. I take a little Mink Oil and spread this over the boots with the cloth. I rub it in lightly and pay extra attention to the seams and welt. You will notice that this process will remove extra dirt from the leather. When I covered all areas of the boot I start rubbing the oil in more vigorously. Try to work it in the leather as well as possible. The boots will feel a bit greasy of coaurse and will look a few shades darker than before. Let the boots dry.

after Mink Oil treatment - a bit darker and shiny
Next morning take a clean polish brush and use it on your boots. This will bring a bit of the texture back on the Rough and Tough leather. After doing this I cleaned my outsoles as noted above with the Jason Markk Sneaker Solution. The brush included with the solution works good and the outsoles look like new. That is all. Nothing fancy and it takes only little time. Feel free to ask questions if you want. Just post a comment under this post.

ready to go!


  1. what's the deal with saddle soap? I've used it in a pinch but is it that bad?

  2. how would you clean boots with "soft" leather like a 8139 or a 8113?

  3. @SergDun Saddle soap has a mixed reputation. It depends on the brand, the acidity and ingredients of the product. What brand did you use?

  4. @Jens We will show you on short notice here. Also Mink Oil, but with help of the Suede Cleaner Set.

  5. Have not tried it to be honest, but I would not use it on a Rough and Tough. Maybe it does not damage the leather, but it can change the color and texture.

  6. Thanks you for this post! I have this same pair of boots and have been wondering what products to use to care for them.

    Did the boots darken significantly after oiling? And did the texture appear different after oiling? For me, the color and texture were the reasons I bought the 2971, and want to keep then looking as similar as possible without neglecting them.

    Thanks for any help!

  7. @Joe Mink Oil will not significantly change the texture. It may darken your boots a little bit. Mine did not change color at all. It looks a bit dark when drying but this lightens up.

    Let me know if you need more info!

  8. Hi there,

    I have a pair of tan 3140's but I'm struggling to find specifics for cleaning and oiling them - would you suggest using this method?