Mink oils are pretty much long-established kinda things for everyone who owns a couple of cowboy boots.
Although common sense tells us that the unsaturated fats from mink oils have the ability to deeply moisten and help resist leather cracking for a relatively long time, the majority of us inherited the idea and use of this product for cowboy boots from our grandfathers or fathers, just like me.
Mink oils can go pretty a long way with the healthiness of real leather cowboy boots compared to any other industrial leather conditioner.
My grandfather even made mink oils from mink belly skin to moisturize his Lucchese boots himself around the 18th century.
He told me it was a long and difficult process to extract enough grease for 1-year use.
But he also admits that the mink oils being marketed today offer even better effects than real leather cowboy boots. That’s how technology comes to play.
Overall, mink oils are always the top care and maintenance products for real leather cowboy boots. Tecovas cowboy boots are no exception.
However, Tecovas boots are not all about Bovine leather such as cow, bull or cattle skin in general.
There’s an exquisite collection of exotic Tecovas cowboy boots that are worth every penny and you probably wonder if mink oils could be used for these treasures.
I have a pair of The Wyatt and from my experience’s perspective, I am gonna tell you everything you need to know about “Can you use mink oil on Tecovas boots?”
Let’s dive in!
Can you use mink oil on Tecovas boots?
Throughout their history, mink oils have been hugely popular but kind of controversial at the same time for conditioning real leather cowboy boots.
Mink oils in the past were rendered from animals named minks – an animal related to water otters and skunks. And because of the time they spend in the water, this makes them fat and their skin contains a lot of fat.
The mink oils are traditionally rendered from pelts. What’s really special about minks fat is that it’s highly unsaturated by 75% – sounds like the oil content of a certain tree (I am kidding).
I really don’t understand how our ancestors were able to measure this number and use mink oils instead of other animal fats like beef, lamb or goat fat which were pretty much available at that moment.
You may not know it, but animal fats with a high saturation index are likely to rot real leather.
That’s why mink oils with a pretty ideal unsaturated index and their ability to work more stably and consistently on leather than vegetable oils (high unsaturated index as well), making themselves a pretty well-recognized leather conditioner.
Even if you can put mink oils on your boots and let them sit for a couple of years, it’s still going to be fine and there’s almost no rottenness so far.
Mink oils work well to re-saturate the surface and texture of real leather even when the material is exposed to frequent fire and heat.
They moisturize real leather and this prevents real leather cowboy boots from losing water, reducing the risk of cracking and wrinkling.
What about Tecovas boots?
Mink oils sure do a good aid to Bovine Tecovas cowboy boots and help to prolong the oil longevity of the material pretty well.
The good news is crocodile skin/caiman/alligators Tecovas boots can use mink oils but with an adequate amount of it since this hide is pretty tough and rugged like cowhide.
Interestingly, the crocodile skin structure has added calcium deposit, making them even stiffer than Bovine leather. That’s why it’s fine to use mink oils on Tecovas crocodile leather boots.
However, you won’t be so lucky if you use mink oils for lizard skin and ostrich leather Tecovas boots.
These materials are very sensitive to oil-based conditioning, which causes them to discolor and lose their original beauty.
You should almost always avoid using oil-based liquids on these materials if you don’t want them to spoil quickly. So it’s a No to use mink oils on ostrich skin, lizard skin Tecovas boots.
What mink oil is used on Tecovas boots?
Literally, all kinds of mink oils can be used on either Bovine Tecovas boots or alligator/caiman Tecovas cowboy boots.
However, since there’s a wide range of choices of mink oils all over the market now, you may have a hard time deciding which mink oils are better for your Tecovas boots.
It is a fact that the majority of commercial mink oil products on the market today contain less than 15% of real mink oils in their composition.
This is also understandable given the high price of real mink oils and the stiff competition between brands that has resulted in the introduction of various mink oil products at competitive prices.
Silicon-contained mink oils
These are mink oil conditioners that not only moisturize and hydrate real leather, but also provide good water resistance thanks to the silicon component in the solution.
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As we all know, mink oils as natural oils are inherently water resistant. However, we should not expect too much of this effect because this water-resistant layer will not last long during use. They will quickly be washed away.
Therefore, Bovine or calfskin, goatskin Tecovas boots can all use this kind of mink oil products to moisturize.
Keep in mind that these products may coat a patchy layer of plastic on the surface of the boots and this will limit the breathability of the porous leather.
Although Tecovas alligator leather boots have even better stiffness and ruggedness than Bovine leather in general, silicon-based chemicals are still capable of damaging expensive crocodile leather. So it’s not a good product of exotic Tecovas boots in general.
Liquid mink oils
These are slightly liquid conditioners containing pine pitch, vaseline, lanolin or something else and mink oils (concentrations as low as 15%).
However, due to their liquid and dilute structure, liquid mink oils are able to penetrate immediately and deeply below the surface of the real leather texture. It won’t take long for your boots to dry completely.
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However, beware that some products say mink oils on the package but actually don’t have real mink oils. They use some form of lab-made synthetic oil which they call mink oils instead. As a result, you will almost never find pure mink oils on the market.
So, it’s wise to go with reputable brands so you don’t get scammed when it comes to buying mink oil conditioners for your Tecovas boots.
The moisturization of crocodile leather Tecovas boots can be optimized with this lightweight mink oil product line for maintenance purposes, in case the boots are barely worn.
Cream/wax mink oils
For those who often wear Tecovas boots and work in heavy-abused environments such as melted metal, hot steam or chemicals all over the ground, you may need mink oils with a denser texture like cream or wax.
This layer of nutrients will not immediately penetrate under the material structure, but they will last longer while creating a thick protective film to prevent water drainage.
This noticeably creates better results especially when Bovine leather, goat leather or calfskin come into direct contact with high temperatures all day long.
Thicker mink oils can take longer to dry than lightweight liquid mink oils and it probably may take several days for the process to complete.
Keep in mind that mink oils won’t be used on suede/nubuck/split Tecovas boots if you don’t want to see them rotten.
Why should you use mink oils on Tecovas boots?
Well, since our grandpa has been using mink oils for real leather cowboy boots for decades, there must be good reasons for that. Here’s how.
Moisturization and restoration
As noted above, mink oils are derived from fats from aquatic animals called minks but their fats are 75% unsaturated. However, the fat structure of the animal is still perfectly compatible with animal skin materials like the real leather cowboy boots that we are wearing.
Fat molecules penetrate deep into the pores of Bovine leather or goatskin, being absorbed and stored in the deeper skin texture. This helps to replenish the fat loss of real leather cowboy boots during exposure to water or heat.
You will notice that your Tecovas boots become immune to cracking and wrinkling for quite some time after mink oils have been applied.
Guess you won’t want to see your smooth and elegant calfskin The Jackson getting such disturbed and insightful marks on the toe or heel areas.
Mink oils are also used to restore old and cracked real leather. This is because the material is supplied with the right amount of moisture and fat from mink oils, thereby becoming more elastic, plump and soft.
Protection over high heat
As you probably know, high temperatures such as melted metal or hot steam have the ability to drain the water inside the real leather in a very short time. The higher the temperature, the faster your boots will dry out.
Therefore, mink oils with their oil-based structure will both moisturize downwards and at the same time, the fat in them also creates a protective film on the surface of the material.
Imagine this is like the peptide film on our skin. It acts as a barrier to reduce water loss through the pores of the skin.
Since dead skin like real leather cowboy boots is unable to produce peptide film itself, coating a layer of mink oils on the boots works the same way, resulting in better protection on the real leather over high heat.
Give a proper glossiness
Pure mink oils don’t give pretty much glossiness to the surface once applied.
You may actually just see a layer of luster looking exactly like the plumpness of the surface (due to hydration) instead of the crazy shine with leather polish. But it looks pretty healthy.
Today, some leather polish contains mink oils and this means that this duo doubles the shine of the leather once applied.
Yes, all oils regardless of plant-sourced or animal-derived are water resistant to some extent. This is because oils are not water soluble and they stick to surfaces longer.
However, the natural water resistance of mink oils is actually not so much, according to my grandfather’s experience of using 100% pure mink oils for my Tecovas boots.
If you are very demanding in this regard, you can go with mink oils products that contain either silicon-based or beeswax or something else that acts as the active ingredients. This greatly increases water resistance.
Although mink oils are naturally moderately resistant to water from the outside, having them penetrate deep into the leather structure and stay there prevents water from absorbing the oils of real leather.
This means that mink oils can resist water to real leather from the outside and partly below the texture of the material.
Boosting break-in process
Thanks to the moisture in real leather, they make the material softer, more elastic and supple. This allows your painful break to be shortened significantly.
I don’t have too many pain problems when I break in my Tecovas boots, usually within 1-2 days. That’s why I appreciate how well the brand has treated their genuine leather before stitching the boots.
You can wear Tecovas boots right away.
However, you will probably feel some stiffness around the ankles and lower calves when wearing something like The Dean boots, that’s when mink oils come into play.
Covering insightful marks
Interestingly, you can cover the insight marks such as watermarks, stains after being removed, or moldy and mildew stains after they have been cleaned.
This is because mink oils have the ability to darken the leather, helping to prevent the presence of these stains in your sight. The marks in fact still exist on the surface of the material.
But the shine and darkness created by mink oils can distract your attention from these flaws.
However, this does not mean that mink oils are capable of covering all kinds of stains so far. Large-scaled stains with patchy patterns will not be able to be covered effectively.
Why shouldn’t you use mink oils on Tecovas boots?
There is also a lot of controversy surrounding whether or not mink oils are good for real leather cowboy boots since a lot of my friends have had very bad experiences when coating some layer of mink oils on their Tecovas boots.
Here is what you may unfortunately experience.
Not good for some exotic leather
As mentioned above, mink oils with a high-concentrated oil in their structure are actually not good for some exotic thin-textured leathers such as snakeskin, python skin, ostrich skin or saltwater fish skin in general.
Some people find out that mink oils can mask the original beautiful shine of a lizard or snakeskin while this oil can also darken or discolor ostrich skin.
Therefore, without specific instructions from an expert, you should not apply any mink oils to your exquisite exotic leather.
In the worst scenario, you could immediately destroy the leather texture.
Not long-lasting waterproofness
Yes, mink oils are not actually pretty much water resistant by themselves. This may disappoint some people (like I did experience before) for having a strong belief that mink oils definitely resist water pretty well.
In some cases, mink oils can prevent water from seeping into your leather boots when stepping over small puddles or wet lawns.
If you use good water-resistant mink oils, the waterproof effectiveness can last longer with better effects.
Darken the leather
Immediately after applying mink oils to the surface of Tecovas boots, you will notice a darkening of the leather, especially when applying on tan or bright-colored boots. This can sometimes be misleading to some people.
In fact, mink oils make real leather darker because they moisturize the surface of the material. Their water somewhat darkens the leather instantly.
However, the color of real leather may lighten slightly as the leather is dried up after applying the mink oils but obviously the boots are darkened a little bit.
If this is not what you want, you should not put mink oils on light-colored Tecovas boots.
Rot the stitches
Unfortunately, mink oils rotted the stitches of my friend’s cowboy boots, which he told me that he hasn’t experienced before with other conditioners but mink oils.
I don’t really know the reason behind this issue whether it’s because of mink oils themselves or the quality of the mink oil products used by my friend. But pure mink oils are more likely to make it happen since they are able to oxidize fabrics such as stitches.
The good news is this also means that mink oils products today at low concentrations may not rot the stitches very badly.
The risk of hardening real leather
You may or may not know it, but applying way too much mink oils to Bovine Tecovas cowboy boots at once can cause oil flooding in the structure of the material.
Extra excessive oil from the mink oils can be deposited on the surface of the material and oxidized in the air. This will likely be the cause of hardening leather. And this of course is never good for your Tecovas boots.
It can make the leather darker, less supple and less durable significantly.
This answers why my grandfather thinks the mink oils on the market today are probably better than his DIY mink oils.
Manufacturers may have done some meaningful R&D to provide just the right amount of mink oils in their formulations. This prevents you from stuffing too many mink oils into your real leather boots.
How often should you apply mink oil to Tecovas boots?
It’s hard to tell how often you should coat your Tecovas boots with mink oils. There are many factors that influence your decision.
However, based on my personal experience, I think you should re-apply your real leather cowboy boots when you notice the following:
- If you touch the surface of real leather and feel it is very dry. If there are a lot of wrinkles or cracks on the surface of the material, you should definitely apply mink oils immediately.
- If your day job involves working around hot surfaces continuously all day long, you should send off some layer of mink oils on your boots every 2-3 months before the material gets pretty bad cracks.
- If you wear real leather cowboy boots every day in indoor conditions, you should recoat your boots every 5-6 months.
- If you wear Tecovas boots to horseback riding or to work on a farm, ranch or factory, it’s better to put some mink oil on the material every 3-4 months.
- After dealing with stains and molds or mildew, it’s always good to wrap up the process with an adequate amount of mink oils to restore the look and beauty.
From my experience, mink oils do a good job for my Bovine Tecovas boots.
I barely use it for my The Wyatt with a very little amount. My boots are fine and they remain healthy all the way.
Hope you find this article helpful to you.