Introduction: How to Soften Up New Boots.

This instuctable covers how to ease the pain of breaking in new work boots, it will help soften the leather and help reduce the chance of developing blisters,  It also helps to waterproof the leather and reduces the chance of the leather drying out and cracking if they don't get polished that often.

I finally had enough of the hole in the soul of my boots that would leave me with a wet foot about 30 seconds after I leave the house. I used this method to break in the last pair i had and they lasted me over 6 years before the finally leaked.

I hate shoe shopping as it is so hard to find a shop that stocks a well made plain boot that does not cost the earth.

After much searching of the shoe shops in local towns I finally managed to find a local shop that stocked the plain slip on Chelsea boot with an airwair soul that I like to wear, an agricultural supplies store of all paces.

In the past I tended to get blisters every time I got a new pair of leather shoes or boots. a number of years ago I asked a friend who owns a leather shop what was a good way to help break in new boots to reduce the chance of blisters.  He sold me a jar of mink oil and said that it was one of the best ways of softening new leather and help rejuvenate older leather goods that have started to dry out and crack.

I used Mink oil to soften up and restore the leather on my biker boots it helped them last for over 10 years.  The next time I got new work boots I used the Mink oil to soften up the leather before I wore them and I didn't get any blisters at all, the leather was as soft as a glove and easily conformed to the shape of my foot.

Items used:

Mink oil, a blend of silicon, lanolin and vitamin E oil and of coarse quite a bit of mink fat.

A heat gun or hair drier.

A rag or sponge to apply the mink oil.

A cloth to work the Mink oil in with.


I hope you find this post useful if you are prone to blisters when breaking in new boots

Step 1: Prepping Your Boots.


If the boots are brand spanking new and have not been worn then you will not need to do any prep work.

If you are working with boots that you have already been trying to break in they should be dry and cleaned of any dirt they have picked up before you start.

Step 2: Mink Oil.

Mink oil is one of those products that  comes from part of the fur trade.  It is made from the fat layer mink have under the skin and is removed from the pelt when the mink is skinned.  It also contains silicone, lanolin and vitamin E oils.

It  will darken some colours of leather so before you start the process you should check on an unseen area to make sure you are happy with the end result

Mink oil will help restore dried out and scuffed leather by feeding moisture back into the surface and help stop the leather from drying out even more and cracking.

This makes it one of those natural products that is one of the best thing to use on leather but some people will not want to use because of its link to the fur trade and all that controversy.

I do not care for the fur trade, but i care even lees for mink, mink are not an indigenous species in Ireland and have destroyed fish stocks in out rivers and have a severe impact on the natural wildlife as well as domestic fowl.  Back  in the 1980's a number of mink where released by some activist idiots from a fur farm in N, Ireland.  They escaped into the surrounding area and followed rivers to almost every part of the country where they have been decimating the natural wild life and been a right pain in the arse ever since.  

In September 2010 another 5000 mink where released into the wild in Donegal  coinciding with the salmon spawning season where they could do the maximum damage to the natural wildlife.

I when I looked up how mink oil was made I saw many for and against views.  One that I though was worth remembering was that if we had a tasty recipe for mink every part of the mink would be used and no one would care what happened to them.

I think that if by rubbing the fat of a dead mink onto the boots made from a dead cow and helps prolong their life, then I'm helping to save a cow, I would rather save a cow than a mink any day, cows never break into hen houses and kill all of the chickens inside.

Step 3: Applying the Mink Oil.

The mink oil is a soft thick waxy substance that is best rubbed on with a cloth.

To really soften up new leather I really plaster the leather with mink oil. and allow it to soak in over night before working the remaining oil into the leather.

The best way to do this is to melt the mink oil until it is runny and just daub it on with a piece of rag or a sponge.

Rub the warm oil into all the seams and joints and around any of the tough areas that are prone to causing blisters mainly the tough seam at the heel.

Apply a really thick layer of mink oil until the whole boot is totally covered,  I then like to use a heat gun or hair drier to melt the mink oil on the boots until it turns liquid, this heating will open the pores in the leather and help the mink oil to soak in even more.

Step 4: Wiat for at Least 24 Hours.

leave the boots aside for about 24 hours or longer to soak in the mink oil. the longer you let the leather soak in the thick layer of mink oil the softer it will get.

If you can remember to do so flex the boots around the rear seam and around the toe cap where the natural bend will form.  This will help soften up the leather and help more of the mink oil absorb.

Step 5: Work in the Remaining Oil.

Now comes the tedious part of the process.

Wrap a cloth around your index finger and start to work the remaining mink oil into the leather until as much as possible has been absorbed.

Work in small circles at first and once the most of the oil has been worked in make a pad with the cloth and continue to buff the leather until there is no oil remaining on the leather, heating the pad or the boots with a heat gun or hair drier will help work the oil deeper into the leather and help make them even softer.





Step 6: Finish With Polish.


Once you have the mink oil fully worked in its now time to give you new boots a good coat of what ever polish you normally use.  Apply a good layer of polish as normal and work it in well and then buff to a shine.

Your new boots should now be much easier to break in and should help reduce or eliminate blistering altogether.

Step 7: Allso Good on Other Leather Items.


Seeing as I was already covered in mink oil I decided to give my leather bush hat another coat of mink oil to help keep it nice and soft and well waterproofed.

I also gave my belt a long overdue coat of mink oil to bring it back to life and give me another few years of use out of it.

Comments

author
EmmaT24 made it!(author)2016-02-03

It's the eternal problem. When I bought my leather boots http://www.palladiumboots.com/women/parade-heel-l-zip-93490-001-m I had a few hell days till I made them softer. Your tips are very handy. Thanks a lot

author
bonbon60 made it!(author)2015-04-30

Great detailed article. My husband bought a new pair of workboots, lost the receipt , can't return.Cost $160.00 ! This sounds like it will do the trick. Thanks sooooo much

author
codylit made it!(author)2015-04-19

I just bought a new pair of wolverine steel toe work boots and I lathered them up with mink oil. I read somewhere that to much mink oil will make the boot to soft. How many times of application would that take? Would it be possible on the first application to make the boots to soft by putting to much mink oil on?

author
erica.rodas made it!(author)2014-12-08

Thank you. Got a new leather jacket and its too stiff to ride with. Cuts circulating... applying to my jacket per instruction. Thanks for detailed format.

author
xenobiologista made it!(author)2013-11-04

Thanks. I wanted to know if it's OK to put Kiwi over mink oil because I did my new boots with mink oil but they're not shiny =( This answers my question nicely.

author
Dr+Qui made it!(author)2013-11-12

Yeah its fine, just make sure the mink oil is well worked in and there is no greasy residue left on the leather. I think I wore them for a bout a month before I had reason to had shiny clean boots and by that time the leather had no traces of the oil on them.  

I just remembered that I bought a new pair about 8 months ago that have been left in the box soaking in a ultra thick layer of mink oil since,  they should be soft a gloves by now.

author
xenobiologista made it!(author)2013-11-13

I was kind of scared because there were several really opinionated people on shoe-related forums who claimed that mink oil will ruin your boots forever!

author
christy62 made it!(author)2012-02-06

Thank You For such a detailed description on how to do this. I am going to town this afternoon to buy some mink oil and I will let you know how it turns out. :)

author
Dr+Qui made it!(author)2012-02-14

You might have fun trying to find it in "town" not the kind of stuff you get in your average day to day shop. I would try the interweb, it may save a lot of running around trying to find a shop that sells mink oil. Its one of those old school items that can usually only be found in real posh shoe shops and custom leather shops.

author
ttassel made it!(author)2011-07-05

Water-proofing creams, as seen on the labels, get into the pores of the leather better when the leather is heated. It effectively softens up the leather as well. I've had several pairs of steel toed boots, which are rather stiff, and after doing a bit of baking, letting the oven cool a bit, then throwing in one boot for 5ish minutes, the cream really gets into the pores. While you're putting the cream on the heated boot, throw your other boot in the oven to heat up! You don't even need to rub in the excess after 24 hrs, just let it sit and enjoy your somewhat greasy boots (wipe off excess if desired).

author
caarntedd made it!(author)2011-02-26

The small rag you keep in the jar looks like a shrivelled frog skin.

author
Dr+Qui made it!(author)2011-02-26

It kind of does when you look at the thumbnail photo, funny how the brain works like that. I though that this old time phone mod looks like Beaker from the Muppets.

author
caarntedd made it!(author)2011-02-26

Ha, I think it's the "eyes".

author
caarntedd made it!(author)2011-02-26

"The mink oil is a soft thick waxy substance that is best rubbed on with a shrivelled frog skin..." Ha ha, sorry, I have had a few drinks and would have sworn that the pic showed a frog sitting on the mink oil. Maybe i should put my glasses on. 8 D

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