Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam vs Mink Oil: Which One is Perfect for Your Boots?

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Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam vs Mink Oil- this debate is getting popular among shoe enthusiasts. 

Mink oil has been widely used around the world to take care of leather products for so many years. On the other hand, Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam is comparatively one of the new leather care products that grabbed attention. 

Undoubtedly, someone who has a pair of Dr. Martens would go for the Wonder Balsam. Also, it can be used on other shoes as well. 

However, the fact is, you can’t ignore the mink oil. Both Wonder Balsam and mink oil have different jobs to do but they share the same interest which is taking care of leather.   

I know this information isn’t enough for you. Worry not, I’ve got your back. I’ll discuss almost everything between Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam and mink oil in the following section. So, without any further delay let’s jump in. 

Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam vs Mink Oil: What are the Differences? 

Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam and mink oil have different differences. I think the best way is to portray them on a table. Check out the following table to see a quick comparison between them. 

FeaturesWonder Balsam Mink Oil
IngredientsBeeswax, lanolin, and coconut oilDerived from fat which is found in mink pelt
UsageCleanses protects, and softens the leatherTreated severely damaged leather shoes that are worn out
Amount of Unsaturated FatMinimal Very high, around 75%
Waterproofing AbilityYesYes
Weather ProtectionYesYes
Finish TypeShiny Not as shiny as balsam
Darken AbilityCapable, not as much as Wonder BalsamCapable 
Dry TimeAround 10 minutesMore 
SmellPleasant Not Pleasant 

What are the Similarities Between Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam and Mink Oil?

Although we’re here to talk about the differences between Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam and mink oil still, there are some similarities between them.

First of all, both of them are shoe care products. People have been using these products to well-maintain their shoes and leather products. Moreover, mink oil and Wonder Balsam share some common ingredients too.

On top of it, they’re an ideal way to protect, soften and nourish the leather. For performing the basic cleaning Wonder Balsam is great. On the other hand, when it comes to cleaning your boots thoroughly go for mink oil. Actually, you need both and it depends on the purpose. 

Most importantly, both mink oil and wonder balsam provide a protective layer over your boots. Also, they can ensure weather protection and waterproofing. 

Last but not least, they’re great to restore the natural oils in your leather boots and other leather products.  

Related: Revitalize or Protect: Decoding Leather Honey vs. Mink Oil

Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam: Things that You Need to Know

If you’re a shoe enthusiast, definitely you could’ve heard about Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam. This is one of the best-selling shoe-care products in different regions. 

Dr. Martens has brought this Wonder Balsam to the market. They used a unique formula with a combination of natural beeswax and synthetic waxes. To be specific, the core ingredients are Beeswax, lanolin, and coconut oil.

The main usage of this product is to protect, nourish and condition your leather boots and shoes. In fact, you won’t need to polish your boots and still, you can keep your boots soft and supple. The best part is, after applying the balsam your boots will look shiny and new. 

The product is available in 85gm small pots and you can use this for a long time in your different boots and shoes. 

Who Should and Shouldn’t Use Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam?

Before you’re going to buy a Wonder Balsam, you need to know whether it is applicable to your boots or not. 

Apply Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam on your boots if you want to-

  • Soften the leather without causing any damage
  • Avoid the greasy look 
  • Apply weather protection and waterproofing
  • Make flexible your boots
  • Restore the natural oils in leather fibers
  • Provide a shiny look 
  • Protect the leather 
  • Clean your boots quick

You should avoid using Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam if your boots or shoes are made up of-

  • Suede leather and
  • Vegan leather 

When to Use Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam?

I think Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam is an essential product for leather shoe owners. You should use Wonder Balsam if-

  • You own any type of leather footwear (except vegan and suede), it’ll bring immense benefit to your favorite pair. It protects the shoes from damage and prolongs the lifespan
  • When you buy a new pair of shoes it feels so stiff, isn’t it? Well, in that case, you can apply this wonderful product to break in your shoes. Wonder Balsam softens the leather, makes the shoes comfortable for your feet, and most importantly, keeps them in the perfect shape.   
  • When it comes to waterproofing and applying weather protection to your boots, Wonder Balsam is the product that can help you out. It protects your boots in every season whether it’s raining or snow falling out there. 
  • Lastly, for restoring the original shape of your boots, go for the Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam. Also, if your boots are a little worn out, don’t forget to apply the product. This product can restore the original look of your boots effortlessly.  

What are the Benefits of Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam?

Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam has a lot of benefits. They’re a great solution for leather products. Here’re the benefits that you get from  Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam:

  • Provide weather protection to your boots. Save your boots against stains, water, snow, dirt, grime, cracks, scratches, fades, and so on
  • Helps to break in leather faster
  • Keeps the leather clean and smooth 
  • Provides an attractive shine
  • Works as a raincoat, and adds a protective layer over your shoes
  • Requires a very tiny quantity, cost-efficient
  • Nourishes and lubricates the leather without causing any damage
  • Softens the leather and makes your boots comfortable and flexible for your feet
  • Provides a pleasant smell
  • Saves your time and money in the long run

What are the Drawbacks of Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam?

To be very honest, there are no severe complaints found from the Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam users. 

This product is a blessing for leathers, but using it in an excessive amount can bring negative outcomes. Always try to use a small quantity as suggested otherwise it may leave oily stains. Also, the result won’t be satisfying if it’s not absorbed properly. 

Mink Oil: Things that You Need to Know

Mink oil has been used as a leather care product probably since the 1940s. It’s extracted from the abdomen fat of minks. The extracted fat needs to be boiled to get the mink oil that we use. 

By now, you’ve already guessed this is a natural and safe product that can take care of your leather products. However, if you’re allergic to animal fat or you’re a vegan, this probably isn’t suitable for you.  

The best thing about mink oil is it goes deeper into the leather, moisturizes the leather fibers, and protects the leather from any tough condition. When it comes to softening and restoring your leather boots, mink oil always comes on top of the list.  

Who Should and Shouldn’t Use Mink Oil?

Can you use mink oil on any shoes or boots? Well, the answer is NO. However, you can apply it to most of the leathers available out there. You should apply mink oil, if:

  • Your boots and shoes are made from any type of leather, except suede
  • Your shoes come in contact with water or any moist environment
  • You want to apply a protective layer on your boots
  • You want to weather protect and waterproof your boots
  • Your boots are severely worn out and you want to restore them

Also, you should avoid mink oil if-

  • Your boots or shoes are made from suede leather(vegan leather as well). Don’t even think about it, mink oil will ruin your suede shoes
  • You’re not comfortable with any ingredients of mink oil 
  • You don’t want your shoes to get dark over time, since mink oil tends to darken leather

When to Use Mink Oil?

When should you use mink oil? If you don’t know the answer, worry not. Let me help you out. Here are the situations when you need to use mink oil:

  • If you want to provide a thorough care to your boots that are made of any type of leather 
  • If you want to make your boots soft, supple, and flexible
  • When it comes to restoring boots from a terrible condition, go for mink oil
  • For darkening the leather, mink oil always comes first
  • If you want to keep your boots safe from any hazardous element, use mink oil
  • If you want to add a protective layer to your boots to keep them safe from different weather conditions, apply mink oil 

What are the Benefits of Mink Oil?

For maintaining your leather boots well and keeping them almost the same as new, mink oil is your top priority. There are other benefits that you might not be aware of. Here are the benefits that you’ll get from mink oil:

  • Mink oil can restore the natural oils in your leather boots
  • It lubricates the fibers in the leather and makes them soft, supple, flexible, and durable
  • Darken the leather over time (it could be a drawback if you don’t want to darken your boots) 
  • Doesn’t cost much, an affordable and available product to care for your leather boots
  • A natural, non-toxic, and safe leather-care product
  • Cleanses thoroughly, goes in deep and provides a new look to your boots

What are the Drawbacks of Mink Oil?

If you think mink oil is only beneficial to your boots, you might be wrong. There are some drawbacks of mink oil, you should know:

  • Using mink oil for a long time can harden the leather
  • Darken your leather boots excessively 
  • Not vegan friendly
  • Avoid overusing otherwise it’ll damage your leather boots
  • If you’re looking for a shiny appearance, avoid mink oil 
  • For removing grease marks and stubborn stains, mink oil isn’t a perfect product

Recommended Mink Oils

If you ask me for one of the best mink oil, I’ll definitely recommend Red Wing Heritage

Red Wing Heritage is a well-recognized and widely available mink oil. It’s made from a combination of lanolin and silicone. The best thing about this product is it conditions and softens the leather. On top of that, it increases the water resistance in your leather boots. 

However, you’ll find other mink oils here, don’t forget to go through them.


  1. Does Doc Martens Wonder Balsam soften leather?

Yes, Doc Martens Wonder Balsam can soften leather if you use it regularly.

  1. Is Wonder Balsam a conditioner?

Yes, Wonder Balsam is a leather conditioner made up of lanolin, beeswax, and coconut oil.

  1. Is mink oil bad for leather?

No, mink oil isn’t bad for leather. In fact, it’s a great product when it comes to taking care of leather products. However, overusing mink oil can darken and harden leather over time.  

  1. Does mink oil darken leather?

Yes, using mink oil darkens leather overtime. You should decide first whether you’d go for a dark appearance or not.  

  1. Does mink oil waterproof leather?

Yes, mink oil can waterproof your leather boots. On top of it, it softens and makes the leather flexible. 

  1. Does Wonder Balsam help break in Doc Martens?

When it comes to breaking in your leather boots, Wonder Balsam can help you out. 

  1. How long does it take Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam to dry?

Usually, Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam takes around 10 minutes to dry.

  1. Does Wonder Balsam darken leather?

Yes, Wonder Balsam has the ability to darken leather over time.  

Final Thoughts

Both mink oil and Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam are leather care products and they’re pretty good at their job. However, when it comes to a regular, efficient, and quick way to provide your boots a new look, I’d definitely choose Wonder Balsam. 

However, mink oil is a natural substitute for leather conditioners like Wonder Balsam. For deep cleaning and restoring your worn-out leather boots, mink oil should be your top priority. 

Although mink oil is great, it takes more time and preparation to apply to your shoes. Moreover, mink oil requires more time to dry, doesn’t provide a pleasant smell, and is not vegan friendly. On the other hand, Wonder Balsam has almost everything that mink oil lacks. 

My suggestion would be to identify your purpose first and then decide, Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam or mink oil which one you need. Also, if you go through this post you can understand which one is suitable for your favorite pair of boots. 

Richard Nelson

Richard is the Head of Content here at Bootpedia. From an early age, leather boots have been a passion for him. So, he thought why not share his knowledge with the rest of the world? 

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