Kiwi Conditioning Oil vs Mink Oil | Know the Difference

Written By Sunny

There’s no doubt, mink oil and kiwi oil are two of the heavyweights when it comes to leather conditioning. But, have you wondered; what distinguishes or which one could be better (for your footwear) out of the two?

Leave that to me! I’ve made this post just for you; after long hours of intense research and careful testing, of course!

Without wasting time, let’s get to the point first; what’s the critical difference?

The main difference between Kiwi conditioning oil and Mink oil is in the ingredients. Ingredients such as paraffin, silicone, and different solvents make up Kiwi conditioning oil. On the other hand, Mink oil predominantly consists of the belly fat from minks.


But wait! There’s more. Keep on reading to know the complete analysis.

What is Kiwi Conditioning Oil

Paraffin is a kind of waxy compound that helps create a barrier that keeps water from permeating your leather. It gives the oil its somewhat waterproofing abilities.

Silicone is a polymer-like substance highly valued for its electrical insulating properties and chemical stability. It binds the latches onto the fibers like super-glue, allowing it to take the oil’s waterproofing to the next level.

As for the solvents, nothing has been disclosed by the manufacturer. Hence, I can’t shed any light on this one, sorry.

Kiwi conditioning oil is mainly used on footwear that is more for the dress and not for works. It nourishes your shoes and gives them a sparkling gloss.

Check out our separate post: Mink Oil Ruined My Boots.

What is Mink Oil?

Believe it or not, mink oil is a by-product coming from the fur farming industry. It predominantly comes from the belly fat, which is raised for their fur. Kind of cruel, but there are demands!

And, it’s a vast industry. Nowadays, minks are exclusively farmed for the oil too.

Speaking of oil, it was first discovered by fur trappers. They were the ones who noticed the outstanding benefits of this oil, using it to make their leather boots water-resistant, supple.

Predominantly used for waterproofing, it has the unique quality of palmitoleic acid, making it perfect for treating, conditioning, and preserving almost all kinds of leather.

If you have dreadlocks on your hair, you can use mink oil as the ingredients are super effective and safe; not bad, eh?

Mink oil resists damages and spoilage effectively and does not go stale.

On the other hand, it might smell a bit musky and can rot the leather if handled poorly. Better be careful, then.

Kiwi Conditioning Oil vs Mink Oil | Key Differences

Now that we’re done with the introductory part let’s get down to business.

After months of testing, I’ve made some parameters to differentiate between two of these lifesavers. Doing so will enable you to get a better understanding.


Here are the key differences between Kiwi conditioning oil and Mink oil:


Kiwi Conditioning Oil: As mentioned earlier, the manufacturer has used paraffin, silicone, and a combination of different solvents to make this product. All the elements combine effectively to form the perfect life-saver for leather. With it, at your disposal, none of the leather shoes shall go malnourished.

Mink Oil: If you’re a fan of natural ingredients, then you’ll love this product. The raw material is collected from the belly of minks. This oil has loads of good characteristics, which is what your leather shoes/boots need. Mink oil is very famous for restoring worn-out leather boots.

Follow our guide on How Often Should You Apply Mink Oil To Leather Boots.

Resistance to weather 

Kiwi Conditioning Oil: If you’re expecting something incredible then I’m sorry to disappoint you. Kiwi oil does offer it to some degree, but not of the type you’d expect. If exposed to rough terrains then your coating will be unable to hold on. It’s more suited to fancy leather shoes meant for formal events.

Mink Oil: Mink oil has the upper hand in this segment. As the primary element is fat, it gives better backings in harsh conditions. It will last longer than kiwi oil. Hence, it’s very popular among people who use heavy-duty leather boots.


Kiwi Conditioning Oil: It does its job really well. Nourishes the leather, and gives it a proper gloss. It makes the leather fibers flexible, allowing you to have a soft and cozy experience in your footwear.  No complaints here, frankly speaking.

Mink Oil: It does everything kiwi oil does, only a tad bit better. Its waterproofing ability is very popular and it stays on the leather for a longer amount of time.


One of the most vital aspects to consider, if you ask me. What good is a shoe which turns into a bag full of sweat?

Kiwi Conditioning Oil: Anyway, leather is a natural material, and yes! It breathes. With the help of a conditioner such as kiwi conditioning oil, breathability can be taken to the next level. And, thanks to the addition of some special linings it makes the leather more breathable.

Mink Oil: It’s the same case as kiwi conditioning oil, the breathability is well and truly enhanced. With the right amount, these oils keep the pores of the leather open so your feet remain fresh and dry.

However, too much mink oil can block the pores which will result in close to no breathability at all. Also, it will rot the leather too. Better be here.


Kiwi Conditioning Oil vs Mink Oil | The Winner

So, I couldn’t be satisfied with the information from the internet. Hence, I conducted an experiment myself to settle this debate once and for all.

I took two pairs of completely workout leather boots and two pairs of semi-worn leather shoes. I applied kiwi oil to one pair and mink oil to the other pair of boots. And, left them for 24 hours respectively.

Similarly, I applied kiwi oil to one pair of leather shoes and mink oil to the other. And, left them for 24hours.

The results?

Mink oil almost completely restored the worn-out boots and made them waterproof to a satisfactory degree. As for the kiwi one, it also did a nice job but less compared to mink oil. It made the boots water-resistant if that’s of any help.   

As for the shoes, both did an equally good job of nourishing and polishing the footwear. Almost identical.

After one month of use (on various terrains), I saw the leather boots with oil remained in quite a good shape. The Same can’t be said for the one with kiwi oil; it lost it’s glow and nourishment.

The result was somewhat similar in terms of the leather shoes, too. Plus, I got better waterproofing from mink oil.

And yes, the color of all the four pairs got a shade darker, which I think is fine; since they were kind of dark, to begin with.

Check out our separate post on How Much Do Steel Toe Work Boots Weigh.


Mink oil is more suitable for leather footwear for rough and heavy-duty use. Kiwi oil is more suited to dressier shoes or the ones you’ve saved for special occasions.

Does Kiwi Conditioning Oil Have Mink Oil in It?

No, Kiwi conditioning oil does not contain mink oil in its formula, and it has been confirmed by S.C. Johnson, the parent company of Kiwi Conditioning Oil. It mainly consists of paraffin, silicone, and a mixture of solvents which the company doesn’t reveal due to obvious reasons.

There’s a popular belief that kiwi has mink oil as a part of its formula, and if you’re one of those believers then I’m sorry to disappoint you.

As mentioned by the manufacturer, kiwi conditioning oil consists of paraffin, silicone, and a combination of different solvents.

Anything else mentioned otherwhere is not true. If you find mink oil mentioned in the ingredients, I’d suggest you check the product’s authenticity.


Why Do People Use Kiwi Conditioning Oil?

I think you can assume it by now. Leather, like any other skin, is self-cleaning and will get rough and dirty. Various kinds of unwanted substances get into the pores; greasy substances, salts, dirt, you name it. All will try to fit into the pores.

As a result, the material loses its shine and becomes dry. This is when conditioners such as kiwi conditioning oil come to the fray.

The oil moisturizes, shines, and makes it water-resistant. In short, the oil brings the material back to life.

Upsides and Downsides of Kiwi Conditioning Oil

Like all things on earth, kiwi oil has its ups and downs as well. I’ve listed them down so that you can use them wisely and take the necessary actions.

Here are the pros and cons of Kiwi conditioning oil:

Softens leatherDarkens the leather
Improves color qualityLess weather resistivity
AffordableNot good on completely worn-out leather boots
Goes deep into the material
Cleans the leather while conditioning

Positives and Negatives of Mink Oil

Just like kiwi, Mink oil has its positives and negatives as well. For your convenience, I’ve made this useful list.

Here are the positives and negatives of Mink oil:

Restores leatherDarkens the leather
Makes leather waterproofExcess amount can clog the leather
Makes the leather washableCan’t be used on suede leather
Can Be used on top-grain, full-grain, corrected leather, oil-tanned leather and other types of leatherNot recommended for light-colored shoes
Protects leather from mildew, mold, abrasion, and salts

Kiwi Conditioning Oil vs Mink Oil | Similarities

Till now I’ve said everything there is about the difference between these two leather oils. But, did you know they share some interesting similarities? Well, they do. As usual, they’ve been listed down.

Here are the similarities between Kiwi conditioning oil and Mink oil:

  • Both nourish your leather shoes/boots.
  • Both of them give waterproofing properties
  • Both darken the leather
  • Both penetrate deep into the leather
  • Both increase the breathability of the leather.
  • Both provide a protective layer.

Just so you don’t forget I’ve made a summary of the main differences between kiwi conditioning oil and Mink oil.

Here they are:

Kiwi Conditioning OilMink Oil
Perfect for semi-worn, dressier leather shoes/bootsPerfect for completely worn out heavy-duty leather boots
Consists of paraffin, silicone, and a mixture of solventsConsists of mink belly fat
Lasts less compared to mink oilLasts longer than kiwi oil
Offers some degree of weather resistanceOffers high degree of weather resistance
Makes leather breathableMakes leather more breathable
Can be used on suede leatherCan’t be used on suede leather

You may also like to know What Are Buckaroo Boots.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do People Use Kiwi Conditioning Oil?

I think you can assume it by now. Leather, like any other skin, is self-cleaning and will get rough and dirty. Various kinds of unwanted substances get into the pores; greasy substances, salts, dirt, you name it. All will try to fit into the pores.

As a result, the material loses its shine and becomes dry. This is when conditioners such as kiwi conditioning oil come to the fray.

The oil moisturizes, shines, and makes it water-resistant. In short, the oil brings the material back to life.

What’s the Purpose of Mink Oil?

Truth be told, it has the same purpose as kiwi oil; to nourish the leather. Other than that, you get some added benefits, that’s it. You’ll be able to restore completely dried-up leather boots, waterproof them, and darken the color of your footwear (If that’s what you want).

Mink oil is primarily used by people who wear heavy-duty leather boots. Let’s say, cowboys, security officials, delivery agents, etc.

Why Do People Use Leather Conditioners?

Leather is just like human skin; it dries up, gets dirty, becomes rough, etc. Some leather boots dry up completely and may need heavy conditioning. On the other hand, some might require a quick shine or conditioning (just before a party).

In short, leather conditioners give a new lease of life to leather boots/shoes. Hence, people use leather conditioners.

Parting Thoughts

Mink oil and Kiwi Conditioning oil are saviors for leather items. Both of them do an excellent job. While their usage may vary from item to item, their purpose is more or less the same.

You can argue one is better than the other, and I’ve given you an in-depth analysis in this regard. I hope you no longer have any kind of confusion. And if you don’t hesitate to ask me. Just drop your query down in the comment section below. Bye for now

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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