Condition Leather Boots Naturally

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I don’t know about you, but come winter I basically live in boots.  Not only do they keep my feet toasty warm, but they keep water and snow out and they look great with jeans and leggings.  I have one pair in particular that I am almost never without.  I adore them and because I wear them so often they have gotten a bit of a “distressed” look to them.  And to be honest, I like that look, but sometimes I just want to give the leather a nice clean, smooth look that can only come from conditioning the leather.  And what better way to treat my favorites than to condition my leather boots naturally?


I’ve heard quite a bit about using olive oil to condition leather, but since I am obsessed with coconut oil, I decided to run a bit of an experiment.  I used olive oil on one boot and coconut oil on the other to see which oil works best as a conditioner and I was kind of surprised by the answer.


Here is a close up of the olive oil boot.  As you can see, there are lots of scuff marks and the leather looks a bit dry.  I used a white towel (always use white so colors don’t transfer) and dipped it in olive oil.  Using small circular motions I rubbed it into the leather, all over the boot.


And here is the coconut oil boot.  Since coconut oil starts out as more of a solid, you just need a bit more elbow grease to rub it into the boot.  The more you rub, the warmer it becomes and the easier it is to work with.

After I had thoroughly rubbed down both boots I let them sit to dry.  Truth be told, I took my son to hockey which is a four hour long endeavor, so they were definitely dry by the time we got home.


And the results?  Well, it saddens me to say that olive oil is the clear winner.  Not only did the leather feel much more soft and supple, but the the coconut oil left white residue on any non-leather piece that it touched.  So I ended up having to wash off the zipper area and the sole.  More work, less results?  Sorry coconut oil, but you let me down.


Above is the olive oil boot after allowing time to dry.  There is a marked difference in the appearance and it feels great as well.

And below is the coconut oil boot.  Although it looks much better than when I started, it does not look quite as smooth as the olive oil boot and you can see the residue left behind.


So when it is all said and done, I will absolutely use olive oil to condition my leather boots naturally in the future.  In fact, this has inspired me to condition both my leather sofa and love seat as well.  I’ll let you know how that goes!


  1. This is a really great post! I will definitely try to clean my boots this way! Greets !

  2. Cleaning my boots now. Thank you for the advice as I was going to try coconut oil but will use olive oil instead.

    • Me too!!
      I was just about to use coconut oil myself.

      Thanks so very much for the post. Saved me a ton of time and disappointment.

  3. Used your advice about the olive oil on a pair of rugged leather boots.
    Thank you so much.
    Could you please tell me the brand name of your featured boots. They look very comfortable.
    Thank you! Annie

    • Hey Annie, so glad that it worked well for you! The boots that I’ve got in the photos are a pair from The North Face that I bought a couple pf years ago. They are so amazingly comfy and have remained my go to pair.

      • Suzanne Bogart says:

        I use to work in a saddle factory. In using coconut butter on your boots you need to use a hair dryer on med. heat to liquefy the coconut butter and rub it the rest of the way. It will not leave white residue if use the hair dryer. On your boot you used it on try med heat with the hair dryer and then butt with a white soft cloth. All white residue will be gone and it will not take as much elbow grease that way either. I use both on my Justin boots and have had them for years and they still look new. To do a deep weatherizing I use the coconut oil and to just add an extra going over in the middle of winter I use the olive oil. I do this every year that is why my boots are many many years old and still with me.

  4. Unfortunately, you applied the coconut oil incorrectly. Since it is a solid in temps of the mid-70F, you need to apply it by hand and in very small amounts. When you do that, you’ll see far better results than what you got.

  5. I use coconut oil to condition my wood furniture. I lightly hand sand the top on my coffee table and rub in in. It has an industrial look so this works well. I just rub in in with a towel on my other wood tables, book shelves etc. It really helps to condition the wood and makes it look years younger.

  6. GW Robertson says:

    Thanks for taking time to use both olive oil and coconut oil on boots….then the time to post your thoughts on what you think….I bet you have many good ideas!

  7. My fiancé tried coconut oil and also was very upset with the result-not good at all so now will clean that off and then try the olive oil.

  8. I never knew that olive oil could help get rid of scuff marks on leather. It’s a shame that coconut oil doesn’t work well, but I’ll be sure to use the olive oil. I really loved the results you got, I can’t wait to try this out on my own leather shoes!

  9. Great idea to compare the two but instead of using solid raw coconut fat you should use the clear liquid extract known as MCT oil. That’s what I use. Works absolutely fine and doesn’t solidify or turn white when cold.

  10. I suspect if you had heated the coconut oil to a liquid state you would have had much better results.

  11. i just read that ALL oil is bad for your leather bc it will eventually reap back to the surface and leave spots…

  12. Kristen, did you find much color change with the olive oil?

  13. Doesn’t the olive oil turn rancid after a while?

  14. Does the coconut oil OR the olive oil water proof as well?

  15. Love this article, thank you! Just wondering if anyone has any ideas for naturally waterproofing nubuck? I really don’t want to use toxic stuff. Thank you.

  16. Constance says:

    Thank you for advice. I’m gonna try olive oil.

  17. That dose work really well, My Boots look like they just came out of the box Brand New!!!! Thanks for the Good Advice!!!!! Thumbs Way Up!!!!!!!

  18. Dude who tans leather pelts says:

    You shouldn’t be using olive oil to condition leather, it will accellerate the leathers decomposition. Coconut oil would actually be far better for the health of your leather, even the oils on your skin will feed bacteria that eat the leather. Coconut oil is an antibacterial/anti fungal with a huge shelf life, use that or go for a silicon paste.

  19. Did you try on your sofa? Is it top grain leather?

    Thank you!

  20. I am not surprised that the olive oil is working better. I have used coconut oil for a period of time on my hair and had to learn that it made my hair dry. To mix it with Argan oil worked fine.
    But I am glad to hear that olive oil will work perfect on my boots. Thanks

  21. What a wonderful bunch of posts!!! I was going to say I use KFC for my leather shoes but I learned so much from all of you I decided not to. Oops. Well, I guess I sorta did. But seriously, super informative. I have been changing the colors of my shoes (that is, using colored shoe creams) and I’m loving the results. It’s very cool for me to be able to completely change the look of a show. I’m a guy. I love restoring and creating. I’m one of those gays you here about. Sorry. Took my meds. I’m fine now. No more silliness. Anyway, I took a pair of black leather dress shoes and mixed a couple of creams and got a beautiful silver-ish blue (blue dominant). Looking great with jeans. I’m going to buff and condition using many of your suggestions. Love to all – Steven Stinkle

  22. Love the keens

  23. Use a hair dryer and heat the applied coconut oil on the boot. It will melt the oil so it can properly soak into the leather, and thus eliminating the white residue.

  24. If you had heated up the coconut oil you would have no issues.

  25. Carefully melt the cocoa butter in a small pan in side of another small pan of heated water.

    Warm the leather near a heater, or even inside an oven at the lowest temp. Keep an eye on the oven. My favorite boots have a very grippy semi hard sole that is important to me, if not to you.

    Proceed other wise the same as above, rewarming the leather after a while, and wiping away excess. Cocoa butter is super stable, and won’t go rancid like your olive oil. I have a very heavy leather bike jacket I’ve treated many times over 8 years, and am now working on some new boots.
    My leather will never smell like bad salad dressing.

  26. I was just wondering how to care for my leather boots. Thanks

  27. Another great use of coconut oil.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  28. Mark Schwartz says:

    My 35 year old pair of original Timberlands plus 35 years experience a dozen+ pairs of leather boots tells me that nothing beats Sno-Seal(beeswax) for protection and waterproofing. If I need/want to soften the leather as well, then I will first apply a light coat of neatsfoot oil and then followup with Sno-Seal a day or two later. I have never had Sno-Seal dissolve or weaken any leather I have ever applied it to no matter how heavy I impregnated it which cannot be said for any other product I have ever used. Neatsfoot is great but too much will definitely weaken your leather over time.

    • This is so great, Mark! Thanks for sharing. I’ll be checking out those products asap!

    • they mention on some of these products you have to watch for the stitching to be affected…..looking at Huberd’s stuff….figur eif it’s good for cowboys, my mountain climbing boots should be a cinch……….will try the coconut oil… the poster above mentioned , get the MCT liquified state of coconut oil..a little more expensive though….great to cook with and salads.

  29. nice one mate!

  30. Thanks for the post Kristen. Will be trying coconut oil ( MCT )


  1. […] once or twice before they sit in your closet collecting dust. Apply a thin layer of coconut oil to your shoes to get them shining while protecting them at the same […]

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