How To Darken Leather Boots: Easy And Simple Techniques And Tips

A gorgeous pair of leather boots always exudes elegance, strength, and style. However, seeing it worn out and faded can spark your curiosity on how to darken leather boots. Leather is a unique kind of material that people may often think it needs very special treatment to update its look.

Contrary to popular belief, there are simple techniques that you can do in order to restore the look of your leather boots. Many may opt to have a professional do it for them or just buy a new pair since the old pair already looks outdated.

As someone who is very fond of caring for shoes, I have tried many tips and tricks to keep my shoe collection in an impeccable condition.

With this article, I will guide you through several techniques I have learned to darken your leather boots. You will be surprised at how easy and simple they are and moreover, how inexpensive these options can be. 

Technique 1: Vegeta​​​​ble Oils

What You Will Need

Surprisingly, you can use vegetable oils as a simple trick in order to darken your leather boots. This may be the simplest and cheapest among all methods. Materials for this method can possibly be on hand, ready, and available around your house.

However, you must keep in mind to avoid any type of vegetable oil that is rancid. Contaminants in rancid vegetable oils can seep through your leather boots during the darkening process and can cause damage.

  • Olive Oil, Coconut Oil or Canola Oil
  • Washcloth or rag

Step-by-step Procedure

1. Depending on which type of vegetable oil you have chosen, pour around 3 caps into your washcloth or rag. Make sure you only use vegetable oil that is not rancid to avoid possible damage to your leather boots.

2. Brush the rag along the surface of your leather boot. Make sure that you have applied the oil in every nook and cranny of your leather boot. Start from the toes and make your way up to the heels. You need to also make sure that you have evenly coated the surface of your leather boots or else you will find some uneven spots afterward.

3. Gently massage the oil into the leather. This will make the oils seep into the leather for it to be nourished and conditioned.

4. To avoid any stains on your leather boot, remove any remaining visible drops of oil. Remember that residual vegetable oils may bubble up to the surface of the leather causing stain and smell.

5. Let the oil seep into the leather by letting it sit for 24 hours. You will immediately notice your leather boots have darkened significantly and also retain a good sheen.

6. You can opt to apply another coat, after which, and you have to let it rest again for another 24 hours before using. 

To see the video version of this process, click here.

Technique 2: Animal Oils

What You Will Need

Another option you can consider is animal oil. Oil from animal fat is made into leather care products like neatsfoot oil and mink oil which are just two of the well-known examples.

Animal oils can cost more compared to vegetable oils but are considered to be more effective. However, this method will require a longer drying period. Aside from darkening, they also have the ability to waterproof and condition your leather boots.

  • Neatsfoot Oil or Mink Oil
  • Washcloth or rag
  • check-circle
    Heat source

Step-by-step Procedure

1. For applying multiple coats of animal oil to complete a more darkened look, start by setting up a heat source. This could be a small heater or a blow dryer.

2. Using a washcloth or rag, grab a small amount of neatsfoot oil or mink oil. Be careful not to use too much of the product which will cause oversaturation of the oil and in turn will result in stains.

​​​​3. Cover all surfaces of your leather boots using neatsfoot oil or mink oil.

4. Once you have coated your leather boots with neatsfoot or mink oil, place it near a heating source to let it dry. As an alternative, you can leave it under the sun for about 4 to 6 hours. Keep in mind that this particular product can stain clothing if not dried properly.

5. Apply another coat as desired and let it rest again for another 24 hours before using.

If you want to see more of this method, watch this.

Technique 3: Blends

What You Will Need

Blends are likely the most effective of the three methods. Moreover, this method also takes the least time required to complete the process from application to drying.

These boot care products referred to as blends are a combination of animal oils, waxes, petroleum oils, resin or tree pitch. Aside from darkening your leather boots, blends also condition, waterproof while offering nutrition and shine.

Blends are expensive, however, they keep the leather supple and provide the most desirable outcome.

  • Leather Dyes, Shoe Polish or other blends
  • Washcloth or rag

Step-by-step Procedure

1. Using a washcloth or rag, grab a pea-sized amount of the blend depending on which specific brand you have selected.

2. Coat all surfaces of your leather boots. Make your way up starting from the toes of your leather boots to the heels and then upwards. Make sure to evenly cover all surfaces to avoid uneven spots.

3. Massage the blend gently into your leather boots to make sure it seeps in. Blends provide waterproofing, restoring of the leather’s suppleness and long-lasting sheen.

4. Let it sit for around 10 minutes to allow it to dry out.

5. You can opt to apply as many additional coats you want to achieve the darkened look you desire. Make sure to wait 10 minutes in between each coat application.

Watch this video version of the step by step instruction.


Shoes are important pieces of clothing that are often overlooked. They protect your feet while traveling to many places and also obtained its way to be a vital part of a person’s wardrobe.

Putting effort into making sure your shoes, to be more specific, your leather boots get the care its needs may be the determining factor on how long it will last. Always keep in mind that a great pair of shoes can make you stand out.

Was this article helpful? Were you able to follow this step-by-step guide? Do you find the additional tips useful? Do you have any other suggestions regarding this topic?

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