Mink oil is great for treating your leather goods — it softens the leather and gives it temporary water resistance. It will also add to the leather’s rich appearance. Bonus; it helps protect against salt. This is good news for those of you living in cold climates where the streets and sidewalks get a dusting of salt.
First you want to clean the leather with saddle soap and let it dry completely. Then using a cloth, rub in a moderate amount of mink oil and immediately remove the excess (I use a cloth then a boot brush). Let the mink oil soak in overnight then apply shoe polish as normal (I use colored shoe polish then add a coat of neutral for that high-gloss, spit-shine look).
I prefer wax-based polish over liquid forms — always have. I feel I get a deeper shine and frankly I enjoy the process (probably because it was an activity I did every night while in the military, and it becomes meditative).
When we were kids, my grandfather would pay us to shine his shoes for him and he always kept his shoe-shine-kit in an old dopp bag. To this day I keep mine in a similar bag. Shoe shining is one of those skills that’s good to have, along with changing your car’s oil and whittling a stick.