Huberd’s Shoe Grease Review: Read This Before Buying

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

There are hundreds of boot care products out there, and the worst thing that can happen is slathering on some cheap product that ruins your favorite pair of boots.

I was so confused about what leather care to get for my boots for a long time, so I decided to buy 10 of the most popular boot conditioners and try them all head-to-head. This Huberd’s Shoe Grease review will show you the pros and cons.

The Baconator is Back
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Huberd’s Shoe Grease

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Bottom line: Compared to nine other leather conditioners, Huberd’s shoe grease is in the top-two for weatherproofing, but it also significantly darkens the leather permanently. It’s a great leather preserver if you have work boots that you don’t mind darkening, but I wouldn’t use it for more casual boots.

Ratings:

At a Glance Feature Image/IconQuality of Ingredients At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/IconLeather Darkening At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/IconWaterproofing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/IconValue for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • Highly water resistant (basically tied at the top across 10 different leather conditioners I’ve tried)
  • All-natural---just pine tar and beeswax
  • Doesn’t rot or weaken stitching on your boot
  • Smells like bacon

Cons:

  • It’ll permanently darken your leather
  • Smells like bacon

There must be 150 different boot conditioners out there. 

It’s confusing as heck. 

Rather than always wondering, I decided to do something about it:

I bought ten of the most popular leather conditioners and compared them all against one another. 

One of the most extreme was Huberd’s Shoe Grease. In this review, I’m going to break down the positives and negatives of this leather conditioner so you can decide whether or not it’s right for you. 

Huberd’s Shoe Grease Ingredients

Huberds Shoe Grease before

Huberd’s Shoe Grease is an all-natural leather preserver and only uses a few ingredients:

  • Beeswax
  • Pine Tar

And that’s it. 

And the beeswax isn’t refined, either—it all comes from apiaries in South Dakota and Montana. The recipe has been the same since 1921, when J.W. Huberd started making it and selling it to lumberjacks.

There are no synthetic ingredients, nor is there any animal fats or oils. 

A lot of conditioners have a nasty chemical smell, but Huberd’s doesn’t—it smells kind of like bacon, which I’m not entirely sure if I love or hate. 

Huberd's Shoe Grease

It darkens leather like crazy. And it smells like bacon. But it will seriously waterproof your leather. All pine tar and beeswax, baby.

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How to Use Huberd’s Shoe Grease

Huberd’s Shoe Grease is easy to use—make sure both your grease and leather are at room temperature first, though. 

I left my Huberd’s in my garage in the winter and if it’s cold, the grease can be pretty chunky and go on less smoothly. But if it’s at 60 or above, it applies pretty evenly.

I scoop about a nickel-sized amount into my fingers and just rub the grease into the boot with my hands. It’s best to do a light coat at first, let the conditioner soak in for ten minutes, and then do another light coat. 

You can also use a rag to apply Huberd’s if you don’t want your hands to smell like bacon all day.

I condition all my boots with different products usually on the same day, so I’m fine with just smelling insane for that day. But I don’t have a date night planned for later in the evening, either. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Huberd’s Shoe Grease

Huberds Shoe Grease boot with leather materials

Huberd’s Shoe Grease will permanently darken the leather of your boots. There’s no way around it. 

If you have black leather boots, then there’s no problem. 

But if you have a medium brown leather, you like the color, and you don’t want it to change, then use another product like Venetian Leather Balm. It won’t darken the leather, but it also won’t add as much weather resistance. 

Venetian Imperial Leather Balm

After testing 10 of the most popular leather conditioners, Venetian came out as my top pick because it nourishes leather, doesn't change the color, and actually adds a decent amount of weather resistance as well.

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Huberd’s Shoe Grease is more of a weather-proofing formula rather than a conditioner. It’s a great choice if you have a pair of work boots and you want them to be able to handle mud, puddles, rain, and snow. 

But it’s not great for dress boots—I don’t even use it on my casual boots. The high wax content can close off the pores of the leather and make it difficult to revive if the leather starts to dry out. 

For that reason, I stick with formulations like Bick 4 or Venetian if the leather just needs a little conditioning and I’m not planning to get the boots wet often. 

Before and After Using Huberd’s Shoe Grease

Here’s an untreated sample of natural vegetable tanned leather. There’s no dye on this round, so you can see what undyed leather looks like before and after applying Huberd’s Shoe Grease

Huberds Shoe Grease treated natural leather round

And here’s an image of what Huberd’s looks like before and after on an actual pair of work boots. 

Again, I’m not going to use Huberd’s on any of my more dressy or casual boots because I usually don’t like to darken the leather on my boots. 

But for work boots, it doesn’t matter so much, and performance and weather resistance are the top priorities. That’s where Huberd’s really steps up. 

Here’s my video where I compare the 10 most popular leather conditioners against one another

Huberd’s Shoe Grease Review

Leather Darkening

Huberds Shoe Grease before and after
Crazy, right?

You can see that Huberd’s Shoe Grease darkens the leather about five or six shades. Compared to other products, Huberd’s was one of the worst offenders for changing the color of the leather. 

The only products that matched it were Obenauf’s LP and Sof Sole Mink Oil

But both of those other products are also designed more for waterproofing leather rather than conditioning the leather. 

So really, if you want to add a layer of weatherproofing to your boots, no effective product is going to keep the leather the same color. 

You can try to use one of those silicone sprays, but those are bad for the leather and will choke off the pores so you can’t really condition them again—I’d avoid the silicone waterproofing sprays altogether. 

Honestly, most people don’t need waterproofing on their boots—leather will be fine if you get caught in a rain-storm. Just let your boots dry out and they’ll still be fine. 

The only reason you should go all in and add something like Huberd’s to waterproof is if you’re in the mud and rain multiple times a week. 

Waterproofing Power

Huberds Shoe Grease after application leather darkening

So how does Huberd’s do with water? Well, it was tied with Obenauf’s LP for weather resistance. 

Obenauf’s LP

Heavy Duty LP is heavy on beeswax, so it's one of the best waterproofing agents you can put on your work boots. But I'd skip it for dressier and more casual styles because it darkens the leather significantly.

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There may be small differences, but I couldn’t tell by just looking. Huberd’s and Obenauf’s both were much better than all other leather care products I tested at waterproofing. 

Mink oil darkened leather as much as Huberd’s, but didn’t offer as much weather resistance, so in my opinion, mink oil is out. 

As I mentioned earlier, I vastly prefer the natural waterproofing you get from a beeswax formula like Huberd’s and Obenauf’s compared to a silicone spray. It’s much better for your leather and it’s much better for the environment (in general, fewer chemicals is better). 

Huberd's Shoe Grease

It darkens leather like crazy. And it smells like bacon. But it will seriously waterproof your leather. All pine tar and beeswax, baby.

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

How Long Does it Last?

Huberd’s recommends two layers of grease, and they say you should re-up your leather every 8 weeks or so, but I think that’s a bit too often.

If you’re wearing rugged work boots and you’re walking in the mud every day, then once every three or four months should be fine. 

I work at a desk, so I’m not trudging through tough conditions—but I conditioned my work boots with Huberd’s for when they do get wet, and I’ll probably stick to re-conditioning once a year.

To sum it up: once every three months for heavy wear up to once per year for lighter wear should be all you need to keep a solid coat of Huberd’s on your boots.  

What do Other Reviewers Say?

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A lot of people swear by Huberd’s, particularly in the logging industry where good water protection is a necessity. 

Many reviewers mention how easy it is to apply, and I even read one account of a guy who’d condition his boots every few weeks just because he liked the smell, which I thought was pretty weird, but I get where he’s coming from. 

Huberd’s Shoe Grease Alternatives

Venetian Leather Balm

venetian leather balm with leather care tools in background

Venetian Leather Balm is my go to for conditioning leather. That said, my boots are more for casual style purposes. So I prefer a conditioner that will nourish the leather, has a low wax content, will add a bit of shine, and won’t darken the leather permanently. 

If that’s what you’re looking for, then Venetian Leather Balm is the way to go. 

While Venetian does have some wax in it and will add weather resistance to a small degree, I definitely don’t consider it a weatherproofer like I do with Huberd’s

Venetian Imperial Leather Balm

After testing 10 of the most popular leather conditioners, Venetian came out as my top pick because it nourishes leather, doesn't change the color, and actually adds a decent amount of weather resistance as well.

Buy Now at Amazon Watch Our Comparison on YouTube
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Obenauf’s LP

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Obenauf’s LP darkened the leather as much, and made the leather as water resistant as Huberd’s did. 

These formulas had much of the same effect. 

However, Obenauf’s is much more wax-heavy, where Huberd’s has the pine tar. 

For that reason, Huberd’s will soften the leather more than Obenauf’s, which makes Huberd’s a better product if you’re breaking in a new pair of work boots. Obenauf’s might be better though if you don’t want your boots to smell like bacon. 

Obenauf’s LP

Heavy Duty LP is heavy on beeswax, so it's one of the best waterproofing agents you can put on your work boots. But I'd skip it for dressier and more casual styles because it darkens the leather significantly.

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

My Thoughts Overall On Huberd’s Shoe Grease

What I Like

  • It’s one of the best products for waterproofing leather (tied with Obenauf’s). 

  • It’s all-natural—just pine tar and beeswax.

  • Doesn’t rot or weaken stitching on your boot.

  • Smells like bacon.

What I Don’t Like

  • Huberd’s will permanently darken the leather of your boots. 

  • Smells like bacon. 

Who is Huberd’s Shoe Grease for?

Huberd’s Shoe Grease is a great option if you’ve got a new pair of work boots and you want to get them waterproofed before wearing them for the first time and you don’t mind darkening the leather. 

The Verdict

I like Huberd’s Shoe Grease, but I have very few uses for it personally. 

When I compared Huberd’s against nine of the other most popular leather conditioners, it was one of the best at waterproofing, but it also darkened the leather significantly (and permanently).

It also smells the most delicious. Frankly, it also looks the most delicious. Taste? Not so good (just kidding). 

You should only use Huberd’s Shoe Grease if you don’t mind darkening the leather of your boots. 

If you’re regularly working in muddy conditions, this is a great product for you—it’ll help keep your leather protected in rugged terrain. 

But if you’re just wearing your boots casually or for style, I’d stick with a conditioner like Venetian Leather Balm, which will nourish your leather without changing the color.

Huberd's Shoe Grease

It darkens leather like crazy. And it smells like bacon. But it will seriously waterproof your leather. All pine tar and beeswax, baby.

Buy Now at Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

What does Huberd’s Shoe Grease do?

Huberd’s Shoe Grease waterproofs your leather due to high concentrations of beeswax and pine tar. It also darkens the leather significantly as well.

Where is Huberd’s Shoe Grease made?

Huberd’s Shoe Grease is made in Colorado and uses beeswax from small apiaries in South Dakota and Montana.

Is grease good for leather?

Leather grease can protect leather from water, but it also tends to darken leather permanently and can clog the pores of the leather, which prevent it from absorbing conditioners in the future.

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