Sno Seal vs. Obenauf’s: Everything You Need To Know
When it comes to protecting your leather shoes or other items, it can be tricky navigating how to care for them, what products to buy, what may actually ruin them, and more. Thankfully, there are tons of all-season weather protectors made for keeping your leather goods in tip-top shape, which brings us to two of the most popular protectors on the market: Sno Seal and Obenauf’s.
So, which one is the best at protecting all your prized leather shoes and items? Let’s get into it. Here’s everything you need to know about Sno Seal and Obenauf’s, including the slight differences between the two, what they can be used on, how effective they are, and more.
What Is Sno Seal?
Sno Seal is an all-season weather protector made from beeswax and chemical-based solvents for leather shoes and can be used on casual footwear, dress shoes, work boots, golf shoes, and any leather product meant for mountaineering, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, and more. Sno Seal protects leather from a wide range of material-destroying elements, like snow, salt, rain, and even the sun.
Per the product description, Sno Seal is also great to use on waxed cotton and tent seams, and will also help to keep your feet dry and warm throughout even the harshest weather conditions. Additionally, Sno Seal will help your feet fight fatigue as it blocks out moisture and water, as “a typical leather boot can soak up to a pound of water,” meaning “you lift an additional 2,212 lbs. to walk one mile.”
What Is Obenauf’s?
Obenauf’s was created by Marv Obenauf in 1989 and is also an all-season weather protector meant to be used on leather shoes. As a firefighter of over 34 years, Marv Obenauf sought out the perfect product to help protect firefighter’s boots, which were often exposed to “steam, heat, wet ashes (lye), and caustic fire retardants” in the line of duty, and with tons of research and testing, Obenauf finally came up with the perfect formula to protect leather footwear from the harshest elements, and the company’s Heavy Duty Leather Preservative (LP) was born.
Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP “repels water, acids, petroleum, salt, and chemicals,” “restores dried & sun-faded leather,” and “resists scuffing, abrasion, stitch tear, and premature cracking in flex areas,” making it the perfect product for those who need heavy-duty protection for their leather footwear. Bonus: it’s odorless after it’s applied to the shoe, and contains no harmful ingredients, like mink oil, petroleum, solvents, or paraffin.
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What Are the Main Differences Between Sno Seal and Obenauf’s?
While both products will protect your leather shoes and work boots from harsh elements, there are a few main differences between Sno Seal and Obenauf’s. First, the consistency of the two products differs slightly; Sno Seal is a bit thicker than Obenauf’s, and if you need to liquify Sno Seal, it’ll take a bit longer to melt down. However, both products are easy to apply with your bare hands.
Another difference between Sno Seal and Obenauf’s is that Obenauf’s will darken your leather goods slightly after it is applied, and Sno Seal will do that to your leather once it is heated and applied. While it’s nothing to fret over, it is important to note that the color of your leather will darken slightly after Obenauf’s is applied; however, both products will actually give your leather a bit of a richer look.
Both products do an excellent job at sealing out water, but according to some reviews, Sno Seal is actually better at protecting your leather goods from dirt and oil, thanks to its thicker consistency. One final difference between Sno Seal and Obenauf’s is that Sno Seal has a strong, chemical odor to it, while Obenauf’s has a more natural, floral scent. Both products are also in a similar price range, so it’s really up to your preference and the type of protection you’re looking for when it comes to choosing either Sno Seal or Obenauf’s.
Must-Have Sno Seal Products
Sno Seal’s original wax product is your best bet, and it’s super-affordable, meaning you can treat every single one of your leather shoes or goods and have money left over to buy even more leather shoes and goods. Per Amazon, the product has almost 4,000 five-star reviews, like this one from a long-time customer: “I used this stuff 25 years ago when I lived in the Pacific NW and did a ton of hiking and biking in the rain. It kept my feet dry after days of constant wetness,” they wrote, noting that Sno Seal has proven to work on a variety of leather items.
”I recently bought another can to treat the underside of my Brooks bike saddle. I’ve since treated a couple of pairs of boots and a Leatherman case. It works great for waterproofing but will darken the leather in the process. It’s very thick and applies better when the product and leather it’s applied to are warm. Put it on thin and wipe off the excess after letting it soak in overnight. It lasts a long time.”
Must-Have Obenauf’s Products
You really can’t go wrong with the original Obenauf’s Industrial Strength Leather Preservative, which has thousands of glowing reviews on Amazon, like this one from someone whose leather work boots needed some extra protection. “I bought this for my Georgia work boots that only see business office use and occasional job site use. Not heavy duty use at all,” they wrote. “The boots were brand new and scuffed easily. Applied the LP and it did darken the leather a bit, but it removed the scuff marks. Occasionally I will get a scuff mark and a quick touch-up will make the boots look perfect again.”
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