Changing the color of your shoes is an easy and fun way to give new life to an old pair. With some basic supplies and a little bit of patience, you can transform your kicks into a bold new style in no time.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: You can change your shoe color at home by cleaning the shoes, applying a dye or paint, and sealing in the new color with a finisher spray.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to change your shoe color from start to finish. You’ll learn how to prep your shoes, use dye or paint for different effects, top coat for protection, and care for your newly colored shoes.

Gather Supplies

Shoe cleaning supplies

Before you start changing the color of your shoes, it’s important to gather the necessary cleaning supplies. This will ensure that your shoes are free from dirt, grime, and other substances that could affect the outcome of the color change. Some common shoe cleaning supplies include:

  • A soft-bristled brush
  • Mild soap or detergent
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Water

By thoroughly cleaning your shoes, you’ll have a clean and smooth surface to work with, which will enhance the color change process.

Dye, paint, or markers

Once your shoes are clean, it’s time to choose the coloring method that suits your preferences and the type of shoes you have. There are several options to consider:

  • Dye: Shoe dye is a popular choice for changing the color of leather or fabric shoes. It provides a long-lasting and vibrant result. Brands like Angelus and Fiebing’s offer a wide range of dyes in various colors.
  • Paint: Acrylic leather paint or fabric paint can be used to change the color of your shoes. These paints are available in a variety of shades and finishes, allowing you to get creative with your color choices.
  • Markers: If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to change the color of your shoes, fabric markers can be a convenient option. They are especially useful for small details or designs.

Choose the coloring method that best suits your needs and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the best results.

Finisher spray

To protect the newly applied color and ensure its longevity, it’s recommended to use a finisher spray. This spray acts as a sealant, preventing the color from fading or rubbing off easily. Look for a high-quality finisher spray specifically designed for shoes.

Brands like Resolene and Angelus have excellent options available.

Other optional supplies

Depending on your specific project, you may also need additional supplies such as:

  • Painter’s tape or masking tape to protect certain areas of the shoes
  • Sponges or brushes for applying the dye or paint
  • Rubbing alcohol or acetone for removing existing finishes or stains
  • Old newspapers or plastic sheets to protect your work area

Having these supplies ready will ensure a smooth and successful shoe color change process.

Prep Shoes for Dyeing

Clean shoes thoroughly

Before you start dyeing your shoes, it’s important to clean them thoroughly. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the shoes. You can also use a mild soap and water solution to gently scrub away any stains or marks.

Make sure to dry the shoes completely before moving on to the next step.

Remove old finish

If your shoes have a glossy or shiny finish, it’s important to remove it before dyeing. This can be done by using a paint stripper or acetone. Apply the product to a cloth and gently rub it on the surface of the shoes in circular motions.

Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the material. Once the old finish is removed, wipe the shoes clean with a damp cloth.

Sand rough areas

If there are any rough or uneven areas on the shoes, it’s a good idea to sand them down before dyeing. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to gently smooth out the surface, making sure to go in the direction of the grain.

This will help the dye adhere more evenly to the material and give you a smoother finish in the end.

Wipe with dye prep solution

Before applying the dye, it’s important to wipe the shoes with a dye prep solution. This solution helps to remove any remaining oils or residue from the surface of the shoes, ensuring that the dye will adhere properly.

You can easily make a dye prep solution by mixing equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. Apply the solution to a cloth and wipe down the shoes thoroughly.

By following these steps to prep your shoes for dyeing, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in changing the color of your shoes. Remember, it’s important to take your time and be patient throughout the process to achieve the best results.

Apply Dye or Paint

When it comes to changing the color of your shoes at home, one of the most popular methods is to apply dye or paint. This allows you to transform the look of your shoes and give them a fresh new appearance.

There are a few different options you can choose from when it comes to dyeing or painting your shoes, depending on the desired effect you want to achieve.

Follow product instructions closely

Before you begin the dyeing or painting process, it’s crucial to read and follow the instructions provided by the product manufacturer. Different brands and types of dyes or paints may have specific application techniques and drying times.

By following the instructions closely, you can ensure that you achieve the best results and prevent any potential damage to your shoes.

Use dye for full coverage color change

If you want to completely change the color of your shoes, using dye is a great option. Dyes are designed to penetrate the material of the shoe, providing a long-lasting and even color change. They are available in a wide range of colors, allowing you to choose the perfect shade to match your style.

Make sure to clean your shoes thoroughly before applying the dye, and consider using a sealant or finisher to protect the color and increase its longevity.

Use paint for splatter effects

If you’re looking to add some artistic flair to your shoes, using paint can create unique and eye-catching splatter effects. This technique involves flicking or splattering paint onto the shoe’s surface using a brush or toothbrush.

Experiment with different colors and paint densities to achieve the desired look. Remember to protect the surrounding area, as the splattering process can be messy. Once the paint has dried, consider applying a clear finish to protect the design and ensure its longevity.

Use markers for small details

For small details or intricate designs, using markers can be a precise and convenient option. Fabric markers or permanent markers specifically formulated for shoes can be used to add colorful accents, patterns, or drawings to your shoes.

These markers come in a variety of colors and tip sizes, allowing you to create detailed and personalized designs. After applying the marker, it’s essential to let it dry completely and consider using a sealant to protect the design from smudging or fading over time.

Remember, changing the color of your shoes at home can be a fun and creative way to give them a new lease on life. Whether you choose to use dye, paint, or markers, make sure to follow the instructions closely, take your time, and have fun experimenting with different colors and techniques.

Seal in Color

When changing the color of your shoes at home, it is important to seal in the new color to ensure its longevity. There are a few steps you can take to achieve this.

Let dye or paint fully dry

After applying the dye or paint to your shoes, it is crucial to allow it to fully dry before moving on to the next step. This will help prevent any smudging or smearing of the color. Depending on the type of dye or paint you are using, the drying time may vary.

It is recommended to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for best results.

Apply finisher spray in light coats

Once the dye or paint has dried, it is time to apply a finisher spray to seal in the color. A finisher spray acts as a protective barrier, preventing the color from fading or rubbing off. It is important to apply the finisher spray in light coats to avoid any drips or uneven coverage.

Hold the spray can about 6-8 inches away from the shoes and apply a thin layer, allowing it to dry before applying additional coats.

Allow to dry between coats

After each coat of finisher spray, it is crucial to allow the shoes to dry completely before applying another coat. This will ensure that each layer is properly sealed and will result in a more durable finish. Depending on the brand and type of finisher spray you are using, the drying time may vary.

It is recommended to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the most accurate drying time.

By following these steps and properly sealing in the color of your shoes, you can enjoy a fresh new look that will last for a long time. Remember to be patient and allow each layer to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step. Happy shoe color changing!

Care for Colored Shoes

After successfully changing the color of your shoes at home, it is important to take proper care of them to maintain their vibrant appearance. Here are some tips to help you care for your newly colored shoes:

Allow 24-48 hours for curing before wearing

Once you have applied the new color to your shoes, it is crucial to allow them enough time to cure. This typically takes around 24-48 hours, depending on the type of dye or paint used. During this time, it is best to avoid wearing the shoes to ensure that the color sets properly.

Remember, patience is key!

Spot clean only

When it comes to cleaning your colored shoes, it is important to use gentle methods. Avoid tossing them in the washing machine or scrubbing them vigorously, as this can cause the color to fade or peel off. Instead, opt for spot cleaning using a soft cloth or sponge and mild soap.

Gently dab the stained area and avoid rubbing too hard. This will help preserve the color and extend the lifespan of your shoes.

Store properly to avoid scuffs

To prevent scuffs and scratches on your colored shoes, it is essential to store them properly. Avoid tossing them into a pile or leaving them in a cluttered area where they can get damaged. Instead, consider investing in a shoe rack or shoe boxes to keep them organized and protected.

Additionally, you can stuff the shoes with tissue paper or use shoe trees to help them maintain their shape.

By following these care tips, you can ensure that your colored shoes stay vibrant and beautiful for a long time. Remember, proper care and maintenance are essential for any type of footwear, including those that have been color-changed at home.


With some creativity and effort, you can customize the look of your favorite pair of kicks at home. Just be sure to properly prep the shoes, use quality products, and take your time applying even coats. Follow care instructions to help your new shoe color scheme last.

Have fun experimenting with different colors and designs to make your shoes truly one-of-a-kind.

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