Can you dye leather shoes

Can you dye leather shoes

Can you dye leather shoes

If you are tired of your original leather shoe colour, it is natural to think of changing things around. If you wonder if you can apply thin coats of leather dyes to your all weather shoes to enjoy a whole new colour, we can help. To make sure you dye leather shoes in the best way, please check out our guide to dye projects.

Is it possible to dye leather shoes?

Yes, you can dye leather shoes, and there are many fantastic examples of leather shoes benefitting from a new lease of life. Of course, many caveats are associated with the dyeing process and the finished outcome, but ultimately, most people find they can change the colour of their leather shoes.

Very light shoes can become a dark shoe in no time

Always remember that you cannot dye leather a lighter colour, only darker than the original colour. This applies to shoes as much as any leather item. If you have a black pair of leather trainers, don’t expect to convert them to a lighter colour.

However, if you have white or pale blue trainers, you can switch up your style to a deep red, a dark brown or even black, as darker colours are okay.

Why would you dye leather shoes?

There are a few reasons why someone might choose to dye leather shoes:

Change the colour

Repair or restore damaged shoes


Match other clothes/Accessories

These are all pertinent reasons why someone would look to dye their shoes a new colour.

What products dye leather shoes?

You can use the following solutions when dyeing shoes:

  • Leather paint, including spray paint
  • Leather shoe dye
  • Leather dye paste
  • Alcohol-based ink
  • Shoe polish
  • Homemade remedies - Some people use household items such as vinegar, baking soda, tea, or coffee to dye leather shoes. These methods can be unpredictable and may not produce long-lasting results.

Can you dye all leather footwear?

While it is possible to dye most types of leather footwear, the process may not work well for all types of leather.

Some types of leather take dye more readily

Some types of leather, such as aniline leather, take dye well and can produce good results when dyed. Smooth leather shoes are a dream to dye, and natural smooth leather changes colour well, even with thin layers. You can apply thin coats or a second coat transforms your dyed shoes.

Suede and nubuck have a more porous surface and have a soft, velvety nap which can make it more difficult for the dye to penetrate and adhere properly.

It's also important to consider the shoe's structure when considering dyeing. Footwear with intricate stitching or embellishments may be hard to dye evenly and may need more time to apply the dye without damaging the details. You should follow stitch lines in the same direction when applying leather to a dyed surface.

You can dye leather boots and sandals just as easily as leather shoes, but the stitching and intricate patterns might pose problems in achieving the finish you desire.

How long does leather dye last on a shoe?

There are so many factors involved when you dye leather boots or shoes, such as the age and condition of the leather, how much dye is applied, the original and dyed colours and so on, that it is impossible to state a timescale for every project.

However, on average, a well-applied dye can last for two years, allowing an individual a great deal of use out of their fantastic-looking footwear.

Shoe polish is a temporary measure

If you want a short-term change of colour, or you want to test how a new colour looks, shoe polishing is a great temporary solution.

Is dyeing leather shoes the same as dyeing suede or canvas shoes?

Dyeing leather shoes is not the same as dyeing suede or canvas shoes. While it is possible to dye all three types of shoes, the process and the types of dye used will differ for each.

Leather shoes

Leather shoes are typically made from full-grain or top-grain leather, and dyeing involves applying the dye to the surface of the leather. The dye will usually penetrate the surface and adhere to the fibres of the leather. This process can create long-lasting results but still needs to be guaranteed.

Suede shoes

Suede shoes are made from the underside of a hide and have a soft, velvety nap. The nap and the porous nature of suede make it more difficult for dye to penetrate and adhere properly. Dyeing suede shoes is more complex and requires special dyes, processes, and application methods.

Canvas shoes

Canvas shoes are made from fabric, often cotton or a cotton blend. Dyeing canvas shoes require different types of dyes and methods from leather or suede.

You can either use fabric paint or fabric dye to colour canvas shoes, the process is relatively simple, but the result may not be as long-lasting.

Is it expensive to dye leather shoes?

The cost of dyeing leather shoes can vary depending on a few factors, the type of dye used, the condition of shoes, and where the shoes are dyed.

Leather dye doesn't have to be expensive

If you choose to dye your leather shoes yourself, the cost will depend on the dye you choose. Some dyes can be relatively inexpensive, found at most craft or shoe supply stores. However, some specialised dyes may be more expensive.

You'll also need to factor in the cost of any other materials you might need, such as brushes, gloves, masks and cleaner. Also, if you apply a second, even a thin layer, or multiple coats, you'll use more leather paint, and the cost will increase. However, given the cost of replacing leather boots, a second coat of leather paint is often more affordable.

In general, dyeing leather boots or shoes can be a relatively inexpensive way to change the colour of your shoes or restore them.