Can You Dye Nubuck Shoes?

Nubuck shoes are a stylish addition to any wardrobe, but what happens if you want to change their color?

Many people wonder if it’s possible to dye nubuck shoes, and the short answer is yes, it is! Dyeing nubuck shoes allows you to give them a fresh new look and revitalize your favorite footwear.

So, if you’re ready to discover how you can transform the color of your nubuck shoes to suit your style, keep reading!

Can you dye nubuck?Yes
Recommended dye type?Water-based dyes specially designed for nubuck.
Before dyeing, should you clean?Yes, thoroughly clean and remove any protectants.
Is a color fixative needed?Yes, to ensure colorfastness.
After dyeing, should you protect?Yes, apply a nubuck protectant spray.

Can You Dye Nubuck Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

Can You Dye Nubuck Shoes

Are you tired of the same old color of your nubuck shoes? Do you want to give them a fresh look without buying a new pair? Get ready to transform your nubuck shoes and let your creativity shine!

Understanding Nubuck Shoes

Nubuck shoes are made from top-grain leather that has been sanded or buffed on the outer surface to give it a soft and velvety texture.

The unique characteristics of nubuck shoes make them highly sought after for their luxurious feel and appearance. However, one downside is that they are not as easy to clean or customize as other types of shoes. This leads many people to wonder if they can dye their nubuck shoes to change their color and give them a new life.

The answer to the question “Can you dye nubuck shoes?” is both yes and no. While it is technically possible to dye nubuck shoes, the process is more challenging compared to dyeing other types of leather.

The porous nature of nubuck makes it more difficult for the dye to penetrate evenly, resulting in a less predictable outcome. Additionally, nubuck shoes often come with special protective finishes that can hinder the absorption of dye. Nevertheless, with the right tools, techniques, and patience, you can achieve a successful dye job on your nubuck shoes.

The Process of Dyeing Nubuck Shoes

Before jumping into the process of dyeing nubuck shoes, it is important to gather the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Nubuck shoe cleaner
  • Suede brush
  • Leather deglazer
  • Leather dye (specifically formulated for nubuck)
  • Paintbrush or sponge applicator
  • Leather sealant or finisher
  • Soft cloth

Now that you have your materials ready, follow these steps to dye your nubuck shoes:

  • Clean your shoes: Start by using a nubuck shoe cleaner and a suede brush to remove any dirt or stains from your shoes. This will ensure that the dye adheres evenly to the surface.
  • Deglaze the leather: Apply a leather deglazer to the nubuck surface using a clean cloth. This will remove any remaining finishes or coatings that may prevent the dye from penetrating.
  • Apply the dye: Using a paintbrush or sponge applicator, carefully apply the nubuck-specific leather dye to your shoes. Start with thin, even coats, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. This will help you achieve a more vibrant and uniform color.
  • Seal the color: Once the dye has fully dried, apply a leather sealant or finisher to protect the newly dyed surface from cracking, fading, or staining. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you are using.
  • Condition and polish: After the sealant has dried, gently buff your shoes with a soft cloth to bring back their natural shine. You can also use a nubuck conditioner to maintain the softness and texture of the leather.

Keep in mind that the final color outcome may vary based on the original color of your nubuck shoes and the specific dye you choose.

It is always recommended to test the dye on a small, inconspicuous area of your shoe before applying it to the entire surface. This will give you a better idea of the results and allow you to make any necessary adjustments.

Tips for Dyeing Nubuck Shoes

Dyeing nubuck shoes can be a challenging task, but with the right tips and tricks, you can achieve stunning results. Here are some additional tips to help you along the way:

  • Choose the right dye: Look for a leather dye specifically formulated for nubuck shoes. This will give you the best chance of achieving an even and long-lasting color.
  • Prep the surface properly: Thoroughly clean and deglaze your nubuck shoes to ensure the dye adheres properly and produces the desired results.
  • Be patient: Take your time when applying the dye and allow each layer to dry completely before adding more. Rushing through the process may result in uneven coloration.
  • Protect your work area: Cover your work area with plastic or newspapers to prevent any dye from staining your surroundings.
  • Keep a light hand: Apply thin coats of dye to avoid clogging the pores of the nubuck and affecting its soft texture.
  • Follow the instructions: Always read and follow the instructions provided by the dye manufacturer to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Consider professional help: If you’re unsure about dyeing your nubuck shoes yourself, or if you want a more complex design, it may be worth seeking the help of a professional shoe dyer.

Determining whether you can dye nubuck shoes is essential for maintaining their aesthetic appeal. Similar queries may arise regarding other materials. Learn about the process and considerations by exploring Can You Dye Suede Shoes” and Can You Dye Nylon Shoes to enhance your understanding and skills in shoe care and customization, ensuring your footwear always looks its best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we’ve compiled some commonly asked questions to help you understand the process and achieve the best results.

Can any color be used to dye nubuck shoes?

Yes, you can dye nubuck shoes in a variety of colors. Many brands offer a wide range of dyes specifically formulated for nubuck and suede materials.

Whether you want to change the color completely or simply refresh the existing color, you’ll likely find a dye that suits your needs. Keep in mind that lighter shades may require more coats to achieve full coverage, while darker shades may be easier to apply.

Before selecting a color, consider the original color of your shoes. Some colors may not completely cover or blend well with the original color, so it’s often best to choose a dye that is slightly darker than the original shade.

If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to test the dye on a small area first to see how it looks on your particular shoes.

Will dyeing Nubuck shoes affect their texture?

Yes, dyeing nubuck shoes can potentially affect their texture. Nubuck is a type of leather that has been buffed to create a textured, velvety surface. When you apply dye to nubuck, it can fill in the texture to some extent, resulting in a slightly smoother feel.

However, if you follow the dyeing process correctly and apply the dye in thin, even layers, the impact on the texture should be minimal.

It’s important to note that dyeing nubuck shoes can also darken the overall appearance of the shoes, which may slightly alter their original texture. If preserving the original texture is a priority for you, consider consulting a professional or doing a small test on an inconspicuous area to see how the dye affects the texture before dyeing the entire shoe.

Can I dye Nubuck shoes with regular fabric dye?

No, it is not recommended to use regular fabric dye on nubuck shoes. Nubuck is a unique type of leather that requires a dye specifically formulated for its delicate texture.

Regular fabric dye is designed for textiles and may not adhere properly to nubuck, resulting in uneven color or staining. Using the wrong type of dye can also damage the material or alter its texture in undesirable ways.

To achieve the best results, invest in a high-quality nubuck dye that is specifically made for dyeing leather and suede materials. These dyes are formulated to penetrate the surface of the nubuck, providing long-lasting and even color coverage without compromising the texture.

Can professional shoe repair shops dye nubuck shoes?

Yes, many professional shoe repair shops offer dyeing services for nubuck shoes. If you’re unsure about dyeing your shoes yourself or want a guaranteed professional finish, taking them to a reputable shoe repair shop can be a great option.

Professionals have the expertise and specialized equipment to dye your nubuck shoes in a controlled environment, ensuring a high-quality result.

When choosing a shoe repair shop, make sure to do your research and read reviews to find a shop known for their dyeing services.

It’s also recommended to bring in your shoes for a consultation beforehand, so they can assess the condition of the shoes and provide guidance on the dyeing process and color options that will work best for your specific shoes.


While dyeing nubuck shoes can be a challenging task, it is certainly possible with the right tools, techniques, and patience. Just remember to choose a nubuck-specific leather dye, properly prepare and clean the surface, and take your time during the application process. With a little creativity and effort, you can breathe new life into your favorite pair of nubuck shoes.

Leave a Comment