Can You Dye Shoes With Fabric Dye?

Have you ever wondered if you can give your favorite pair of shoes a new lease on life by dyeing them with fabric dye?

So, can you dye shoes with fabric dye? The short answer is yes! Fabric dye can be used to color various materials, and shoes are no exception. From canvas sneakers to leather boots, fabric dye can work its magic on a wide range of shoe types.

However, there are a few factors to consider, such as the material of the shoes and the color you’re starting with. But worry not, because we’re here to guide you through the process, step by step.

Can You Dye Shoes with Fabric Dye?

Can You Dye Shoes With Fabric Dye

Are you wondering if you can transform your shoes using fabric dye? Absolutely! With fabric dye, you can give your shoes a new lease on life.

So, let’s dive in!

The Science Behind Dyeing Shoes with Fabric Dye

When it comes to dyeing shoes with fabric dye, it’s important to understand the science behind the process.

Fabric dye is designed to permanently bond with textile fibers, such as those found in clothing or upholstery. Shoes, on the other hand, are often made from a variety of materials, including leather, suede, canvas, or synthetic fabrics.

While fabric dye can work on some materials, it may not be suitable for all types of shoes.

Dyeing Leather Shoes with Fabric Dye

Fabric Dye color for shoe

Leather shoes are a popular choice for dyeing with fabric dye due to their porous nature. However, using fabric dye on leather requires additional preparation and care.

Before dyeing, clean the shoes thoroughly with a leather cleaner to remove any dirt or debris. Next, apply a leather conditioner to ensure the leather is properly prepped for dyeing.

Once the shoes are clean and conditioned, apply the fabric dye using a brush or sponge, making sure to cover the entire surface evenly. Allow the dye to dry completely before adding additional coats for a more intense color.

Finally, seal the color by applying a leather sealant or finisher to protect the dye from fading or rubbing off.

Dyeing Canvas or Fabric Shoes with Fabric Dye

Canvas or fabric shoes are often the easiest to dye using fabric dye. Start by removing any laces or removable components from the shoes. Place the shoes in a basin of warm water to wet them thoroughly.

Mix the fabric dye according to the manufacturer’s instructions and add it to the water, stirring well to ensure even distribution. Carefully place the shoes into the dye mixture, making sure they are fully submerged.

Allow the shoes to soak for the recommended amount of time, usually around 10-30 minutes. After the desired color is achieved, rinse the shoes with cold water and let them air dry.

Once dry, replace the laces or other components and your newly dyed fabric shoes will be ready to wear.

Dyeing Synthetic Shoes with Fabric Dye

Dyeing synthetic shoes, such as those made from polyester or nylon, can be more challenging. These materials are often resistant to dye due to their non-porous nature, which prevents the dye from properly bonding.

However, there are some specialized fabric dyes available that are formulated to work on synthetic materials. Before dyeing synthetic shoes, it’s important to prepare them by cleaning with warm soapy water to remove any dirt or oils.

Once clean, follow the dyeing instructions provided by the manufacturer, making sure to allow the dye to fully penetrate the material. Keep in mind that the results may vary, and it’s always a good idea to test a small inconspicuous area before dyeing the entire shoe.

The Importance of Prepping and Aftercare

Regardless of the material, prepping the shoes before dyeing is crucial for achieving the best results. Make sure to clean the shoes thoroughly, removing any dirt, stains, or pollutants that may affect the dyeing process.

Additionally, it’s essential to properly seal the newly dyed shoes to protect the color from fading or rubbing off. Use a sealant or finisher specifically designed for the material of your shoes, whether it’s leather, fabric, or synthetic.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the sealant and allow it to dry completely before wearing the shoes.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Shoe Dyeing

To ensure successful shoe dyeing, here are some additional tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  • Use a toothbrush or soft-bristle brush to apply the dye evenly and reach into crevices or seams.
  • Start with light or neutral-colored shoes for the best dye absorption and results.
  • Test a small inconspicuous area of the shoe before dyeing the entire shoe to check the compatibility and desired outcome.
  • If you want to achieve a lighter color, dilute the fabric dye with water before applying.
  • Allow the shoes to dry completely between dyeing coats for a more intense color.
  • Consider using a dye fixative or setting agent to help the color stay vibrant for longer.

Pros and Cons of Dyeing Shoes with Fabric Dye

Dyeing shoes with fabric dye has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore them below:


  • Gives old shoes a fresh new look.
  • Offers a cost-effective alternative to buying new shoes.
  • Allows for customization and personalization of footwear.
  • Can revive worn-out or stained shoes.


  • Results may vary depending on the shoe material and dye used.
  • Can be time-consuming, especially for multiple coats or intricate designs.
  • Dye may rub off on socks or other surfaces if not properly sealed.
  • Dyeing irreversibly changes the color, so there’s no going back to the original shade.

Alternatives to Fabric Dye for Shoe Transformation

If dyeing shoes with fabric dye doesn’t appeal to you or if you prefer a temporary option, there are alternatives available to transform the color of your shoes:

  • Shoe Paint: Specifically formulated for shoes, shoe paint provides a long-lasting color change that can be easily applied with a brush or sponge.
  • Spray Paint: Spray paint designed for leather or fabric can give shoes a quick and even color change. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use in a well-ventilated area.
  • Shoe Covers or Wraps: If you prefer not to alter the shoes themselves, consider using shoe covers or wraps made from fabric or other materials. These can be easily removed or changed whenever you want a different color or style.

Remember to consider the material, durability, and desired longevity of the color transformation when choosing an alternative method to dyeing with fabric dye.

While exploring the realm of shoe dyeing with fabric dye, you might also be curious about other unconventional methods. Have you considered using food coloring or even hair dye? Dive into these linked articles to discover the versatility and creativity in shoe customization.


So, can you dye shoes with fabric dye? The answer is yes! Fabric dye can be used to give your shoes a new color. However, it’s important to prep the shoes properly, use the right type of dye, and follow the instructions carefully to get the best results.

Make sure to choose a dye that is suitable for the material of your shoes. Always test a small, hidden area first to check if the color turns out as desired. With a little patience and creativity, you can transform your old shoes into a fresh and colorful pair!

Leave a Comment