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Can You Dye Leather Shoes A Different Colour

Leather shoes are a classic accessory, but they can quickly become outdated or too monochrome if you have the same pair in black, brown, or other neutral colours. If you want to add some personality to your shoe collection, then it's time to learn how to dye leather shoes a different colour! There are many ways to do this, so read on for more information about dye projects.

What Types Of Leather Shoes Can Be Dyed?

The first step is to determine whether your leather shoes can be dyed. You'll have the best luck with smooth leather shoes made of natural materials. This includes both full-grain and top-grain leather. If your footwear is made of synthetic materials or has a textured finish, they may not take dye as well, or the results may not be as even.

Leather Shoes

Follow Manufacturer Advice

It's also important to check the care label on your boots. If it says that the footwear should not be dyed, then it's best to follow that advice. Dyeing leather is generally considered a permanent change, so you'll want to be sure before you proceed.

You Can Dye Natural Smooth Leather In Many Formats!

While leather shoes is used as a catch all term, you can dye leather boots, sports boots and all manner of leather footwear. If you plan on dying leather boots, you'll need a lot of dye, and even a paint brush to speed up the process!

You Don't Need A Market Leader To Dye Footwear

There are many leather dyes to choose from, and you don't need to opt for market leaders. Brands like Angelus leather dye are well known, but many users opt for less common brands. There are plenty of great options to choose from.

What Supplies Do You Need To Dye Leather Shoes?

In addition to your leather boots, you'll need the following supplies:

  • Leather shoe dye in your desired colour (or even leather paint)
  • A soft cloth or sponge
  • A bowl or container for the dye
  • Water (if needed) and a plastic cup to mix liquid dye
  • Clear nail polish (optional)
  • A paint brush and/or a horsehair brush
  • Masking tape
  • A few rags to mop us mess
  • Shoe cream polish
  • Wool daubers or cotton wool
  • Acrylic finisher

These items will give you a good start in dyeing boots. You can add other items such as cream polish, shoe polish or rubbing alcohol.

Tools for Dyeing leather shoes

Can You Spray Paint Leather?

Yes, you can use a spray bottle filled with spray paint or leather paint to transform your footwear. Leather paint comes in a variety of colours, and is useful for touch-ups at a later date, so retain your leather paint.

Can Shoes Be Dyed Another Colour?

The short answer is: usually. As long as your shoes are made of smooth, natural leather, there's a good chance that they can be dyed to a new colour. However, it's always best to check the care label first and proceed cautiously, as dyeing leather shoes is a permanent change.

It is vital to remember you can only dye leather a darker colour, and this is the case with shoes and other leather products. This process has been likened to applying colored cellophane, making it darker each time in thin layers.

You Cannot Dye Leather A Lighter Colour

You cannot take black leather shoes and dye them white, so bear this in mind when you are looking to change the colour of leather shoes. You can only maintain the colour of your shoes, or make them darker.

Alcohol based dyes are effective at seeping into leather, and will give you a darker finish. When you want colourful liquids to have the most important, this style of dye is a great purchase. Also, don't be afraid to dye a second coat for a rich finish.

If you are considering dyeing your leather shoes, consider a temporary option at first. Buy shoe polish (or Kiwi polish) and apply it to the shoe to give you an idea of how dyed leather shoes look. Show polish is only a temporary solution, even with a high quality polish, so if you don't like it, you can wash it.

Is It Easy To Dye Leather Shoes?

Dyeing your leather shoes is relatively easy, but taking your time and working in a well-ventilated area is essential. Be sure to read the instructions on your dye carefully before you begin, as some dyes may require mixing with water or other ingredients.

Very Light Shoes Dye Easily

It is easier to dye light shoes than a dark show, and a dark shoe might need multiple coats. You have more options with a pair of shoes when it is a lighter colour, but you'll find a good textile dye can work wonders on all shoes.

Once you have your supplies ready, start by applying a small amount of dye to a hidden shoe area, such as the inside of the tongue or heel. This will help you to test the colour and see how well it adheres to the leather. If you're happy with the results, then you can proceed with dyeing the rest of the shoe.

Shoe Polishing Works Best When You Apply Thin Coats

To apply the dye, use a soft cloth or sponge to apply it evenly over the shoe's surface. Work in small sections and take care not to saturate the leather. Once you've covered the entire shoe, allow the dye to dry completely.

If you want a more polished look, you can apply clear nail polish over the dyed area once it's dry.

The Process Of Dyeing Leather Shoes

If you follow these steps to dye leather boots and shoes, you'll find the process a simpler one.

Prepare your work area. Cover any surfaces you don't want to get dye on and ensure you have everything you need within reach. It's also a good idea to wear old clothes or an apron, as dye can be messy.

Clean the shoes. Start by giving them a good cleaning with a leather cleaner. This will help the dye to adhere better to the shoes. A leather preparer also ensures your shoes and boots are prepped for the dyeing process. If there are areas you wish to avoid dying, apply masking tape.

Mix the dye. If you're using water-based dye, then mix it according to the manufacturer's instructions in a bowl or container.

Apply the dye in thin coats. Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply the dye evenly to the shoes. Be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies, and follow stitch lines. Pause after the first coat to ensure things look good, and then apply a second coat, and more, if required. Only add more dye to the dyed surface when you are happy with the process, and follow natural lines in the shoe.

Let the dye dry. Once the shoes are evenly coated, set them aside to dry. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a day, depending on the type of dye you used.

Apply a clear sealant (optional). If you want to add an extra layer of protection, then you can apply a clear nail polish or sealant over the dyed shoes. This is especially important if you plan on wearing them in wet conditions.

Leather Shoes Dyeing

How Do You Permanently Dye Leather Shoes?

Dyeing shoes is a permanent change, so you'll want to be sure that you're happy with the new colour before you proceed. If you're unsure, it's always best to test the dye on a hidden shoe area first.

How To Take Care Of Dyed Leather Shoes

Once you've dyed your leather footwear, it's important to take good care of them to ensure that the colour lasts. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid getting the boots wet. If they do get wet, dry them off as quickly as possible. Dampness can cause the dye to fade over time.
  • Avoid exposing the footwear to direct sunlight. Sunlight can also cause the dye to fade.
  • Be careful when you're cleaning the shoes. Avoid using harsh cleaners or polishes, as these can strip away the dye. Stick to gentle leather cleaners or a straight up conditioner instead.
  • Store the shoes in a cool, dark place when you're not wearing them. This will help to prevent the colour from fading.
  • Apply wax polish to maintain a shine and minimise damage on your shoe.

A natural waxed finish looks fantastic, ensuring your boots grab attention.

Dyeing shoes is a great way to change up your look, and it's relatively easy to do. Just be sure to take good care of your footwear afterwards to keep the colour looking its best.

The Pros And Cons Of Dying Leather Shoes

Dyeing boots is a great way to change up your look, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you start. Here are the pros and cons:


  • You can change the colour of your shoes to match any outfit.
  • Dyeing is a relatively easy process, and it doesn't take too long to do.
  • Dyed shoes can be a fun and unique fashion statement.


  • The colour may fade over time if the shoes are not properly cared for.
  • Some dyes can be harsh on the leather, so choosing a quality product is important.
  • If you don't like the colour, it can be difficult to change it back, and you cannot dye leather a lighter colour.

Dying leather footwear is a fun and easy way to remain fresh and have footwear people talk about.

Tips For Choosing The Right Leather Dye Colour When Dyeing Shoes

When you're dyeing leather footwear, it's important to choose the right colour. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you want a bold look, go for a bright colour.
  • If you want a more subtle look, stick to darker colours.
  • If you're unsure, it's always best to test the dye on a hidden area of the shoe first.
  • Keep in mind that some dyes can be harsher on the leather than others, so choosing a quality product is important.

Use Colours To Create A Darker Blend

No matter the colour you want, there will be options, with blue dye being an example of something out of the ordinary. Whether you want red, green or blue dye, you'll find options as you would with black or brown dye.

Dyeing leather shoes is a great way to change up your look, and it's relatively easy to do. Just be sure to take good care of your shoes afterwards to keep the colour looking its best.

Finding the correct dye is often trial and error, but trying products on a few test swatches will help you find the best solution for your pair of shoes.

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