How to Spray Paint Shoes: Get the Color Shoes You Want

Are you bored with the color of some of your shoes? Maybe you have an event to attend and can’t find the perfect shade to match your outfit? You can change the look of your shoes by learning how to spray paint them.

It’s a great way to rejuvenate an old pair of shoes or get your perfect color match. Let’s be honest – sometimes shoe manufacturers just don’t make the shade you need.

Let’s look at some of the key things involved. We’ll show you what products will work, how to prepare, and of course how to spray paint shoes.


What Kind of Spray Paint to Use on Shoes

Spray Paint Shoes

The success of any project lies in choosing the right tools for the job. Painting leather with a product suitable for fabric, or vice versa, won’t work well. Choosing the wrong type of paint can result in it failing to adhere, or cracking and peeling after drying.

Many paints suitable for leather, vinyl, and plastic come in an aerosol can for easy application. Moneysworth and Best Brillo spray paint is a good choice. There is an array of 52 colors to choose from.



Another option is Nu-Life from Meltonian, although there aren’t as many color choices.

There are other paints you can buy, such as this set from Angelus. The advantage here is you can mix colors to get the exact shade you want. The downside is you would need to buy a spray gun to apply it to your shoes.



When it comes to painting fabric shoes, a set of paints like these from U.S. Art Supply will work. They even include a color mixing chart to make your life easier. Again, you would need a spray gun to apply these paints.



The bottom line is making sure you choose the right paint. Check that the manufacturer recommends it for the material of your shoes.


Which is the Best Spray Paint for Shoes: Ready in a Can or Added to a Spray Gun?

We have mentioned two ways of applying spray paint to shoes. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference.

What is the Spray Paint Shoes

Some might find canned spray paint easier to work with, and it’s also usually lighter to hold. The downside is you are restricted to the color that is supplied. You could adjust the intensity by applying less, or more, but that’s about it.

Mixing your own paint to add to a spray gun will give you more freedom of color choice. If you don’t have the exact shade you want, you can experiment until you get it right. On the other hand, it requires more work and might not be as easy to handle.


Preparing Your Shoes for Spray Painting

It’s essential that you prepare your shoes before spray painting.

What You Need

  • Shoe brush.
  • Leather preparer/deglazer or 100 percent acetone.
  • Newspaper.
  • Old large tablecloth or sheet.
  • Cotton wool balls or a clean rag.
  • Fine grade sandpaper.
  • Warm water.
  • Dishwashing soap.
  • Scouring pad.
  • Painters tape.


The Method

Before you begin, cover your work area with newspaper or a large old table cloth or sheet. Spray painting can be messy.

For Leather Shoes:

  1. Use a shoebrush to remove any dirt, dust or debris from your shoes.
  2. Roughen up the surface with a scouring pad.
  3. Soak a cotton wool ball or rag with acetone or a deglazer/preparer. One like this from Angelus will remove the factory finish from your shoes.
  4. Wipe your shoes all over with the soaked cotton wool ball or rag, making sure your work in one direction all the time. This will help ensure a smooth finish when you paint your shoes.
  5. Rub the shoes with warm water and a clean rag to remove any remaining traces of acetone.
  6. Let your shoes air dry.



  • Make sure you choose only 100 percent acetone and not a nail polish remover that might have other additives.
  • Check your shoes carefully when you have finished for any stray cotton fibers.


For patent Leather Shoes:

  1. Mix a small amount of dishwashing soap with warm water in a bowl.
  2. Dampen a rag and wipe dirt and debris from your shoes.
  3. Allow the shoes to dry and follow steps 2 – 4 above.
  4. Take your fine grade sandpaper and remove the shiny finish from your shoes. Work in one direction until the shoes are dull in appearance.
  5. Wipe the shoes with warm water and a rag to remove any dust after sanding.


Pro Tips

  • Paint won’t be able to adhere to the shiny finish on patent leather so it must be removed.
  • Make sure when you have finished sanding that the surface is level. If it’s not, your finished product might be unevenly colored.


For Fabric Shoes:

  1. Mix a small amount of dishwashing soap with warm water.
  2. Soak a rag in the mix and wring it out so it’s damp.
  3. Wipe the whole surface of the shoes to remove dust and dirt.
  4. Allow the shoes to air dry.



Ensure the shoes are completely dry before painting.


For All Shoes

  • Use painters tape to cover any external areas of the shoes, such as the soles, that you don’t want painted.
  • Stuff the inside with newspaper to help shoes retain their shape and protect the inners from paint.



Don’t forget to remove laces and cover buckles or other embellishments.


Spray Painting Your Shoes

How to Spray Paint Shoes for men

Now comes the fun part. Your shoes are all prepared and ready to accept their new color.

What You Need

  • Your choice of paint.
  • An empty container (optional).
  • An old sheet or some newspaper


The Method

  1. Place your prepared shoes on top of an empty container that allows access to all areas you want to paint; or
  2. Place your shoes on a surface covered with a sheet or some newspaper.
  3. Holding your sprayer about four to six inches away from the shoe, depress the nozzle to release the paint.
  4. Cover the entire shoe with long, even strokes.
  5. Apply several thin layers until you achieve the color you want.
  6. Allow each coat to dry before applying another one; this takes about one hour.
  7. Once you finish painting, let the shoes stand for an hour or so to dry.
  8. Remove any painter’s tape and leave the paint to prove for about 24 hours.


Pro Tips

  • Work in one direction around the shoe when spraying. This will give an even finish and ensure you don’t miss any parts.
  • Make sure the paint dries well between each application, to help prevent drips from forming.
  • Always work in a well-ventilated room. If the fumes start to bother you, open a window, or take a break. You could also try wearing a protective mask.
  • Using a hairdryer on a cool setting or placing shoes in front of a fan can speed up the drying process.

This video highlights some of the steps in spray painting shoes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Spray Paint Leather and Canvas Shoes?

Yes, you can. Just make sure the material is prepped correctly before painting. If both materials are included in the same shoe, prepare each following the steps we have given above.

Canvas shoes can also be colored using fabric paint or markers. You could try some like this selection from U.S. Art Supply. If you are feeling creative, you can design all sorts of different patterns to personalize your shoes.




How Do You Seal Leather Shoes After Painting?

Once your shoes are painted and dry, you can apply a spray acrylic sealant to protect your handiwork. They are available in matte or gloss finishes, depending on your preference. This package from Aleene’s gives you the choice of both.



As with spray paint, apply several thin coats and make sure each coat dries between application.


Can You Use More Than One Type of Paint to Personalise Shoes?

Yes, you can. The world is your creative oyster. You can use marker, brush and spray paints to create your designs. When spraying, be sure to put painters tape on the areas you don’t want to be colored by the spray.

This video shows a cool design on a pair of Nike sneakers.


Time to Get Artistic

Spray painting an old favorite pair of shoes can give them a new lease on life. It can also allow you to color match your footwear to an outfit.

This is great if you need a shade that is out of the ordinary. Maybe you’re planning for a special event and want to stand out from the crowd.

Now that you know all there is about how to spray paint shoes, it’s time to get creative. Please leave us a comment, or send us a picture of your newly renovated shoes. We would love to hear from you and see the results, and please don’t forget to share.



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