How To Dye Leather Shoes

Wondering how to dye leather shoes? Leather shoes are a great accessory to perk up any outfit. You probably have a few sitting in your closet not being worn because you are no longer crazy about the color. Take them out and give them a new refreshed look. Dying leather shoes gives them a new shade and a second chance at life.  It does take time and patience, but let your creative side take over!

Items needed:

  • Leather Cleaner
  • Soft Cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Soft sponge
  • Leather shoed dye
  • Leather top coat (optional)
  1. Choose a pair of leather shoes to dye. They need to be in good shape. This process will only change the color, not fix any nicks or scratches. Scratches on shoes may become more noticeable after the dying process. Only try to dye leather shoes which have been gently worn. A damp soapy cloth is an effective way to clean the shoes if you do not have the leather cleaner.
  2. Clean your shoes before dying. Remove any dirt, shoe creams or protectors from the shoes to allow the color to take evenly. Gently clean the shoes with a soft cloth and leather cleaner product. Allow your shoes to dry thoroughly before dying
  3. Use masking tape to cover areas you do not want dyed. Protect the heals, soles and any decorative items that cannot be removed.
  4. Shake the bottle of leather shoe dye well to mix. Stir with a wooden stick to loosen any pigment that may have gathered at the bottom of the jar. Replace the cover and shake again. Test a small area of the shoe with the dye to make sure it is the color you expect.
  5. Apply the dye to the shoe using a soft sponge. Gently rub the sponge with the dye in even strokes all over the shoe. Use a child’s paint brush to get in any tight areas like around a buckle. Remove any excess dye by rubbing the shoe briskly with a soft cloth. Allow the first coat to dry completely. Repeat the dying process again for a second coat. The second coat will deepen the color and ensure the shoes are evenly covered. It may be necessary to add more coats to completely cover the leather shoe with dye.
  6. Use a leather topcoat product if you think your finish looks flat. This is an optional step and normally only needed if your solvent dye looks dull. Pigment based dyes last longer and do not need a topcoat.
  7. Allow your shoes to dry twenty-four hours before wearing. Keep them in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight until they are dry.


  • If you are not using a water based dye, wear latex gloves to protect your hands.
  • To dye white leather black, first dye it blue and then black.
  • Allow a few minutes for each coat of dye to dry before applying the next coat.
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