Best Paint for Shoes in 2021
My favorite hobby as a child used to be splashing color on every available surface I could find. While this would infuriate my parents to no end, they eventually came up with a productive solution.
Every weekend, we would find something old, maybe a shirt, pants, worn-out furniture, and just paint it anew. The best part, however, was always finding a pair of shoes that required a revamp.
What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Shoes?
So, unlike my childhood, where we would use any store-bought paint or markers, there are specific kinds of paints that are produced specifically for shoes. This might be sad news for you that you will not be able to use watercolors.
For one, they probably will not even be visible on your shoes, and two, the color will fade away very easily. Usually, acrylic paints are used for this purpose.
They are designed to not harm your shoe in any way, not cause any peeling, cracking, or discoloration, and to stay put for longer periods of time. That is, if you step into a puddle, it will not wash off.
Now, paints can be used for two purposes: decoration, and restoration. The decoration is pretty self-explanatory. You bought very plain looking shoes which at the moment you thought would work. But you go home and realize they are just not you. Too empty-looking.
Don’t worry, you can paint on flowers, skulls, hearts, whatever your heart desires, and make them unique. For restoration, there will be two kinds of materials you will encounter: leather and canvas. Your go-to paint for both these materials will also be acrylic.
For canvas, however, you can also use oil base paints. Both of them are simple to work with, and all you need is a set of brushes, some newspapers, and a palette.
Before you embark on this journey of color, there are certain precautions you require. The first, is a primer. While this is not a make-up primer, it has similar qualities. A primer acts as a base coat so that layers over it have a smooth texture to set on.
It also prevents streakiness and provides a hold for the paint. After you have drawn your masterpiece, you need a sealant to protect your shoes. This acts as a waterproof layer which will not let your work be ruined.
You can read about our most recommended sealant sprays in our article Best Shoe Protector Spray. They are designed the protect the shoes from humidity, but they will also work great to protect the paint. You can read on to know our top picks for shoe paints.
Best Paint for Shoe Restoration
Angelus Leather Paint Set
If you own a collection of multi-colored shoes, but somehow always end up ruining them, stop buying new pairs every time. How you can afford to buy that many shoes, I will not question.
Most people have traumatic skeletons in their closets, but yours is filled with old shoes you cannot seem to throw out. You now have the option of making your shoes look new again with Angelus Leather Paint Set. It includes 12 different colors, including purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and brown.
The beauty of this paint set is that it will not start flaking, cracking, or lighten. Since it is a set of colors, you can even mix and match to make an exact match to your footwear. To use it properly, make sure the surface of your shoes is clean.
You can apply it with either brushes, a sponge, or an air brush, it all depends on what is more convenient for you. If you are applying multiple coats, make sure each layer dries down before starting on the next. However, there is a downside; these paints are not waterproof. You will need an extra layer of sealant to keep the color intact for longer.
My dear father is obsessed with shoes. Yes, I did mean to write father instead of mother. He is partly the reason I would have so many options as a child, to paint on. If you can imagine leather in any color, I can bet you he will have it lying around somewhere.
He even had a separate rack built in his room just to store his shoes. His problem though, is that he somehow manages to ruin his boots pretty quickly.
Recently he got this set, dug out every pair of shoes from the past seven or so years, and restored all of them. Now he proudly wears green/orange/pink leather boots everywhere.
Mont Marte Acrylic Paint Set
When creators are naming products, they have the power to be as imaginative as possible. I mean, instead of writing orange, you could call it ‘a burning cigarette’. I am sure the company could have done much better than ‘lemon yellow’ or ‘lamp black’.
What does ‘lamp black’ even mean? Besides not having a knack for naming, Mont Marte Acrylic Paint Set does offer a wide variety of 24 different colors. There are variants of grey, beige, green, crimson, and so on. You also have the option of creating a new color using the existing ones.
All of these paints have a cream-like texture. It would feel like spreading warm butter on toast when you use these. If you are looking for a glossy paint, or a completely matte one, this might not be for you. When this dries down, the finish is somewhere between glossy and matte, the best of both worlds.
You do not have to worry about them taking long to dry, plus they are easy to use for beginners. They give an even and opaque coverage no matter what material of shoes you use them on.
My neighbor, Kim, has one son who she spoils to no end. You know how kids are, they will run around, play in dirt, and step in every questionable looking puddle. This is unfortunate for Kim, who loves buying her son shoes.
In the past month, the kid ruined three different colored sneakers. The blue pair has tread marks on it, which no one can figure out where they came from. The orange pair has ketchup spilled on it, which looks like a sunset.
The beige pair had grass stains all over. She ended up getting this set and re-coloring all those sneakers instead of getting new ones. They do look pretty fresh nowadays, but who knows how long that will last with that child of hers.
Angelus Leather Paint Black
Whenever you go shoe shopping, do you always find yourself reaching for a black pair? And then you think, the last three pairs you bought were all black. But that matte black still has your soul. You try to like another color. Brown, grey, blue, any would work.
But you keep going back to black. Besides looking killer on everyone, black is usually bought because it goes with every outfit, and rarely has stains show up on it. Now if for some reason you do need to touch up your boots, Angelus Leather Paint Black will have them looking like the day you got them.
Be sure that this paint works best on leather. Any other material might not yield optimum results. The color itself is very dark so multiple coats would not be required. The finish when it dries down, is matte, so if your shoes are glossy, do not use this product on them.
It will cover up any scratches, scuff marks, peeling, and cracks. All you have to do is paint over the affected area and the damage will be no more.
My colleague, Carla, has the cutest little puppies you can imagine. With their soft fur and happy smiles, you almost want to forgive them when they chew up your brand-new leather boots. Now, given that the puppies are pretty young, they, fortunately, did not do a lot of damage.
There were scratches here and there but their teeth were not sharp enough to cause some irreparable harm. Since the shoes were pricey, instead of throwing them out, she got this black paint. She was able to cover up the marks pretty well as you could not tell the difference.
Best Paint for Shoe Decorations
US Art Supply Super Markers
I swear, this is the marker set I dreamed of as a child. Having every color at my disposal. Permanent markers instead of those that just dried out. US Art Supply Super Markers have a choice of twenty bright colors which are specifically designed to be used on fabrics.
If you are into more mellow colors, they also have the option of a set of pastel colors. Even after continuous washing, the colors would not become duller. The fun part is that these markers are double sided. There is a bullet tip for precise and narrow outlines, and a chisel tip for coloring in.
These markers are also non-toxic, so you can let your kids run wild with them. Except maybe do exercise some supervision unless you want permanent scribbles on walls. The downside to these markers is that they will not show up very prominently on dark colored cloths.
They mostly blend into colors like purple, dark blue, or black, instead of standing out. If used on light colored shoes, such as whites and yellows, these will work remarkably.
There are people you know who will always be wearing something unique. Whenever they buy clothes or shoes from stores, they will cut them up, dye them, and completely change up their looks. My friend Zorro is the definition of distinctive.
His closet is filled with different fabrics sewn together and plain shoes not even slightly resembling their original state. He recently discovered these markers and is currently on a quest to draw a design on every pair of sneakers he owns. According to him, the pigmentation and lasting power is incredible.
FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint Set
If you consider yourself to have a personality that lives and breathes art, this is the paint set for you. Even their name, FolkArt, will give you a rush of being in a contemporary version of a medieval fantasy. Their paints do come in a set of 12 distinct colors, but the fact that makes these paints stand out is their finishes.
If you want a rustic feel to your shoes, you can get a chalky finish. To truly stand out, you can get neon colored paints. And finally, a finish that truly has my heart, is glitter. It looks good on every surface, it can brighten up any shoes, and make them look formal and elegant.
There are also color shifting finishes which would greatly brighten the outlook of your footwear.
I used to think that my cousin, Adaline, used to buy new shoes for every occasion. When I asked her if she had ten different pairs of heels, she found it quite funny. She then explained to me that she had bought a white pair of heels originally.
She got bored of that and painted her shoes sky blue. When she was tired of that, she painted them purple. After purple, the only color possible was black. And when she wanted to be rid of black, she chose to get glitter finish paints and styled her shoes to look brand new.
She did all of that using this paint set. The colors also did not fade away, streak, or get ruined in any way despite the tons of layers.
US Art Supply Acrylic Airbrush
Airbrushing is a relatively contemporary style of painting done using a handheld machine. The machine has a supply of paint attached to it and it is sprayed onto a surface to give an even coat. US Art Supply Acrylic Airbrush paints come in a set of twelve primary colors.
If you have forgotten what primary colors are, revisit second grade where they will tell you about red, blue, and green, the originals. Along with the colored paints, this set also comes with one airbrush cleaner, and an airbrush extender base.
The machine itself, you will have to get yourself, but you will have a cleaner solution ready for it. An extender base is used to thin out a spray in case you feel the texture is too dense and are afraid of clogging the machine.
My wife’s cousin has a business of customizing shoes according to the requirements of the owners. He used to paint shoes by hand, but after discovering airbrushing, he can now take twice the amount of orders. While colors cannot be mixed like you can do with normal paint, he figured a spray-painted kind of abstract look also attracted customers.
The colors inside this set when sprayed give a vibrant outlook. At first when he got them, he thought this technique should only be used by seasoned artists. But, according to him, even someone as inexperienced as me could use these. Even if you mess up, you can always call it artistic expression.