Custom sneakers come in many colors and designs, but underneath all of the paint is a plain, mass-produced sneaker. If you have a pair of running shoes that you find comfortable but a little plain, you could customize them yourself. For the artistically-inclined, painting your running shoes is an enjoyable and inexpensive way of customizing your shoes. You can customize a new pair of sneakers, giving them a whole new appearance, or even rejuvenate an old pair.
Wipe off any dirt or dust with a damp cloth. Let the shoes dry.
Sand the surface of the shoes with fine-grit sandpaper. This will roughen the surface, allowing the paint to bond more easily to the leather. Be sure to sand the entire outside of the shoe that you will paint.
Paint your design onto the shoe using acrylic paint. Use a wide-bristle brush for the background and a fine-bristle brush for detail work. Let the paint dry.
Place the shoes on newspaper outside of your home. Spray the surface of the shoes with a thin coat of clear acrylic sealant. This will keep the paint on your shoes from flaking off.