How to Dye Leather Sneakers

by Ashley Leonard

Leather sneakers come in a variety of colors, but you can change the color of the sneakers you already own to create an unique style. Dyeing leather clothing requires a specific type of dye. Changing the color of your leather sneakers can be tricky because there is the chance of ruining the material, but with the appropriate supplies, you can apply your favorite color to your favorite footwear.

Items you will need

  • Leather dye
  • Leather sneakers
  • Leather finish
  • Gloves
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
Step 1

Inspect the leather on your shoe. Leather has different finishes, which can determine the type of dye you use. If water absorbs easily into the leather or marks can easily been seen on the leather, an aniline finish has been applied. However, most leather has a top coat or a protected finish. You can purchase aniline dye for leather with an aniline finish and standard leather dye for leather with a top coat/protected finish.

Step 2

Select your color. Leather dye comes in a variety of colors. You can purchase leather dye from your nearest fabric store or arts and crafts store.

Step 3

Clean the surface of your leather sneakers. Take a damp cloth and wipe the surface of your sneakers, removing any dust or dirt. Make sure the cloth is not soaking wet, but slightly damp.

Step 4

Place a quarter-sized drop of dye onto the sponge. Apply the sponge on the leather sneaker, distributing the dye in long, even strokes. You can apply one coat for a lighter color or multiple coats for a deeper color.

Step 5

Allow the first coat of dye to dry for one to two hours. After the first coat has dried, you can apply the second coat. Use a dry cloth to buff the leather when the dye is dry. Buffing gives the sneaker a shiny, polished look.

Step 6

Apply a leather finish to condition the leather and maintains its luster. You can purchase a leather finish at your nearest shoe store or shoe repair shop.

Step 7

Allow the leather finish to dry for 20 to 30 minutes.

Photo Credits

About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Ashley Leonard has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared on rsportscars.com and various other websites. Leonard holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marymount Manhattan College.