Ways & How

How to Dye Suede Shoes

How to Dye Suede Shoes

Your beloved light-colored suede shoes have been irreparably stained. You bought a pair of suede shoes in a color you don’t like because it was on sale. The current color of your suede shoes is now out of fashion. Whatever the reason, it would be a waste of a perfectly good pair of shoes if you just dispose of them. In these situations, you can dye them yourself. A dark-colored dye camouflages the dirt and stains. Here are the steps on how to dye suede shoes.

  1. Get some dye

    Make sure that you purchase dye specifically made for suede shoes. The texture of suede is sensitive and soft, so the wrong dye will harden the leather and ruin the velvety finish. In determining the quantity of dye to buy, a good guess would be half a bottle of dye per coat. When deciding on the color of the dye to be used, note that you cannot make the suede color lighter than it is. The existing color of the suede will affect the effect of the dye. So if you color your blue shoes red, your dream of becoming like Dorothy will have to turn into a dream of becoming like Barney.


    If your dye doesn’t come with a paintbrush for application, you can buy your own. Select a flat brush that is between half an inch to 1 inch wide. You can also use an old, clean toothbrush. The brush must have stiff bristles to ensure that the dye gets into every nook and cranny of the suede surface.

  2. Ready the shoes

    Remove any laces and push the tongues forward so every surface that you intend to dye is accessible. Stuff the shoes with newspapers to keep their shape and protect their insides. Make sure that the shoes are very clean by brushing them with a suede brush. Focus on the seams and the areas near the soles. If you don’t want to dye the soles of the shoes, tape them over with painter’s tape.

  3. Prepare a workspace

    Put a plastic, hole-free sheet on the floor or pile old newspapers on it. The dye can be very watery, so the floor must be protected from possible spills and spatters. Pour the dye into an old plastic container. You should be okay with the dye possibly staining the container.

  4. Dye the shoes

    Put on a pair of gloves and dip the brush into the dye. Apply the dye in circular motions on the shoe. Make sure that you cover the seams thoroughly. Note that the seams may not absorb the dye, and that is alright because the seams may be made from a synthetic fiber that doesn’t absorb dye as well as suede. When the whole surface is covered, set the shoes aside to dry overnight. Note that at this point, the color may look uneven and lighter than your desired shade. Let it be; you can apply multiple coats. Make sure that you let the shoes dry for a whole day before applying a new coat. This will allow the leather to absorb the color first before getting wet again.

    When the shoes are completely dry, use the suede brush and a hairdryer to buff the shoes and remove any coagulated dye. It is highly recommended that the shoes be sprayed with a product that waterproofs suede. This way, the dye will not run out of the shoes when they get wet. The product will also prevent the suede from hardening and losing its soft texture.

Knowing how to dye suede shoes is useful for bringing new life to old and barely-used shoes. It will also save you from getting rid of a good pair of suede shoes.


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