Niko´s Guides – How To Paint Your Shoes

I love wearing my shoes. I love the feeling of taking a fresh pair of shoes out of the box, put them on my feet and then take my first stroll in them. It’s a feeling unlike anything else.

But of course with time, the more I wear them the more beat they become and don´t get me wrong I love when sneakers have that beaten look, especially the creases that tells me as a person that this shoe is not just for looks.

It’s a statement that I wear on my feet and while I do love using my shoes, one of the most annoying things I experience with some of my favourites is that the paint tends to chip and eventually fall off.

This problem is especially prominent with my Jordan shoes. If you´ve ever owned a pair of Air Jordans and especially Air Jordan 4´s you know the struggle of the paint chipping at the Midsole.

This happens because of the pressure that is put on the shoe itself. It’s impossible to avoid paint chipping with specific shoe models. It’s just something that’s going to happen and at point BUT thankfully there are ways to repair this problem and that is to paint your shoes yourself!

Paint For Your Shoes

I want to note that this doesn´t just apply to people who want to paint their shoes because the paint is falling off. Shoe customizing and especially sneaker customizing is in itself an art form and a very fun hobby at that. I myself used to paint my sneakers.

Sometimes I just wanted to breathe more life into them, other times I just wanted to get creative. One time I actually bought a pair for 100$ and flipped them for 200$ just by doing an overall repaint so it can actually also be a lucrative venture if you are up for it. But one of the essentials in painting sneakers is, of course, the paint.

When choosing paint it’s important to look at which shoe you are planning to paint. Are we talking an ordinary leather shoe? canvas? nubuck? if you don´t know what you are working with I would suggest googling the model of your shoes in question and read up on what materials you are working with.

Personally, I used to paint shoes from Jordan Brand and most of their shoes are made from synthetic leather.

Let’s assume that’s what you are working with since most shoes are made of this material. There exist many brands that specifically make paint for sneakers.

And I would recommend these since painting your shoes with ordinary paint or hobby paint that you find in a local store can damage the shoe itself since the paint is made from cheap chemicals.

One of the brands that I found useful when it came to buying paint specially made for sneakers was Angelus. Angelus makes different types of paint depending on your shoe.

If you were to paint let’s say an ordinary Air Jordan 4 as I mentioned before. you would need a bottle of acrylic leather paint with the colour of your choosing. They also have a lot of different colours and even special made colours if you are planning to paint sneakers.

One Example is the specific cement colour that you find on an Air Jordan 4 White Cement.

You don´t have to worry about the paint matching the original colour since the pint is made with that specific cement colour in mind. And not to mention that the price point is rather cheap since even a 1oz bottle will last for a long time.

Paint Brushes

I can not point out how important the right brushes are when it comes to painting your shoes. It’s possible to go down to your local supermarket and buy the cheapest set of brushes to save yourself some money.

But this is an area I would suggest not to hold back on to the quality of the brush itself is an important factor when it comes to painting shoes. I’m not saying that you should go out and buy a pair of brushes with gold handles, with your name engraved on them for a 100$ each.

But I´m saying that maybe you should reconsider spending more than just a buck or two when you are choosing your brushes

When I started out I found myself buying the cheapest ones I could find and they did such a horrible job that I had to redo the whole process because I found it that it wasn´t the paint but the brushes that were the problem.

I got myself a set at my local hobby store for around 10$ and I would personally go for the 5-10$ mark and at the same time look for a set so that you get different brushes. I myself got a mix of smaller delicate fine brushes for the smaller areas of my shoe and bigger broader brushes for when I´m just stroking alongside the midsole

Shoe Preparations

It´s important to prepare your shoe for repainting. Some people would just immediately paint over the spot that seems to be chipping and while it may fix the problem immediately, this way of approach is a bad idea since the paint will most likely just fall off again, since the shoes itself is not prepared in such a way so that I can keep the paint on.

Not to mention the dirt that you are properly painting over, and what happens when those painting dirt spots fall off? well, what happens is that. Your shoe is now left with different unpainted spots all over your painted area and now you have to paint your shoes again

The essential element when it comes to painting shoes is the work you do beforehand. What you essentially need to do is, first of all, give it a good cleaning. This can be done with a simple mix of lukewarm warm water and hand soap. About a 1/4 soap and 3/4 water mixture and then a good rubbing gets rid of most dirt.

Then you need to either strip the paint of your targeted area or prepare the material itself, luckily the method for doing both those things are the same. If you want to get rid of the paint or prepare your shoe material for a repaint you need to use acetone. Acetone is the best way to do the listed tasks because it effectively gets rid of almost any kind of paint.

And if you think that it may be hard to acquire, due to its chemical sounding name you are wrong. You might actually have some lying around right now since acetone is more a or less another word for nail polish remover.

They both work exactly the same, acetone just comes in a bigger bottle and both are relatively cheap and it really doesn´t matter which one you go out and buy, this is one area when you can allow yourself to cheapen out when it comes to painting your shoes

I would also highly suggest buying cotton balls or pads for the process itself since these two products are also rather cheap and you get a lot of them when you buy a pack

The process of applying the acetone itself is really easy since all you have to do is simply apply the fluid to the cotton and then begin to work your way down the shoes or the area itself. It’s Also worth to note that you only have to do this once so you don´t have to remove the paint and prepare the materials for different sessions.

Painters Tape

Another great thing to buy when you are venturing into the art form that is shoe painting is painters tape. There’s not much to say, it’s basically what it sounds like. Tape with a rather weak sticking power made to keep you from spilling your paint into unwanted areas. This is an optional choice since it all depends on how steady you are with your hands.

For your first time, I would highly recommend using painters tape since it’s a real pain to remove paint from unwanted places on your shoes. Besides, it’s also a cheap product that functions all the same and it’s easy to find in any hobby shop

Where to Learn More

There are numerous videos on how to paint your sneakers and different techniques you can use. There exist many sneaker channels on YouTube who solely focus on the painting aspect of shoes, whether that customizing or overall restoring. you might even find a video about how to best paint your exact model and maybe even get some inspiration if you are thinking about customizing your own pair of kicks

I hope this helped you answer some questions you might´ve had on how to paint your shoes and if you have decided that you want to try repainting your shoes. Then you can visit Angelus´s website here!

I hope your first pair turns out great!

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