How to Dye Tennis Shoes

Learn to Dye Tennis Shoes: If tennis shoes are part of your daily outfits, they might start to look a bit repetitive and boring after a while. Instead of going out and buying another pair of tennis shoes, you can easily customize yours. All you have to do is dye them.

Over the course of their use, tennis shoes often experience heavy wear and tear and may end up looking rusty or worn out. Dyeing them can also make them look brand new and fresh. If you are looking for a way to bring change to your daily footwear, here are tips on how to dye your tennis shoe.


  • Pair of tennis shoes
  • All-purpose dye
  • Sink or bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Newspaper
  • Water
  • Stove
  • Large pot
  • Old mixing spoon


  • To dye your tennis shoes, use an all-purpose dye. It is possible to dye most shoe materials using an all-purpose dye. The all-purpose dye can be purchased at a craft shop or an online retailer.
  • Test your tennis shoes by dyeing a small patch beforehand. By checking a small patch before dyeing the entire shoe, you are making sure that your shoes are suitable for the dyeing process. If the test dye is set, you should be able to dye your running shoes effectively. If it doesn’t, you might want to try another dye.
  • Bear in mind that during the manufacturing process many shoes have been treated with a surface finish, making it impossible for the shoe to absorb a new dye.

It could have a surface finish on it if your test dye does not set.

STEP 1: 

Remove the shoelaces off your shoes. If you do not want them to be dyed along with your shoes, be sure to remove your shoelaces. Simply unlace both laces and set them aside until the process of dyeing is complete.

However, if you decide that you want your shoelaces to be dyed, then take them out and put them on their own in the dye mixture to ensure an even dye.

Also Read: What Socks to Wear with Sneakers

STEP 2: 

Remove the insoles of your shoes if necessary to prevent dyeing them. Take out the insole and put it aside. 

It is best to remove them from the dying process if you have removable insoles as they could become distorted.

If you don’t want to dye your shoe outer soles, cover them with rubber cement or a Vaseline layer. After the dyeing process is over, these can be washed or peeled off.

STEP 3: 

Scrub away the shoes of any smudges or stains. In order for the dye to disperse uniformly, you want to make sure they are clean. To clear away all the stains, use warm water with soap and a sponge.


With about 12 quarts of warm water, fill the bucket or sink. There should be ample water to submerge your shoes entirely. Preheat the water in a big cooking pot to around 140 °F (60 °C) above the stove. 

Pour the dye into the hot water in the sink or bucket by following the directions on the dye packet. Stir the dye in the bath until it appears to have completely dissolved. To stir in the dye, use an old mixing spoon.


Into the dye mixture, add a tablespoon of dish detergent. It will help the dye spread uniformly. Slowly stir the detergent into the mixture until it is well-mixed.


Before placing them into the dye mixture, ensure that your shoes are already wet. Run your shoes under warm tap water momentarily in order to wet them. This will cause the dye to more effectively work its way into your shoes.

At this point, your shoes don’t need to be totally saturated with water. What you want is to make sure that they’re a little damp.

Make sure that the whole shoe is wet, including the inside, so that the dye is fully absorbed into the shoe.


Place the shoes one at a time in the dye. Make sure that you are wearing gloves. Avoid hastily dropping the shoes into the dyebath as this can cause the dye to spill.

To allow them to absorb the dye, let the shoes sit in the dye mixture for at least an hour. Depending on the amount of color saturation you want, keep the shoes in the dye for as long as you want.

For instance, you can leave them for a longer period of time in the dyebath if you dye your shoes red and want them to have a deep, dark red appearance. Leave them in the dyebath for a shorter period of time if you want to dye your shoes a lighter shade of red or maybe even pink.

You should know that you can always check the color saturation of your shoes during the dyeing process. All you have to do is carefully take them out and judge. If you want the color to be any darker, you can put it back into the dyebath.

STEP 8: 

Once the shoes have reached your desired color, remove them from the dye. Run them under cool tap water until the water starts to run clear. You want to make sure that you wash off any residual dye from your shoes.

Patch up the shoes’ soles. Remove the liquid cement or Vaseline off of the soles. If liquid cement has been used, you should be able to scrape it off the soles. Take a wet paper towel and some soap and wipe the remaining Vaseline contents off if you have used Vaseline.


Finish the process by cleaning the shoes with warm water and soap or using a gentle detergent to place them in the washing machine, washing the shoe guarantees that the dye sets into the fabric perfectly.

Before wearing them, allow your shoes to dry completely.


There, you have it, 9 easy steps to customize and dye your own tennis shoes. So what are you waiting for? 

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