Dye Your Own Shoes!


Hey Everyone! So I’ve noticed Keds and Vans seem to be pretty in style at the moment, especially in various fun and vibrant colors for summer. I’ve been wanting a pair in every color imaginable but a pair of either of these brands of shoes is about $40, unless you’re lucky enough to find them on sale.

I found that Walmart sells a shoe that resembles a plain white pair of Keds. But who wants to wear boring white shoes (besides the fact that they make you look really tan!)? So i decided to pick up a couple pairs of these Walmart shoes and dye them various colors. I figured yellow and blue would be bright enought to make a statement! The shoes only cost $5 a pair, which was AWESOME (they come in whole sizes only). You can use basically any fabric dye. I think RIT is popular and is around $3, but there are other brands too. You can pick fromalmost any color you could think of! 

The actual dying of the shoe isn’t that difficult.You just mix the dye power with the amount of water specified in the instructions and a stainless steel sink or old bucket. You will also need a small amount of salt, because I think this helps the dye take to the fabric. Anyways, take out the laces (if you want to keep them white) and stick the shoes in! You need to stir the dye mixture occasionally and make sure to dunk the shoes every now and then since the tend to float. Rubber gloves are recommended unless you blue/yellow hands! The time you keep the shoes in the dye while affect how light or dark your color is.

I would like to note that you wash the shoes in the washing machine after dying them, and they do get a little lighter in the wash or after multiple washes, so you might want to dye them a shade darker than prefered. You could also probably paint designs on these shoes after you dye them or draw designs on with fabric paint pens!

Have fun and get creative!


3 responses »

    • The RIT dye I used for this project, like most dyes, will only dye certain materials. When it comes to fabrics, cotton is the easiest to dye while polyester type materials and other synthetics do not really take the color (because most synthetic fabrics are actually made from plastic, which cannot really be dyed). I think the trim on the yellow pair stayed white because it was made of the synthetic material. I bought the yellow and blue shoes at two different times, so maybe the manufactures switched trim material at some point. I don’t think there is really a way to tell what type of material it is besides looking at the tag, but that’s why you use old/cheap shoes so you aren’t ruining anything.

      I believe the rubber sole stays white for two reasons. These shoes have a dense rubber sole instead of a foam rubber sole (I believe foam rubber soles might dye slightly). Second, the RIT directions stated to use warm or hot water when dying fabric. When intentionally dying rubber or plastic, the water is usually boiling. So if you don’t want the soles to be colored, don’t boil your shoes! 🙂


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