How To Dye Suede Shoes & Sandals

I have a pair of clogs in a color I don’t really like. Because of this, I haven’t worn them much. Time to give them a make-over in time for summer and get a lot of wear out them! I’ll show you how to dye suede shoes and sandals. Please note that this is only applicable to actual suede, not other types of leather.

0. Preparations

First, gather all your supplies:

Angelus Suede Dye & Dressing is used to dye suede shoes
  • Dye: I used Angelus Suede Dye and it worked well, but there are other brands out there as well.
  • Brush: My dye came with an applicator, but if your dye does not, you’ll want to use a soft, fluffy brush. You probably won’t be able to wash all the color out, so don’t use anything precious.
  • Shoe brush: Needed to brush up the nap of the suede.
  • Masking tape: This will be used to protect areas of the shoe/sandal you don’t want to dye.
  • Newspaper: Use it to stuff your shoe/sandal and to protect your work surface.

1. Clean & Tape Off

If your shoes are dirty, give them a good clean and then let them dry fully. Then use the masking tape to protect any areas you don’t want dyed. In my case, I taped off the wood where the leather is attached to it. I also taped off the buckle.

You may also want to stuff the shoe with newspaper. This gives you a sturdier surface to work with and you don’t have to worry about the leather collapsing and creasing or flopping around.

2. Brush

When you’re ready to dye, use the shoe brush to brush up the nap by going against the grain (the direction the hairs naturally lie). This step is important in helping the dye to penetrate evenly.

3. Apply First Coat

Close-up photo of the sandal after the first coat of suede dye has been applied. The color is a bit uneven.
Some patchiness after the first coat.

Use the applicator to apply the first coat of suede dye. If you want to practice beforehand, just paint on the newspaper a bit. You want to make sure that the applicator isn’t soaking wet so that you don’t have to deal with any drips. To do this, gently push the applicator against the inside of the mouth of the bottle to squeeze out excess dye.

To get an even coat of dye, it’s better to go back to the bottle more often and pick up a little more dye rather than picking up a lot and oversaturating the areas you hit first.

After you’ve applied the dye all over once, let it dry. The duration will depend on many factors, but try checking it in 30 minutes or so.

4. Brush & Apply Second Coat

Brush against the nap again. I’ve found that a second coat of dye is usually needed to get even coverage. You may also want to apply more coats if you want to achieve a darker or more intense color. Simply repeat the steps of brushing against the nap, applying the dye and waiting for it to dry until you’re satisfied with the color.

5. Show Off Your Shoes!

Hooray, you dyed your shoes! I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please get in touch if you have questions or comments.

The end result after dyeing suede shoes. Close-up of a woman wearing heeled clog sandals dyed blue.

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