How to dye your own leather shoes

A few years ago I was really into buying  inexpensive or even second-hand shoes and using leather dye to spruce them up. It’s such an easy way to give a new life to a pair of shoes.

What you’ll need:

  • Leather dye – I use Fiebing’s
  • Leather lotion – I use Kiwi
  • News papers/paper bags/old magazines to cover the surface you’re working on
  • Rubber gloves (dyeing your own leather shoes can get messy)
  • A pair of shoes you already own that you want to make like new, or a second-hand pair that you know would look better in a different color

Step 1: Read the instructions on the leather dye box carefully before you start. This stuff can be messy and it can stain.
Step 2: Using a damp wash cloth or rag, wipe off the shoes.
Step 3: Using a dry wash cloth or rag, dry off the shoes.
Step 4: Using the sponge wand provided, very carefully apply a very thin layer of the dye. Once it’s completely dry, apply a second layer. Repeat until the shoes are as dark as you want.
Step 5: Let dry overnight and using a clean rag, rub in the leather lotion to act as a conditioner and final sealing step.

Here are some before and after shots of some of the leather shoes I’ve dyed.

1. Crosshatch oxford’s before: I got these at Buffalo Exchange in Ballard. They were new with tags, but in my opinion looked a little too much like golf shoes.

2. Crosshatch oxford’s after:

2. Peep toe wedges before: I got these at Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn when I lived in NYC. I swear to you, I miss this place every day. So many amazing second-hand finds there.

2. Peep toe wedges after:

3. Sandals before: I got these at Nordstrom Rack. They were on super-sale, but I knew they would look so much better without the white.

3. Sandals after:

4. Heeled booties before: I also got these at Beacon’s Closet when I was living in NYC.  They had quite a few scuff marks, but those evened right out with the dye and the leather lotion. I also got some new black laces to spruce them up.

4. Heeled booties after:


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