Instructables

How to Dye Your Shoes a Cool Color Like Purple

Featured
Customize your sneakers by dying them an awesome color.

These Asics Gel Foundation 7 shoes are really comfortable and provide "maximum motion control" for my flat feet and overpronation. Unfortunately, they only come in one set of colors: Ugly with highlights of boring and more ugly. So, sick of white sneakers, I dyed mine purple.

I ran a few tests to determine dye amounts and potential shrinkage cause by hot water, and here are my results. Now, you too can shed the colors imposed upon us by the running-shoe industry!

This project was mentioned here in the New York Times!
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Choose your color

Picture of Choose your color
IMG_0252.JPG
IMG_0201.JPG
Purple is my favorite color, so that choice was easy.

Upon seeing my new purple shoes, Saul remarked that he thought they looked store-bought, and that the color purple represented sexual frustration. He then stated that green represented repressed memories of childhood abuse and trauma while noting that I was wearing green pants. He then elaborated on this theory of my personality by pointing out that my custom-painted bicycle is purple and green.

I think Saul is afraid of silence, and will say anything to make sure there's continued talking.
1-40 of 44Next »
Just stumbled across this. I used green Rit dye on a pair of white canvas sneakers when I was 10. They were a little blotchy, but I loved them. Mom was not thrilled, but they were just after-school and weekend shoes.

These days I am usually happy with high dollar NB shoes and inserts that don't hurt my special feet but I suddenly have a hankerin' for some color. Maybe some sparkley things too.
jrn115 years ago
wow those look really fantastic. unfortunately i mostly want to die the canvas on mine & it looks like you were dying the mesh, which I bet takes the color easier. but still great job. ps- i just colored mine with a gray fabric marker and now they simply look dirty so i recommend against that.
gregr jrn113 years ago
Cotton canvas shoes should take the dye better than the synthetic shoes that this instructable is dying.
StoryAddict3 years ago
I had to replace my black Nike Air Pegasus(+27) shoes because apparently I've run them down the last few months of wear 'n' tear w/ the wrong inserts, and I've got high-arch problems. I found some replacements (comfort-wise) in the Nike Zoom Vomero(+5), but despite the awesome dark purple lining and outersole, they only come in bright white (a tone I've outgrown since my last white shoes I owned about ten years ago). In your experience, would this dye procedure w/ black Rit ruin the purple or just adhere to the white? It's a mixture of synthetic mesh and rubber, I believe. Link is here: http://tinyurl.com/6fafubf. I don't really have any old shoes to experiment on, and when I mentioned dyeing them to my Mom, she was horrified and mentioned something about ruining a $115 pair of new shoes.
gemtree3 years ago
LOVE it. I have some Asics and they are boring. A+
My 3 year old insisted on having purple sneakers so here are our matching Mother Daughter purple sneakers. 4 packs of die, in 12 quarts of hot water, a cup of salt, and 4 hours later. The laces came out pretty purple too. The shoes don't seem to have shrunken much at all. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!
IMG_4743.JPG
I have almost those same shoes.
ewilhelm (author)  domestic_engineer5 years ago
Those are awesome!
schkip19734 years ago
a great way to die your shoes pink is to put them in the washing machine with non colourfast show liners or tshirts. this is what happened to my dunlop volleys. By the way the Dunlop Volley is arguably the best shoe design in the world.
mweston5 years ago
I like the "a Cool Color Like Purple" part of the title
Indeed
awesome!!! My shoes already are purple, though :'( So instead I splattered them with orange paint (by accident) :D
I cannot wait to try this out; going to go for a green myself :D
Maureclaire5 years ago
Awesome !
hey this is a really good idea, but there is one huge problem. you say that the shoes "provide "maximum motion control" for my flat feet and overpronation." unfortunately the the dual density foam that gives you this correction is highly intolerant of water. the reason the shoes have tags that say not to put them in the washer is because prolonged submersion (15 minutes or more) breaks down the foam and you are left with a shoe that is very soft and comfortable, but lacks the support and cushioning that leads you to pay $90 dollars for them. this idea would be better applied to running shoes that are already broken down (300-500 miles or about 9 months of casual use). Another thought is to try to rig the shoes so that only the upper is in the dye, thought that still leaves a glaringly ugly white mid-sole. If you want to get the most out of your running shoes, keep them dry.
another reason to use spray fabric paint rather than soaking them in water
ewilhelm (author)  connorcurley6 years ago
I haven't noticed a significant difference, but it's good to know why they aren't supposed to be submerged -- thanks! My purple shoes are pretty beat, and I was thinking of replacing them with a green-dyed pair. I'll see if I can only dye the uppers, as you recommend.
painter1235 years ago
You know that have a spray paint that you can use to paint them- much easier than using dye. i found it at spraypaint4fabric.com
sonaps5 years ago
Lol, I have the same canning pot and use it for dying things as well (just shirts, and on one occasion my friend's hands).
caitlinsdad5 years ago
I think professional shoe repair people have a color marker or a bottle with a built-in brush full of shoe dye to do the same thing without the mess. They dye wedding shoes to match bridal party gowns. Add a few rubber bands wound around the shoe for that tie-dye effect next time. I hope you didn't thow a few lobsters in the same pot since you had that going...
nivaneus5 years ago
I'M WEARING THOSE SHOES!!! nice instructable, just what i had in mind.
Awesome instructable. Followed exactly and voila-super hot purple shoes! Sported these at the Boston marathon this year. They were a huge hit and made me feel like a big winner. I am finally liberated after years of boring white shoes, thanks so much!
IMG_0604.JPG
ewilhelm (author)  ninjastylemo5 years ago
That puts a huge smile on my face! Thanks for sharing. Marathon-approved!
Chicken22095 years ago
only you would come up with something like this (complement)
These look amazing...5/5 stars. How did I not see this sooner?
I think Saul is afraid of silence, and will say anything to make sure there's continued talking.

ROFLOL!
Wow, that is one pair of bold shoes!

Can you apply the same process for hair?? =P

Nice Job!
No, hair takes a little longer...You have to boil your head for at least three hours...It only takes ninety minutes in a pressure cooker, though...
Oh! I better get started, then!
talbotron226 years ago
100% fantastic. followed the instructable to the letter (5 packets of dye in 4 gal water, 55 C -> rt overnight) with perfect results. See before/after pic below. My one addition: when I added the dye to the big bucket of hot water, the vapors were pretty intense. had to open a window... not too bad though. Another satisfied customer right here.
shoe-comparison.jpg
ewilhelm (author)  talbotron226 years ago
So sweet!!!
ediecago6 years ago
I'd check with some dye experts. It's possible you can get the color you want without ruining the shoe (changing the fit) as much. The dyes that are mostly intended to work on cellulose fibers (cotton/rayon/wood) are different chemically than the ones intended to work on protein fibers (silk/wool etc.). Nylon dyes much like a protein fiber, so using a dye intended for silk (jacquard, pebeo etc.) is likely to work better. I'd check with the people at dharmatrading.com to see what they'd suggest. And I do mean TALK on the telephone because even their super website doesn't have what you want. P.S. Love the look.
ewilhelm (author)  ediecago6 years ago
Good idea! Maybe I could even do a two-step dying process on my next set to properly dye all the different materials that make up the shoe.
SondraC7 years ago
Your introduction seems to be in step4...The order of your steps, needs to be checked and changed. The article however is a great one, and one I wanted to share. Good work and thanks for sending it along..many who own white sneakers, and cannot afford to pay for colored or designer ones, will certainly be benefited from this article.
ewilhelm (author)  SondraC7 years ago
No, you are mistaken. The introduction is in the intro step. If fit and color are important, one should only start dyeing sneakers after a few experiments as noted in steps 1 and 2.
Yes I noticed that, when I returned to check out the steps. You are correct the intro is in the intro step..thanks for the explanation. The steps are in perfect order.
a PhD from MIT with purple sneakers. Im disappointed that you didnt make the color purple and apply it to the shoe.
HamO7 years ago
Purple shoes... Brown pants? What a fashion statement. Nice instructable and pix. Good job.
my friend turned part of his shoe blue with a smoke bomb, he wasn't actually trying to make it blue so i don't know if it will work for an entire shoe and stay blue
It'd be cool to take out the shoe laces first, and then use brand spankin new white shoe laces with the purple.
1-40 of 44Next »