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!
Step 1: Choose Your Color
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.
Step 2: Run Some Tests
I followed the directions on the package of Rit dye and simmered one old sneaker in 3.5 gallons of water with two packages of dye for 30 minutes. I did this in a large canning pot on the stove top. This shoe came out fairly purple (it's the left shoe in the images), but I wanted to see if I could go darker. So, I added another two packages of dye to the canning pot, and boiled the other shoe for 2 hours.
Boiling your sneakers for 2 hours may sound like a bad idea, and if you want them to fit afterwards, it is. This shoe (the right one in the images) is slightly darker, but quite a bit smaller. I would estimate that the left shoe, simmered for 30 minutes, shrunk 0.5-1 sizes, while the right shoe, boiled for 2 hours, shrunk 1-2 sizes. The shoe materials shrunk at different rates, so the right shoe now has an interesting bow to it.
Fearing that the sole was getting soaked with water and somehow ruined, I took a third old sneaker and left it in the purple water for 10 hours at room temperature. The material didn't absorb much dye, but the shoe didn't shrink.
After letting the sneakers sit in the dye, I ran them through the washing machine with warm water and detergent, and then dried them in the dryer. The sneaker's care tags say specifically not to do this, but I ignored them.
So in summary:
2 packages of dye, 30 minutes of simmering => purple, 0.5-1 sizes smaller
4 packages of dye (minus the dye used in the first shoe), 2 hours of boiling => slightly darker purple, 1-2 sizes smaller
4 packages of dye (minus the dye used in above tests, and some t-shirts), 10 hours at room temperature => very little purple color, no shrinkage
Step 3: Dye Some Other Stuff
This original series Instructables t-shirt came out beautifully!
Step 4: Dye Your Shoes!
I also dyed the shoe laces, but they didn't really take the color, so I swapped the white laces for black ones.