Can Acrylic Paint Be Used in Shoes?

Painting your way out has been one of the basic things of human nature. The need of telling a story has been the true driving force of this civilization. 

I am always fascinated to see how people like to express themselves. Such intervention is often shown by painting on footwear. Yes, you read it right. And painting shoes has now become a popular trend. But, Can acrylic paints be used in shoes? Wait to find more.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used in Shoes?

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used in Shoes?

I often face this question on how to use acrylic paints to paint your shoes. For your kind information, acrylic shoe painting is perhaps the best option for shoe painting.

You would be happy to know that acrylic is amongst the few colors that go well on leather and other synthetic surfaces. 

But, before taking the brush, you will have to explore the world of shoe painting, its purpose, and preferred ways.

What Type of Paints Can You Use in Shoes?

In general, you can use three types of paints to paint your favorite pairs. These are:

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Spray Paint
  • Fabric Paint

Acrylic Paints on Shoes

Acrylic paints or leather paints are similar products for painting shoes. Acrylic paints tend to set well on any glossy or semi-glossy surface. As your shoes are probably made out of leather or any other synthetic material, you can easily paint those using acrylic colors.

However, you will have to maintain certain criteria. First of all, you will have to clean the surface. Then, make sure that you apply a very thin coating. And lastly, you will have to give proper time to dry the paint.

Spray Paint on Shoes

Spray painting went bananas when the retro era hit hard. From that moment, spray cans got notoriously famous. Today, the hype might have turned off a little bit, but it is still popular between artists and enthusiasts.

Now, there are some benefits of spray paint. It tends to dry out very quickly, however, as everything has a bad side, the radius of the spray is just another example. You cannot do detailed stuff using spray paint.

Nonetheless, you can use tapes and spay focus to manipulate the flow of the paint.

Fabric Painting on Shoes

Many shoes come with fabric finishing. For example, Vans are a fabric-exclusive footwear brand. To show you skills on such shoes, fabric paint is the better option. 

Unlike acrylic or spray, fabric paint tends to blend in with the fabric itself, making zero room for post painting errors. On top of that, well-treated fabric color will last very long.

How to Paint Shoes With Acrylic Paints

How to Paint Shoes With Acrylic Paints

You see, acrylic paints are ideal for shoe painting. But, if you don’t do it right, you will end up in a depressing state. There are three basic stages of acrylic shoe painting. These are:

  1. Pre-Treatment
  2. Paint Stroke and Intensity
  3. Breathing Time

A well-experienced shoe artist will completely agree with my analysis. Read more to learn more.


Before picking up the brush, you will always have to be completely sure about the surface. As for shoes, the surface is mostly leather or another type of synthetic material. 

Now, pre-treatment is necessary. It will eliminate any sort of dust or other oil-based debris from the surface. Many renowned brands glaze their products to give them a glossy look. However, if you apply paint directly to the glaze, it will not work at all.

For that, you will have to cure the shoe with an anti-glazer. This product will eliminate any sort of dirt or oil from the shoe surface.

Paint Stroke & Intensity

Now, one thing you will have to learn about acrylic colors is that if you stroke thick, it will break apart in stress. That means all of your strokes should be very light and thin. By ensuring this, you will be able to portrait your ideas.

On top of that, the illustrations will not fall apart when you put on stress. So, the intensity and paint pattern should be very light and exact.

Breathing Time

Now, as pulling the strings at the right time is important, letting it go has the same urgency. After every layer, you will have to give the paint ample time to rest and dry off. It is very crucial. If you start working on wet paint, the illustration will get spoiled for sure.

So, resting before applying another layer is very crucial. Also, when you are finished with your artwork, let the shoes rest for at least 24 hours. This will allow the paint to be set permanently. The last thing you need is to spoil your masterpiece.

How to Customize Shoes Using Regular Acrylic Paint

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

Yes, leather shoes are ideal for acrylic shoe painting. However, the majority of the brands come with pre-waxed or glazed leather. You will have to deglaze the surface to start working. Also, give ample time to let the paint set.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Vans?

Vans are fabric-based shoes. You can do a good job with acrylic paint on vans as well. But, first, make sure that the fabric is well treated with thinner. Then, try to apply very thin paint coats. Using deep coats is risky. 

Because, if you use deeper layers, it will break off when the shoe is under stress. So, apply very thin layers, work in batches with proper resting time.

Can You Paint With Acrylic Paints on Air Force One?

Air force One has been Nike’s signature style. These leather shoes come with bold stitched attributes. If you are innovative enough, you can do wonders with acrylic paint. One pro tip, use tapes to hide out portions that you don’t want to paint.

As Air Force One is a leather shoe, so the proceedings of painting leather shoes will remain the same.

So, can acrylic paint be used on shoes? Yes, they are ideal. However, you will have to clean and pre-treat the surface, apply a very thin coat of paint, and work in batches with proper resting time. And finally, enjoy the experience! 

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