red shoe image by Robert Calvillo from

So you've found the perfect pair of shoes: they fit perfectly, flatter your legs and are exactly the style you've been seeking. They're even on sale. Unfortunately, they're white – and they would look so much better in red to match that sweet little skirt you bought last week. If you don't feel like paying a professional to create the perfect custom tint, you can dye them yourself at home.

For fabric shoes

Select the right amount of dye. Dark colors, such as navy, require more dye than lighter colors, such as pink. Read the instructions on the dye package to determine how much you will need.

Wear old or protective clothing and gloves to avoid getting stained.

Follow the dye instructions. Shoes can be dyed in a tub of hot water instead of a washing machine. Check instructions to see if of the fabric must be dampened before it's immersed in the dye bath. Let soak for at least an hour.

Swirl the shoes every 15 minutes or so, and turn them from one side to the other for uniform dyeing.

Once the shoes are slightly darker than the desired tint, rinse them in progressively cooler water and place them in a clothes dryer for at least 30 minutes.

For Leather Shoes

Find the right kind of dye. Purchase leather dye at a leather craft shop or your local shoe store. You will need extra dye for dark colors, such as brown.

Carefully use a leather dye applicator – also available at the leather shop or shoe store – to apply the dye to your white shoes. Use short, even strokes for uniform coverage. Again, you will want to wear old clothes and protective gloves.

Allow to dry. Your shoes will need to dry completely in a cool, dry place before wearing.


To make drying easier, avoid dyeing your shoes on a humid day. Don't forget to dye or purchase matching shoelaces for your newly-colored shoes.