Best Shoe Paints

People are constantly trying to find means of self-expression, and shoe paints provide us with such an avenue. The recent popularity of such products come as no surprise, as these ensure we can personalize our shoes while restoring worn-out ones.

With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the best paint for shoes. The featured paints provide a sought after quality that’s unfortunately rare in most well-advertised products.

We have selected the following 5 shoe paint sets as the best on the market based on our extensive research.

 

infographic Shoe Paints

 

What To Look for in a Good Shoe Paint

The attributes of a good shoe paint are normally overlooked. We’ve assessed the six most important factors to look for when purchasing a high-quality shoe paint.

Method of Application

There are many ways you can paint shoes; this, to most people’s dismay, means shoe paints can be tailored to a specific application method. Paint suited to airbrushing or paint brushing may not be suited to sponging.

To avoid the inconvenience of looking for new brushes or sponges only after you’ve purchased the acrylic paint (most shoe paints are acrylic paints), make sure you always check how the paint is applied before buying it.

The more artistic among us will prefer a paintbrush; these naturally come with different sized bristles and allow versatility when painting interesting patterns or shapes. Sponging is relatively simple, and those that are marginally comfortable with a paintbrush may prefer this method.

Amount of Coverage

Most shoes require two or three coatings to be fully painted. Applying the first coat and then waiting for it to dry before applying the second is usually how the process is done. Depending on the sort of person (or painter) you are, you may want to purchase shoe paint that provides complete coverage after just one coating.

These sorts of paints are more widely available, but they rarely satisfy customers who regularly wear their painted shoes. After the wear and tear that comes with daily use, shoe paint is most likely to peel off; because of this, many may prefer to purchase a topcoat. It provides added protection while ensuring more creative opportunities when you paint your shoes.

Decorative or fabric paints need only one coating; these are usually used for patterns and scribbles. Most are applied on top of other coatings and rarely need the durability that base coatings need.

Durability

How long the shoe paint lasts is an important consideration. Painting a shoe is a delicate process that most people enjoy, but wouldn’t want to repeat often. You want the convenience of applying paint and not worrying whether it will peel off or not in the coming weeks.

You are most likely to paint your favorite shoes that you’d want to wear whenever possible. Whatever coating you choose to purchase should allow you to walk in harsh weather—rain or snow.

The products we have chosen in our list today provide this convenience and, as a consequence, are highly rated by a number of customers. They’re considerably resistant to color fading, which will make your shoes look brand new all the time.

An overlooked cause of color fading of paint is UV light; this can seriously damage shoes and clothing, despite the material they’re made from. Leather, cotton, or wool don’t do too well under extended exposure to UV light. Neither will most paint applied to these materials—especially neon paints.

There aren’t too many paints that promise absolute protection from extended exposure to the sun. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t good products out there that offer considerable performance for “normal” use in the sun.

Color

Perhaps the first thing most people consider: which color to use when painting their shoes. Depending on your shoe type, this choice can be very simple or very stress-inducing. People who want to restore their monochromatic leather shoes can deviate very little from the original color of the leather.

Black shoes are simple, while brown and red shoes are more complicated; they come in various color tones and choosing the corresponding color tone on the paint may prove difficult.

To minimize the chances of choosing the wrong color tone, always find out the specific name of the color and check it’s similar to the one on your shoes. “Red” is too vague of a color name; burgundy or Merlot is more precise.

Sneakers are more versatile and provide unlimited possibilities. To make sure you don’t ponder too much on which paint color to purchase, opt to buy an entire set of twelve or so paints. In addition, get different finishes, such as metallic or glitter.

Hardening and Flexibility

The best paint for shoes are polymers that have long chain molecules connected to each other by covalent bonds. The most widely used is acrylic paint. Depending on their configuration, some may allow a shoe to remain flexible while others will harden them.

In most cases, maintaining flexibility is the best possible outcome. Shoes are meant to be comfortable, and the idea of having a hard shoe spells out unnecessary discomfort. Good quality paints always offer flexibility.

But there are cases when restoring your shoes where hardening is preferred. If the leather in your shoe, for example, has withered and softened over time, a hardening effect could be the desired outcome. Because most poor quality paints harden shoes, you should opt for a specialized paint that intentionally contains this feature.

Health and Safety

Most of us have children who will be eager to paint their shoes. As parents and guardians, it’s important we provide a safe environment for them to unleash their creative talents. It’s also our responsibility to take care of our well-being and make sure we don’t come into contact with toxins or carcinogens.

Paints have had a questionable reputation in the past. The solvents used to provide the performance one requires from paint used to contain toxins or carcinogens. After government regulation and more concise research on the harmful effects of such paints, many manufacturers have taken a more conscious approach when producing paints.

A variety of paints on the market are now water-based, for example, acrylic paint; this ensures they’re free from harmful chemicals and are unlikely to cause damage to you or your family. You can protect yourself by checking the chemical compounds present in the paint before purchasing it. All the products on our list are safe and don’t contain toxins or other harmful chemicals.

In addition, look out for an “AP Certified Non-Toxic” label. These labels are only awarded to products that comply with ASTM standards.

 

Reviews of the Best Shoe Paints of 2020

The following are the five best shoe paints of 2020. We’ve used the attributes discussed above as metrics to discern just how good a product is.

Our Overview

Angelus is undoubtedly the most reputable brand for paint shoes. It’s very popular, and most of its products are bestsellers in the industry. An acrylic paint from this company will only bring satisfactory results.

This leather paint set is a good all-round staple that anyone who wishes to paint their shoes should have. The 12 different colors have been consciously selected to cover the basic ones needed when painting shoes; even if you feel more inclined to another product on our list, we think that this set is an essential and will complement any additional shoe paint you buy,

Having a product from Angelus ensures you have spectacular durability, despite how regularly you use your shoes. The consistency of the paint makes the application method very simple. A paintbrush, a sponge, or an airbrush will do.

Polymer chains within the paint maintain flexibility after it has been applied. It’s also a water-based mixture that isn’t only safer and healthier but allows the paint to be soluble. Water-based mixtures have no toxins or carcinogens, and the solubility ensures you can mix the paints and create your own colors.

Angelus paint is best used on leather and, unfortunately, doesn’t offer any dramatic effects like glitter or glow-in-the-dark that you’ll find in the other products on our list. After applying a polish remover, this set efficiently paints your shoes.

Pros:
  • High-quality product with great durability.
  • Maintains flexibility.
  • Includes the basic colors needed for shoe painting.
  • Versatile methods of application.
  • Made by a reputable manufacturer.
  • Works great on leather.
Cons:
  • Doesn’t offer more interesting color effects.
  • Marginally more expensive than most products on the market.
  • Not ideal for canvas shoes.
  • You can’t spray paint shoes.
Our Overview

Neon Nights offers some of the best glow-in-the-dark paint money can buy. This paint isn’t only meant for a leather or canvas pair of shoes but can be used for body art and clothing.

The reason for its outstanding performance is its long-lasting formula that ensures periods between successive applications of the paint are considerably long. It maintains its color, even in unforgiving weather, without containing any toxins; this again is impressive, because historically, to have similar performance, the chemicals used included harmful toxins.

Another great feature of this product is that the paints are purposely made strong enough to show their neon effects even during the day; this is a true representation of the quality offered by the product. Being handcrafted in industrial Germany, the attention to detail and performance of this product comes as no surprise.

Perhaps the two best things about this product are the price and the fact that it comes in a set. Just like when painting on a canvas, you’re unlikely to only buy one color. The same applies when using acrylic paint on a pair of shoes. You need to expand your creative possibilities by purchasing paint sets with a rich assortment of colors.

The other brilliant feature about this product is the price. Unlike the premium Angelus paint set (discussed above), this product is delivered at a relatively low price. At just under 20 dollars, shoe painting can be an affordable and creative pastime.

The biggest flaw in this product is its nature. Neon paint on shoes is rarely seen as a necessity and is unlikely to be suitable for work or school. In addition, most stylists wouldn’t advise you to apply neon colors on all your shoes. Not only does that make formal occasions more difficult, but you could easily lose the “wow” factor that comes with neon paints.

Pros:
  • Affordable and high quality.
  • Comes in a set.
  • Offers a sought-after feature: glow in the dark.
  • Relatively easy to use.
  • Impressive durability.
  • Handcrafted in Germany.
Cons:
  • Best used sparingly
  • Not suitable for all garments, including some canvas shoes.
Our Overview

The 24 unique shades in this set are enough to cover most of your painting needs. You’ll definitely have a variety of styling options with this set. Arteza has not only included a multicolored spectrum of paints but has varied the finish types too. You’ll find metallic and neon paints alongside the more classic finishes.

Confidence is the main value this product has. You’re nearly guaranteed optimal performance, and if this isn’t the case, Arteza will send a replacement product free of charge. There are very few manufacturers that are willing to offer a 100 percent guarantee on their products, but Arteza has unwavering faith in their product.

In addition to being AP Certified Non-Toxic, this shoe paint has impressive durability. It can handle numerous washes without fading or changing color. It won’t peel off and can be easily applied to a variety of materials. These include leather, wool, linen or cotton. So you can paint your leather boots, your canvas shoes and your espadrilles all with the same paint set.

There are two main drawbacks to this product that prevent it from being our top pick. The first has to do with the packaging. It could be more functional; the protective covers are a hassle to remove and could easily make you lose your initial enthusiasm for the product. Imagine having to painstakingly remove 24 different covers; that could result in unwanted frustration.

The second drawback is the amount of coverage. Despite the quality of the paint, it’s remarkably thin, and your canvas shoes may need several coatings before you are fully satisfied with the results. These drawbacks won’t trouble most people, but if you consider yourself impatient, don’t buy this product. There are other hassle-free products on our list.

Pros:

 

  • Versatile set: includes a variety of colors and finishes.
  • Reasonably priced for a set of 24 paints.
  • Certified safety rating.
  • 100 percent guarantee.
Cons:
  • Frustrating packaging.
  • Thin coating; this causes a poor amount of coverage.
Our Overview

Metallic pigmentation is glorious to look at, and having a shine like this on your pair of shoes gives them an original and premium look. The Arteza Permanent Fabric Paint set only features two metallic paints from its 24, but the Individuall Metallic Paint Set contains eight professional grade metallic paints; these provide very bright colors with enviable efficiency.

The best thing about this product is that it was made for professionals; this shouldn’t intimidate you but encourage you to purchase the product. If a product has gotten sought-after approval from professionals, then the product is good enough for normal people like us.

The reason for its overwhelming approval is the richness and authenticity of the colors. Metallic finishes need to have the right balance of brightness and depth, without seeming too “unnatural.” The problem with most metallic finishes on the market is that they look inauthentic and fake.

The quality control on this product is rigorous. Each bottle is manufactured and tested in Germany. In products that come as a set of paints, it’s possible to have one or two bottles of different quality to the others. They prevent this from happening by testing each bottle individually and ensuring it meets their very high standards.

There’s one major con the product has; this problem could easily be fixed by increasing the volume of each bottle. At a laughable 0.7 fluid ounce, the bottle sizes don’t carry enough paint to finish a project on leather or canvas shoes. If you have a great deal of painting to do, you must consider buying two or three sets.

Pros:
  • High pigmentation.
  • Consistent quality across all bottles.
  • Offers eight different metallic colors.
  • Paint works great on any material.
Cons:
  • Bottles too small. Need two or three to finish a project.
  • Only contains metallic paints. You’ll definitely need to buy another shoe paint set.
Our Overview

If money is not a problem, this is the shoe paint set we would recommend. The leather and shoe paint set includes a mind-boggling 54 different colored paints, 50 plastic mixing cups, a color wheel, and 50 wooden mix sticks.

Also included are preparation tools that you need when painting your shoes; these are three bottles of airbrush cleaner, three bottles of airbrush reducer and an extender base. This is the best money can buy, and you’re sure to have countless creative possibilities with a tool kit like this.

Despite the numerous tools included in the set, we need to evaluate the quality of the paints; this is the most important aspect. Firstly, the methods of application are as versatile as our top-rated product. A paintbrush, sponge, or a spray paint canister can all be used with these paints.

All the colors—except the fluorescent ones—are constructed with impressive fast-light pigments that ensure your painted shoes look bright and new. Because this is a set of 54 paints, there’s an unsurprisingly large variation of finishes. This variety includes 12 primary and 12 secondary opaque colors, six fluorescent neon colors, 12 transparent colors, and 12 pearlized colors.

Safety should be a priority for a product this expensively priced. The US Art Supply Store has achieved an ASTM D-4236 standard safety rating for their deluxe set; this means the mixtures contain no toxic chemical compounds or harmful substances. Their paint formula is water-based, which makes it much easier to achieve this safety rating.

Naturally, there’s the versatility that comes from the color assortment, but the paint can also be applied on a variety of surfaces; these include the intended leather, shoes, wood, plastic, and metals. This feature makes the paint set more economical as its applications go beyond shoes.

The major drawback is obviously the price. Very few people can find reasons to justify spending so much on leather and shoe paint. On average, you’re most likely to use at most nine different paint colors per project and having 54 colors seems excessive and unnecessary. That’s why it hasn’t surpassed the Angelus leather paint in our ratings.

Pros:
  • Assortment of colors and finishes.
  • Tools, cleaning material and disinfectants included.
  • Very high safety rating.
  • Applicable on a wide range of surfaces.
  • You can use it as a spray paint.
Cons:
  • The price.

 

FAQ

How to Paint Shoes?

Painting shoes is relatively easy. Most people can do it, even those with no artistic inclinations.

  • You’ll first have to prep your shoe. Make sure it’s clean because the coating won’t stick if there’s a lot of dirt between it and the shoe’s surface. The cleaning process depends on the fabric of the shoe. Suede shoes are cleaned differently from calfskin leather. If you’re repainting a shoe, it’s important you remove the old paint first.
  • Then select your paint. This doesn’t only refer to paint color but the type. Non-leather sneakers are better painted with fabric paint, while leather shoes need leather paint.
  • Trace your designs with a pencil. To avoid mistakes, first, trace your designs with a pencil and then apply the paint. If you’re simply painting your entire shoe one color, this step is unnecessary.
  • Choose a tool. As stated earlier, there are numerous tools you can use. This step depends on two things: the type of paint you’re using and which tool you’re most comfortable with.
  • Paint. The final step and undoubtedly, the one that needs the most concentration. Remember to let a coating completely dry before applying a second layer.

When do my leather shoes need painting?

Leather is a fascinating fabric, and it’s believed that leather looks more visually appealing the more worn out it is. But there’s a limit to this. When leather has a worn-out look, it’s supposed to be rich in color and exhibit character; not look like it’s living its final days. If your leather shoes are looking like this, then it’s probably time to rejuvenate them with a little paint.

How Do I Clean My Sneakers?

Washing machines are commonly used and have their own advantages and disadvantages. But the quickest way to clean shoes is by using a toothbrush, detergent, and cloth. If you apply a tiny drop of shoe detergent and use the toothbrush to scrub, you can clean the outer part of a sneaker without making it wet. Use the cloth to wipe off the soap and “polish” the shoe.

How Else Can I Use Shoe Paint?

Shoe paints are usually very versatile. The niche of shoe painting is so small that manufacturers usually ensure people can paint other things too. For example, most products mentioned in our list can be applied to metal, wood, and canvas shoes. So you can paint your clothes, furniture, or even bicycles; this improves the value provided by the paints.

 

Conclusion

Our top pick is the Angelus Leather Paint Set of 12 1 Oz. It’s simple and must be considered a basic staple in the tool kit of an aspiring shoe artist. There are very few products that are accessible and provide so much joy and pleasure in people’s lives.

Because of this, take the opportunity to buy a new shoe paint set. It will get your creative juices flowing and offers endless artistic possibilities.

 

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