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Sneaker Paint – Learn Options for Incredible Results

Everyone has a pair of sneakers in their closet, but how boring is it when they’re all the same? Sneaker paint allows endless customization options and lets creative juices flow. I will discuss sneaker paint and how to create a personalized look for incredible results.

Sneaker paint is acrylic or leather paint applied to leather sneakers for a custom look. Sneaker paint is available in several sizes and colors, allowing one to create any type of artistic design. The costs of sneaker pain can range from $3 for a 1 oz bottle to $13 for 12 4oz bottle.

Are you bored with your white leather sneakers and want to make them more colorful? Are you looking for a way to create a custom sneaker look but unsure how? Let’s explore sneaker paint options for a one-of-a-kind look.

What Is Sneaker Paint?

Sneaker paint is acrylic or fabric and leather paint that can be applied to leather sneakers to create personalized works of art. It’s a way to make one-of-a-kind bold and colorful sneakers with an artistic touch. 

What We’ll Explore

  • Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
  • When You Might Use Sneaker Paint
  • Sneaker Paint Quick Reference Table
  • Sneaker Paint Types and Variations
  • Sneaker Paint Characteristics
  • Sneaker Paint Pros
  • Sneaker Paint Cons
  • Sneaker Paint Manufacturing Process – How They’re Made
  • Sneaker Paint Costs
  • Alternative Options to Sneaker Paint
  • Experienced Tips for Working with Sneaker Paint
  • My Personal Research with Sneaker Paint
  • Sneaker Paint Care and Maintenance
  • Helpful Sneaker Paint Insights
  • Key Takeaways
Shoes Painted With Sneaker Paint - Sneaker Paint - Liberty Leather Goods
Shoes Painted With Sneaker Paint

Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions

One myth about sneaker paint is that any type of paint can be used to paint sneakers. This is untrue because some paint types will not adhere to leather or will crack and rub off. Another misconception regarding painted sneakers is that they cannot get wet.

This is primarily untrue because if the sneaker is prepared well and the paint is applied in layers, and especially if a clear finish is also applied, sneaker paint should stay put if it gets wet and even if the sneakers are cleaned.

When You Might Use Sneaker Paint

One might wonder when you might use sneaker paint, and there are several good opportunities for this. It could be an old pair of sneakers that needs some touch-ups or new life. Or it’s a boring pair of white sneakers that needs some spice. Maybe it’s for a costume, a fan event, or a special outfit. Sneaker paint can be used for any design or idea to add color and life to sneakers.

Sneaker paint allows anyone to create any look, design, or masterpiece they want on a pair of leather sneakers.

Sneaker Paint Quick Reference Table

ToolSneaker Paint
Component MaterialsAcrylic, water, plastic polymers
Common Sizes1 oz, 4 oz, 5 oz, 12 1oz, 12 4oz
Cost Range ($)$3–$133
Recommended MaintenanceClear finish
Recommended StorageCool, dry place
Common UsesCustom paintings, fan art, personalization, give old shoes new life
How Long It Lasts (on average)8–10 years
Sneaker Paint Characteristics

Sneaker Paint Types and Variations

Few types of sneaker paint are available and allow for variations in painting, and include small bottles, larger bottles, and even markers containing sneaker paint. Because of these different types, one can cover a small or large surface with a paintbrush, create splatters and shapes, or create thin lines and defined drawings. One can be as creative as they’d like with all the different types of sneaker paint.

Sneaker Paint Characteristics


Sneaker paints come in acrylic, containing water and plastic polymers that help create a painting that stays in place. 


One can purchase a couple of colors or buy a set of a dozen for a full rainbow. Available sneaker paint sizes include: 

  1. Single 1 oz bottles
  2. Single 4 oz bottles
  3. Single 5 oz bottles
  4. A dozen 1 oz bottles
  5. A dozen 4 oz bottles
  6. A single or set of up to 20 markers


Sneaker paints vary in size, preparation, and medium. Choose from a pourable acrylic, a thick acrylic, or a liquid marker to create any look desired.

Sneaker Paint Pros

Sneaker paint allows anyone to create any look, design, or masterpiece on leather sneakers. It is very affordable to purchase sneaker paint and create a custom look. It comes in many colors and formulations to make a messy look or even a landscape.

Sneaker Paint Cons

Leather sneakers must be cleaned and prepared before applying sneaker paint. If the sneaker paint is not used correctly or enough layers aren’t applied, the paint can crack or get scratched off. With wear, the paint may crack over time. It is also best to apply a clear finish to ensure the paint stays, and this may alter colors.

Sneaker Paint Manufacturing Process – How They’re Made

Sneaker paint is usually made from acrylic, which consists of pigments in an emulsion with stabilizers, silicone oils, plasticizers, or defoamers. The amount of pigment and water in the acrylic paint determines how thick and rich the paint is. Thick paint is best for painting sneakers. Sneaker paint is made to adhere well to sneaker surfaces with strong binding characteristics.

Sneaker Paint Costs

Sneaker paint is much more affordable than having custom paint applied to leather sneakers. Prices for sneaker paint range from $3 for a single bottle to $133 for 12 4-oz bottles of high-quality leather paint. Compare this to a custom-painted set of leather sneakers for about $800; sneaker paint seems worth it. 

Alternative Options to Sneaker Paint

Sneaker paint is relatively easy to find at art and craft stores and general merchandise stores, but it’s not the only way to add color to sneakers. The only limit to decorating sneakers is the imagination. Research published in Transformative Works and Cultures by Ekaterina Kulinicheva found that people update sneakers with paint, embroidering, and even using different materials to replace part of the sneakers to create a distinct look and essentially new sneakers.

Alternatives for sneaker paint include:

  1. Spray paint
  2. Fabric paint
  3. Hydro-dipping
  4. Fabrics and lace applied with mod podge
  5. Beads
  6. Stencils
  7. Gemstones
  8. Stamps 

Experienced Tips for Working With Sneaker Paint

Painting sneakers is not especially difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind to achieve the best look that lasts. Here are my experienced tips for working with sneaker paint:

  1. Prepare the sneakers before painting. Use a cloth soaked in acetone to wipe any surfaces that will be painted. The surface should feel smooth when properly prepared, so continue wiping. 
  2.  Apply masking tape to protect sneaker surfaces that won’t be painted. 
  3.  Apply multiple thin coats of paint to get even colors, usually three layers.

Check out this helpful video reviewing several different brands of sneaker paint.

My Personal Research with Sneaker Paint

Many different brands and variations of sneaker paint exist, making it difficult to choose which one to use. I have compiled a list of popular sizes, colors, and sets with prices to give an idea of what to expect when shopping for sneaker paint.

Sneaker Paint SizeSneaker Paint ColorSneaker Paint Cost
1 oz single bottleAny color$6–8 each
1 oz 12 bottlesWhite, pink, orange, green, turquoise, dark blue, black, yellow, brown, red, purple, blue, lilac$40–$133
1 oz 6 bottlesWhite, black, yellow, blue, green, red$12–$15
1 oz 6 bottles with 5 paintbrushesBlack, white, red, yellow, blue, leather prep$20–$25
4 oz 2 bottlesWhite, black$7–$10
4 oz 6 bottlesNeon colors: green, blue, purple, pink, yellow, orange$35–$40
1 paint markerMany colors$2–$3
6 pack paint markersWhite, black, yellow, blue, red, green$15–$20
20 pack paint markersMany colors$16–$22
4 oz acrylic finisherClear coat$7–$12
Sneaker Paint Colors and Prices

Sneaker Paint Care and Maintenance

Custom-painted sneakers are stylish and something to be proud of, so cleaning and maintaining them is super important to keep them looking great.

How to Clean Painted Sneakers

Painted sneakers can be cleaned with sneaker cleaner, detergent in water, or baking soda in water. Avoid getting the painted sections too wet, and wash gently with a damp cloth.

How to Maintain Painted Sneakers

To keep painted sneakers looking great, maintenance is key. Protect them from moisture, dirt, and cracking by applying a clear sealant and avoid getting painted sneakers wet or apply a sealant. 

How to Store Painted Sneakers

Painted sneakers and the sneaker paint must be stored out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place. Keep the bottles closed tightly when not being used.

Helpful Sneaker Paint Insights

What kind of paint do you use on sneakers?

Acrylic paints are the best to use on sneakers. This type of paint stays put on leather sneakers better and is more durable than other types of paint. Acrylic sneaker paint comes in many different sizes and colors, as well as liquid or markers, to easily create any design on sneakers.

How do you permanently paint sneakers?

Sneakers can be permanently painted with sneaker paint. If the sneaker’s surface is properly prepared with acetone and multiple layers are applied, sneakers can have a permanent and custom painting. Acrylic sneaker paint is the best for permanent sneaker paint.

Do you need special paint to paint sneakers?

Acrylic sneaker paint is best to paint sneakers because it is specially formulated to stay put. Acrylic will adhere better than water-based paint, preventing the paint from cracking and rubbing off over time. A clear finish can also be applied to protect the sneaker paint further.

Key Takeaways

  1. Acrylic paints are best for painting sneakers.
  2. Sneaker paint is easy to use and lasts many years.
  3. Use sneaker paint to add a little or a lot of colors to boring white sneakers.

In Closing

Sneaker paint is affordable, easy to use, and a great way to add color to any pair of shoes. Whether it’s one color or many, adding paint to sneakers is a fun way to bring new life to old sneakers or showcase artistic abilities. What will you choose to paint on your sneakers?

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