How to Paint Leather Soles to Make Them Last Longer

Updated April 17, 2017

Leather soles are commonly found on dress shoes, particularly those worn as part of men's business attire. Leather soles are considered much more classy, refined and formal than their rubber counterparts. Leather is sewn on rather than glued, which allows you to fully change the sole when needed. Unfortunately, while leather is high fashion, it's low on durability. Leather soles wear out and scuff from everyday use. Extend the life of your leather soles by painting them. Painting them allows you to cover scuffs and delay a trip to the shoemaker to have your shoes resoled.

Pour rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Vigorously wipe it along the sole of your shoe to clean the leather and prep it for painting.

Let the soles dry completely. It should take approximately 30 minutes for the rubbing alcohol to dry or evaporate.

Tape the edges to prevent paint from accidentally getting on the sides of your shoes.

Apply a thin layer of professional-grade leather paint to the soles of your shoes. Let it dry completely. This may take two to three hours. Apply a second coat. Again, allow it to dry completely. Apply a third coat, if necessary, and allow the soles to dry overnight.

Remove the masking tape and get ready to dance the night away on your rejuvenated soles.


Although most people will use tan or black to refinish the soles of their shoes, try a variety of colours to add a little spring to your step.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Masking tape
  • Professional-grade leather paint
  • No. 1 fan brush
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