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How to make faded shoes black

Updated April 17, 2017

Faded colour on shoes is a common problem. Colour fading happens when shoes are left in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. It is most notable on dark coloured shoes because dark colours absorb light more readily than light colours. While the issue of faded colours on shoes might be stylistically problematic, it does not harm or alter the shoe, and thus many faded shoes can still be worn.The problem exists on both fabric and leather shoes and both can be altered with dyes to enhance or change shoe colours. Luckily, faded shoes can be restored to their former glory with a few simple steps.

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  1. Clean the shoes you plan on dying with soap and water to remove any dust or debris. Dry the shoes with a clean, dry cloth.

  2. Lay out newspaper on your work area to avoid staining the surface. Stuff the shoes amply with newspaper to fill out any creases.

  3. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from the dye. It will stain skin.

  4. Apply the leather shoe dye according to the directions on the box. Each dye kit will have different directions for application.

  5. Allow the shoes to dry for two to three hours to get a sense of how the dye has covered the area. Reapply the leather shoe dye according to directions as necessary in order to attain the coverage and colour you want.

  6. Allow the shoes to dry for 24 hours in a warm dry area before wearing.

  7. Place newspaper in shoes so that any creases starts to bulge out slightly. This will ensure that the dye does not concentrate in creases and look darker in certain spots. Place the shoes on a newspaper-covered surface and put on latex gloves to avoid staining surfaces and skin.

  8. Apply fabric dye as per the instructions on your bottle. Remember when buying to purchase dye intended for the fabric you are dying. If your sneakers are cotton, aim for cotton dye. If your sneakers have mesh on them, look for a dye that is applicable to mesh. There are myriad dyes on the market for a variety of fabrics and uses.

  9. Allow the first coat to dry for several hours before applying a second coat.

  10. Apply a second coat if the dye has not coloured the shoes as you wish, and allow to dry overnight to see the final results.

  11. Tip

    The same technique may be used to change shoes from a colour to black.


    Dye will stain skin, clothing and most work surfaces. If dye gets on hands or work area wash it off immediately with soap and water. Do not attempt to dye suede in this manner. Suede shoes will be ruined by the dyeing process.

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Things You'll Need

  • Black shoe dye kit
  • Clean cloths
  • Newspaper
  • Soap and water
  • Rubber gloves.

About the Author

Andie Francese has been working as a freelance blogger and content creator since 2006. She has created content for Moviefone, Blogging Stocks and several other high traffic online entities, focusing on entertainment and technology. Francese graduated from Mercy College in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and journalism.

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