How to Turn Your Sneakers from Beat to Heat
And not F them up
So you want to know how to take your beater sneakers and revitalize them, right? The last thing you want to do is beat them up more! It hurts our heart every time we see a pair of sneakers with crackly artwork and washed out laces. We’re here with some tips and tricks on how to customize your shoes at home without f***ing them up.
5 Tips to Better Sneaker Customization
- Choose the right paint. I cannot stress this point enough. When shopping for paint, you’ll find a ton of acrylic options. The most popular options are Angelus paint, Decoart paint and craft paint. Craft paints are not made specifically for sneakers and this presents a few issues with using it on shoes. Your shoe is pliable so it will bend and stretch to your foot. Angelus leather paint is flexible. Craft paint isn’t. Craft paint is also less pigmented than premium acrylics so your colors won’t come out as vibrant. While we don’t recommend using DecoArt paint, there are other sneaker artists who use it with the proper mediums and get decent results.
2. Use a medium. Using a heatset fabric painting medium softens the applied paint and sets it so you can wash it if necessary. You will need to heat set the fabric after you apply it. You can iron it or toss it in the dryer after the paint has air dried. This stuff is helpful for painting on Vans and Converse or any other fabric shoe. We use GAC900 with great results.
3. Properly prep the shoe. I see a lot of people skip this step, but it’s a must to achieve a lasting paint job. Leather sneakers have a glaze as the top coat to seal the leather and help protect it. If you don’t remove this glaze, the paint can’t properly adhere to the leather. You can remove the glaze with acetone or a deglazer like this one from Angelus Direct. Note that acetone is much stronger than most deglazers and can pull up the original color.
5. Watch the shine. You want to be careful with the above step to ensure your sneaker isn’t too shiny. There’s plenty of acrylic finishes on the market, and even the matte options can add an unrealistic shine to a leather shoe. If you’re experiencing too much shine, try using Angelus’ duller.