How to Dye Suede Shoes?
If you have a pair of suede shoes, then you know that keeping them looking new, clean, and stylish is one of your most important duties. Suede shoes attract many customers from store shelves due to their looks. They have good build material, which makes them durable shoes for hiking, walking, and long distance running.
Suede shoes tend to fade after years of use as everyday shoes. It is worse if you have sweaty feet that contribute to the interior wear. You can prevent this easily by following the tips discussed below:
1. Preparing your Shoes for Dyeing
Get the Right Dye
The first step is to buy a bottle of dye that is formulated for suede shoes. You want to look out for products that are designed for textured materials. The dye should be able to penetrate soft natural leather, and not simply roll off the surface. We recommend that Suede Dye Black By Fiebing is a good fit for your shoes.
The color that you choose should be able to produce the effect that you want on your shoes. However, you have to bear in mind that it is generally impossible to turn a darker shaded shoe into a lighter one using a dye. This means that turning lighter suede shoes into darker ones is usually easier.
Brush the Shoes
The next step is to use a brush to sweep the entire outer surface of your shoes. This will get rid of dust that could be trapped between the fibers. This way, the dye will soak deeper into the fabric, producing an even and professional look. Remember to brush the grain in all directions when doing this.
Clean Out the Suede
This step only applies to shoes that have been exposed to lots of wear and tear. You should use a washcloth or a damp sponge to wipe over the shoe. You have to make sure that you do a thorough job so that you produce a consistent appearance.
You can remove oil stains using cornstarch and some light brushing. However, do not attempt to get rid of heavy staining on the surface of the shoe as you may cause irreparable damage. In such a case, you want to consult a shoe repair expert or a dry cleaner.
I once had a pair of PUMA Select Men's Suede Classic Plus Sneakers, and they were a great pick because they were multifunctional and easy to wash. I would recommend them to anyone any day.
Remove or Cover External Accessories
If your suede shoes have laces, pull them out, and keep them aside. You can use a painter's tape to cover certain features of the shoes, such as buttons, stamps, accents, and zippers. Also, cover the outsole of the shoe using several strips of the tape if you're not planning to recolor this area.
You're taking these precautions because the dye is going to cause permanent stains on any surface that it touches. Tape up everything that you don't want ruined. Some areas of your shoes may require you to cut up pieces of the tape, such as stripes and logos.
Stuff the Shoes
The last step in this section is to stuff your shoes with old newspapers. You want to crumple several sheets into balls and squeeze them inside the shoes. This will hold the shape of the shoes throughout the process while preventing the wet dye from ruining the interior.
Remember that the extent to which you stuff depends on the height of your shoes. It means that high top sneakers and boots will require substantially more newspaper balls. You don't have to use old newspapers since you can rely on old rags that you were going to throw out anyway.
2. Application the Dye
Choosing a Brush
You will find that most dyes have a special tool for applying the solvent on different surfaces. In most cases, this is a cotton ball attached to a sturdy piece of wire. Depending on the texture of your shoes, you may decide to invest in a small scrubbing brush that has a handle.
If you choose a brush, make sure that the bristles are stiff so that they can absorb and retain the suede during the application. You can use an old toothbrush as an applicator.
Soaking the Brush
You should wet the blisters slowly and thoroughly. Make sure that you let the excess dye drip back into the container before pulling out the brush. Watch out for splatters and drips on unintended surfaces as you move the brush back and forth.
Don't be concerned too much about the thickness of the dye. Most of them are sold diluted, so there is no need to add water. For a cleaner job, you may consider using rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Spread the Dye
Run the brush over the surface of the shoe to transfer and distribute a large glob of the solvent. Remember that it is better to be conservative than to overdo it since you can always correct mistakes later on. This also prevents a situation where too much dye is concentrated in one area causing dark spotting.
Massage the Surface
As you apply the dye, make sure to follow smooth circular motions. You should proceed under this pattern until you cover the entire shoe. By the end of the session, there should be no gaps in the coloration. You need to keep in mind that working too fast will lead to unnecessary mistakes. Proceed slowly and methodically, and you'll be fine.
Allow the Setting
Once you've finished working, set the shoes aside in a cool area with low humidity to quicken the process. You have to be patient because the setting could take up to 24 hours to fully dry.
If you have more time, let the shoes remain untouched for even longer. This is because the exact dry times depend on the type of solvent you have used, the temperatures in the environment, and the material texture of the shoes.
Add Another Layer
You may not get the kind of finish you're going for after completing the steps above. You need to follow up with another application where you use even more dye. If you are still unsatisfied, wait for another 24 hours and apply another coat.
It is not possible to tell whether the application you have made has produced the desired results until it dries up. So, be patient and only apply a new coat once the subsequent ones are fully set. Additionally, you cannot keep on applying more and more dye indefinitely, since it may damage the leather.
3. Protecting the Shoes
Buff Up the Shoes
Use a brush to go over the surface of the shoes. If you have a hairdryer, you may use it to waft over the shoes and ensure that all the fibers are dry. Avoid the brushes you used earlier since they may have wet dye on their bristles.
Waterproof Using a Spray
If you want to preserve the updated color, you need an acrylic waterproofer. Make sure to hold the can about 8 inches away from the shoe while applying the spray. Waterproofing should take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to fully dry.
It is important to ensure that you do not over-saturate the suede as it may not have fully set when applying the spray. The waterproofing agent seals the tiny gaps in the fabric, creating a barrier that keeps water away from the leather.
Clean the Shoes
Now that your shoes have a new color, you need to brush the suede from time to time to remove clinging debris. If the shoes are stained from mud, use a light scrubber. Try to minimize the number of times you have to clean your shoes by not getting them too dirty.
Too much moisture tends to spread dirt stains. If you're not careful with the way you clean your suede shoes, you could easily cause dye bleeding.
Stay away from wet conditions as much as you can after dyeing your suede shoes. You have to remember that despite the waterproofing spray, the dye can run when soaked under warm conditions. Try to wear your shoes on clear days as much as you can. You should stay away from puddles, wet grass, and sprinklers and go for boots if you have to walk in the mud.
Store Your Shoes Well
The conditions under which you store your shoes will determine how long they keep looking new. You can invest in a dust bag specifically for storing your shoes when you're not wearing them. When inside the bag, ensure that you place them somewhere cool and dry. The mouth of the bag should be slightly opened to allow the shoes to breathe.
A dust bag will ensure that the suede does not dry out or trap moisture when the shoes are stored for a long time. A shoebox or a sealed plastic bag will not give your shoes the same level of protection. You may also consider investing in a shoe tree.
If you use your shoes for aerobics or running , you know that breathability is important. Some suede shoes are perfect for these activities. Many people consider them to be appropriate shoes for teachers or, more generally, school shoes due to their ubiquity and shock absorbing features in such settings.
Regardless of your wearing habits or environment, and seasons such as summer, everyone appreciates a well-dyed and maintained pair of suede shoes. Using the tips listed above for dyeing and cleaning your suede shoes, this does not have to be a complicated matter. Just follow these basic steps, and you'll be okay.