How to Dye Satin Shoes

Satin is one of the most luxurious fabrics used to create apparel and accessories. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult fabrics to maintain and upkeep. People may be familiar with dyeing leather and canvas, but the process for dyeing satin is quite different, more complex, and more expensive. You can rest assured that you can take matters into your own hands and dye satin shoes at home; however, it’s important to use the right dyes and to do it the right way.

How to Dye Satin Shoes at Home

1- Gather Your Materials

Take your pair of satin shoes and fabric dye. It’s important to prep an area for the dye job so you don’t make a mess. Use rubber gloves to keep your hands clean, a tarp or a cover for the staging area, masking tape, and daubers.

If you need to mix different dyes to get the best match to your shoes, then you will also need to prepare an eyedropper, a mixing dish, and a lightener. It’s also useful to keep a dye chart handy to help with preparing different shades.

2- Prepare the Shoes

The first step to preparing your shoes for dyeing is to clean them thoroughly. If you go right ahead and dye dirty shoes, the result will be uneven and splotchy. Using a fabric shoe cleaner and a soft microfiber cloth will yield the best results. Make sure to clean both shoes thoroughly and leave them out to air dry completely.

3- The Color

If you can find a ready-made color that matches your shoes, then you’re in luck; if not, you will need to commence with mixing. Use the eyedropper to extract the color from the bottles and place them into the mixing dish until you get the desired shade. You can use the international color chart for reference. Remember to test the final color on a swatch before applying it to your shoes.

4-Prep the Area

Your selected staging area needs to be fully covered, especially the floors. This is to avoid any unwanted dribble permanently dyeing the floors or walls. Newspaper works but can leave a residue, so we suggest using a tarp. Use masking tape to secure the sheet in position.

5- Protect Your Shoe

The masking tape has the secondary purpose of protecting your shoe during the dye job. Use the tape to cover any areas you don’t want to dye.

6- Dyeing Your Satin Shoes

The key to an even and successful dye job is to go slowly. Use gentle circular motions with the dauber and work your way over the entire shoe. Make sure you dip the whole dauber into the dye and be careful not to oversaturate it to prevent running. For satin shoes, uneven stripes or runs are your worst nightmare. The circular motions will allow the dye to spread slowly throughout the fabric.

Work your way from the back to the front starting with the heel; then, work your way towards the back, the sides, and the front. The last step is to dye the edges. The purpose of dyeing in this order is to give you the ability to hold the shoe from non-dyed areas, preventing smudging.

Go over your shoes at least twice, waiting for each previous coat to completely dry. Two coats are standard, but if you feel two coats aren’t opaque enough, then go over your shoes one more time.

7- Let Them Dry

The last step is to let your satin shoes dry completely before wearing them. It shouldn’t take too long – about 3 hours should do it, depending on how many coats you applied. Unlike leather, you can take a blow dryer to satin but only do it if you have complete confidence you can apply the heat evenly.

How to Dye Satin Shoes with Rit

Rit is a brand of shoe dye that makes changing color or maintenance easy. They have over 50 colors to choose from and will most likely have a shade that you like. The process for Rit dyes is much easier. Just follow our step-by-step guide below.

1- Pick a Color

As we said, Rit has over 50 colors to choose from. Your first job is to pick the one you like or one that matches your shoes if you’re doing a touchup. Be sure to pick the right type of dye for satin.

2- Prep Your Shoes and the Area

For touchups, prepping your shoes for Rit dye is similar to the method we outlined above. If you are dying a pair of new white shoes to the desired color, you can skip the cleaning part and go straight to protecting the soles with masking tape. Don’t forget to remove the laces and insoles and any other part you do not want to be dyed.

Prep the area by covering the floor with a tarp. Keep a pair of rubber gloves handy to avoid the dye staining your hands.

3- Prepare the Dye

To prepare the dye, take a large container that is big enough to fit your shoes. Fill the container with enough warm water to fully submerge your shoes. Next, you can pour in the bottle of dye. You will need at least half a bottle of dye for a vivid dye job, but this will depend on the size of your shoe. We recommend pouring in enough dye so that the water becomes opaque.

Rit specifies that adding a teaspoon of dish soap into the solution will further aid an even result. Mix the solution well and test out the color on a swatch of fabric or even a paper towel.

4- Dye Your Shoes

Run the shoes under the tap until they are saturated before placing them into the solution. If you want a solid color, leave your footwear in the dye bath for up to an hour. You can also get creative and try an ombre effect or cap toes by dyeing certain parts of the shoe in various intervals.

5- Rinse and Dry

When you are satisfied with the color, rinse out your shoes under running water until the dye runs clear. The next step is to use mild soapy water to wash the excess dye off the shoes and then rinse them again. Don’t worry if your shoes look darker than desired as they will lighten when they dry. Once you have completed the cleaning, leave the shoes to fully dry before wearing your masterpiece.

As an extra note, if you are dyeing with Rit on heels and cannot use the submerging method, then you will need to follow the steps we outlined in the previous section. However, we would suggest using a foam brush instead of a dauber for easier and gentler application.

Where to Buy Shoe Dye for Satin Shoes

For Rit dye, you can purchase their colors directly from their website. Satin shoe dye is readily available at local supermarkets, craft stores, or large retail chains such as Walmart. You can also look at e-commerce stores such as Amazon and Etsy.  Websites of footwear chains such as Footlocker will sell dyes as well. Even big brand names such as Nike sell their own shoe dyes.

You can’t go wrong looking for ones labeled specifically for satin shoes. However, double-check the composition of your shoes and read the directions on the bottle to be sure of the minute details, such as how long to leave the dye on and how much to use.


Satin fabric is high maintenance, but even seemingly ruined shoes can be saved with a good dye job. Whether you want to redye your shoes in a different color or cover up regular wear and tear, choosing the right dye and adopting the right method will give you flawless results. Good luck!

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