How To Dye Tennis Shoes With Rit Dye

Do you want to give your old tennis shoes a new life? With the help of Rit Dye, you can easily revitalize any pair of shoes and turn them into something unique. This article will guide you through the process of dyeing tennis shoes with Rit Dye, from gathering the needed supplies to rinsing and drying the finished product. So put on your DIY hat, grab some dye, and let’s get started!

Gather the Supplies Needed

You’ve decided to give your shoes a makeover, so now it’s time to get the supplies you’ll need! The first thing that you’ll need for dyeing your tennis shoes is the Rit Dye. Choose the colors of dye that will best match with your shoes. You can find Rit Dye in most big box and craft stores, or you can order it online.

Once you have chosen your colors of dye, gather some rubber bands, gloves, a plastic container for mixing up the dye and an old toothbrush for scrubbing off any excess color from the shoe. If you are using leather shoes or any other type of material that cannot be submerged in water, then bring out some cotton swabs too. Make sure to wear gloves during this entire process as well.

You should also pre-wash the fabric before starting this project by simply washing them with detergent and warm water in a sink or bathtub (if they fit). This helps remove any dirt, sweat or oils from the fabric which could prevent even absorption of color when dying them later on. Once washed and dried, they are ready to go!

Prepare the Shoes

Get the kicks ready for their colorful makeover by taking off any laces and giving them a thorough cleaning. Gather all the necessary supplies, such as rubber gloves, a cleaning brush, an old toothbrush, and gentle cleaning materials such as liquid dish soap. If you own leather shoes, use a leather cleaner instead of dish soap so that the leather does not dry out. Start scrubbing the shoe in circular motions with either your brush or an old toothbrush. Make sure to clean every corner of the shoe because if there is still dirt or grime on it when dyeing it will create an uneven look once done.

Once finished cleaning, let them air dry before moving onto sizing your shoes to prepare for dying. This is important because you want to ensure that all areas of your shoes are properly covered with dye later on and this would be difficult to do if they were wet while dyeing them. Take note of any areas where stitching may exist; these spots should be lightly taped off using masking tape in order for them not to get stained during the process. This also applies for any straps on sandals or other types of closure systems like velcro straps on sneakers.

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It’s time now to start prepping your shoes for dying! Lay down newspapers or a plastic sheet over surfaces you don’t want stained during this process and separate each shoe into two sections – one side per section – so that both sides can soak evenly in their respective dyes later on. Place each half of each shoe face up onto its area and secure it tightly in place by taping around its perimeter so that no movement occurs once added into the dye bath later on. You’re almost ready!

Prepare the Dye

Gather the dye of your choice and get ready to make your shoes one-of-a-kind! When choosing dye, you should consider the type of fabric that your shoes are made from. If your shoes are made from cotton or linen, then Rit Dye will be the best option for achieving a vibrant color result. Alternatively, if they are made from polyester or nylon, then iDye Poly is the better choice. Once you have selected the right dye for your project, it’s time to mix it up!

To prepare Rit Dye, start by adding 1/2 cup warm water to each packet of powder dye in separate containers. Make sure no lumps remain. Then add 1/4 cup salt for every two packets of dye used into each mixture and stir until dissolved. When using iDye Poly, dissolve one packet of powder dye into 2 cups very hot water in a container and stir until completely mixed together. It’s important that you use only very hot water when preparing iDye Poly as cold water won’t activate the dyes properly.

Once all dyes have been prepared according to their instructions, you can begin dying your tennis shoes! Keep in mind that when using either Rit Dye or iDye Poly on both natural and synthetic fabrics it’s recommended to pre-wash them first with detergent so that there isn’t any residue left on them which could interfere with how well the dye takes onto them during application.

Apply the Dye

Having prepared the desired dye, it is now time to apply it to your fabric-based footwear for a unique and vibrant look. When dyeing tennis shoes with RIT Dye, be sure to follow the mixing ratios outlined in the instructions as this will ensure an even coloration. Additionally, when applying the dye make sure that you use one of two recommended techniques: immersion or brush-on. With immersion, place your shoes into a large bucket filled with warm water and the prepared dye solution then let them soak for at least 30 minutes until they reach their desired color intensity. If using the brush-on technique, dip a paintbrush into the prepped solution then carefully apply it onto each shoe section by section. Make sure that all areas are evenly covered and for best results continually check on them every five minutes until they reach their desired shade.

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Once you have achieved your desired intensity of color remove your shoes from either method and quickly rinse them off with cold water in order to stop any further absorption of colors. Afterwards, take out any excess liquid by pressing them gently between two clean towels before allowing them to air dry naturally or placing them in an electric dryer set on low heat setting for about 20 minutes. As soon as both shoes are fully dried you can enjoy wearing your newly created one-of-a-kind work of art!

Rinse and Dry the Shoes

Once you have reached your desired color intensity, quickly rinse off the fabric-based footwear with cold water to prevent any further absorption of colors. Cleaning tips like these are especially important when it comes to dyeing shoes with Rit dye, as the material’s choice can affect the success of the project. Different fabrics absorb and hold dyes differently, so it is important to select the right type of shoe fabric for your dye job before you start.

After rinsing off the shoes, lay them flat onto an old towel or cloth and gently press down on them to remove excess water from the surface. You may also want to use a blow dryer on a low setting to speed up this step in order for your shoes to dry faster. However, make sure not to use too much heat as certain fabrics may be damaged by high temperatures or become discolored.

Once most of the moisture has been removed from your newly dyed shoes, place them in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight until they are completely dry (usually takes about 24 hours). Hang drying is also another option that can be used if necessary; however ensure that no heat sources such as radiators are nearby as this could also cause discoloration or pattern damage on some fabrics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What color options are available when using Rit Dye?

When using Rit dye, you have a plethora of color options. You can mix two or more colors together to create unique color combinations, so the possibilities are endless! You can also combine different mixing techniques such as ombre and gradients for even more creative results. For example, you could use navy blue and turquoise in an ombre pattern to create a stunning pair of shoes.

How long does the dye typically last?

When using Rit Dye to dye your tennis shoes, the amount of time that the color lasts depends on a few factors. First, if you use cold water when rinsing out the dye, it can help keep the color from fading. Second, pre-treating your shoes with a stain remover prior to dying can also help make sure that the color stays vibrant for longer. Generally speaking, you can expect your dyed tennis shoes to last several weeks or even months if treated correctly.

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Can I dye leather or suede shoes?

Dyeing leather or suede shoes is possible, but requires different techniques than dyeing fabric. You’ll need to purchase a special type of dye specifically made for these materials. Additionally, you’ll want to apply a stain-preventative sealant before and after the dyeing process in order to keep your shoes looking great longer. Be sure to read all instructions carefully and take extra care when dealing with leather or suede, as they can be easily damaged if not treated properly.

Is there a way to avoid staining my countertop in the process?

Protecting surfaces when dyeing your shoes is a key step. A good technique to avoid staining your countertop is to cover it with plastic wrap or a tarp before you begin the process. Additionally, you can use an old towel or newspaper underneath your project to catch any excess dye from spilling out. For extra protection, consider wearing gloves and using other materials such as rubber gloves, paper towels and rags while handling the wet materials. Be sure to clean up any spills quickly and thoroughly so that they don’t have time to sink in and cause stains on the surface beneath them.

Is it possible to dye multiple pairs of shoes at once?

Yes, it is possible to dye multiple pairs of shoes at once. The best way to do this is by using alternative dyes specifically designed for dyeing fabrics. When you are ready to begin, make sure the water temperature is lukewarm (around 105°F). You can then submerge your shoes in the dye solution and stir frequently until the desired color has been reached. Keep in mind that each pair of shoes will take a different amount of time to fully absorb the dye, so if you are looking for an even color finish on all pairs, be sure to keep track of how long each one has been submerged.


You’ve done it! You’ve dyed your tennis shoes to fit your unique style. With just a few simple steps, you can now show off your bright and stylish new look. To keep your shoes looking their best, be sure to let them dry completely before wearing them outside. Additionally, you may want to re-dye the shoes every few months or so if they start to fade. Now that you know how easy it is to dye tennis shoes with Rit dye, why not try out different colors and designs? Who knows—you might even become an expert shoe dyer!

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