The process of dying your suede boots is similar to that of dying other items made of suede, such as shoes, purses, jackets, etc. The steps outlined in this guide can be used to dye any suede material, but I recommend you read the manufacturer’s guidelines as well.
When you are to dye your suede boots, choosing a suitable dye is half the battle won. Suede and water are not good friends to each other, so never use a water-based dye for the purpose. Instead, always go for a fabric dye or a specialized one.
For best results, always dye your suede boots either with the same color they are or a darker shade of the same color. You can also dye them with a closely related color, but that’s it. Additionally, I have found that suede boots of almost any color can be dyed in black entirely.
Sidenote: This entire guide revolves around dyeing boots made of suede only. For regular leather, check my guide on how to darken leather boots.
Some Limitations When Dying Your Suede Boots
- The color options to dye your suede boots are limited. You cannot dye a darker suede leather with a lighter color. You can dye suede boots only with the same color they are or a shade darker.
- Once you have dyed your suede boots, you cannot wear them out in wet environments or when it rains. When wet, the color of the dye may bleed over your boots, leaving spots on the upper and stains on the sole.
- The color may also bleed if you have sweaty feet. This color bleeding problem is real even if you have applied a waterproof protector on your suede boots.
4 Step Process To Dye Your Suede Boots
1. Prepare the Workspace
- First, lay some newspaper on the floor. Otherwise, the spilled dye will create a mess that is hard to clean.
- Other than that, put some rubber gloves on your hands as a dye usually contains some harsh chemicals.
- Due to the involvement of harsh chemicals, it is also wise that you dye your suede boots in a well-ventilated area.
2. Prepare the Suede Boots
- Use any soft bristle brush and clean your suede boots thoroughly. Make sure there is no dirt buildup, mildew, or oil present on the surface of your boots. The cleaner the surface the better it will respond to the dying treatment.
- Remove the laces and insoles from the boots as we don’t want to stain them. Also, use masking tape to cover the sole area along the seams. It will protect the dye from bleeding over to the area we don’t want to color. Remove the masking tape when the dye on the boots are completely dry.
- Lastly, stuff your boots with a newspaper or a towel. It helps the suede upper to bloat fully, and the dye reaches in every nook and cranny of the suede surface.
3. Apply the Dye
The fun begins! This part is easy but demands attention to detail. Usually, you will get instructions printed on the dye package. If not, no worries. Here’s how it works.
- Most suede dyes come with an appropriate applicator. It could be a brush, spray nozzle, or a cotton dauber. If the dye doesn’t come with an applicator, you can use a regular toothbrush as well.
- Using the applicator, apply the dye evenly on the entire suede surface. Rotate the boots around and touch up any omitted area. Use the applicator on the surface of suede boots in a circular motion.
- Once the dye is evenly applied, let the suede boots air dry for 24 hours. Do not use any heat source to speed up the drying process.
Note: Suede is a porous material and may soak up a lot of dye quickly. This may result in some darker spots at some places on your boots. So, you must use the provided applicator and apply the dye evenly and quickly.
4. Make the Suede Boots Look Great Again
- Once the dye is dry, it’s time to make the suede boots look great again. The application of dye may cause a nap to flatten. So, we need to raise the nap with a suede brush.
- Before we raise the nap, observe if you have achieved the desired shade of color or not. If not, you can apply a second coat of dye, but that’s it. Layering too many coats of dye on suede will dry out the material and make it stiff and prone to damages.
- Once you have achieved the shade of color you were looking for, it’s time to fluff up the nap again. First, make sure the dye is completely dry. Now, buff the boots with a quality suede brush. A mild air blow from a hairdryer is also useful.
Before You Go
Usually, dying your suede boots is an effective way to revive your old pair. As suede is a costly material, it’s not always practical to buy new boots whenever they get faded.
On the other hand, as suede is a costly material, If you don’t want to take a chance, I forbid you from dying your new suede boots yourself. If you screw things up, you may ruin an expensive pair of suede boots. Instead, go to a cobbler or get a replacement.