DIY Painted Shoe Soles

High heels with orange soles
Stephanie White

Love Louboutins’s iconic black and red high heels but can’t afford the designer price tag? Update a pair of old pumps to get a similar look with just a bit of paint. Using either acrylic craft paint or your favorite shade of nail polish you can paint the heels of your shoes to get a colorful statement shoe by adding a splash of color on your old tired pumps.

Materials Needed

  • Old high heel shoes
  • Acrylic paint or nail polish
  • Small flat paintbrush or foam brush (if using acrylic paint)
  • Paper towel or cloth
  • Clear paint enamel or clear nail polish (optional)
  • Dish soap
  • Drop cloth
  • Fine sandpaper (optional)
  • Painter’s tape (If you lack painter's tape you can substitute masking tape—be sure to stick the tape on the table or your pants first to help make the tape slightly less sticky)

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Find a pair of high heel shoes that you would not mind painting. Clean the entire bottom of the shoe with dish soap and a cloth. Make sure to really scrub away any grime or sticky residue that might be on the shoes to help ensure the paint will stay on the shoes. Allow the shoes to fully dry.
  2. Place the shoes on a drop cloth to prevent paint from dripping anywhere.
  3. To make painting your shoes easier, you can apply painter’s tape around the edge of each shoe’s heel to help you paint only on the bottom heel of the shoe. If you are painting suede shoes do not apply tape as it may wreck the fabric of the shoe. In this case, you will have to be more careful when painting so it is best to try painting a suede shoe once you have practiced first on a leather shoe.
  4. Flip the shoes upside down so that you can see the bottom of the shoes. Paint one thin coat of paint on the bottom of the high heel shoe, but not the areas where the shoe hits the ground as the paint will reduce the grip on your shoe. For best results paint the edge of the shoe by applying a thin amount of paint and carefully tracing the edge, then you can easily paint the rest of the shoe’s heel with ease. If your heel has a thick sole on the sides of the shoe you can paint the sides as well. While painting, be sure to have a wet cloth nearby to wipe away any paint that might have gone on unwanted areas before the paint dries. Repeat this step with the other shoe.
  5. After the first coat of paint has dried, paint ​the second coat of paint on both shoes and allow them to fully dry. Depending on the quality of paint you are using and how dark the heel of the shoe is you may need to add additional coats of paint to get the desired bright color if the heel is especially dark or the paint is very poor quality. If the acrylic paint or nail polish went on unevenly so that there are visible bumps, sand the area with fine grit sandpaper and apply another one to two coats of paint over that sanded area.
  6. If you wish you can paint one clear coat of paint enamel or clear nail polish for extra durability.
  7. Allow the shoes to fully dry for 40 minutes prior to wearing them to ensure the paint has fully dried.


  • Experiment with using acrylic paint to paint the tops of your shoe by either painting the entire shoe or just certain areas like the tips of the shoes.
  • For the best possible finish, paint the edges of your shoe with a paintbrush, then go over the entire area with a foam paint brush. A small paintbrush will give you more control over painting the edges of your shoe, then the foam paintbrush will give a more even finish to the paint without visible brushstrokes.