How to Print on Shoes

Are you looking for a unique way to customize your wardrobe? Wouldn’t it be great to have one-of-a-kind shoes that no one else in the world has? Well, look no further! In this blog post, you’ll learn all about how to print on shoes. With just a few simple materials like fabric paint, brushes and plain canvas sneakers, you can turn any ordinary pair of shoes into something special.

How to Print on Shoes

Whether it’s for fun or as part of a business, printing your own custom designs onto shoes can be a rewarding experience. In this blog post, we will take you through all the steps necessary to complete your DIY printed shoes project.

From learning what kind of materials you need and choosing which fabric works best to chalk tracing and heat transferring—we explain everything in detail so that even beginners can try their hand at making these fashionable creations.

Why May You Want to Print on Shoes?

1 . To Add Personalization

Personalized shoes are a popular fashion statement. Whether it’s adding your name, initials or favorite design, printing on shoes can make them unique to you. This is especially helpful if you have a common shoe style or color and want to stand out from the crowd.

2 . To Promote Your Brand

Printing on shoes is also a great way to promote your brand or business. You can print your company logo, slogan, or any other branding elements on shoes and use them as promotional products. This not only helps with brand recognition but also creates a sense of exclusivity as these printed shoes are not available in the market.

3 . To Create Customized Gifts

Printed shoes make great gifts for friends and family. You can personalize them with the recipient’s name or a special design that holds meaning to them. This adds a personal touch and shows that you put thought into the gift, making it more meaningful.

4 . To Express Your Creativity

Experiment With Different Designs

Printing on shoes allows you to express your creativity and unleash your imagination. You can experiment with different designs, patterns, and colors to create a truly unique and one-of-a-kind pair of shoes. This is a great way to showcase your artistic skills and make a fashion statement.

How to Print on Shoes in 6 Easy Steps

There are several methods for printing on shoes, depending on the material of the shoe and the type of design you want. Here are some common techniques used for printing on shoes:

Step 1: Gather All The Tools

The very first step is to gather all the necessary tools for printing on shoes. This includes:

  • A pair of plain shoes (canvas or leather works best)
  • Fabric paint or markers
  • Stencils (if you’re using a stencil method)
  • Painter’s tape (if you’re using a masking method)
  • Paintbrushes (if you’re freehand painting)

Step 2: Prepare the Shoes

Before you start printing, make sure your shoes are clean and dry. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any dirt or debris on the surface of the shoe. This will ensure that your design adheres better to the shoe.

Step 3: Choose Your Design

Next, choose what design you want to print on your shoes. You can either use stencils, freehand painting, or masking techniques. If you’re using a stencil or masking method, make sure to secure it in place with painter’s tape.

Step 4: Start Printing

Now the fun begins! Use your chosen method and start printing on your shoes. If you’re using fabric paint or markers, make sure to follow the instructions on the label for best results. If you’re freehand painting, take your time and be careful not to smudge or smear the design.

Using Fabric Paint or Markers

Step 5: Let It Dry

Once you’ve finished printing, let your shoes dry completely before wearing them. This can take a few hours to overnight depending on the type of paint used. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label for drying times.

Step 6: Seal the Design

To ensure that your design stays intact, it’s recommended to seal it with a clear sealant. This will also help protect the design from wear and tear. Again, follow the instructions on the label for best results.

Some Additional Tips to Print on Shoes

1 . Do Not Overlap Colors

Overlapping colors can lead to unclear and blurry designs on your shoes. Make sure to print each color separately, and use a heat gun or hairdryer to dry the paint before adding another layer.

2 . Use High-Quality Materials

To ensure the longevity of your printed shoes, invest in high-quality materials such as heat transfer vinyl sheets or screen printing ink. These will not only produce better results, but also withstand regular wear and tear.

3 . Test on a Scrap Material

Before printing directly onto your shoes, it’s always a good idea to test the design on a scrap material first. This will help you identify any issues or make adjustments before ruining your actual shoes.

4 . Use Adhesive Spray

If you’re using heat transfer vinyl sheets, it’s recommended to use adhesive spray on your shoes before applying the design. This will help the vinyl adhere better and prevent any lifting or peeling.

5 . Be Creative with Designs

Printing on shoes allows for endless possibilities in terms of designs. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different patterns, colors, and placement on the shoes. Have fun with it!

6 . Protect Your Design

Use a Clear Coat Spray

Once you’ve successfully printed your design on your shoes, it’s important to protect it from any potential damage. You can use a clear coat spray or even apply a layer of Mod Podge to seal and protect the design.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Precautions Should I Take Before Starting to Print on Shoes?

  • Clean the shoes thoroughly and let them dry completely before printing.
  • Make sure you have enough ink in your printer for the desired design.
  • Use a high-quality transfer paper that is suitable for the material of your shoes.

Can Any Type of Printer Be Used for Printing on Shoes?

No, not all printers are suitable for printing on shoes. It is recommended to use a flatbed printer or an inkjet printer with a special attachment for printing on irregular surfaces.

What Type of Ink Should I Use?

It is important to use the right type of ink for printing on shoes. Water-based or pigment inks are the best options as they are more durable and can withstand washing and wear. Avoid using dye-based inks as they may bleed or fade over time.

How Do I Prepare the Design for Printing?

Using a Digital Design

If you are using a digital design, make sure it is in high resolution and properly sized to fit your shoes. You can also create your own design by hand or with stencils. Whichever method you choose, always test the design on a spare piece of transfer paper before printing on the actual shoes.

Can I Print on Any Type of Shoe Material?

No, certain materials are more suitable for printing than others. Canvas, leather, and synthetic fabrics are the most commonly used materials for shoe printing. Avoid using shoes with a glossy or textured finish as it may interfere with the quality of the print.

How Do I Transfer the Design onto the Shoes?

After printing the design on transfer paper, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions to transfer it onto your shoes. Use a heat press or iron for best results. Make sure to apply even pressure and temperature for an even transfer.

Do I Need to Seal the Print After Transferring?

It is recommended to seal the print with a clear sealant to protect it from fading and water damage. If you are using a heat transfer vinyl, no additional sealing is necessary.

How Do I Care for Printed Shoes?

To ensure the longevity of your printed shoes, avoid machine washing and opt for hand washing instead. Use a gentle detergent and cold water. Allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing or storing them. Also, make sure to avoid excessive rubbing or scratching of the printed area. With proper care, your printed shoes can maintain their vibrant design for a long time.


Whether you are creating your own custom design or just looking for a creative way to add a personal touch to an existing shoe, learning how to print on shoes is a great way to showcase your style. It’s simple enough that anyone could give it a try and fun enough just about anyone could think of up some fantastic ideas.

Now you know how to print on shoes! Give it a shot and see what kind of amazing designs you can come up with! Who knows, you may even be able to turn it into much more than just a hobby. And if you get stuck at any point during the process, be sure to go back over this blog post as reference!

Photo of author

Jennifer Branett

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