Flame Placard - This item cannot ship overseas Learn More
Sorry item is not available outside the US.

News — cleaning products

Blog Menu

How To Start Customizing Shoes

Designing and painting your own custom shoes is a great way to exercise your artistic abilities and create clothing that matches your personal style. But if you've never tried customizing a pair of sneakers before, you might be hesitant about potentially ruining your shoes.

Knowing what materials you need to get started and learning some basic prepping and painting techniques can make it easier to jump in without worrying about making mistakes.

Here's what you need to know to start creating your own custom sneakers.

What Materials Do I Need?

To get started, you need to grab the right materials -- it's not as simple as just grabbing some paint and brushes. You also need the right tools to prep and protect the shoe.

Angelus Leather Paint Basics Kit

  • Paintbrushes: A quality paintbrush set is key to creating clean customs with minimal brushstrokes. Detail brushes are a must for working on micro-details.
  • Heat Gun: A heat gun will help paint layers set quickly, and heat setting is required when working with 2-Soft on soft materials.
  • Paint: Low-quality paint often chips and peels when worn. High-quality acrylic paint will adhere strongly to your shoes and last much longer.
  • 2-Soft: When painting soft materials like mesh or canvas, Angelus 2-Soft will help the paint adhere and remain flexible.
  • Cleaner: A brush and shoe cleaner are necessary to keep your paint job clean and protected over time. Otherwise, dirt and grime may eventually cause your paint to chip and peel.
  • Tape: Using masking tape to section off certain areas of your shoes is the easiest way to prevent paint from spreading to unintended parts of the shoe.
  • Leather Preparer & Deglazer: Prep is the first step to customizing any shoe, and Leather Preparer & Deglazer will help paint adhere by getting rid of the shoe's factory finish.
  • Water & Stain Repellent: When properly applied, Water & Stain Repellent provides an invisible protective coating that repels water & stains to keep shoes clean and dry. 
  • Acrylic Finisher: After you finish your custom paint job, acrylic finisher provides a clean finish and protective coating.

After you get your materials together, it's time to learn how you can put them to use. You can customize more than just sneakers.

Custom Sneaker Tutorials

The best way to pick up a new skill is to learn from people who have already mastered it. At Angelus, we work with a number of established sneaker artists to create tutorials on everything ranging from cleaning your sneakers to painting complex effects.

Check out some of the key tutorials for beginners below. 

Learn the basics

If you've never tried painting custom shoes before, these tutorials will teach you the basics to help you get started.

The Do's & Don'ts of Using Angelus Paints walks you through how to properly prepare shoes and apply paints for a clean finish and strong adhesion.

Check out FAQ: What's the Best Way to Clean My Sneakers? to learn how to clean your sneakers without damaging them or messing up your custom paint job.

Watch this quick tutorial to learn how to clean, customize, and restore an older pair of sneakers with just a few basic tools and materials.

Learn new techniques

After you get the basics down, you can check out some of these tutorials to learn more advanced techniques to create some unique designs.

Check out this custom Nike AF1 Glitch tutorial to learn how to use stencils to create unique effects. 

Watch this tutorial to learn how to pain other accessories and how to create a neon watercolor effect.

If you want to learn how to use paint markers to create custom, hand-drawn designs, check out this tutorial on how to create customs influenced by graffiti and street art. 

These resources should be enough to get you started, but to learn more tips and techniques, make sure to check out our YouTube channel for more tutorials, and follow us on Instagram to get some ideas for your next project.

Create High-Quality Customs with These Accessories

Creating customs is a high-effort, time-consuming process. From making the initial design to preparing the shoe to implementing your design, the entire customization process can take a while. The last thing you want after spending all that time is for the final product to look bad or to be ruined by the weather.

In order to make sure your final design comes out right and to ensure that your customs are protected from the elements, make sure to pick up these materials and accessories.

Starter Kit

If you're new to making custom kicks, then you need to make sure you get started on the right foot by picking up the basic materials you need to make high-quality designs.

This starter kit will hook you up with 3 standard paints, acrylic finisher, a high-quality cleaning solution, leather preparer and deglazer, a cleaning brush, and a paint brush set.

Empty Paint Markers

For certain designs, you might find it easier to use a marker over a paint brush. It can be difficult to do outlines, detailing, and touch-ups -- especially for novices.

This empty, refillable paint marker set allows you to create your own custom markers to draw detailed designs. These feature a pump action valve which allows you to control the flow of the paint.

Check out this short tutorial to see how you can use these markers to make high-quality customs.

Masking Tape

Masking tape is a must-have for any custom artist. Masking tape will help you paint better lines without leaking onto areas of the shoe you don't want to paint.

Masking tape also needs to be tear-resistant and easy to remove without leaving any residue. New artists should be sure to add this vital product to their inventory before getting started on making customs.

Shoe Trees

If you want your shoes to last as long as possible, you need to pick up a pair of quality shoe trees.

Simply insert these into your shoes when you aren't wearing them to make sure they retain their shape. These are adjustable, so they're perfect for any shoe between sizes 6 and 13.

Also, you can use these when painting to make sure your shoes don't bend when trying to draw straight lines.

Mink Oil


For leather shoes, you need to pick up some mink oil to make sure they last as long as possible.

This product has been used for years to condition leather shoes and products while protecting them from stains and water damage. You can also use this on suede, nubuck, rough-out, vinyl, and plastic. Combined with the easy cleaner from the starter kit, this product will help make sure your customs last. Check out more of our cleaning products here.

To learn more about how you can use our products to make great customs and to see a variety of custom tutorials, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Also, be sure to follow us on IG to check out some of the incredible custom designs we post every week.