Can You Use Sharpie on Shoes? (Permanent Markers For Shoes)

If you love your shoes so much that you don’t want to give them up even when they start looking ratty, there are some ways to salvage them. One way is to use markers to give your favorite kicks a little color and life again.

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Sharpie markers have long been the choice of artists who want to create works on paper that can withstand water and humidity. These markers are ideal for writing on leather and suede as well because they don’t bleed through the material.

Can You Use Sharpie on Shoes?

You can use Sharpie on shoes to create unique designs and make your shoe one-of-a-kind. When you’re using Sharpie on shoes, you want to pick a color that will stand out against your background. Typically dark or bright colors work the best.

The best material to draw on with Sharpie is light-colored canvas like Vans or Converse. It is common to use Sharpie on shoes if you are scene, punk, or have a crafty personality.

However, before you go crazy with the permanent ink, remember that certain Sharpie products are safe to wash off while others will leave permanent marks.

When applying the markers to your shoes, try to treat them like a blank canvas. There are no rules for how to go about this, but generally speaking, you should avoid using colors that clash with the design of your shoes. For example, if they are plaid, avoid colors that are not part of the plaid pattern.

If they are floral print, try not to use black or white markers — those colors will only serve to make the shoes look dirty and old.

Can You Use Sharpie to Customize Shoes?

Yes! Sharpie permanent markers can be used to customize shoes. Sharpie permanent markers can be used to customize almost any shoe, but they work best with white fabric shoes.

Sharpies come in every color you could imagine, and the tips vary from large to very fine, so you can cover both large swathes of the shoe or fill in the smallest details.

Even though Sharpies are permanent markers and are decently waterproof, they will inevitably fade with wear, so keep your markers on hand for touch-ups when necessary.

With sharpies, try out some different designs on paper before moving onto your shoe itself. This will help you determine which design appeals most to you and will also help you figure out which techniques will work best.

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How to Do It:

  1. Decide what you want to draw on your shoes. Remember that Sharpies do not like skin, so choose designs that will be covered by your toes or socks. A good rule of thumb is that they should be larger than an inch in size. If this is too much work, you can also use any fabric paint or markers.
  2. Once you have decided on the design, it’s time to start drawing! Be sure to use the entire shoe as your canvas and not just a tiny spot on the side (unless you want to draw a tiny man with huge feet). Also keep in mind that if you are going for color instead of black, the shoe will need to dry completely before applying the paint or marker. Otherwise, the color will run, and there will be nothing left but an orange mess.
  3. Once your design is complete, it’s time to let it dry! There is no easy way around this step, so just be patient and enjoy yourself while it dries. This usually takes about five minutes for Sharpies and about 15 minutes for fabric paint or markers.

Will Sharpie Stay on Shoes?

Being able to design your own pair of shoes is a pretty cool idea, isn’t it? But what happens when you wash the shoes, or they get wet from the rain? It turns out, Sharpie on shoes actually lasts quite well.

TIP: If you want to ensure that Sharpie designs remain on your shoes, coat them with a waterproofing fabric spray once you have completed your design.

Sharpies are a great way to customize a pair of shoes. When working with fabric, permanent markers or fabric pens are generally the best media as they provide bold color and don’t bleed, and Sharpies can be used to draw and color on any part of the shoe.

However, if you add a little too much color or put your shoes through the wash with laundry detergent, the color can run, leaving the shoes with a smudged look.

Will Sharpies Wash Off Shoes?

Sharpie will wash of shoes, but not all that easily. If you are looking to add a design to your shoes with a little doodle or use a sharpie to fill in any gaps on a black shoe, you can feel confident that it will not come off until you put in a bit of effort.

On the other side of the coin, if you have accidentally found Sharpie marks on your shoes and want to get them off, don’t panic, it is washable.

Will sharpies wash off shoes? The answer is that yes, Sharpie will wash off the majority of shoes. However, the most important thing to realize is that Sharpie will not come off easily.

So, how do you wash off sharpie from shoes?

All you need to do is lightly wet a cotton ball with acetone nail polish remover and gently rub the marker off. Acetone is not the same thing as water, but it will easily wash off your shoe. If the Sharpie has been there for some time, you may have to scrub a bit in order to get the ink off the shoe.

If you are really worried about getting markers off your shoes, you can use nail polish remover that contains acetone as well. Insert a cotton swab into the bottle and then blot onto the shoes. Rubbing with a cloth will work best for this method, though it will take longer for the ink to come off.

Will Permanent Marker Work on Shoes?

Yes, but it depends on the type of marker. The permanent markers we use today were once used in drafting and architecture. They use a form of ink that is more like paint than a liquid.

This means they will last much longer than a typical marker and are less likely to fade over time. The ink will only adhere to a porous surface such as leather or fabric, as opposed to something nonporous like glass or plastic.

The exact conditions needed for the ink to adhere will depend on the particular marker brand used, so it is best to test first with a small portion of the shoe before attempting an entire design or even the whole shoe.

Always make sure that you test the marker on an inconspicuous area if you are unsure about the results beforehand.

What Kind of Markers Can You Use on Shoes?

Some people like to customize their shoes with their own artistic style and markers usually provide the cheapest and easiest medium with which to decorate shoes. Fabric, acrylic, chalk ink, or plain old permanent markers will all work well when coloring your shoes.

Acrylic paint pens made by companies like Sharpie and Sakura work well because they have an oil-based ink that adheres well to many surfaces. Since they are used for art projects and crafts, they are usually safe for most fabrics and materials including leather.

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It’s best to choose a canvas shoe to use markers on as they will hold the marker best. Using the different thicknesses of tips can vary the designs you can create on your shoes. Use rubbing alcohol over the top of the marker design to give a smudged effect.


In summary, if you have an old pair of shoes that you’re not planning on wearing anymore, save them for your Sharpie projects. Play around with sizes and placement until you find something that works well with your designs.

You may also be interested in…  Can You Change Eyelets on Boots? (Reasons Why To Do So) and Why Does the Inside of Your Shoes Turn Black?