Header illustration of restyling shoes

Restyle Your Shoes

Header illustration of restyling shoes

Restyle Your Shoes

Restyling your old shoes instead of throwing them out and buying new ones keeps waste out of landfills which reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  • A pair of old or worn out shoes
  • Scissors
  • Glue, tape or a needle and thread
  • Paint, markers, tie-dye, recycled materials or fabrics, ribbon, embroidery floss, etc.
Old red hightop sneakers
Old running shoes (prominx, iStockphoto)

You can pretty much restyle any kind of shoe. It is up to you to decide which pair of your old shoes you are going to give a refresh. When choosing which kind of shoes to restyle, think about what they are made of. What technique do you want to use to restyle them? What occasions will you wear them for? 

embroidered shoes
Embroidered shoes (Sergienko Olga, iStockphoto)

There are many different creative ways you can turn your old shoes into a brand new masterpiece. Take a look at the “get inspired” section below and decide which method looks the most interesting. Will you use paint? Sequins? Embroidery? Beads?

You will also want to consider what kind of shoes you are restyling. For example, a pair of black shoes won’t be very easy to tie-dye. 

Potential craft materials for upcycling shoes
Other supplies for restyling shoes (FSTOPLIGHT, iStockphoto)

Other than a pair of shoes, you will need at least a few other materials to make your creation come to life. Think about what decorations to restyle your shoes with. Will you use recycled materials? Other preloved fabric? Things you find around your house?

You might also need some other adhesive to stick your decorations to your shoes. This could be glue, tape, staples, or something similar. 

girl and older women designing shoes
Planning will help make your restyle a success! (RgStudio, iStockphoto)

Before beginning any crafting project, it is important to plan it out. Think about how you want to plan out your design before you start doing it. Will you make a sketch? Use a pencil to outline your design on your shoes? Will you put masking tape on any parts of the show that you don't want designed?

Planning out your restyle in advance will prevent mistakes from happening! 

Old running shoes personalized with paint
Show off your personal style through your shoes (FluxFactory, iStockphoto)

This is a great chance to express your creativity, culture and personal style! 

When designing your shoes, you can add personal touches to make your project unique. These could be items such as iron-on patches, your own artwork or interesting pieces of fabric. You might also think about how you can showcase important parts of your identity or cultural heritage. Think about incorporating meaningful symbols or fabrics when creating your shoes.

  • Take your restyled shoes to the next level by selling your creations and donating the profits to a charity or environmental organization.
  • Create a tutorial to teach others how to restyle their shoes and keep them out of the landfill.
  • Plan a restyled shoe day at your school. Have your classmates bring in old or worn shoes and restyle them together.
  • Have a cricut machine? Try making custom shoes!