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How to Prevent Acrylic Paint from Cracking on Shoes: Tips and Tricks

If you have ever painted your shoes, you know how frustrating it can be to see them crack after all your hard work. To prevent this, it is important to properly prepare your shoes before painting them. This includes making sure they are clean and dry, and using good quality acrylic shoe paint in thin, multiple layers. Additionally, it is important to paint in the natural direction that the shoe flexes and to apply a sealant once the paint is dry.

In this article, you'll find helpful tips on preventing cracking paint on shoes, as well as common mistakes to avoid and how to keep paint from peeling off your shoes. You'll also get answers to related questions, such as whether painted shoes need sealant and the best way to weatherproof painted shoes. By following these steps, you can ensure that your painted shoes look great and last a long time.

Steps for Preventing Cracking Paint on Shoes

If you want to paint your shoes and make them unique to you, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure that the paint lasts a long time. One of the biggest challenges when painting shoes is preventing the acrylic paint from cracking. However, by following these steps, you can help prevent this from happening.

Properly Prepare Your Shoes

Before you start painting your shoes, it is important to properly prepare them. No matter what material your shoes are made of, you need to make sure that they are clean and free of any dirt or debris. This will help the paint adhere to the material of the shoes properly. Use a shoe cleaner or soap and water to clean your shoes, and allow them to dry completely before moving forward with your painting.

Use Quality Shoe Paint

Using good quality acrylic shoe paint is essential if you want to prevent your shoes from cracking. It is important to use the same brand of paint throughout your shoe painting to ensure that the paint doesn't crack. Mixing brands can cause the paint to crack as every paint manufacturer has a different recipe that they use to make their paint. Check out our article for the best acrylic paints for shoe painting.

Apply The Paint In Thin Layers

When painting your shoes, it may be tempting to use thick layers of paint to prevent cracking. However, this is not the best approach. Instead, paint thin layers of acrylic paint onto your shoes, and it is best to paint in multiple layers. You will only need to paint two to three thin layers of the paint onto your shoes to help prevent the paint from cracking. Paint one layer first, and then let it dry before you apply the next layer.

Pay Attention to the Areas That Will Move on Your Shoes

The toe cap of your shoes is the area that moves the most while you walk. This is the main area where the acrylic shoe paint will crack as the shoe flexes the most in this area. You should paint this section of your shoes carefully, ensuring that you paint in the natural direction that the shoe flexes to help reduce the potential for cracking.

Apply a Sealant

Once the acrylic paint has dried and you are happy with the color saturation and the final results, you should apply an acrylic sealant. This is an important step as the sealant will help to protect the paint and keep your painted shoes looking good for a longer period of time. You need to make sure that you give the acrylic sealant enough time to dry completely before you wear your shoes. Angelus Acrylic Finisher is a fantastic choice as it remains flexible even when fully dried. This flexibility is what you want rather than a stiff finish that cracks with any movement. As an alternative, you could use a product such as Mod Podge or even ScotchGard Water Seal. Both of these products will effectively seal your shoes and protect them from the elements and are great options, especially if you happen to have some on hand.

In conclusion, by taking your time and following these steps, you can prevent acrylic paint from cracking on your shoes. Properly prepare your shoes, use quality shoe paint, apply the paint in thin layers, pay attention to the areas that will move on your shoes, and apply a sealant. By doing so, you can ensure that your painted shoes look great and last a long time.

How To Keep Paint From Peeling Off Shoes

If you want to prevent paint from peeling off your shoes, you should take some precautions. Here are some tips to help you keep your shoes looking good:

  • Keep your shoes out of direct sunlight and away from any heat sources when you are not wearing them. Heat and sunlight can degrade the paint, causing it to peel off faster.
  • If your shoes get wet, avoid placing them near a heater or any heat source to dry. This can damage the paint and cause it to peel off. Instead, place your shoes in an area with good airflow and no direct sunlight.
  • You can also consider using a protective spray or sealant on your shoes to help prevent the paint from peeling off. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and test the product on a small area first to avoid any damage to your shoes.

By following these simple steps, you can help keep your shoes looking great and prevent paint from peeling off.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

When painting your shoes with acrylic paint, there are a few common mistakes you should avoid to ensure the best results. Here are some tips to help you avoid these mistakes:

  • Avoid using heat to speed up the drying time of the paint. It is important to allow the paint to dry on its own time. Using heat can actually make the paint more prone to cracking.

  • Never mix different brands of paint. Mixing different brands of paint can cause the paint to crack faster, as the paints cannot mix together.

  • Make sure your shoes are completely dry before painting them. If your shoes are still damp, the paint will be diluted and you will need to apply more layers of paint to get the desired results.

  • Use the right paint for the material of your shoes. Using the right paint can help the paint penetrate into the material better and avoid cracking.

  • Invest in quality acrylic shoe paint. Cheaper paints do not have the flexibility to move with the shoe, leading to cracking a lot faster than with quality paints.

By following these tips, you can avoid common mistakes and achieve the best results when painting your shoes with acrylic paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Painted Shoes Need Sealant?

When you paint your shoes yourself, it is recommended that you apply sealant to protect the paint from external factors like sunlight and heat. Sealant also helps prevent cracking and ensures that your shoes look great for a long time. Applying sealant is an easy process and can be done using a brush or spray.

What's the Best Way To Weatherproof Painted Shoes?

To protect your painted shoes from the weather, it's best to use a waterproofing spray like ScotchGard. Once the sealant has dried, spray your shoes with the waterproofing spray to keep them safe from the elements and dirt. It's important to note that the waterproofing spray should only be applied after the sealant has dried completely. Additionally, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials when cleaning your painted shoes, as this can damage the paint.


Preventing acrylic paint from cracking on your shoes is a simple process that can help maintain the appearance of your shoes. By following the steps outlined in the sources provided, you can ensure that your shoes remain crack-free and looking their best. Some of the key steps include properly preparing the surface of the shoes, using the right type of paint and sealant, and allowing ample drying time between coats. Taking the time to follow these steps will ensure that your shoes look great for years to come.

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