Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes [My #1 Method]

Written By Mahia

Ever thought of painting your shoes with acrylic paint? If not, then definitely you are missing something very creative. Painting shoes with acrylic is one of the most versatile innovations to make your shoes stand out among all and make the shoe a masterpiece.


If you have a good hand on painting, it’s high time to make your shoes the canvas. Indulge yourself with all your creativity in painting the shoes and create a unique design of your own.

But before you start painting, you need to know specific tips and tricks to prevent cracking of acrylic paint on shoes. With the only right choice of colors and thorough knowledge about shoe painting, you can get a crack less and even a surface shoe.

About Acrylic Paint

Acrylics are water-based, which makes it easy to work with when it is wet. With a wide range of colors, you can use acrylic paint on metal, wood, ceramic, and fabrics. Acrylic paints are long-lasting and don’t change the shade when exposed to light. As a result, feel free to use acrylics on shoes.

Check out our separate post on how to Wash Skechers Memory Foam Shoes.

What Sort Of Paint To Work With On The Shoes?

The type of paint you are using has a significant role in cracking your shoes. The outcome of the painting depends on the quality of the color.what-sort-of-paint-to-work-with-on-the-shoes

Acrylic paints come in two different types, the artist’s quality and the student’s quality. The difference between them is the quality and price. The artist’s quality is comparatively expensive, with an increased range of colors and superior quality with a smoother consistency, which decreases the chances of cracking on shoes. On the other hand, the student’s quality is very affordable and has a minimal color option. Also, for fine detailing, you can use fluid acrylics. It depends on you which quality of acrylic paint you want to use.

How To Stop Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?

Acrylics on shoes can crack under certain situations; after the paint is dried, the tendency of cracking is more. Keep enough time on your hand while painting the shoes; the quicker you are, the more chances of getting your design ruined. Before you start painting, you should know a few rules which can prevent acrylics cracking on the shoes.

Below are some tips and tricks that will help you to get crack free paint:

  1. Always start with a light color moving to a dark color. Using dark colors first can cause a mess if you are a beginner.
  2. Build the layers finely; do not put a thick coat of paint on your first swipe. A thick layer is a significant reason for cracking the color, as it takes longer to dry. Apply little paint to the brush and, with small strokes, paint the shoes evenly. Applying a thin layer of color makes the drying process fast and reduces the chance of cracking. Before you use the second coat, make sure the first coat of paint is thoroughly dried.
  3. Do not make a mixture of different brands of paint. Each has a different texture and consistency so mixing them will surely end up getting cracked paint.
  4. The toe box of the shoes tends to crack the most. While painting, the flexing areas make sure the brushstrokes are in a single direction.
  5. For drying, the paint always keeps the shoes in a cool and airy place. We often make the mistake of using a hairdryer for faster drying, the heat of the dryer or keeping the shoes in direct sunlight cracks the paint easily.
  6. Acrylic sealer works great to lock the paint. Once you complete the painting, spray the acrylic paint sealer in small bursts on the shoes’ surface.
  7. Shoes are meant to be worn in different weathers. Waterproofing is a must to protect the paint from rain or any other stain. Spray waterproofing spray all over the color and let it sit for 24 hours for drying.

Check out my new post on how to Prevent Shoes From Dry Rotting.

How To Paint Leather Shoes?

Different shoe material has different painting technique. It is suggested for leather shoes not to use any kind of acrylic paint without a deglaze, which means you have to make your leather shoes ready for painting.

Learn the easy steps to paint leather shoes:

  1. Rub the deglaze with a brush on the shoes and let them dry. It can take a few days for drying; make sure the deglaze is completely dry before applying the acrylic paint. Deglaze makes the paint stick to the shoes easily.
  2. Once the shoes are dry, apply a thin layer of paint on the shoes. Gradually build the layers to avoid cracking; after putting each layer, give the paint time to dry. For more of an even look, thin the paint with a little bit of water.
  3. After the painting is complete, keep the shoes in a cool and airy place for 24 hours or until they are completely dried. Do not fast the drying process by using a hairdryer or any other heat; this can damage the shoes and make the paint crack.
  4. Acrylic sealer works excellent to seal the pain; once you are done with painting spray, the acrylic paint sealer in small bursts on the surface of the shoes.
  5. To protect the shoes from rain, use a water-repellent spray, and make the shoes shine; you can use a shoe cream followed by leather polish.

Follow our guide to know how to Stop Leather Shoes From Squeaking.

How To Paint Running Shoes?


To make your running game fun and enjoyable, why not paint them down with acrylics.

Learn the easy steps to paint running shoes:

  1. To remove the dirt and grime from the shoes, take a clean cloth and moisten with water, wring it out well. After removing the soil, keep the shoes aside for drying.
  2. Do not follow this step if your shoes are made of cloth or canvas, but if the shoe’s material is leather, you need to use sandpaper to roughen the surface of the shoes. An uneven and rough exterior will make the paint stick to it.
  3. Apply a thin layer of paint to the shoes that start with a light color. Make your shoes a canvas and paint whatever you want.
  4. Once you finish painting, apply a coat of acrylic sealer and keep them in a well-ventilated place until the shoes are dry.

Follow our other guide to know how to Make Big Shoes Fit.

How To Stop Cracking On Shoes After Painting?

Cracking of paint happens the most in those areas where the shoe bends the most.

To stop the cracking, you need to follow specific steps, they are:

  1. Keep the shoes in a ventilated room where there is more humidity. Acrylics on shoes tend to crack if you keep them in a closed place.
  2. Take proper care of leather shoes; if they become too dry, use a leather conditioner to retain moisture.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Acrylic paints are water-based and are not water-proof. It is better not to wear shoes with acrylics in the rainy season.
  • Over time, the acrylics’ color will fade if you use good quality acrylics; the color will take a long time to fade.
  • Acrylics on shoes are not permanent; if the shoes become too dry, there is a chance of peeling off the paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does acrylic paint stay on shoes?

Depending on your shoe kind, paint your shoes with acrylic colors. If you are using leather shoes for painting, dub the deglaze with a brush on the shoes and dry. It can take a few days for drying; make sure the deglaze is completely dry before applying the acrylic paint. Deglaze makes the paint stick to the shoes easily.

Why does acrylic paint crack?

When the outer layer of paint dries quicker than the underneath layer, cracking happens in acrylic paint. A crack occurs when the bottom coat dries; it draws out at the semi-hardened skin on top and when the force very much. After the paint is completely dried, new cracks will continue to expand and spread.

How do you seal acrylic paint on leather shoes?

Using an acrylic sealer can seal the paint on leather shoes. If you can’t find a sealer, you can combine half part water-based acrylic paint with half part water. Using a wool dauber smear the diluted solution to the leather shoes but make sure you do not over drench the leather with the solution.


Acrylics on the shoes are art and make the shoes unique. Customizing the shoes with your design is a fun thing to do. But who wants cracks on a beautifully designed painting. We hope this guide helps you to get smooth, crack-free acrylic paint.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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