How to Fade Leather Shoes

You can fade your leather shoes as much or as little as you like.
You can fade your leather shoes as much or as little as you like. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A pair of leather shoes can be the finishing touch to your look. When you first purchase leather shoes, they're often shiny, dark and not very malleable. The shoes may be uncomfortable and their dark color may not blend well with your clothing. Instead of spending money by purchasing a pair of vintage leather shoes, soften and fade your shiny, dark leather shoes right at home.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Acetone
  • Sandpaper
  • Shoe brush
  • Black shoe polish
  • Translucent shoe wax

Wet a soft cloth with acetone and apply it to the leather shoes. Use a circular rubbing motion when applying the acetone. Apply enough acetone to moisten the shoes.

Swipe sandpaper over the entire surface of the shoes. Apply minimal pressure for a light fade and medium to heavy pressure for a darker fade.

Dip a shoe brush in black shoe polish and lightly brush it over the shoes. This helps create a sloppy, vintage look.

Apply a translucent shoe wax to the shoes to condition the leather. Use a soft cloth or shoe brush to distribute the wax over the shoes.

Wear your leather shoes as much as possible. Wear and tear naturally takes a toll on leather shoes. Over time your shoes will fade.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't want to use chemicals on your shoes, place them in front of a window so they're exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight fades leather in approximately four months.

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