How to Make Your Shoes Glow in the Dark

Runners are always looking for gear to increase their safety when running at night. Some shoe manufacturers have begun producing glow-in-the-dark sneakers to make runners more visible to drivers. But you don't have to pay high prices for store-bought glow-in-the-dark running shoes. Whether you want to be easily seen on a dark road or you just want to look cool at a party, you can make your sneakers, or any other pair of shoes, glow in the dark with easily-found glow-in-the-dark materials.

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Canvas Shoes or Sneakers

Since canvas shoes and sneakers are mostly made of fabric, you can use just about any kind of glow-in-the-dark fabric paint or markers.

Things You'll Need

  • Glow-in-the-dark fabric paint
  • Glow-in-the-dark markers
  • Paint brushes
  • Cotton swabs
  • Painter's tape
  • Stencils
  • Pencil

Step 1

Prepare your shoes. Remove any dirt or residue from the canvas and the rubber soles. Remove the shoe laces.

Step 2

Decide where you want to apply the glow-in-the-dark pigment.

  • If you want to paint the entire shoe one color, then you can simply load up your brush and begin applying the paint.
  • If you want to paint a design, use a stencil or mark off areas you don't want to paint with painter's tape.
  • Use cotton swabs to apply paint to small areas.
  • If drawing an intricate design with markers, sketch the design with pencil first.

Step 3

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for allowing the paint to fully dry.

Leather Shoes or Sneakers

To make leather shoes or sneakers glow in the dark, mix glow-in-the-dark powder with a clear acrylic medium and apply it to shoes. Dark leather will mask the luminescence of the glow-in-the-dark powder. Therefore, paint dark shoes first with leather paint that is either white or a light color that is close to the glow-in-the-dark pigment you are using.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Painter's tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencils
  • Leather shoe paint in white or other light color
  • Glow-in-the-dark powder
  • Clear acrylic medium
  • Clear plastic cup
  • Wooden craft stick
  • Black light

Step 1

Prepare the shoes by cleaning thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.

Step 2

Mask off any areas you don't want to paint with painter's tape.

Step 3

Cover any dark-colored leather with white or light-colored leather paint. Allow it to dry completely.

Step 4

Mix the glow-in-the-dark powder with the clear acrylic medium. Pour a small amount of glow-in-the-dark powder into the cup. Add a few ounces of acrylic medium to the cup and stir with the wooden craft stick.


  • The powder will not dissolve in the acrylic medium. Rather, it will become suspended in it.

Step 5

Dim the lights in the room and shine a black light on your work surface. If the desired glow effect has been achieved, you are ready to paint. If not, add more glow powder to the mixture.

Step 6

Paint the glow-in-the-dark mixture on your shoes. Dim the lights and shine a black light on the shoes to check your coverage. Paint over any spots that you missed.

Other Ways to Add Glow-in-the-Dark Elements to Shoes

If you don't want to permanently change your shoes by painting them, embellish them with glow-in-the-dark adornments.

  • Replace your shoe laces with glow-in-the-dark ribbon.
  • Place glow-in-the-dark or reflective tape on your shoes.
  • Cover your shoes with glow-in-the-dark stickers.


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