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.

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.