How to hand paint Adidas sneakers

Hand painted Adidas Superstar sneakers by @loose.laced
Hand painted Adidas Superstar sneakers by @loose.laced

Are you an Adidas sneaker fanatic and want to take your style to the next level?  Are you an artist (or have an artist friend) that can help you elevate your Adidas shoe game? If yes, then you’re not alone. There are literally thousands of people online today who are just like you. They love Adidas and want to add a creative flair to their sneakers.

That’s why in this post we tell you exactly how you can hand paint your Adidas shoes to exactly what you like.  We take you step by step through the process and share tips along the way.

Adidas, known for their classics and their more innovative designs, are effortless to paint. Their smooth surface is perfect for the job; you just need the correct equipment, materials, and basic painting process to customize your kicks. There are hundreds of different colors and designs available, and you could apply the same general method to any pair you like. This, of course, isn’t just limited to hand painting your new Adidas shoes, you could also apply the same method to touch up or restore your old pairs as well.

First things first, get your Adidas shoes.

Adidas shoes have gained in popularity in recent years. From sports styles to everyday wear, the company has several different designs you could pick from, according to your needs or liking.  

Here are a few suggestions on which shoes you could get for hand-painting purposes:

Adidas Superstar shoes. These are the most commonly used for painting and customizing, given their classic style and simple design.

Adidas Superstar shoes are classic in style and make for a great shoe to hand paint

Stan Smith shoes. These were also quite popular some time ago, and a lot of people still prefer them.

Adidas Stan Smith sneakers can easily be hand painted

Nizza Shoes. For anyone looking for something new, especially women, these are also becoming super popular. They’re available in both simple and platform styles.

Hand paint your Adidas Nizza Shoes

Pro model shoes. A personal favorite, they are high-rise shoes available in a few different variations.

Hand paint your Adidas Pro Model shoes.

You can find all these shoes and more on Adidas online store and simply order from there. 

Supplies: everything you need to get started

It’s better to get all the supplies you need upfront so your project runs smoothly and doesn’t get slowed down. Otherwise, you might realize that after you’ve already begun, you require some other things. For this purpose, we’ve compiled a complete list of all the things you will find a need for in this endeavor.

You can find most of these things at your local arts and crafts store or order them online. For the best standard, something long-lasting, and which will be worth the money you’ll spend, we recommend buying your materials at Angelus Direct, an online store that sells everything you need to start customizing your own shoes.

Prepare your Adidas shoes for hand painting
@sophiesophss gives a step by step walk through of how to prep your Adidas shoes for painting. (video link)

Time to hand paint your Adidas sneakers!

Once you have all the things that are going to be used, all that’s left is the fun part… painting! You don’t need to worry about the different steps, the know-how, or the little tips and tricks, we’re here to guide you through it all. So just read on:

  1. Take the shoes you want to paint over and use your tape to cover the edges, the top laces area as well as the rubber toe-cap, since these can’t be painted over.
  2. Next soak your cotton pad or tissue with a little prep solution and rub it smoothly over the shoe to remove older paint and make it smooth. Do this 2 or 3 times, letting it dry first each time.
  3. Now at the drawing stage, you have two options: freehand drawing or stenciling. If you’re going for a simple pattern like ‘drip’ design you can easily freehand it. But if you’re going for something more intricate like a character, and you’re not comfortable free-handing it, go for stenciling.
  4. To stencil do the following:
  1. Now that you have your design, start painting the background! There are again two ways for this. 

If you’re using the second technique you can find the complete process explained in detail by Jake Mata of @visionarykickz in this youtube video. He explains the full stenciling process visually.

Watch Jake Mata of @visionarykickz hand paint a pair of Adidas Pro Model kicks
  1. After the background, use a point-tip brush to do the outlines of your main design and then use a flat-tip brush for the inner areas. Do 4-5 coatings of the base colors first and completely dry each layer using your heat gun before painting on another. Make sure that each coat is thin, smooth, and has even brush strokes.
  2. Add any further shadings you want and check for any missed spots.
  3. When the last of your paint has completely dried, apply a layer of the matte finisher and duller(optional; to reduce gloss) over your shoes.
  4. Carefully remove the tape from your shoes.
  5.  Enjoy your new kicks!

If you want more information or further help you can refer to Lorenz King’s YouTube video, who shows the process for a ‘drip’ style or if you’re looking to simply restore your shoes, check out Angelus Shoe Polish’s quick and simple video.


You now know almost everything you need to begin hand-painting your own Adidas. These are general guidelines that you can use for any design or shoes. Of course, if you want to know more about stenciling intricate patterns or other air-brushing techniques you can see more videos online and be on your way! Good luck painting!

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