Paint your own flag shoes for the 4th of July, flag day, or just anytime! These painted Vans shoes are just so much fun.

My teenage son (he’s 15) is quite an artist, and he has gotten into painting Vans shoes. Well, I say that like he has done tons of pairs, and he really hasn’t. Yet. But it’s a cool hobby that he is hoping to turn into a side business!

This past winter, he painted a pair of Vans shoes with Kermit and Fozzie (I’ll share a photo at the bottom of this post), and they turned out amazing. A few weeks ago, we went to our local Vans outlet and he bought two more pairs to paint. The first pair became the flag shoes that I’m sharing here. Then the second pair will be owl shoes for me! I can’t wait, and I’m hoping he gets started on those soon.

What shoes are the best for painting?

Gresham has been painting Vans brand shoes. They are comfortable and well made, and they have a plain white slip-on style as well as a lace-up style.

The downside to Vans is that they are $55 – $60 for the plain white ones. I would recommend going with a cheaper option for beginners, especially younger beginners.

You can find plain white tennis shoes at Walmart and craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

What type of paint works best for painting shoes?

We’ve been using acrylic paint and haven’t had any problems so far. Acrylic paint comes in tons of colors, and then you mix your own colors as well. It dries quickly. Acrylic paint does not wash out of clothing, and it’s hard to get it off surfaces once it dries. So keep that in mind when painting with kids!

Seal the paint with some spray polyurethane. We did this with Gresham’s shoes. He has worn his first pair since February, and we have not had trouble with the paint cracking.

Tips for Painting Shoes:

  • Practice your design on paper first.
  • You might even want a practice pair of shoes. For his Kermit and Fozzie pair, Gresham painted a $6 pair of shoes from Hobby Lobby before diving in to the Vans shoes.
  • You may want to sketch the lines with a pencil first before painting. But be aware that it’s difficult to cleanly erase pencil from fabric shoes.
  • Use a small, flat paint brush for areas where you are trying to paint a clean edge such as the red stripes.

The most difficult part of these flag shoes was painting the stars and the trim around the top of each shoe.

You can skip painting the trim for younger kids and just leave it white.

Here are the finished shoes. These flag shoes are just so fun!

Want to see the Kermit and Fozzie shoes? These are truly adorable.

Have fun painting shoes!


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  1. Linda Bologna Aug 1, 2022

    These are so professional looking! I have a pair of canvas slip -ons in an ugly pattern. They look almost new. I'm going to let my homeschool 16 year old practice on those first before she paints her new ones. Maybe I will have a new painted pair! Thanks for a great idea!


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