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DIY Tutorial: Customizing Your TOMS Shoes


Finished DIY Toms Shoes

Like many of you, I’ve been a fan of TOMS shoes for a few years now, and even though I love the simplicity of the shoes, I thought it was time to customize mine and give them some flair.  Here, I’ll show you how I transformed my TOMS in 2 easy steps and also show you some photos of how other people personalized theirs.

What You Need:

Supplies for DIY Toms Shoes

  • Acrylic paint (Can be found at any craft stores)
  • Paint brush (If you want to get intricate with the details, make sure to buy different sizes of brushes)
  • Optional: Gems
  • Optional: Fabric Glue (To attach the gems)

Step 1:

Natural-colored Toms Shoes
Tom’s Shoes in Natural

Start with your blank pair of TOMS. Squeeze a little bit of paint onto your brush and start painting away! [Note: Make sure to be extra careful around the back where the TOMS logo is and around the base to make sure that your shoes don’t look sloppy.]

Step 2:

Finished pair of Toms Shoes

Because I’m totally girly girl and love the color pink, I naturally chose to paint mine a bright pink. I also wanted to add some gems to spice them up a bit. Before adding any extra details, make sure the paint is completely dry. You may even want to add a second coat of paint on to make the color bolder before you attach the extras.


I decided to paint my shoes after I saw these Tiny TOMS and was informed they don’t come in adult sizes. The TOMS Shoe Fans website has a great collection of photos from users who customized their shoes.  Here are two of my favorite pictures that I saw on the site.


The two tones of the green make for a great backdrop and let the birds stand out.


I love the simplicity of this design, and how it carries over from one shoe to the other.


What do you think about this DIY project? Do you own TOMS shoes?  Do you customize any of your shoes? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment!

Posted on on October 16, 2010 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , ,

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36 Responses to “DIY Tutorial: Customizing Your TOMS Shoes”

  1. 1
    October 16th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    i personally don’t own TOMS shoes (never heard of ‘em) but i just might try these for one of my shoes! btw, the pink + diamonds = so cute. :)
    xoxo, kylie

  2. 2
    October 16th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    hey ..ive been wanting to do this for so long..but dnt know what kinda paint to use…so thanks…btw do u apply anything to protect the colour ???

  3. 3
    October 16th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I don’t think Toms are good looking, and I don’t know why anyone wants to pay good money for shoes that look like canvas stapled together, personally.

  4. 4
    October 16th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    People buy Toms because they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need… With EVERY purchase. Ignorance is bliss?

  5. 5
    October 16th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Ooo, I love this idea! Thanks for passing it along!

  6. 6
    October 16th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I love the idea behind Toms, because it is a great cause, I just can’t bring myself to buy a pair. They feel so flimsy and I know too many people who’ve had them wear out far too soon for a $40 pair of shoes. I’d rather just buy some decent shoes for myself and then donate money to a charity.

  7. 7
    October 16th, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I agree with Sam, I think this shoes are ugly. As for the good cause, that is awesome! But there is away of helping out children in need without buying an ugly pair of shoes.

  8. 8
    October 16th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    This is a cute idea but I’m not keen on the idea of experimenting with paint on a $40 pair of canvas shoes. They have canvas slip-ons at most box stores (target, k-mart, etc.) for like $8 tops. It’s great that Toms is philanthropic but I would rather support them by buying shoes from their more unique collections. Also–I have painted canvas shoes in the past and acrylic paint will eventually wear/chip off and look old. There may be a seal available to put over the acrylic that will prevent this.

  9. 9
    October 16th, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I have a feeling that the only reason the Toms company is willing to donate an extra pair of shoes per pair bought is that the shoes themselves are worth far less than 20 dollars, so you are essentially buying two pairs. (If Target is selling look-alikes of a similar quality for 8 bucks, most likely Toms makes a sweet profit of at least 30 dollars on every pair even with the donation.)

    Without the “for a good cause” bit, no one would buy them because they are extremely overpriced for what they are. The donation is their selling point, allowing them to make far more money on a pair than they would have otherwise.

  10. 10
    October 16th, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I love this, but I wish I could do something beautiful with it. I’m not that talented with this, but I so wish I could do the bottom two!

  11. 11
    October 17th, 2010 at 3:24 am

    This makes me want to go go buy a pair of Toms and customize them!

  12. 12
    October 17th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    The shoes that TOMS donates are weather appropriate, Ie. They are best suited for the terrian and are made to withstand walking and the chores kids must do to survive, so sure our shoes aren’t as sturdy, but this kids in my eyes are much more important and in need of shoes,

  13. 13
    October 17th, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I have no idea where you can get TOms shoes and I never heard such a thing.

  14. 14
    October 17th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    The TOMS with the birds are really cute! Exactly how did you paint them? I have black ink I want to use on my old, black TOMS because they’re faded.. I just don’t want to mess them up. Any advice?

  15. 15
    October 17th, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    We had a thing at my school where a group ordered white toms and we decorated them. Mine are random w/ lots of hearts, egyptian (I LOVE Egypt!!) and celtic symbols. They’re kind of awesome and no one else has any like them, which is my favorite thing of all.

  16. 16
    October 18th, 2010 at 12:15 am

    I love my toms and even though- like everyone’s said- they’re flimsy and wear out pretty easily (especially when you’re walking to and from campus everyday!) they’re so ridiculously comfortable and I don’t even feel like I don’t have shoes on. I have 3 pairs and I figure I can justify buying them because it’s for a good cause. Don’t really like the idea of personalizing them, though…I kind of like the plain look of them. The balloons are kinda cute, though.

  17. 17
    October 26th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I live in Nebraska and our local shop, The Public, sells TOMS. Once or twice a year they host a DIY TOMS party where you can head in and decorate your shoes OR have local artists/friends style the shoes for you. I’ve seen some *incredibly* cool shoes done this way.

  18. 18
    January 14th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I love TOMS! They’re kind of like pugs….they’re really kind of ugly…so ugly, in fact, that they’re amazingly cute. lol
    Plus, they’re for a good cause!

    I am SO going to design some!!

  19. 19
    February 9th, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I just recently bought a pair of white canvas Toms, and I have a friend (who actually has her own little business/hobby of painting on canvas shoes) who said she would paint them for me! I am SO excited because I am going to put Disney characters all over mine. I get a pair that’s unique just to me, AND I get to express my love for Disney!

  20. 20
    February 21st, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I think that toms are amazing. i wear mine every where, even in winter, ive have mine for two years and there still by far the most comfortable shoes ive ever owned, even compared to my nikes and covers and pumas and adidas.
    toms pretty much rule the school, kinda thing.

  21. 21
    March 13th, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I was not too fond of the way toms looked either, if you buy look alikes you are pretty lame I have to say. The reason Toms works is because it all started with the idea of getting kids shoes in 3rd world countries to protect them from developing podoconiosis, google the disease its terrible. and besides that children need to be able to gain education and they cannot go to school without shoes.
    I absolutely love this movement, and I think Blake Mycoskie is brilliant for this idea.. the shoes aren’t terrible looking for the cause and he makes money off of it as well, and why shouldn’t he they need money to travel to these countries to deliver the shoes and he devotes his life to this.
    The shoes aren’t that bad at price either, but too much for me to want to experiment, but they are super comfortable, but they can wear out fairly easily.

    When you buy a pair you feel yourself being a part of something bigger then yourself and you want to share the story.

  22. 22
    October 2nd, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Trinity Burson – I wouldn’t suggest buying cheap TOMS knockoffs because they are usually made by underpaid workers overseas, however TOMS do not have a good impact either.

    The model of giving away free imported goods in developing countries actually creates more problems. The issues you mentioned are not caused because the countries in question have a lack of shoes. They happen because people don’t have money to buy shoes. The better option than what TOMS does would be to buy shoes from local vendors to give to kids. Instead TOMS imports shoes from somewhere else, essentially competing with local businesses.

    What usually ends up happening in these types of situations is that the local vendors go out of business, adding to unemployment. Then, when the shoes wear out, there is no longer anywhere local to buy shoes even if the kids can afford to. This creates a cycle of dependence where poor regions depend on freebees from rich countries. This model is part of why, after more than a trillion dollars have been spent on development aid, regions like Africa are worse off now than they were 50 years ago.

  23. 23
    October 5th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    i love toms they are the greastest shoe

  24. 24
    December 17th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Kyleigh, I SO agree with you! The shoes are made by the same factory workers who make the rest of our standard clothes. But if TOMS really wanted to make a difference, the $40 spent on the shoes would go towards paying the 3rd world worker a fair wage so that they could afford to buy their children shoes. But most of us don’t think beyond the simple concept and so TOMS makes a huge profit because we think we’re doing an awesome thing.

  25. 25
    April 30th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    First of all I LOVE the idea of customizing TOMS. I am going to paint some for my best friend’s 18th birthday and I couldn’t think of a more genius idea. Second of all and most importantly, I know everyone has an opinion but it’s people, like everyone who complained about them, that suck the hope out of the world. Nothing will ever please anyone. NO ONE SAID THEY WOULD SOLVE EVERY POVERTY PROBLEM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Unlike all you people who “claim” you will contribute to another charity instead of buying these shoes, (some actually do and if you do then don’t get defensive) but there are a lot of people, such as myself, who love these shoes and the meaning. This company is not perfect but instead of “waiting on the world to change” like everyone complains about, this company is actually doing something about it! It doesn’t matter how much or how little you are contributing or in what way…you ARE making a difference. I’m not saying everyone is like this but there are a lot of arrogant and ungrateful people and you know I’m like 100% sure if you were one of the kids that receives or has received a pair you wouldn’t question the style, how it was made, how much it was for the other person, you’d be crying of happiness that you no longer have to have that horrible disease, you’d be jumping up and down for joy and not worrying about if you’d land on something that could harm you. Compassion…that’s what this world needs, and more Jesus.

  26. 26
    May 17th, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    @Gee thank you! serviously we dont need to fight about the TOMS business, its what it is everyone has their choice on what to do, and this posting was about the art of shoes…not GO BUY TOMS SAVE A KIDS FEET….so everyone can just hush. its art not anything other than that.

  27. 27
    July 10th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Wait? How did this “How to” become a debate about Toms? To each their own with style. Don’t knock it if you never tried it. I was on the “why would you pay so much for plain old shoes?” I tried them on once and now I’m hooked. It’s super comfy! I own knock offs and they are no where near as comfortable. Plus, it’s for a good cause. I do wish though that their prices were lower. Supply and demand. Enough said.

  28. 28
    July 24th, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    some people like TOMS looks ! I do! and some don’t. just like any other type of shoe people have their style, so I think its wrong to judge people on buying these just because you might think they’re not worth it. IF someone is maybe looking into buying a pair I say do it! I have fallen arches (flat feet) and therefore am not supposed to be wearing flats, but TOMS have a GREAT supporting arch and are the most comfy shoes ever!! I LOVE mine! They are totally worth it in MY opinion! :) They don’t hurt my arches and i don’t get blisters also they look cute with jeans or a skirt dress or short!

  29. 29
    July 24th, 2012 at 11:34 pm


  30. 30
    August 25th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Try Skechers Bobs as they are a little less expensive and they appear to wear better. I’ve heard this from several people. Also, Payless has their own version but they don’t come in very many colors. I want to paint a pair for myself and my daughter so I appreciate this tutorial.

  31. 31
    August 26th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I just bought a pair of Toms look alikes for $17.99 w/ free shipping online! There is no way that I’ll pay $40 to $60 for a pair of shoes, I agree theyre too expensive and wouldnt be good for little ones, Ive seen many of them wear out too quiclkly!!!!!!

  32. 32
    August 26th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    @KarenSue- do you know of where I could find some knock off Toms for my daughter that wears a size 5 in toddler?

  33. 33
    August 27th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I personally only buy Toms for myself and my 2 year old son. Toms are the most comfortable, stylish and durable casual shoe that exists. We love them! Not to mention, I just bought my mom her first pair, she has extremely bad feet and any shoe that she wears has her hurting before the day is over; with Toms being an exception!

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