I wanted my purple shoes dammit! And then, pondering the possibilities and reaching the conclusion that all rockin purple flats should be emblazoned by skulls, I figure I could jump in the craft cupboard and use some existing materials to reach my dream.
Acrylic paint is actually really great for faux leather and I have used it many times to antique book covers and the like. The trick is to not 'paint' but rub the colour into the fabric so it absorbs as much as possible.
I masked off some hand drawn skull pictures on each shoe and after the masking fluid had dried I mixed up some acrylic paint. One tip is to mix a colour a little darker than you want, since the white will show through a little unless you really paint it on and that leaves the shoes open to cracking and peeling. Dab on the paint with a soft cloth, covering the shoe completely and then dab off the excess with a clean cloth. You want the material to absorb the pigment and then remove the excess. It will take a couple of coats but each coat should be so thin that by the time you have finished a coat on one shoe, the second shoe will be ready for another coat.
Each coat should dry to a mild tacky finish before adding another coat. If you want a pastel colour, dampen your cloth and dab into your paint. Rub the paint into the shoe and buff off, leaving a light coloured dye.
When the shoes are completely dry, remove the masking fluid. If you are careful, you could use a sticker in place of the masking fluid.
I finished these shoes off by painting the rear seams and where the shoe meets the sole with a fine paintbrush and then touched up the skulls with a white paint pen around the edges and added my final details with a fine point permanent marker. I buffed them with a beeswax furniture polish to seal them and add a little moisture back into the fabric.
Cool huh? And reeeaaaly comfortable.