How to Customize Discarded Boots

Vintage Frye boots

I love vintage Fryes but the shaft on these was too wide on my leg.  Perfect to DIY.  Here’s what I did…

You will need:

  • Latex paint.  It works perfectly on leather and stands against all weather.
  • Drawing pad + crayons (optional)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Rubber gloves
  • Drop cloth or bin liner
  • 2 paint brushes.  1″ and 2″ or 3″
  • Plastic container with water to wash brushes
  • Masking tape (not shown)
  • Metal tips (optional)


1.  Using very sharp scissors to get a clean line, cut the boots to your preferred height (see previous cut boots here).


(Optional step):

2.  To help decide on a paint colours, draw out the boot and play with different combinations.  I decided to keep some of the original leather untouched but you can paint each panel in different colours or paint the entire boot in one. Whatever suits your style.  Excuse the poor drawing!


3.  Use masking tape to keep a clean line between painted/unpainted areas.

4.  Using the 1″ brush I painted the front panel and back heel panel (paint used: Martha Stewart metallic glaze in ‘Black Bean’).  2 thin coats of paint should work – 3 at most.  Allow each coat to dry for a few hours or cut drying time by placing them in front of a fan on high.  Remove tape when each section is dry.

vintage leather ankle boots

5.  Optional:  Add metal tips to the front and/or back in silver or gold.  I got mine from Western Spirit and added them but they can do it for you.  Most western shops sell them. Click here to see a few of their metal tips.

6.  Optional:  Take the boots to a cobbler to run a machine stitch in the same color around the cut tops.

Voila!  Instant update to discarded boots.

customized leather boots


  1. PinkCheetahVintage says:

    The boots are amazing. I love the 2 tone color and metal tips. So cool!

    • Karen says:

      Thx. I’m considering painting them all the same colour one day but will stick out the 2 tone first to see.

  2. Nati says:

    No studs/spikes? Are you feeling well Karen? (lol…) Love it!!!

    • Karen says:


  3. *Alberta* says:

    looks really good! great technique

  4. Marina says:

    They look awesome!


    • Karen says:

      Thx Diana. I will def post wearing them soon

  5. nikolia says:

    this is a great idea .. I also thought about it ..
    thanks .. now I know and what I do with my vintage boots ….

  6. OLIVIA IRENE says:

    I adore this! I am going to do this with my boots!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Love it!


    Wow that was amazing !! The final product is beautiful 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thx the tips are my fave part

  9. Eleanor says:

    Oh my gosh, I dont know if I would be able to do this DIY as well as you, but I’m definitely going to give it a go!
    I bet they’re going to look amazing on you too, cant wait to see an outfit post with them! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Oh good! LMK if you really do it

  10. Cari says:

    Great tutorial I think i might try this!!!!
    Love the end result,amazing.


  11. Lolitta says:

    First of all the drawing is not bad! I know I couldn’t draw anything to even resemble a boot. LOL! On topic though,the boots; omg, the boots! <3 _<3

  12. Diana says:

    Oh I like this!

    • Karen says:

      try it!!

  13. Mlle W says:

    LOVE this DIY. Too bad there aren’t many western stores in Holland to do the caps because they are dramatically tough-cool

  14. Her Persona says:

    this is such a fab diy.. amazing results!

  15. MishSmash says:

    gorgeous DIY!

    • Karen says:

      Brilliant!! Glad you were inspired to have a go too : )

  16. Melissa says:

    Wow. I didn’t see that coming. I really thought I was about to shed a tear for a good looking vintage Frye, but you’ve given those babies a damn good makeover!

    • Karen says:

      It’s hard cutting vintage but heck it would’ve sat there for too long unworn so…. thank you!

  17. style-xyz says:

    looks awesome!

  18. Viv says:

    wow this is an amazing DIY.. the finished product looks like a brand new shoe and so professionally done!

  19. Viv says:

    wow this is an amazing DIY.. the finished product looks like a brand new shoe and so professionally done!

  20. Sing says:

    Wow really cool Karen, I like what you did to them.

  21. Juanka says:

    exactly how a diy should turn out: even more beautiful than before! great job!

  22. I.K.I.N.T.O.O. says:

    I’m totally doing this!


  23. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am a bit confused as to the paint used- is the martha stewart paint a latex paint? did you use a latex primer as well?
    looks great btw! thanks!

  24. Anonymous says:

    It looks good but a shame to do to a pair of vintage Dexter boots! These are not Fye boots by the way.

  25. Around The World Girl says:

    I love what you did to the boots. The two-tone and the gold tips make for a unique look. Great work.

Comments are closed.

Recent Videos