Love how distressed denim sneakers look but not lovin the price of distressed items? Well we have a solution for you. Urban Bush Babes is all about finding or creating solutions for things you love for less without sacrificing quality. Now put those extra presidents back in your pocket because I am about to show you a “do it yourself” project on how to distress your denim sneakers and believe me it is much easier than you think!



  • Sneakers                                 
  • Medium Strength Sandpaper                           
  • X-acto Knife               


1) Remove laces from sneakers: By removing the laces from your sneakers you are enabling more access to all the nooks and crannies of the sneaker such as the tongue area of the shoe.

2) Tear Sandpaper in half:  If your sandpaper sheets are less than 9 inches in length then tearing will not be necessary. Ideal length and width would be 4by 4inches or 3 by 3 inches.

3) Fold Sandpaper in half: Once you have torn the sandpaper fold the torn piece in half. This will create an easier tool when time to use.

4) Adjust the folded sandpaper around your fingers: No I am not trying to make a finger puppet. By placing your index finger between the center of the folded sandpaper and your thumb & ring finger on the outside you can save your nails and polish from being filed away by the sandpaper as you are about to sand.

 5) Sandpaper heel part of sneaker first: Sanding with the heel part of the sneaker first can give you the confidence you need to monitor the desire look you wish to achieve for the rest of the shoe. The heel acts as a practice zone this way you can choose the desire wear and tear of the shoe.

 6) X-acto knife horizontal lines onto the sneaker: By using the x-acto knife you are simply creating light tears within the denim fabric. X-acto knifing can be done as you sand (which I prefer) before you sand or until after you have sanded the entire sneaker. Unless you want to cut small tears directly through the shoe (which has a cool effect also) I would suggest dragging the knife with a small amount of pressure in short horizontal lines.

7) Sandpaper torn denim:  When torn denim is sanded down you create an even more frayed and weathered look. 

*Note:  As you sand you will create fuzz balls as pictured in exhibit A which is just excess denim as you sand this is a hint that you are actually sanding hard enough. Exhibiit B is what your sandpaper will look like after one shoe. Depnding on how faded you want your sneakers to look, you might need two half sheets per shoe. Remember sanding denim should not be difficult when it reaches that point then it is time for a fresh piece of sandpaper. 

8) Repeat step 6: The only change you will make from step 6 is that youwill drag the x-axto knife in a sweeping motion in sections across the borders of the sneakers and tongue, similar to a rubbing effect displayed in exhibit A. Exhibit B is what your borders will look like after you have sanded.

9) Complete Sanding: Congrats you are almost there! Complete sanding until you have reached ….





your desired look.

Remember sharing your ideas with close family and friends can be helpful. I have used the e-xacto knife on a plenty of DIY projects but the credit alone for the sandpaper goes to my man. When I told him of my plans to distress my sneakers he suggested I use sandpaper. Sometimes sharing can pull ideas you might not have thought of before . Happy denim distressing :)