Painters Shoe Covers – Do You Really Need Them?

boot covers for painting

Boots and shoes are an important element for painters when working on a job site.

They protect your feet from the paint, primers, solvents like paint thinner, and also from the dirt that you certainly don’t want to get indoors.

Conversely, you do not want to get paint stains, chemicals, and solvents on your shoes that can leave them damaged permanently.

That’s when shoe covers become essential for home painters.

Shoe covers are simply footwear accessories for painters that can slip over your boots and shoes to provide a layer of protection.

To protect your footwear as well as your feet while DIY painting, you can use these thin disposable covers that come with simple, nonslip details on the soles.

For professional painters, there are reusable shoe covers available that are built relatively tough.

These are generally best suited for commercial and industrial purposes where painters need superior traction for added protection while working on the job site.

Disposable vs. Reusable Shoe Covers for Painting

While disposable shoe covers can work great for DIYers, reusable boot covers are generally more suitable for professional painters.

In addition to high-quality shoe covers, professional painters should also invest in a pair of sturdy boots that are specifically designed for painters, plasterers, and construction workers.


These covers for shoes can be easily slipped over footwear, and they come with an elastic edge or drawstring closures to keep them in place.

Some styles also have nonslip grips on the bottom attached for a more secure fit and added safety.

There are also waterproof disposable shoe covers available that can be bought if you deal with lots of water-based latex paints.

These covers are also an ideal solution for projects such as gardening.


Reusable shoe covers for painting are tougher and have a more sturdy design.

Some styles like nylon-based and those with thick treads offer maximum protection for heavy indoor or outdoor use.

Plus, these covers will secure much better to your shoes because of the laces or drawstring closures they have.

Some of the premium quality range also comes with ergonomic design and are expensive to buy.

painters shoe covers

Key Considerations When Buying Painters’ Boot Covers

Once you have decided between disposable and reusable shoe covers, there are a few other features you need to consider for selecting the right shoe covers.

Some of the most common ones include:

1- Size

Shoe covers for painting are mostly unisex, and they come in different styles.

But depending on the brands, they may be one-size-fits-all.

When buying either disposable or reusable shoe covers, make sure you check your specific size especially if you need extra-small or extra-large sizes.

Because the normal sizes may not fit very small/large shoes, boots, or sneakers, it’s good to refer to the compatibility charts before you buy them.

Keep in mind that if you need to buy disposable shoe covers for use by your group of people, purchase them in more than one size range.

2- Materials

Due to the range in work environments, boot covers for workers come in various materials.

While some of them are more suited for indoor usage in dry conditions, there are others that can be used outdoors, even in water and snow.

The most common materials that you can get in shoe covers include:

a) Nylon: It’s resistant to heavy wear and can be used indoors as well as outdoors

b) Foam: It’s lightweight, durable, and easy to clean.

Plus, the covers made of foam won’t scratch the floors.

c) Plastic/PVC: Depending on the grade of plastic, they’re more durable, comfortable, waterproof, and flexible.

d) Woven polypropylene: Not very durable, but they are inexpensive.

You can buy these disposable covers in bulk for indoor usage on carpet, linoleum, or hardwood floors.

3- Colors

Shoe covers aren’t accessories for style, but they are meant to provide protection.

So, the colors available are fairly limited.

Disposable shoe covers are usually available in blue. You can occasionally find pink or white variations as well.

Reusable covers are generally black, gray, and white. Some brands also put orange reflective details that are meant for added safety.

4- Accessories

A few accessories can help you clean and store your boots in good condition.

So, I highly recommend getting them when buying your shoe covers online.

These accessories include:

  • Boot tray to leave your soiled shoe covers
  • Boot brush for cleaning the dirt off your boots and reusable shoe covers

5- Shoe cover prices

A pair of shoe covers might cost anywhere between $5 to $45.

Cheap disposable shoe covers are inexpensive and are usually available in packs of up to 50.

Mid and expensive ranges are of better quality and can be reused more than once. These are most suitable for commercial and industrial settings.

Depending on the construction, material, style, brand, and work requirement, you can pick the specific range and packing.

How to clean boot covers

Cleaning and Caring Instructions for Reusable Shoe Covers

Since reusable covers for painters’ boots cost more, it makes sense to clean and store them for future use – unless they are heavily soiled or damaged.

If you have bought a premium range, most are machine washable and easy to clean.

Just follow these care instructions to keep your shoe/boot covers looking nice:

  1. Clean off any loose dirt using a boot brush
  2. Mix some mild soap in a gallon of lukewarm water
  3. With a soft bristle brush or sponge, apply this solution to the covers
  4. Allow the cleaning solution to soak into the fabric for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly
  5. Finally, allow the fabric of the shoe cover to air dry naturally

If you want to machine wash your reusable shoe covers, use cold water and mild laundry detergent that’s safe for machine wash.

NOTE: Disposable shoe covers should never be washed and reused.

They are usually considered trash and should be disposed of safely in a bin, especially if you have walked on toxic or corrosive materials on a job site.

Reusable shoe covers, on the other hand, can last a year or two, depending on your usage activity and how well you have maintained them.

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