3DCAD Tutorials

I was wondering if there are any good 3D CAD tutorials out there (perhaps for Rhino) geared towards footwear?

I would like to improve on my 3D modeling skills as well



I dunno, but wouldn’t expect that you will find much. Not much footwear design is done in 3d CAD at least as far as I know.


Oh okay, so when creating a 3D prototype do designers not model the shoe and print it with something like a Zcorp?


nope. you make spec drawings (illustrator normally) of lateral, medial, top, tongue, heel, etc. views and send it to the factory or sample room. There a pattern maker makes the pattern, and stitches a real shoe proto.

outsoles are done in 3d at some point, but usually by the factory. a 2d tech drawing is all the designer normally does (at least in my experience and from what i’ve ever heard). after the fty redoes the drawing to take into account the correct last shape, shrink, etc. a CNC’d renshape model or RP proto is made.

i’ve seen some students and such do 3d cad shoes, but never in industry. there are some specialized CAD software however for footwear, but i’ve never used and believe it is more in the tooling or pattern-making areas.

if anyone else knows otherwise, feel free to correct me. I’m only speaking from my own experience and knowledge.


There’s no point because its so quick and cheap to make a sample, and to keep remaking and revising it until you are happy with it. You solve your production issues and figure out how to mass manufacture it by making a real sample.
Footwear design has more in common technically with garment construction (aside form the outsole), in that the upper materials move and stretch. Thats why cad pattern cutting and 3d design only has a limited use, it is difficult to replicate the way that the upper materials stretch, especially leather which stretches to a different amount depending on which direction you have placed the upper pattern pieces on the hide.
You can’t wear a model. A shoe is useless unless it fits properly and you dont know if it will fit until you have made your sample.
But sometimes I design in 3d on a taped up last, which is then used to cut the pattern.
In a nutshell we seldom use 3d modelling because it makes the whole process from design to production take much longer - we will still need to make samples.
There is 3d shoe design software called shoemaster (which I learned as part of my footwear degree), but its not at all like the software you use for ID - you digitize a last and then sketch your design lines on that using a graphics tablet. I’ve been to Clarks (they developed this software), where they use it especially for childrens shoes where they sell a large amount of specific sizes and width fittings - it’s really more of a technologists tool to ensure that the patterns are graded correctly.
http://www.shoemaster.co.uk/products/products.html you can see form the picture of the sneaker in the link that it is basically a 3d digitzed last with a rather flat colour graphic laid upon it, so quite different to Rhino but more useful because it cuts and grades the patterns. I think the reason you dont see this more often in factories is because its cheaper to train someone to cut patterns by hand, once they’ve learned they can process a few styles per day.

3d modeling is becoming more common within brands as many now have in house rapid manufacture machines. This is because materials are getting better so research labs can do quick n dirty proof of concepts. It is also being used to try to keep certain technologies or ideas in-house for longer instead of going into mould shops that produce adi, Nike, Puma etc all under one roof.

There is a company called Magenta which distributes a haptic arm device controlled piece of software (I forget the name) but I know Lacoste make all their units in-house with this app.

You made a very good point - once something gets to a factory sample room it can be much harder to keep it a secret - we’ve all been to factories where we’ve seen something that we werent supposed to see - I guess this way it keeps it secret for longer.