Best way to show footwear in a portfolio

I am having some trouble figuring out how to display my professional footwear design work. Does anyone have any recommendations or examples I could reference? The trouble I am having is how to show the project? There is no new and exciting features for my shoes? How do you make a shoe appear interesting when you designed from a brief, may only have a few sketches and then it was made? Any help would be appreciated.

You can always fill the project in post. I’d structure it much like any other project:

  1. the insight, why this project
  2. the user and user insights (might be functional, might be fashion trends, might be a mix)
  3. key design principles (what did the design need to have)
  4. ideation
  5. down select and refinement
  6. final concept render and tech drawings
  7. first pullover and corrections
    8 ) final product shot
  8. product on people

The above is the full beans, might only be a selection of this.


Thanks for the help. Some ways I felt like I shouldn’t make stuff up for post. Some of the shoes I have on the market are not very exciting but I want to show that I have made shoes that have gone to market.

Hey Evan,

Just to play devils advocate, maybe you shouldn’t even show these as full projects with process.

Based on your description/energy level around the projects it sounds like putting effort into backwards engineering some exciting process; and BS’ing someone else through it during an interview is probably going to do you more harm than good. People pick up on that quickly.

Your portfolio is a chance to show what you’re interested and passionate about, and a chance for employers to evaluate your potential for growth (especially for junior positions). If these project don’t reflect what you’re about or the type of work you aspire to do , I would put your effort into new work that does.

Keep it simple, use them as bonus work you can show during the in person as examples of your professional competency.

I’ve shown project like you mentioned before. My idea was “Here’s some tech packs to show that I can do them.” There wasn’t any innovation or back story to the project. Just some basic entry level work. Even if I had fabricated some story it wouldn’t would have been worth the time. But it was actual production work.

When I got to those parts of my portfolio I was told point blank that “We know you can do that, no need to show us this. We can tell by your other work that you would be able to do a tech pack.”

I agree with Choto, don’t spend time trying to make dull projects exciting. Put the effort into making a new exciting product.

I guess I am very lost as to what should be included in my portfolio, its possible I am having a disconnect between what I see and what people show.

For example: I look at people who are in the industry. I look at what they have on Behance, or Coroflot, or even their own sites. A lot of times I just see sketches and renderings that look “hot”

They may have one or two projects that goes through every step, but the bulk of the work they show online, might just be a fancy sketch or render.

Is this what people are looking for??? Do I only show how pretty I can draw online and hand them a different portfolio in an interview. I can draw lots of pretty shoes and do lots of renders if that is what it takes.

I believe I have the right skills needed, I am just lacking the correct way to show it?

Hey Evan,

Often times the portfolio people interview with is different than what you see online. There are certain things that people may not put online but will share during in person interviews. This could potentially be for confidentiality reasons or maybe because it’s process heavy work and is more meaningfully digested in person.

Also people’s online portfolios are often a collection of years/decades of work, or they might not even be up to date. Speaking personally, if I was to interview for a job tomorrow, there’s probably very little in my current Behance/Coroflot that I would use.

I sense your frustration with struggling with the job search, and I think you do have the skill set to make it. I’d urge you to focus less on trying to find what “things” others used and focus on answering some fundamental questions for yourself:

What am I passionate about?
What sort of work do I want to do?
What are the gaps I need to fill to make it happen?

Also it might make more sense to get in the front door through another internship as a chance to test the waters for both you and your employer. Might not be ideal in the short term but in the long term might make the most sense.

A bit difficult to comment without seeing the work and knowing how it compares with other work in your portfolio and a general idea of what level of experience you are at.

I wouldn’t build out the project to be more than it was, but showing as much process as possible is usually the best bet. With footwear in particular, you should be use your role on the project was clear. I’ve seen some portfolios with nice finished photos of products and later found out all the designer did was pick colors and materials.

If you did take a design from sketch to spec to production (did you also do the development?) this is still good to show, even if the final product isn’t that exciting. That being said, you can usually make a not so exciting shoe still look good with decent photos. Is it an issue of poor photos?

Don’t forget you can also beef up your portfolio with self-directed projects that compliment your professional work with more exciting designs showing similar process.


I have posted in another thread HERE. , but you can view my online portfolio HERE. Please note you will have to navigate to my old site because I am in the process of rebuilding it.

Photos are kind of difficult for me at the moment because I don’t have the shoes. I can make it work better with what I have (from online shops).

Right now I need to site down and plan an outline for what I need to accomplish.