Footwear Design Innovation Center

We have been asked by the Netherlands Footwear Association to create a plan for an innovation center that will stimulate creativity and innovation in footwear design. One thing we are considering is providing education, not only for students, but footwear design professionals who wish to update and increase their skill and knowledge. This is not only aimed at Dutch but international footwear students and professionals.

For example, many people have approached us looking for information on sustainable footwear and new materials, but we are certain there are many other areas with little information available. What would you like to learn? Where do you see gaps in education?

What do you know now as a result of your experience that you wish you had learned in school? For employers, what knowledge do you think designers are lacking and should know? Are there any people in particular you would like to take classes from?

Who is “we”?

I don’t really follow - is this a student project? Something real? A part of an existing educational facility?

Why would a footwear innovation center be in the Netherlands? It’s hardly a footwear-centric location.

Who is supposed to go to his? Why would anyone travel to such a place, esp. students from abroad?

Sorry, if I’m missing something here.


Sorry for the lack of introduction, we are Y Trends, a footwear forecasting and design consultancy firm. This is not a current educational facility, but rather a project that was given to us to to create a plan for the establishment of a center for designers to improve and increase their creativity and innovation.

The idea that we are thinking of right now is to provide workshops and seminars on a number of subjects that are either not taught under the current education system, and there are obvious gaps that exist in what designers are being taught around the world.

The Netherlands is actually the home of many footwear brands’ European headquarters as well as being the home of many footwear import and export companies. The location is central to quite a number of major footwear trade shows.

While we would like to include students in the programs that we would like to see taught, they are not the primary focus. The goal is really to provide further education for designers and the footwear professionals integral to the design process. The resources are very limited to gain new information about various subjects such as new technologies, new materials, and sustainable footwear. We are also contemplating offering some of these courses online as a way to get around the distance issue.

You did raise a key question the we would like to know: Are you willing to travel to further your education? How far would you be willing to travel to learn more about ways to improve your designs and the design process?

Thanks for your response and I look forward to your feedback and continuing this dialogue.


To the OP You know what? I saw your posts on LI and was gonna suggest you talk to rkuchinsky as he is teaching footwear design. And here he is. :laughing:

Ok, makes more sense now. And yes, I was interested in particular as I do teach footwear design courses.

I’m guessing you are looking at more the market for casual and lifestyle footwear designers, as opposed to Athletic? In that market, from what I’ve seen a lot of it is still done pretty old school and pretty basic, so not sure how much there would be to educate in terms of processes, materials, technology, etc.

It sounds like an interesting idea, though not really sure how it could translate into a bricks and mortar full time space. There really aren’t that many shoe designers!

Personally, I don’t think I would necessarily travel to such a place though also can’t really imagine what kind of new knowledge you’d have that I didn’t already know or could get elsewhere.

I would be interested in teaching at such as place though, if that helps.

If you want to PM me, feel free and we can also chat offline.


I can it working well by providing continuing education. For example, for a designer not in the shoe industry wanting to get into the shoe industry. A one-week course would provide enough knowledge so the additional work needed towards becoming a shoe designer wouldn’t be spitting into the wind.