Footwear designers and what to pay them

I’m curious as to what the going rate for contract footwear design is.

Incidentally, I’m after a talented designer who can do a one-off rapid prototype on contract for a footwear startup. The possibility for a continued relationship exists if it works out. We have some general design ideas and would be looking to work from those, but creative input is a must. The design process would start in the next month. Interested designers should contact me however they see fit; even AIM is fine.


one off rapid protoype?..wearable or looksee? very few have the capabilities here in the US to do full “rapid prototypes” much less accessto certain materials so it could be very expensive. But depending on your final deliverables (ideation, pattern lineart, BOM, 1st revisions thru prototypes etc) any where from $5000 and up not including materials etc.

Appreciate the feedback, Relativ. We’re after a wearable prototype. What, in detail, are the specific upfront costs of the prototype manufacturing process? If not here in the States, where are these capabilities available? What hard-to-access materials are you referring to?

Others feel free to jump in as well. I’m approaching this from a fairly limited body of knowledge in ID matters. Thanks!

Well for one 99% of footwear manufacturing is handled in Asia; I know of maybe four companies who handle manufacturing and assembly here in the US. likewise I know of maybe five comapnies in the US who produce footwear materials (beyond full grain leathers and simple single woven meshes. even those are pretty expensive in small quantities.) I don’t know any designers who handle their own protyping of actual wearble shoes,…yes I do but he would charge you about $650 for a custom fit shoe based on his pattern and not yours.

In manufacturing most prototype costs are rolled into the manufacturing costs. You will pay an certain amount based on the projected number of pairs you will order. In Asia for example, to begin the order you often need some kind of bank note or secured line of credit so that the manufacturer can get started. This can be handled by you or through an Agent or Trading Company that has contacts in manufacturing in Asia.

putting a price tag on this is difficult without understanding the scope of your project. So much of this info is all dependant on what you want to accomplish. and maybe a wearble protoype is really not what you need if you can’t afford it. I would recommend really establishing the who, what, and why’s of this project as there is more than one way to skin your cat; some ways aremuch cheaper than others…

If you would like to discuss this at leangth, I would be happy to give you contact info…

We can budget for the expense of doing a prototype, but I’m curious as to what else you think about this. Please feel free to contact me off-board, I’d greatly appreciate it.