Footwear Internship Question

Hey everyone, especially those in the business…

I am a student seeking some advice… It is my goal to get an internship in footwear this summer, I know I have a lot to work on but I feel my portfolio is definitely lacking in the footwear department, I only have one full concept and rendering remotely close to showing.

Footwear is my passion and I know this is what I want to do… My question is although I may not be the best out there at drawing shoes and sketching would I still have a shot if applying?

We do not get proper training here at my university especially in the rendering and sketch department, most of it is going to be self taught…

We are in fact a much more hands on school, we only have one class in 3d and one drawing class…

My initial conception of an internship is to help you grow as a designer and help give you real work experience and teach, am i wrong?


thing about internships is do not expect too much and to magically grow into an awesome designer.

Most of your time will be (from my experience) as an observer, to see how the company you are at works. It is up to you to spend the time to improve based on what you see. Interships are 9-5 (mainly) you have a hole free evening to yourself - use that time to practice what you observe (sketching and presentation techniques, entering in competitions, CAD modelling)

Internships are about having a taster of what it is like to be a full fledge and being motivated to get to that end point. Likewise the flip side they can motivate you to get better so you dont end up in that type of company (i know mine was)

What you will learn that you dont at school is how money is translated into design, internal polictics, deadlines are even more serious because someone is paying a lot of money and time scales. There is no ‘jumping through hopes’ it is a case of get the job done.

You will see whether or not you like how the company works, what you like dislike about design as a paid career.

Do not get your hopes up expecting to do lots of design work, not saying that it wont happen but i know i expected too, and was bitterly unhappy and dissapointed for the first three months because i spent all day on the phone, sourcing parts and makig tea, it was a case of having to fight tooth and nail in allow them to give me any design work, which they did and i ended up with 3 FMCG hitting the shelves, but i really did have to fight - putting work in outside of hours and presenting my boses work that they didn’t expect me to have done. So when they came up short with someone to work on projects i got given them (rather than the other intern who did nothing but accounts all year)

Likewise dont expect to be taught, it is unlikely someone will have time to invest in you whilst at work improving your skills, as mentioned above you will learn by observing and seeing how others do it.

Best bit of advice i can give to you? Is make sure your skill sets Sketching and CAD are shit hot, and when i say shit hot i mean shit hot. If they are then you are more likely to get into a decent consultancy because they will abuse your skill set because your cheap. That way when your at a better consultancy you can observe how the big guns do it.

I disagreee a bit… I feel like my internship taught me waaaay more in one year than I learnt in 3 years of design school… I guess it all depends on where you are, the place I interned at had a small and very busy design department we worked really hard and it was never 9-5. I think at bigger “names” you are probably more likely to get less of a shot at real design projects.

Still good advice from sketchme about working hard and putting in the extra hours at work and on your own stuff. I also found that although we did alot of sketching that alot of the time the actual level of what was needed was lower than I expected or thought of as a student… its all about being efficient, so sure keep working on it as its something to always improve but I dont thing that sketching = design its just a tool after all. I feel like I massivly improved my sketching and cad skills on my internship. So I would say still apply! Also rendering is not the most important part of shoe design, on your internship you will learn lots about manufacture/construction/market user etc etc

Sketchme is right again about paying attention to the business side of things as you dont really get an understanding of that at school, at least we didnt and its definitly good stuff to know!