Freelance footwear design pricing

Hey guys,

I might be landing a gig to design some athletic footwear. I have about 8 years of corporate experience but now I’m on my own freelancing. It’s a different world.

What’s the freelance rate for design concepts to first pull-overs for one athletic shoe? Lets use a $50 msrp trail runner for example. I would include: 4-6 rendering (upper, insole, outsole for each) , 1-2 rounds of revisions, research and materials, colorway options, tech package and possible last tweaking). I’m also going to be consulting, like stopping in and presenting the work and basically being available to revise whatever is needed until the shoe looks killer.

If you feel that sharing pricing info is not a good idea on a public forum please feel free to PM me, if you don’t mind with your feedback. I appreciate any advice on how to approach this.


I doubt you are going to get much reply on pricing. It’s a type of trade secret. Not to mention it can vary widely depending on your skills/experience/product/location/client, etc.

The best price is the highest one that the client is willing to pay :slight_smile:


Yeah, that’s what I figured. I put some info into the post like my experience and shoe price but I realize a lot depends on the clients size and resources. I had to submit my proposal yesterday so I was hoping to get some quick tips.

I ended up taking my freelance hourly rate and multiplied it by how long I think each phase would take. I gave a flat rate and my (ambitious) hourly rate. I happen to think what we do takes a lot of dedication and time to learn so I never try to undercut pricing. I always try to start on the high side and go from there. I will post back with the results.


I’m a little late to your post, but it depends on a couple of things. Are you only getting a design fee? Are you getting any other fees? Development, sourcing?

What do you see coming out of the project? Is this a single shoe being developed for a start up? An entire line? Large corporation… etc.

I think your best bet may be to set up a retainer. I guess you covered that in your flat rate, because of the nature of the business (I have no idea what your freelance rate is), taxes, expenses etc. doubling your freelance rate may be a good place to start if you’re doing it hourly and getting 1099’s. There are a lot of variables (I have no idea what your financial situation is), but this can really apply to almost any freelance/start up.

Recruitment consultants know more about how much us freelancers charge than anyone else. Why not ask a few? None of us here is gonna tell you our rates, but that’s because (in the words of my Aunt, a management consultant), if you pay ‘x’ you’ll get him, if you pay ‘y’ you’ll get me.

I’ve got a good idea of the ‘going rates’, in the UK, but they would be VERY different to in the USA (they’re quite a bit lower, I’m told).

I think pricing differences between the UK and the US aren’t that big. Nowadays, everything can pretty much be done without meeting in person and therefore a designer in France can compete for the same assignment with one in Japan. The difference is more in the specs of the assignment, whether it’s for a big company or start-up, production quantities, technical shoes or simple, etc.

Also, in my experience hiring a freelancer isn’t all that expensive, which may be a downer for you since you want to freelance, but what you basically have to do these days is draw a shoe that fits the assignment and communicate it well much more isn’t needed because the company that will hire you will already possess a lot of knowledge and the factory that will make it will also have a lot of knowledge.