How many shoes to bring?

Hey everybody,

For a footwear design job (junior and above), what is a good number of shoes/samples to bring to the table?

As many great ones as you have.


richard ,
knowing what you have done in the footwear world, ill definetly take your advice.
ill be stuffing a suitcase full to the brim whenever i get a shot for an interview :smiley:

Just remember quality over quantity. I’d rather see 3 great projects than
10 mediocre. But if you have 10 great ones bring them all. You never know what someone might be interested in. Make sure you have process for everything you bring too.


Really depends on what you have and what your style is. When I interviewed at frog I brought 20-30 shoes plus other products I had designed (watches, eyewear, bags, glossy prints of the Icon stuff…) I laid them all out on the table and asked them which ones they wanted to hear about. Made it very conversational. We probably only talked about 5 pieces. It is nice to not have a linear presentation if you can pull it off. The key is to organically work critical points into the conversation and lead them to things you want to focus on.

Thats really great advice too, Mike. How did you manage to have enough time to set that up the table on the spot? May you give an example of what critical points you would want to lead to?

What about same style and multiple colorways? (for example 1 main design and the others SKUs of different colors and materials)

Along with the portfolio, Im assuming its obvious to bring bring the specs to compliment the final confirm samples…right?
Also what about a book full of the designers favorite sketches (projects that made it projects that didnt)?

Depending on the interview type, you can request time to set up in advance. This might not be as possible for a junior level position where they are quickly interviewing multiple candidates.

Multiple colorways are OK, if there is something special about them. As mentioned, it’s not about quantity but quality. If the multiple colorways tell a collection story, it can be OK.

Most important for a junior (I’ve interviewed a few) is to be clear what you did on the project. Did you do the upper concept? Development? Outsole tooling? I’ve had a few instances where someone brought samples I really liked, only to find out they just did the colorway, not the design or tooling and it gave the impression of dishonesty, even if it wasn’t intended.

Sketches and concepts are always good too, as long as you are able to show things that didn’t make it to production (not usually the case). Process is always good- sketches to last tape ups, to pullovers, early samples, etc. Remember you are being hired for what you CAN do, not what you HAVE done, so your thinking and process is very important.


Maybe you should rehearse your opening while you unpack and set up your samples?

I just told them to give me 5 minutes and asked for a bottle of water. Doesn’t take long. Usually there is some dilly dallying at the beginning of an interview anyway.

I would also bring a packet of random sketches and just let them flip through it.

The points I wanted to cover were mainly around leadership, ideating and developing product around user and brand insights. I was intentionally abstracting it from footwear, but either way it works. I kept the focus on the people I was designing for and how the product solved a problem for them, fit into their life, and made a cultural connection between them and the brand I was designing for.

I’d also try to work in anecdotal examples of a challenging product, a project where I failed but show what I learned, a challenging team situation and how it was dealt with… they are going to ask that stuff anyway. Work it in to a broader story on your own terms vs having the question put upon you.

I always had the process documentation in the back pocket, but most people don’t need to see that multiple times.

Remember, a portfolio and an interview are just a vehicle. If you are there, chances are they feel you have the skills. Now it is about personality, attitude, and group dynamics. Make it a conversation.

Remember, a portfolio and an interview are just a vehicle. If you are there, chances are they feel you have the skills. Now it is about personality, attitude, and group dynamics. Make it a conversation.

Michael, why weren’t you teaching at Purdue in 1969… … ? :confused: