i like footwear. i want to design footwear. but how?

hi guys. I am fresh outta Uni with an undergraduate degree in industrial design. I have a keen interest in footwear design and would like to pursue that line of work, but have no idea where to begin. Would any of you guys have any advice for me?

first, I’d suggest going to the “footwear” section of these boards. Yo! is a designer for a very, very, very well-known athletic company and is actually the moderator for that particular forum. He’s a pretty good designer, from any perspective.

Let’s see some of your drawings too, if you’d like to share. There are quite a few people here that can help take your drawings and designs to the next level.

That said, positions to pop up every once in a while for footwear designers, so keep your eyes peeled.

Good luck.

…i dunno…cobble somethings up and hit the bricks with 'em?

how are things progressing?

post your work- great way to be seen and helped.

have you contacted any shoe companies? what are you doing to try and get into the industry? what area in footwear are you interested in…athletics, dress/ etc…


How much do you have to know about making shoes in order to design them? It’s probably not feasable to make air-pumps and other high tech stuff. I’m not s shoe designer, just curious what material knowledge is needed.

It depends where you intend to work - outside of athletic footwear (particularly the big brands - I’ve worked for many of the smaller ones in Europe) a footwear qualification of some kind is a big advantage - because you may be required to cut or alter patterns and it helps if you understand leather and how to make a shoe and stuff like that, also the skills to understand fashion trends, trend forecasting and how range building works. This side of things is where footwear has more in common with fashion design as opposed to ID. Other stuff you can teach yourself. I can write a techincal mold spec for an athletic shoe but I’m totally self taught on that - I learned on the job, studied blueprints, went to mold shops, that kind of thing. Technical stuff -like air and pumps, fitting, biomechanics - this is not your job as a shoe designer - you work with the relevant expert - you do learn more about this as you progress though.

To conclude - knowing about footwear is not always necessary, but in my case I’ve found it has opened doors for me. I freelance and my clients all expect a solid knowledge of footwear manufacturing.