question to footwear designers

i’ve graduated about 2 years ago reading product design
after graduating i thought i’ll take a break and i went travelling
whilst travelling i thought about design a lot…(really!)
after much thought i decided i wish to go into the footwear industy as i love shoes!!!

then i realised i didn’t know a single thing about footwear design
i have visited nearly all of the links posted by YO (thank you) and i have been reading anatomy books to understand the feet a liitle better.

i am currently designing shoes from a design brief that i wrote and i am planning to do about another three or four projects so i can beef up my footwear design portfolio.

do you think 4~5 project is enough to get an internship in a major sports manufacturer, i.e. NIKE, PUMA, ADIDAS, REEBOK, and etc?

I would say 8-12

( I have been told to do a start to finish shoe every month- an then I would end up with a good amount of work for my footwear portfolio)

you want to show that you can be thorough an can tell a story an communicate through your work. showing thought process --sketching. start with an inspiration-concept an take it to the final stages.

but you also want to maybe also show them shoes an sketches that they dont mainly focuss on. show your diversity to do many things…

I personally think 3 is not enough. maybe 4-5 projects (start to finish) an then show thumnails an other sketches-

good luck

maybe post some work on this site? I am sure it will help


thanks for that
i got 10 projects that are not related to footwear design, but do you think i should put this in the portfolio that i am catering for NIKE, PUMA, ADIDAS, REEBOK, FILA, and etc

i am thinking of doing a masters at the royal college of art (vehicle design)after finising the internship, what are your thoughts on this?

il: I don’t think it really matters what you put in the portfolio. As long as you can demonstrate that you can solve problems you’ll be fine. If I were you I would mix shoes with whatever else it is you do. I hope it works out for you. I’m in the process of putting together a portfolio myself. I won’t be hitting the big companies yet though…just the small fashion ones in nyc.

cheers wayne!
i hope that everything works out

i don’t have any choice as the only small fashion companies in edinburgh are kilt (mens skirt) makers

how come after you get an internship with footwear you are going to be going back to school to do automotive design?

I didn’t have too many footwear projects in my portfolio, just 3 or 4 as well as a bunch of professional product design projects and I got offers from almost everywhere I interviewed. It’s all about demonstrating your abilities.

I’m not sure why you would go to RCA for Vehicles, unless you actually really want to do that.

the reason i want to go to RCA is to develop my own design philosophy and style, and i thought MA vehicle design will be perfect, but thinking again design products or industrial design engineering seems very interesting too

man to you all newbie shoe designers you dont need to do shoe design or master degree just to get in the door of big shoe companies. (tell you the truth you dont need a master degree it is a waste of money…we have a saying those who teaches because they can not find no job…ehehe. you will learn all you need to know on the job, when i got back from intern i drew better then most of my instructors because company turn me into a drawing and rendering slave by hand…no computer powerfull enough back then to do randering so all done by hand)
if you can draw will and have good concepts of products or understanding of good design procedures then they will take you in for interns. they will teach you from the ground up. first thing they teach you is the copy paper trick. you will know what i mean when you get in there. that was the first lession i learned and i did not even have any shoe designs during the interview to get into new balance. my friend got into nike alsso no shoe designs and they tought him from the ground up as a intern. to me he is kinda brainwashed into the nike corp thinking…anyhow if you get into a large shoe company they will kinda brain wash you to fit into their brand concept and procedures.

actually dont even need master degree for design…just go get a mba or management degree that is more usefull then a master in design. even that if you work your way up to management over the years you will leanr 100 times more then you can ever learn from schools.

i agree with nacho (as i think i said in another post), that fotowear design experience is not necessarily required to get into the business. anyone you interview with will realize that you have to start somewhere. to need experience to get experience doesnt make any sense…

the best thing for any portfolio is to show a strong visual communication and problem solving approach. this can be done through any type of project from transportation to furniture to a toaster.

as well, for any portfolio, make sure you show PROCESS! I have seen way to many portfolios from young students that include final photos of models of computer renderings. this shows nothing about your skills and is only good if you are looking for a job as a photographer (or CAD monkey). design is all bout thinking, problem solving, and the steps it takes to get to the end…

if you aer looking for more inside info about the process, you can check my blog, first pullover. i know its been discussed a lot in other threads but really its also very helpful to go into a first interview with some knowledge of the industry and the design process.

best of luck,

first pullover
footwear design/development blog

hey richard and jo we should hook up and work together sometime…if you guys need samples fast or resources you can tap me for your projects…i just found a huge mold shop and model shop here that has top nouch work.
i also have tons of stuff i need to clean out so if you guys want sample book i got tons.

hey nacho-

i’d be interested to hear more about what you do.

drop me an email anytime-


cool…i just sent you a email. let me know what your working on.