Real Footwear Design

I’ve got enough of these videos elsewhere I thought’d I’d share here.

The quality of the older videos is not great, and I hope to remake soon, but I think the content can still be helpful.

The goals here is to present real footwear design knowledge not the typical impossible 3D-print-AI-photochop stuff you see so often on IG.

Lots more on my website and social for those interested.

First up, some basics-

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PS. I hate everything about YouTube …working on finding some alternate platform.

I don’t find the production level to be too rough; it’s authentic, the shot works well, and the audio is clear and unencumbered by extras. The oblique view of the sketching makes it a little tough to see the sketch, but seeing the sketch happen with pen in hand, seeing the generous paper size, and the ease that the linework comes off the sharpie and your hand are all bonuses.

Thanks. My Home/Studio is under renovation so I hope the new space will allow a better set up. I’ve got a better mic since these early videos and it helps, but in the end, I’m just trying to keep the content honest and not overly produce or end up like a stupid YouTube kid who stretches 1 min of content into 20 min of BS.

Some good ones on lasts…

Attention Footwear Start-ups:

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Thanks for putting these up in one place RK. This is a subject I know very little about, so I could use these to exponentially increase my understanding.

Happy to try to help spread some knowledge Slippy. There’s lots more on my instagram. I loathe YouTube so that channel is unfortunately quite out of date.


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Put it here because I loathe instagram :laughing:

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Wow, thank you so much for sharing! I can see your passion for running in your design. I am just getting into human factors at my university and am absolutely loving it!

You explained everything concisely in a way that anyone can understand. I appreciate your tips!

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Because time is money and if you aren’t making it to production on time, you aren’t making money.

Sounds obvious, but understand the iterative design process I find is somehow overlooked by so many young footwear designers and clients who think it ends with the final spec.

I love creating value in design, and it’s not always where you think. Price, cost and specs are super important in footwear design and the challenge of design for cost is a great way to flex some design muscles.

3 Secrets of outsole design?

  1. Make it functional. Every part from toe bumper to lug to sidewall has a purpose.

  2. Make it graphic. Consider how the outsole looks from every angle, mirrored left to right and as a negative in a footprint.

  3. Make it work. Understand the specific use case (road, trail, etc.) and the performance needs.

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Still a favorite 20 years later…,

Advice for footwear but probably applies to other products as well.

Wait for it…

Posted earlier on LinkedIn but worth sharing here… I’ve been getting more and more of these inquiries to “rescue” projects done by inexperienced designers or for inexperienced brands. A bit frustrating considering all the time and money probably wasted!

Footwear Design doesn’t stop at the tech pack.

Footwear Development is Footwear Design.

I see it all too often. Small brands hire a young designer off social media with hot renderings or nice sketches to produce a cool design and “tech pack” to send to the factory. Then reality hits and the factory has no idea how to make it real. Or has questions the brand or designer (often no longer involved) can answer. Or the sample looks nothing like the sketch.

Then I get the call. The brand now needs an experienced footwear professional to rescue the project.

Unfortunately by this time, it’s too late. Chances are I can’t really help.

I don’t blame the brand. I don’t blame the designer. Someone wanted a nice drawing and got what they asked for…

The problem is that real footwear design goes far beyond making a sketch of footwear.

A real footwear designer knows that development isn’t the end of the design process, but the middle of it.

A real footwear designer knows how a sketch will translate into a pullover sample.

A real footwear designer knows how to fix a sample to not only make it match the sketch or tech pack, but how to make it better and closer design intent.

Fuse project: we got this (we don’t got this)
Product dev firms: hold my beer

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