Where do i go from here?

hey there just found this forum this evning in search of footwear design and what i can do about it. Im currently studying a bachelor of industrial design and Victoria University Wellington New Zealand in my second year now,

im finding it hard in the aspect of im hear because i cant directly study footwear design in new zealand so idustrial design is the closest thing ive been told, is this true?

Am i heading in the right direction or is it best for me to direct my focus more to footwear design if thats whats im passionate and sure i want to do with my life?

Ive been looking in the the course in leicester and find them to be what i wana do but i dont see it possible in the funds department for me to get there, and i wana find another way any sugestions?

I havent done ne skecthes of ideas for design yet but after reading through the forums i guess its a good thing to get my mind working, im really interested in create affordable footwear that is more ecological is that much of a focus in design at the mo or more of a dream?

thanks for your time lots of things asked any replys would be rad cheers

I got a job in footwear with no previous experience. I studied ID as well.

There are oppurtunities for footwear design out there and once you have a position it is eassy to learn on the JOb. Many companies offer temp positions and junior positions to Industrial designers so I wouldnt worry too much about actually studying footwear.

The skills your have and problem solving from ID may be more useful for technical product than a footwear degree.


Most athletic footwear designers have a degree in industrial design. I think the problem solving methods would serve you well in what you want to do, developing ecological footwear.

Definitely start your brain thinking. Start dissecting shoes, cut them up and inspect how they are made, what hidden components there are and what they do. Start drawing shoes, they have a certain look and it takes time to develop your visual communication style. I’m sure there is a local cobbler you can learn from if you want to actually start making some prototypes. Experience is key. Try to get a summer internship at a local company, I think Globe is in the area?

Jumping in here and reading up is a good start. You will find a lot of people at various points on the same path.

i would actually recommend ID education over a footwear specific course.

From my experience with a BID, especially at a more engineering based program (as opposed to the fancy marker render all day types like art center and CCS- I went to Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada), I think a more general design education is better to help think about “outside the box” solutions.

Having experience in consumer products, knowing injection molding, and working in other fields all help create a problem solving method that a designer can use. Think about it- there are no (to my knowledge anyhow), “Power Tool Design Schools”, yet there are plenty of accomplished designers in this field which likely requires as much technical and specific knowledge as footwear.

Of course, three are many footwear specific things to learn, and I believe you can always expeand your knowledge in the industry. I would recommend starting with a smaller company (compared to the big 3 Nike, Adi, Puma), so that you can get lots of hands on work in all areas of design, development, etc. I had my first factory visit 2 months after starting in the footwear industry and spent likely around 180 days/year in china during my first 3 years working with a smaller brand. Invaluable experiences that let me get a lot further ahead than going direct to a Nike type company where you are tiny fish in a big pond immediately and would need to work your way up and interface with lots of other departments (so I’ve heard).

For sure Michael’s comments about looking at shoes, thinking about construction and getting involved here at Core are great.

hope this helps. just my opinion, of course.

Best of Luck!


Do you want to do athletics or fashion footwear? If it’s fashion footwear, then you’re better off doing a fashion degree TBH as the fashion trend side of things is so important.

thanks for all the adivce, what is the difference between fashion footwear and athletic footwear for example footwear like “creative recreation” some of their shoes are based on a more designer dunk is that more fashion based? is athletic shoes just cross trainers running shoes basket ball baseball etc? if so im more interested in fashion footwear that still has emphisis on functionality and technology but is more about style.

i would say that there are 3 or 4 categories of footwear.

  1. performance athletic. like running, soccer, basketball, etc.

  2. lifestyle. like the creative recreation you mention, or retro style sneakers, or puma lifestyle stuff.

  3. dress shoes, like classic leather sole mens shoes and womens high heels. this category is usually referred to as “black shoes”

  4. casual shoes, like camper, or others, usually simple leather uppers with a rubber sole. Usually referred to as “brown shoes”.

in my opinion, as mentioned, ID would be the best background for categories 1 and 2, but I am not too familar with 3/4, so perhaps there a fashion or fotowear specific study might be appropriate.

either way, a designer in any footwear industry needs to know trends, and design, just that the technical and problem solving background of ID i think helps with more complicated shoes like perofrmance and lifestyle.


I think even for lifestyle - a fashion degree won’t hurt - most of Lacoste, Diesel designers have a footwear or fashion background as opposed to ID, for instance.

If you studied ID, an understanding of fashion , creating mood boards, how to fashion forecast, how to use color and how trends work are all things to learn.