Beauty Center

How to Become a Shoe Designer? – 2023

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Shoe Designer Definition

The shoe designer produces around a maximum number of possible versions that arise from sales opportunities to see the number of results. It generally states:

  • The height of the heel.
  • Colour
  • Material
  • Material shape model.

Experimenting in different ways with colours and fabrics in shoemaking requires more knowledge and can have various models. Therefore designers have to choose their suppliers carefully and must be strict with the quality of the material.

How to Become a Shoe Designer?


A shoe designer also called a “shoe designer,” is a fashion designer specialising in shoes and boots. In addition to being practical to cover your feet, the designs can be original and innovative works of art. Becoming a designer requires talent and skills, but they can accomplish with dedication.

Part 1: Plan your Future

Make a 5-year plan: Make a plan that includes a series of realistic steps. Include a timeline to accomplish each step so you can stay focused.

Be flexible with your plan: It not set in stone, so if a new opportunity or contacts arises, be flexible so that you can incorporate that new direction.

Re-evaluate this plan every 1 to 2 years. Determine if you are on the right track or if you need to make modifications.

Decide your approach: There are many paths you can take in shoe design. For example, you can design shoes for women, men, children, athletes, etc. What attracts you the most?

Get a degree in design: While you don’t need one, a degree can help you develop skills and connections that will help you succeed in the industry. Enrol in a 2-4 year program at an accredited institution.

Your title doesn’t necessarily have to be in shoe design. Any degree in the arts or a field related to design will do the trick. It could be, for example, shoe design, industrial design, graphic design, art, product design, fashion design, accessory design, among others.

Part 2: Develop your Skills

Make lots of sketches: One of the most critical skills for a shoe designer is to take vision and put it on paper. The objective is not to replicate what you see in stores, but you must imagine a shoe and sketch it.

You won’t necessarily have to sketch on physical paper. You could use design software for your creations.

Learn to use some design software: Shoe design not necessarily do with pencil and paper sketches. You will need design software such as Adobe Creative Suite or PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign and other programs. Learn to recreate your pencil sketches on the computer.

Learn how to make patterned shoe designs: When you learn the different parts of creating a shoe from a sketch, you will understand more about the entire manufacturing process. Make prints for different types of shoes.

Make yourself a portfolio: Collect your best designs to show your skills and versatility as a designer. Try to collect 20 designs for a physical portfolio and 30 for an online portfolio. Have fresh content by updating your portfolio from time to time with new creations.

Also, put a description of your influences and inspirations. Don’t forget to include an up-to-date resume.

Part 3: Build a Resume

Find an internship: An internship is the opportunity to work with a designer and assist him in the daily tasks of creating shoes. You will also learn about the other roles in a shoe company that you may not have considered.

Check with your favourite companies to see what they are applying for an internship. Some internships are unpaid but may offer college credit in exchange for your work. However, the best thing is to receive some remuneration.

Work in sales: Working in a shoe store or the shoe department of a large department store will allow you to contact all kinds of customers and vendors. After all, they will be the prominent people in direct contact with your shoes every day when you are a designer. Get to know the business from the inside and have some experience in the sales section.

He works in shoemaking: Just as in sales, working in manufacturing will give you a lot of knowledge about shoe production. You may see how decisions made and how the shoes assemble.

This could also give you good connections to make your designs when you get there.

Start as an assistant: A designer, print, sketch, and production assistant are different types of entry-level jobs that will allow you to work directly with shoe designers. With these jobs, you can help turn the designer’s ideas into actual drawings and prints.

Part 4: Make Contacts in your Field

Expand your professional network: Start attending openings, exhibitions, open houses, and professional meetings. Dress well and introduce yourself. Don’t be pushy, but focus on chatting with people in a friendly way.

Bring business cards with your contact data printed on them. This way, others will be able to remember your name, and it will be easier for them to contact you if the opportunity presents itself.

It would help if you did not restrict yourself exclusively to events related to shoes. Art events in general, for example, will be meeting points for artistically minded people who may well position to help you advance in the industry.

Go to an informational interview: An informational interview is an opportunity to speak with someone who does the type of job you want. Get in touch with a shoe designer and set up an hour to talk about the industry and their work.

Make sure to meet at a time and place that is convenient for the designer.

This is not a job interview: You will be presenting yourself as someone interested in learning more about the industry and not as someone who wants to hire instantly.

Join a professional organization: This organization is a network of people who participate in a similar profession. These organizations often organize conferences, advocate for policies, promote educational and professional development, and award awards. Most subsist on membership, and you will have to pay an annual fee to become a member.

Some of those organizations related to footwear in the US are:

  • Industrial Designers Society of America,
  • American Institute of Graphic Arts,
  • American Apparel and Footwear Association,
  • And the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals.

Find a mentor: Talking regularly to someone with a solid career in shoe design will give you good advice as you progress along your journey. You could seek a mentor through a professional organization, an internship, or a college design program.

Part 5: Design on your Own

Contact a manufacturer: Do your research and find a well reliable manufacturer that produces the quality of footwear you are looking for. In addition, your manufacture must make a representative pair of shoes of what you have designed. Manufacturers can vary greatly, even the type of shoes they usually produce.

For example, shoes with thin soles and leather are typically made in Portugal, while rounder shoes with heavy soles typically made in England or Hungary.

Visit various manufacturers: Take your design to a few manufacturers and ask them to make a sample shoe. Compare them to see which is your best option.

Host an open house: An open house is an event where you can sell your work (in these events shoes, accessories, and dresses) to a boutique or store. Also attend open houses, talk and sell to customers. These events generally last from a few hours to a couple of days and provide special offers on items not typically sold in stores. They are significant promotional events and will help you make a name for yourself.

Partner with a boutique or store: Look for a local boutique with an aesthetic that complements your design style. Ask them if they would like to display your shoes in their store. The store will usually ask you for a percentage of the sales in return.

Sell ​​your shoes online: Open an online store, either on your website or on a third-party site like Etsy. This option is generally a more straightforward first step to selling your shoes than opening your store.


  • Amateur and scholar shoe design contests are ways to get the attention of potential employers.


  • As a designer, you could receive negative reviews about your creations. You must learn to be tough and not take criticism to heart. And also, learn to extract from them the most critical points to be a better designer.


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