How to Become a Shoe Designer 


Are you creative with a good eye for fashion ensembles? Can you determine what type of footwear best matches any outfit? Then you should consider a career as a shoe designer. Below we tell you how to enter this exciting field. 

Studies for Shoe Designers

There are different entry points to becoming a shoe designer. Firstly, you can start with an entry-level job and work your way up the levels as you acquire experience. Secondly, you can become an apprentice if you can find a shoe designer willing to mentor you. Thirdly, you can obtain a university qualification.

If you choose university, you can study footwear exclusively, or you can take it as part of a more comprehensive fashion postgraduate degree. You will need to learn the technical aspects of shoe design as well as the art of creating fashionable footwear. This link can help you get started.

To enter a postgraduate course, you will need an applicable degree in a suitable subject. However, you may want to start with an art/design diploma before progressing to a degree. 

Salaries for Shoe Designers

You can earn a good income as a shoe designer. The salary range varies between £20,000 and £40,000, based on your level of experience. As an entry-level employee, you will start out at the lower end of this range and work your way to the top in 40-hour weeks. 

Of course, if you are a shoe design prodigy, you will be rising beyond this and designing top-notch, fashionable footwear that are displayed on the runway. Then your earnings will be astronomical. Take Rick Owens, whose net worth in 2023 is six million dollars! See the Rick Owen Converse sneaker available online through SSENSE to get an idea of what top designers create.

Essential Skills for Shoe Designers

Nowadays, design makes great use of technology, so you need to be PC literate and able to adapt to relevant software. You will require knowledge on how shoes are manufactured, and the processes involved. Another requirement is your approach to detail, which must be finely tuned. You need to be creative and able to invent designs or alter the way existing ones look. This requires using your initiative, being flexible, and an ability to cope with change and constructive criticism. Ambition is necessary as the field can be very competitive. You must be self-driven and willing to work long hours, stay up to date with trends, and attend functions and events to showcase shoe designs.

Performing Daily Tasks

CAD software (computer-aided design) is used for shoe design. However, you will also need to be able to draw clear sketches of your ideas before getting into the actual dimensions and details. Research is an important skill. You need to read up on different materials and how they function in order to design comfortable footwear. It is also vital to stay abreast of trends in the industry. You will be adapting designs that have already been created or coming up with brand new designs. 

When prototypes or product samples are made, you will supervise the process, and make changes as it progresses. The final quality needs to be checked. Marketing skills are necessary as you will have to meet with design teams and pitch your ideas. There are always cost factors to consider, and you may have to work within a budgetary limitation. Time to produce items must also be factored in.

The sky is the limit for talented shoe designers. 

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