How to Become a Shoe Designer?

9 minute read
How to Become a Shoe Designer

“Good shoes take you good places.” – Seo Min Hyun
Shoes are a versatile piece of accessory that complete our outfit. It is quite famously known that shoes are the first thing that someone subconsciously notices when interacting with others. Although we don’t know whether that is always the case or not, it is a fact that a perfect pair of shoes can add the charm of elevating elevate your outfit and complementing the look. A shoe designer curates innovative footwear pieces which can sweep the fashion trends and become evergreen! So, if you are interested in footwear designing and are wondering how to become a shoe designer, then worry no more! Here we have brought you a step-by-step guide on how to become a shoe designer.

What is Shoe Designing?

Shoe designing is mainly considered as a subfield within fashion designing which deals with designing creative and trendy footwear for the market. In the present day, shoes are more than a necessity for us, they have become an important part of the current fashion trends. A shoe designer deals with all the processes involved in the making of footwear, including the creation of a design, selecting the fabric or material, sewing process, etc. To become a shoe designer, there is an array of diploma and degree programs available in footwear designing which you can choose from to make a rewarding career in this field.

A Shoe Designer’s Role

A few of the jobs or responsibilities and roles of a shoe designer are mentioned below:

  • Design concepts are visualized, brainstormed, and researched.
  • Keeping in touch with consumers and suppliers.
  • Understanding the various footwear materials and how they are used.
  • Ideas can be sketched by hand or with computer programs.
  • Collaboration with the design team.
  • Seasonal needs are being assessed.
  • Creating strategy for all of our goods.

How to Become a Shoe Designer?

As shoe designing is an artistic field, you can begin with studying the intricacies of how footwear are curated from their ideation to the final product that reaches the market. To help you find the best programs, universities as well as build a career map for this pathway, here is a step-by-step guide about the process of becoming a shoe designer.

Step 1: Select the Right Shoe Designing Course and University

The first step towards becoming a shoe designer is to choose a relevant course. After completing your 12th standard, you can ideally go for a fashion designing course and specialize in footwear designing or you could specifically opt for footwear designing courses. Universities and institutes all over the world have dedicated diploma and degree courses for shoe designing, some of which are listed below:

Top Shoes Designing Universities Abroad

Name of University/InstituteLocationCourse NameDuration
Accademia del Lusso School of Fashion and DesignItalyIntensive 1-Year Diploma/Certificate Course in Footwear and Accessories Design1 Year
Istituto ModartechItalyGraduate Diploma in Shoe Design & Technology3 Months
University of the Arts, LondonUKBA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation3-4 Years
De Montfort UniversityUKBachelor’s in Footwear Design3 Years
College for Creative StudiesUSABFA in Fashion Accessories Design4 Years
University of NorthamptonUKBachelors in Footwear and Accessories3 Years
Nottingham Trent UniversityUKBachelors in Fashion and Accessories3 Years
Coventry UniversityUKBachelors in Fashion3 Years
University of HuddersfieldUKBachelors in Surface Design3 Years

Top Colleges Offering Shoe Designing Courses in India

The following is a list of some of the finest Indian universities that offer popular footwear designing degrees:

Universities/Colleges in India Location 
Central Footwear Training Institute (CFTI)Chennai 
Alagappa Institute of TechnologyChennai 
National Institute of Fashion TechnologyBangalore 
National Institute of Fashion TechnologyDelhi 
BD Somani Institute Of Art And Fashion TechnologyMumbai
Hamstech Institute of Fashion & Interior DesignHyderabad
Central Footwear Training InstituteAgra
Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI)Noida
Inter National Institute of Fashion and Interior DesignHyderabad
Parul UniversityVadodara

Step 2: Learn not only to Draw Shoes but Everything Else

Of course, if you want to be a professional shoe designer, you must first learn how to draw shoes. This will be your language, and you must be fluent in it. Your shoe designs are how you express yourself. You must be good, and your drawings must demonstrate your enthusiasm and inventiveness to others. The picture that catches the imagination while simultaneously demonstrating actual potential will be the design that makes it all the way to production in a design meeting! An amazing pro tip for you’ll is to take your time sketching the outsole bottoms and midsoles. A designer who can sketch outsoles will always be in high demand. Work hard to draw shoes that are unique, innovative, and defy shoemaking standards; yet, you must also demonstrate that you know and comprehend shoemaking rules.

Step 3: Get an Internship or Explore Training Opportunities in the Fashion or Footwear Industry 

If you are wondering about how to become a shoe designer after obtaining a degree or diploma, the best way is to apply for some internships or training programs at a design firm or become an associate of a fashion designer or footwear design. Some of the courses do provide internships to the candidates as part of the program as well. An internship is important since it will help you gain first-hand knowledge of working as a designer. It helps in shaping ideas and enhancing your skills, thus putting you on the path to success! So, once you have completed the course or in the concluding semester, try exploring as many interning and training opportunities as possible.

Step 4: Find a Shoe Making Mentor 

Another one of the very important and crucial steps to becoming a shoe designer and make an awesome career in the field is to find a shoe-making mentor or ‘guru’, who has been in the industry for long enough. You will learn a lot from mentors and coworkers if you are not scared to ask questions and are patient enough to listen. Working in the shoe industry will expose you to individuals from all over the world with a wide range of experiences.

Step 5: Build a Strong Skill Set in Designing 

To become a shoe designer, it is very important to have an impeccable set of creative and technical skills. A successful shoe designer needs to have a creative mind, an eye for detail, knowledge of aesthetics, colors, and textures along with great drawing skills. Technical skills like CAD (Computer-aided Design) are also an essential requirement. The most important trait is to create your own unique style, which will make you stand out from the others.

Step 6: Create a Strong Shoe Design Portfolio to get your Foot in the Door

There are several methods and ways to be recognized and started, but a strong shoe design portfolio is your starting point. An online portfolio is essential in this day and age. You may display hundreds of drawings in an online portfolio. Let them see what you’re capable of! Also, websites and platforms like LinkedIn.com can help you make contacts. Contact footwear professionals online and request a portfolio evaluation. Although there may not be an open position, comments on your shoe ideas might be beneficial!

Step 7: Explore Career Opportunities in Footwear and Shoe Designing 

While working on your skillset and after gaining internship experience, you can then find your way towards discovering job opportunities in this field. Shoe designers have a vast range of career opportunities depending on their qualifications and skills. Below is a list of some of the career options you can look at:

  • Footwear Designing Assistant
  • Footwear Technician
  • Product Developer
  • Trend Analyst
  • Instructor in Fashion Institutes
  • CAD Specialist
  • Freelance Designer
  • Fashion Entrepreneur

Step 8: Higher Studies & Building your Own Brand

Getting an overview of the whole process of how to become a shoe designer is incomplete without knowing about the higher education opportunities that are open to pursuing. Aiming for a higher-level qualification in Shoe Designing can help you furnish your skill set while gaining better industrial exposure and obtain specialized knowledge as well. In case you want to further your studies in this field, here is a list of postgraduate and Ph.D. courses you can opt for:

Name of University/InstituteLocationCourse Name
University of the Arts, LondonLondonMA Footwear
Royal College of ArtLondonMaster’s Fashion Womenswear (Taught)
Istituto ModartechPontederaMaster’s in Footwear & Bag Design
De Montfort UniversityLeicesterMaster’s in Design Research 
ESD, Design Higher Education SchoolBarcelonaPostgraduate in Footwear Design
De Montfort UniversityLeicesterDoctorate in Design Research (Research)

While studying for a master’s degree, you will be able to get expert knowledge and proficient technical and designing skills in this field and you will also learn about conceptualizing your own brand as per your interests, tastes, and creative preferences. With the presence of social media, you can form a global audience for your brand by starting an online business for your designs. For this, you need some well-made samples, great marketing strategies, and campaigns along with entrepreneurial skills. The best way to do this is to first polish your skills extensively and then venture towards entrepreneurship. 

Step 9: Take Chances and Explore 

Take risks! Regardless of the type of shoe, your shoe designs should strive for excellence. Try something fresh and unusual. Work hard to grasp the problems of shoe design, then approach from a different angle. Find a new material for your shoe design, or repurpose an existing one. Visit the shoe factory and observe what they can and cannot accomplish. Don’t accept “no” for an answer! Remember that the more you investigate and venture out in the business, the more successful your job as a shoe designer will be. It takes a lot of love and inspiration to create a shoe, so do it right.

Top Skills Required to Become a Shoe Designer

If you are wondering how to become a shoe designer, then here are some top skills that you should possess:

  • Flair for color, texture, and patterns
  • Visualization skills 
  • Well-versed with computer design software
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Drawing skills

Top Most Famous Shoe Designers of All-Time (BONUS)

The world’s most influential and successful shoe designers astound us with their flawless high heel, ballerina, and moccasin designs. These people understand that the quickest route to a woman’s heart is with a new pair of sparkling shoes! Here is a list of the world’s most famous shoe designers: 

  1. Tory Burch
  2. Giuseppe Zanotti
  3. Jimmy Choo
  4. Christian Louboutin
  5. Sophia Webster
  6. Charlotte Olympia
  7. Emilio Pucci
  8. Manolo Blahnik
  9. Dolce & Gabbana 
  10. Alexander McQueen
Courtesy: Business Insider


[optin-monster-shortcode id=”xf2mlnjiouddzrshykdb”]
What is the salary of a shoe designer?

Here is a detailed list of salaries you can expect as a shoe designer – A footwear designer can earn up to ₹ 57,046 per month at Cravatex Limited, ₹ 26,423 per month at H&M, and ₹ 12,23,998 per year at Bata India. 

What education do you need to be a Shoe Designer?

In order to become a Shoe Designer, it is quintessential to have a bachelor’s or an associate degree in footwear or fashion designing. You will be accustomed to pattern making, fashion sketching, textiles, costuming, introduction to computer graphics as well as advanced computer-aided fashion design, etc.

How do I start designing shoes?

Follow the below-mentioned steps: 

– Have a target upon how to study shoe design
– Choose the right shoe design school
– Perfect your graduate 
– Get an internship certificate
– Enhance your communication skills
– Don’t rush in starting up your company too soon
– Spend time in various factories
– Be original

Who is the richest clothing designer?

Miuccia Prada with a net worth of $11.1 Billion, Giorgio Armani with a net worth of $9.6 Billion, Ralph Lauren with a net worth of $8.2 Billion, Domenico Dolce with a net worth of $1.7 Billion, Stefano Gabbana with a net worth of $1.7 Billion, Calvin Klein with anet worth of $700 Million is some of the richest clothing designers in the world.

How much money do Nike shoe designers make?

The approximate salary of a Nike shoe designer is between $61,632 – $106,504.

What software do shoe designers use?

Digital software like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop are primarily used by shoe designers. The software accustomed you to the illustration and all the nuances of graphics. 

How do I start a shoe business?

Here are some of the steps you need to take into consideration before starting a shoe business: 

– Research well and then look for manufacturers
– Write a detailed business plan
– Hire a professional developer who can streamline your work
– Execute your marketing plan into action

We hope this blog will help you gain knowledge about how to become a shoe designer. If you are confused about which course to choose for shoe designing, our team at Leverage Edu can help you identify the best course and university which fits your interests, preferences, and career goals thus helping you make an informed decision towards a fulfilling career in this field! Sign up for an e-meeting with us today!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *



1 comment
  1. Happy to read your blog. you shared such good information. Will have more of a nose around your site
    Thanks for sharing the best information with us!!

  1. Happy to read your blog. you shared such good information. Will have more of a nose around your site
    Thanks for sharing the best information with us!!