What does a Footwear Designer do?

Misty Amber Brighton

A footwear designer is responsible for charting fashion trends and developing shoes that keep up with the latest styles. This person might make sketches or prototypes of new models to show manufacturers. Other times, the designer may select materials for making footwear. Artistic ability and a degree in fashion design is typically needed to land one of these positions.

Designer shoes are typically made with the finest leather and fabrics available.
Designer shoes are typically made with the finest leather and fabrics available.

One of the most important footwear designer duties is that of staying up-to-date with fashion trends. There are often different trends based on clothing, accessories, and shoes for men, women and children. Staying on top of trends is important because the designer must be able to predict the types of shoes that are likely to sell well in the coming months. It is also important to make sure these shoes will complement the latest clothing styles and look nice with popular accessories such as belts and handbags.

After a footwear designer has come up with an idea, the next step is normally to produce something to show a manufacturer. This usually requires making a sketch of the proposal so people can get an idea of what the shoe might look like. Buyers often recommend changes, and it is much easier to modify a sketch than a prototype.

After a sketch is approved, the footwear designer may be asked to make a sample pair. This is often done by using special tools designed for shoemaking. A pattern might be used to construct the sole of the shoes. Shoes could also be custom made to fit a model who might wear them when the finished product is presented to the manufacturing team.

A footwear designer needs to be familiar with different types of material that might be used to make shoes. This is because it is often necessary to shop for leather, canvas, or rubber when creating new designs. It can also be helpful to know a little about dying these materials so a variety of colors can be produced for prospective buyers to look at.

People who are interested in footwear designer jobs should obtain an associate's degree in fashion design. After this, a candidate could seek an internship with a reputed designer while working on a bachelor's degree. This individual should also possess basic art skills and be able to draw a picture of a new model from the front, back, and side. Marketing skills and a passion for the latest fashion trends are also helpful qualities.

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