How to become a great shoe designer

Are you looking to become a shoe designer, here are some tips to help you go through developing your skills. 

  • You will need a shoe mentor:
    you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, and learn to be patient enough to listen when you ask the questions from your mentor. When you have a mentor in the shoe industry, chances are he/she is already successful and has a brand that is up and running. If you are not afraid to ask questions, and patient enough to listen, you will learn a ton from mentors and co-workers. Working in the shoe trade you will meet people from all around the world with many different experiences. Learn to communicate with them and get ideas from these great minds. 
  • Study the classics:
    studying is the key to every successful business. As a shoe designer, you should find time to read at least ones in a week. Study the classics, not the masterworks of Italian painters, classic shoes!  Learn the modern history of shoes. With the advent of google search and internet, you can find many good books out there. Get to know the classic silhouettes from the big brands. Don’t be afraid to stand on the shoulders of the shoe giants and be confident in doing so too. 
  • Fill your mind with great design:
    To be a great shoe designer you need to look well beyond shoes. Always be ready to draw up a new idea that comes to your mind. When you wake up early in the morning or at night when you are about to sleep, ideas keep pouring in take advantage of those moments. Also, there are multitudes of great industrial design out there! Fill your mind with images – Ferrari, Prada, Frank Gehry, Apple, Porsche, etc.  There are so many websites online where you can see great modern designs for products aside from shoes. Fill up your brain, and let your eyes drink up this design stew. 
  • Cut up old shoes:
    As a shoe designer you need to know how shoes are put together, hence, get an old shoe and start practicing on it. Learn the how’s and why’s of shoe assembly. A great drawing of a shoe that cannot be made will never make it off the page. When looking at old shoes, there are a lot of ways in which you can improve as a designer, that been said, you can also look into new shoe design that challenges your development as a designer. 
  • Fortune favours the bold: 
    To be a good shoe designer, you need to take chances. Your shoe designs should pursue perfection no matter what kind of shoe it is. Always try to do something new and different. Work hard to understand shoe design challenges, then attack from a new direction. Find a new material for your shoe design, use an old material in a new way. Visit the shoe factory and see what they can do, see what they can’t do. Don’t take no for an answer!

You can be a shoe designer. It takes a passion for product design and imagination to see something that can be. For me, this is the best part of being a shoe designer, seeing the future in my mind and working to create it.

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