How to Design Your Own Shoe - COMUNITYmade


How to Design Your Own Shoe

How to Design Your Own Shoe

by Shannon Scott October 15, 2021 1 Comment

An outfit is never complete without a good pair of shoes. Most people claim that shoes are the first thing they notice when they interact with people. Although this claim does not have any scientific proof, most people acknowledge the importance of shoes in fashion.

It is no surprise that the shoe industry is one of the oldest industries. It is always thriving because it is highly dependent on fashion trends. 

If you want to design a personalized shoe or custom shoes, you need to learn shoe design. Simply put, shoe design involves designing trendy and creative shoes that appeal to the market. As a shoe designer, you have to develop the design, decide which material to use, take part in the shoe manufacturing process, and so much more.

Regardless of whether you want to design a shoe for men, women, or children, there are a few things you should do. This article discusses what you should do to be a successful shoe designer. Read on.


Get the appropriate training

To design your own shoe, you need to get appropriate training. It is best to select a course that is relevant to shoe design. I recommend studying fashion design then specializing in designing footwear. Another option would be to select a course in footwear design.

There are several degree and diploma courses on shoe design available in institutes and universities alike. You can either choose to study locally or go abroad. Research the various institutions that offer footwear design courses and settle on the one that suits you best.  Design school will challenge you and equip you with the fashion know-how of shoe design.

If you don’t have any training in shoe design, it would be best to partner with someone who does. This way, you have an idea of exactly what to do and what to expect.

It would also help if you took a business or entrepreneurship certification course. The skills you learn from the course will come in handy in managing your shoe designs or shoe line.

Improve your drawing skills

To design shoes, you need to have impeccable drawing skills. Drawing is the language of shoe design. It is the only way you can convey your ideas to other people. 

Good drawings will be proof of your creativity and passion. If you ever attend a footwear design meeting, your design will only be selected for production if the drawing captures the imagination of those present.

Contrary to what everyone else thinks, drawings are not old-fashioned. To be successful in shoe design, you have to master the art of sketching. Your drawing skills should be creative and fresh. Additionally, they should be in line with shoemaking rules.

Learn computer drawing software

To design shoes, you need to be conversant with various drawing software. You can start with Adobe Illustrator to help you detail and refine your shoe designs. You can also learn how to use 3D modeling software.


Apply for training programs and internships  

Once you get the appropriate training in shoe design, it would be best to apply for training programs and internships in footwear design. Note that working with a designer will help you gain the knowledge you need to design your own shoe. Additionally, you will improve your skills and have a higher chance of success when you decide to start your shoe line.

Get a mentor in the shoe design industry

If you want your shoe design career to be successful, you should consider getting a mentor that has been in the industry for a long time. You will learn very crucial information from mentors. If you are patient and willing to learn, you will acquire all the necessary skills to succeed in shoe design.

If you are lucky enough to work with or for your mentor, the chances are that you will interact with various experienced individuals in the shoe industry. 

Improve your technical and creative skills

To design your shoe, you need to have technical and creative skills. Other than the course in footwear design, you should be open to further studies. There are so many books available for you to learn from. Start with the basics: the history of shoes. Be open to learning about different types of shoes, including dress shoes, sneakers, high-top shoes, boots, and others. 

As a shoe designer, you need to be creative. You also need to pay attention to small details and know textures, aesthetics, and colors. 

Create a portfolio

If you want other people to notice you, have a good design portfolio. A good portfolio will expose you to various opportunities. You can showcase your various shoe designs in the portfolio and get people interested.  

It would help if you reached out to various shoe design gurus to review your portfolio. This way, you may end up getting opportunities due to the reviews. 

Take the risk

Shoe design is all about taking risks. No matter the kind of shoe you design, always strive for perfection. Dare to be different, explore new ideas, and try until you get it right. Don’t stick to the basic way of doing things. Explore with different materials (including leather or suede), material color, and lace color. Remember always to use high-quality materials like durability tested soles to keep your customers coming back.

It would also help if you strived to solve various shoe design challenges and come up with ways to circumvent them.


Skills you will need as a shoe designer

You need to have a certain skill set to be a successful shoe designer. Here are some of the skills that you need to have, acquire, or work on.

  • Creativity. 
  • Attention to detail.
  • Ability to visualize things.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Drawing skills.
  • Flair for patterns, texture, and color.
  • Knowledgeable in computer design software.
  • Good organizational skills. 


Designing shoes can be quite complex. To gain the necessary skills and technical know-how of shoe design takes time, or resources. If you want to get started faster, use a design companion like COMUNITYmade for your first line.

If you want to design your shoe, join our community to learn more about shoe design.

Shannon Scott
Shannon Scott


1 Response

Nick Albert
Nick Albert

December 23, 2021

This is a fantastic thing our community needs. Thank you

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Find Your Perfect Size

We want to help make sure that your new shoes have the best fit possible.  

We have created a separate fit for men and women to provide the ultimate foot hugging comfort.  Our sockliner and upper materials will naturally mold to your foot and stretch out after a short period of time, so do allow for this when trying our shoes on initially.


 In general, our shoes are running closer to an everyday shoe fit vs. an athletic shoe fit and can be worn with or without socks - but the socks have to be eye catching for best results.


Any variances from this chart will be noted on each individual product page.