1) Who are the top Footwear Designers in the world?

Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Loubitouin, Stuart Weitzman, Giuseppe Zanotti, Charles David, Kenneth Cole, Miuccia Prada, Andrea Pfister, Marc Jacobs, Patrick Cox, Sergio Rossi.

2) What requirements are needed prior to attending college to become a Footwear Designer?

There are no precise prerequisites. Most important are passion and intuition. One must be open-minded and know that there is a constant learning process. Anyone with these innate abilities is eligible to enter a footwear design program.

3) What special skills are necessary to be a Footwear Designer?

Some of the special skills needed include a knowledge of basic footwear pattern drafting, illustration and technical drawing, computer skills and marketing competencies. These skills are taught in a good Footwear Design program.

4) What talents does a Footwear Designer need?

A Footwear Designer should be curious and be able to spot current and new fashion trends. Paramount is the ability to visualize, conceptualize, and create.

5) Where do most Footwear Designers work?

Most designers either have their own company or design for another company using their name on the label, e.g. “Designed by Sandra Choi for Jimmy Choo“.

6) What is the salary range for Footwear Designers?

A Footwear Designer’s salary can start at $45,000, and senior Footwear Designers can earn over $100,000. Salary ranges can vary widely, dependent on the name and volume of the company.

7) What is a typical designer’s day like?

There is no typical day for a Footwear Designer.

A designer starts a collection based on a series of lasts and heel heights and shapes. There might be more than one construction in the collection. The collections can be based on a theme, silhouette, material, color, ethnic or cultural influence.

After designing mini groups within the collections, materials and colors are chosen. The collection then undergoes a continuous editing process. Designers work closely with last, heel and sole factories, tanneries and textile firms, as well as jewelry, ornament and trim suppliers.

8) How much traveling does a Footwear Designer do?

It is essential for a shoe designer to be exposed to what’s going on in the global fashion world, what other designers are doing, but most of all, to what’s happening in the streets.

At least two months prior to creating a new collection, a good designer should be traveling to New York, London, Paris, St. Tropez, Milan, Florence, and Tokyo to track all types of footwear trends.

They should attend all the important leather and footwear component fairs and textile exhibits. The retail scene should be examined monthly for upcoming trends. They should also attend regional meetings with sales representatives to determine what is actually selling.

9) What can one expect to learn in a footwear design program?

Shoe design students obtain a comprehensive view of the footwear industry, as well as all the essential elements of what it takes to succeed. They learn how to express both creative talents and technical skills while acquiring a working knowledge of how to design, produce, merchandise and market footwear.

10) What college has the most internationally renowned Footwear Design program?

FIDM, Los Angeles, California, is closely connected to the Italian and American industries, both in the technical and design fields, and encourages international design projects with footwear companies who produce throughout the world. Their program covers both the design, illustration, technical drawing, basic pattern drafting, marketing and merchandising aspects of this industry.

Ars Sutoria, Milan, Italy, is world renown for its full immersion program in pattern drafting design.

Cordwainers, London, England, has an excellent reputation for the formation of Footwear Designers. Their program concentrates on the art and craft of shoe making and design but less emphasis is put on the marketing and merchandising of footwear.