Footwear designers create new designs and sample patterns for men’s, women’s and children’s footwear.
Salary range: £16,000 to £60,000
How to become a footwear designer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could do a degree or postgraduate qualification in footwear design, or a fashion design qualification that includes footwear.
You should look for courses that teach both the design and technical skills needed by the industry.
The British Fashion Council is a good place to start looking for courses.
You’ll usually need:
- a foundation diploma in art and design
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles, specialising in footwear.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could start as a design assistant in a studio and learn on the job. With further training, you could begin to produce your own designs.
It’s very important to put together a portfolio of work that you can take to interviews. This should include designs, technical drawings and mood boards to show your creative talents.
You can find out more about careers in footwear design through Creative Choices.
You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be flexible and open to change
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- thinking and reasoning skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- active listening skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- creating ‘one off’ designs (haute couture)
- basing your designs on a theme for the coming season (ready-to-wear, high street)
- using computer aided design (CAD) software, graphics packages and traditional hand-drawing techniques to create your designs
- researching design ideas
- following a brief
- adapting existing designs
- working closely with the design team
- producing samples before agreeing the final design
- sending technical instructions to the manufacturers to produce the final product
You could work in a creative studio, from home or in a workshop.
Career path and progression
With experience within a company, you could progress to senior designer, design director or head of department.
You could also become a freelance designer, employed by companies to work on specific projects, or become self-employed and launch your own collection.