If you’re looking to design a shoe and potentially take your design into production, then you have come to the perfect place. Here you will discover an overview of how to approach footwear design, including a guide that takes you through the practicalities of finalizing a shoe design, from start to finish. With the global footwear market expected to reach $530 billion by 2027, more and more players are entering the space, and sitting at the heart of this process are the initial designs of each shoe. Keep reading to learn about how this process works.
Shoe design is a complex process that involves the collaboration of a variety of components, but that’s not to say it can’t be simple. A typical shoe consists of three basic components: the outsole, the midsole, and the upper. Each of these components is composed of materials that complement the proposed function of the shoe. Therefore, creating a concept with a definitive purpose in mind is paramount. Will you be creating an athletic shoe, fashion sneaker or leather boot? Will your design be based on classic silhouettes, or will you be inventing a totally new style? These are the types of questions that you should be answering before you begin conceiving your design.
The initial shoe design all starts with an inspiration and concept. This might be aesthetically or story driven. Once you have an original idea, you can start to sketch. Sketches help to conceive your idea into the first draft of your shoe. If you can’t sketch, there are plenty of skilled artists online who can be commissioned to do it for you. After completing your sketches, you will need to select your colors and desired materials for the design. Remember, less is often more. When it comes to materials, these can also be finalized throughout the process alongside a production house, like Addvance Studio.
Thanks to the digital, and artistic, age that we are living in, there are numerous drawing programs that you can use. However, we would recommend beginning with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, because of its easy-to-learn interface and professional-level tools for designing. If you are an engineer, you could use 3D modeling software, but as a designer we advice to start with Adobe, for drawing out shoe designs.
So, your footwear design sketches are complete and you are ready to pack them up and send them to a factory or production studio? Now you need to collect all your raw design materials and generate a tech pack. The purpose of a tech pack is to clearly illustrate your design so that the factory can easily manufacture the shoe. Think of it as a map for your shoe design. Your technical drawings should be as accurate as possible, making sure there is no question left about seams, colors, stitch lengths, and edge finishes. Capture the design through a render that delivers different angles of the shoe, showing all the significant details. Alongside the technical drawings, a color and material guide should also be included in addition to a vector file of relevant logos in order to create embossments on the shoe. All of these elements constitute the full shoe design tech pack.
If you’re starting a footwear collection, then you want to make sure you are choosing the right type of outsole - the foundation for any shoe. From Polyurethane Wedge Soles to leather and Vibram soles, there is an extensive array of existing types of soles available on the market today. While these existing, ‘template’ designs are a great option for your collection, custom outsoles enable you to create a totally new and unique design to truly elevate the look and feel of your shoes. If your footwear styles are meant for a particular purpose or activity, custom outsoles also make it possible to create the very best fit that is tailored towards those needs - handmade to perfection. Depending upon what the shoe will be used for, a sole design will be tailored to match its performance. Once your desired sole design has been determined, the sourcing of your chosen materials can begin. Like the uppers of your shoes, soles come in various shapes, sizes and materials enabling you to tailor the shoe towards your footwear style. Once materials have been sourced, the custom sole and last will be created.
Kickstarting your shoe design can at first seem complex, but following a stringent process from conceptualization to production can make things easier - especially with the help of Addvance Studio. With our specialized experience in footwear development & production, we are able to efficiently develop tailored shoe requests based on your specific needs, turning your shoe designs into final footwear collections.