Footwear designer

Footwear designers create new designs and sample patterns for men's, women's and children's footwear.

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter

to

£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 42 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends attending events or appointments

How to become a footwear designer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation studies diploma in art and design 
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles, specialising in footwear.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

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.

More information

Career tips

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.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in footwear design through Creative Choices and the British Footwear Association.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Textile Machine Operative Apprentice

  • Wage : £144.30 Weekly
  • Location: Keighley BD21 4DG

Apprentice Sewing Machinist

  • Wage : £11,377.60 Annually
  • Location: BB5 6NA

Courses In England

Footwear Foundation Degree

  • Provider: LEICESTER COLLEGE
  • Start date: 24 September 2019
  • Location: Leicester

RACC Walk and Talk in Richmond

  • Provider: Richmond And Hillcroft Adult And Community College
  • Start date: 15 May 2019
  • Location: Richmond

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