Footwear Designer

Job Description:

Footwear designers create new designs and sample patterns for footwear.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

You could work in:

  • high-end fashion (known as ‘haute couture’)
  • designer ready-to-wear
  • high street fashion

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’ll need:

  • drawing skills and the ability to use computer design software
    design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to visualise designs & creativity
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a footwear designer, you don’t necessarily need specific qualifications, but you should focus on developing skills and knowledge in design, art, and related subjects. Here are some general steps to pursue a career as a footwear designer:

  1. Art and Design: While not mandatory, GCSEs or equivalent qualifications in art and design-related subjects can be advantageous. These subjects can help you develop your artistic and creative skills, which are crucial for footwear design.

Post School

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 could get into this job through a fashion and textiles product technologist higher apprenticeship.

This typically takes 22 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.


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.

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.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll often work long hours and at weekends in order to meet deadlines – like at the launch of a new collection.

You may travel for research, like visiting art galleries, trade shows or to places or countries linked to a theme.

Career Path & 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.