From traditional education in school to industry apprenticeships, there are several ways for aspiring shoe designers to break into footwear. While there is still work to be done to address diversity and inclusivity across all areas of fashion, many programs are available now to help empower and foster shoemakers of all levels.
Arsutoria School Shoe Design Course
The 4-week course at Arsutoria School in Milan is targeted for students seeking a short yet intensive program that can teach and refine their creative skills from concept to production. For a more immersive experience, students can opt to take classes in conjunction with Arsutoria’s 12-week pattern making program.
Pensole Footwear Design Academy
Founded by D’Wyane Edwards, this hands-on training program based in Portland, Oregon is one of the leading initiatives for crafting tomorrow’s shoe leaders. Edwards, who initially had limited resources breaking into the industry, created the program in order to help bring more educational options to emerging designers. Courses are run on a “learn by doing” curriculum taught across four different studios.
British Footwear Association Apprenticeships
In order to meet the demands of its growing shoe exports, the British footwear industry recently launched a nationally accredited apprenticeship program in manufacturing based in Northamptonshire, England. According to BFA Chief Executive John Saunders in a press release, “International interest in British made footwear has possibly never been higher. This is particularly true for the premium bench and hand-made shoes, of the type made in Northamptonshire and the West End.” The association has developed an apprenticeship standard with the help of brands including New Balance, Church, Dr Martens, International Dance Shoes and more.
More information: britishfootwearassociation.co.uk
Women In The Footwear Industry (WIFI)
Two Ten’s WIFI initiative empowers women in the industry through mentoring, events and relationship building activities. WIFI currently includes nine chapters across the country, with over 4,000 members total. Specifically, its year-long mentoring program matches matches seasoned footwear professionals with mentees of varying levels in order to foster growth.
HERE ARE SOME USEFUL VIDEOS FOR SHOE DESIGNING
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